Readiness for reform in southern Ukraine
The FBA’s project in Ukraine aims at strengthening the respect for the rule of law in the Ukrainian local administration, and increasing citizens' awareness of their rights. The FBA has developed an assessment tool that will be used in twelve Ukrainian towns and cities during the project period. One of the cities included in the project is Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine.
– In Mykolaiv the focus is on land management, as the procedure of assigning and obtaining land is complicated and often contested from a rule of law perspective. There is also increased pressure on the land administration in Mykolaiv right now, because of the high amount of requests for land plots coming from returning soldiers, says Shane Quinn, project manager at the FBA.
782 people participated in the assessment carried out in Mykolaiv, which consisted of interviews and anonymous questionnaires both with employees and with citizens who use the land administration services. A number of interesting results can be presented, one being that the appeal procedures are unclear and hence highly dependent on the goodwill of the staff.
– Half of the respondents were reluctant to answer the assessment questions about corruption. And in some areas, the responses were so positive that there might be reason to be suspicious. We will of course analyse this in more depth together with various Ukrainian partners, but there seems to be a substantial lack of awareness amongst citizens on their rights when claiming services, which in turn can lead to difficulties in acquiring the correct and relevant information, says Shane.
An assessment report for each municipality will be completed, along with recommendations and action plans. Ludmila Ceban, project officer at the FBA, has recently returned from a recent trip to Ukraine.
– There is a high demand and interest for the project, and the selected municipalities have all applied to participate. Employees at various levels in the local administration offices we meet are positive and very dedicated, which is a prerequisite for a successful project. There are shortcomings in the local administration, but also a lot of will to reform, says Ludmila.
The FBA has established a local office in Kyiv and has close contact with other development actors in the country. The recommendations from the local level will be communicated to the central national level and linked to ongoing reforms and projects in the country.
– An important part of the project is the exchange of knowledge between municipalities, both among the twelve who are involved in the project, and with other cities and municipalities around the country, says Ludmila Ceban.