For years, it has been the goal of the Government of Ukraine’s regional policy to ensure that residents enjoy a high quality of life regardless of where they live. On International Day of Democracy, we reflected on how our team in Ukraine worked to strengthen democratic resilience by enhancing public investment governance supports.
SURGe, the Support for Ukraine’s Reforms for Governance Program funded by Global Affairs Canada, engages Ukrainian experts to foster capacity and ensure sustainable progress in governance.
The team built democratic governance on the national, regional and local levels to address citizen needs with regards to regional development.
SURGe recognized that improved governance of public investment can improve roads, internet, water supply systems, public transport and more. In the past, decisions about community development were often made without asking people what they needed. Now, recognizing that people have different needs is at the core of making the right governance decisions that work for everyone.
In the Enhancing Public Investment Governance Reform Project, SURGe supported the Government of Ukraine by implementing the internationally recognized methodology of developing regions based on functional areas of approach. This means gaining an understanding of the needs and unique potentials of each territory. The approach defined specific communities and needs of the of their citizens such as rural distressed areas, border areas or cities that are regional growth poles.
SURGe identified two pilot oblasts, Chernihivska and Cherkaska, and conducted needs assessments to learn about what citizens required that could be met with improved public investment. Together with Ministry of Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine (MinRegion), SURGe developed policy recommendations and changes to legislation to ensure effective public investment governance across all levels, with some recommendations already approved by Cabinet and Parliament.
The team also helped MinRegion develop Regional Development Programmes so communities can access funding for investment projects that meet citizen needs while building capacity in those pilot communities.
By hearing the voices of people living in these areas, and in turn understanding their specific problems, national, regional, and local governments will target their policies and investments to improve life in communities and strengthen democratic resilience for the future.