Citizens’ views contribute to advancing the rule of law in Ukraine

Three years ago the protests on Maidan square in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv led to President Viktor Yanukovych being removed from power. The war is in its fourth year. At the same time efforts are underway to strengthen democracy and human rights in the country.

Ukraine is one of the countries where FBA has the most civilian personnel deployed to international missions. Currently there are 13 seconded to EU, UN, the Council of Europe and OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, in Ukraine. The security situation is difficult. FBA’s Director-General Sven-Eric Söder recently visited the OSCE special monitoring mission (SMM) to get an update on the conditions for the Swedish observers. During the visit an American observer was killed by a mine in the eastern part of the country.

FBA’s largest project in terms of budget is also carried out in Ukraine. Since 2015 FBA supports selected municipalities in their work to improve local self-government and the rule of law. Initially they were 12, today they are 15. It is an important task that comes down to creating transparent decision-making processes, making sure that it is possible to appeal administrative decisions and that everyone is treated equally before the law. Things we often take for granted in Sweden.

– We work to improve access to administrative service delivery, but also to increase the citizens’ awareness about their legal rights, says Ludmila Ceban, desk officer at FBA who has been working with the project since the start.

Gaps in the legislative framework and cumbersome procedures are some of the obstacles citizens encounter when claiming services, she explains. Moreover, guidelines and instructions for local authorities on how to handle cases are often lacking, which has complicated the implementation of legislation in local decision-making. But despite the shortcomings there are still prerequisites for development. A decentralization reform is ongoing in Ukraine and there is a desire to change.

Halfway through the project, local authorities in the participating municipalities have undergone self-assessments indicating the level of respect of the rule of law principles in administrative service delivery. To reflect citizens’ views, over 5,000 people have been interviewed about their experiences in seven of the twelve partner cities.  

The assessments cover many different areas: From registration of real estate rights to land services, housing and construction permits. Transparency in decision-making, respect for the citizens’ right to be heard, and the presence of corruption and discrimination are some of the issues examined.

– In certain cases there is a substantial difference between how the citizens and the civil servants perceive the situation. The confidence in authorities is low. If citizens were more engaged in local decision-making processes this could enhance legitimacy, Ludmila Ceban says. She was present when representatives from local and central authorities recently gathered at a conference in Kyiv to summarize the results so far and discuss the way forward.  

In six of the cities action plans have been developed to build on what actually works well, identify problems and localized solutions to promote rights’ based service delivery. During the year self-assessments will continue in the remaining five partner cities.

Ludmila Ceban says that FBA’s partners in Ukraine have worked hard to promote good governance and safeguard that decisions are made in accordance with laws and rules.
– Clearer guidance for staff officials and step-by-step roadmaps on how to apply for a certain service are some of the initiatives tested to improve service delivery, she says.

Apart from strengthening the work at local level FBA seeks to spread the results from the analysis to have a national impact. Actors at national level are responsible for creating the conditions needed for the principles of the rule of law to be mainstreamed and put into practice at the local level.

This was also highlighted by Oksana Syroyid, Vice Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, at the conference:
– A lot of work is already being done at the local level. But the parliament’s responsibility is to formulate laws that are accessible and that the citizens can easily refer to when claiming services without the need for legal expertise.

Photos: Dmytro Mokryy-Voronovskyy.

MORE FROM HOME

FBA’s programme for young peacebuilders in Iraq inaugurated

After decades of war, Iraq needs to be rebuilt. Violent protests against the inability of the Iraqi state to provide its citizens with security and basic social services have rocked the country recently. FBA is now starting a programme for young peacebuilders in Iraq, in order to strengthen them in their non-violent efforts for a positive development.

2019-10-28 16:55

IN THE FIELD

Read our publications

Image description

Insights from the Inside: Women’s Mediation Networks as a Tool for Influencing Peace Processes

Civil society-led networks of women have for decades worked hard to promote peace in conflict areas around the world, and lately, a new wave of women's mediation networks are being established that are led by states or regional organizations. All these networks share a collective aim: To promote women's inclusion and influence in mediated peace processes.

Documents
Attributes
Author:
FBA, Uppsala University, PRIO
Year:
2019

THE FBA BLOG

  • Posted by Jessica Rothman

    Peace-making and cheese-making in Georgia

    Exactly ten years had passed since I last worked in Georgia, when I returned for my deployment to the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM), in the country that has a special place in my heart. I arrived with so much curiosity and excitement, wondering how Georgia had developed and recovered after the war in 2008. The first thing that struck me was the condition of the cars, where were all the dilapidated Ladas and Volgas that used ... Read entire post »

    2019-12-05 11:19
  • Posted by Eric Mellado-Åhlin

    Revising the UN guidelines for support to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants: a high-hanging fruit

    One of my first tasks as a desk officer at FBA, working with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants, was to assist in arranging a conference in Stockholm. As the conference approached, I understood that the goal – to unite the 25 UN agencies of the Inter-Agency Working Group on DDR and come to agreement on the way forward for the revision of the Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS) – was more complicated than I ... Read entire post »

    2019-11-26 16:22
  • Posted by Kuisma Kinnunen

    From policy to practice – gender as a perspective

    As a trainer, what could be better than to be part of a multinational group with a variety of backgrounds, eagerly wanting to learn new skills? Especially when you get to be the course participant for a change.

    I had a dual aim when I recently participated in the Gender Perspective in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy Course, organised by FBA under the auspices of the European Security and Defence College. Besides learning new gender ... Read entire post »

    2019-10-23 11:27
Photo

Saba Nowzari

Saba Nowzari is expert on Mali, the Middle East and women, peace and security

More about our experts

Upcoming courses

Photo

Our partner countries

FBA is part of Sweden’s development aid within the area of peace and security

Read more about the countries where we work

Twitter