Under the reform of decentralization in Ukraine, local communities play the role of basic elements in the government system. However, the capacity of the communities depends not only from public powers and fiscal decentralization but also from participation of communities’ members in the decision-making process. The main forms of participatory democracy in Ukraine are public hearings, local initiatives, general meetings, special consultative working groups. In accordance with the Ukrainian legislation, the Municipal Charter regulates all these forms of citizen involvement in solving community problems.
However, only 20% of the communities in Ukraine have the Municipal Charter, according to the Regional justice department’s information. Therefore, the citizens in 80% municipalities in Ukraine do not have opportunities to participate in local governance. However, even in the adopted Municipal Charters, the procedures of participation forms unclear and difficult, as a result – citizens can’t use them for making influence on local development.
Association made the analysis of the Municipal Charters in the areas of research center dislocation (Kiev, Odesa, Lutsk, Lviv, Artyomivsk, Mykolayev, Severodonetsk, Rivne, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson). There were detected next number of problems:
- Complicated procedure of local initiative (Odesa, Rivne, Lviv, Severodonetsk);
- Complicated procedure of public hearings (Rivne, Severodonetsk);
- Some norms in Municipal Charter give to the local authorities possibilities to ignore the citizens recommendations, which were adopted during the public hearings and general meetings (Lviv);
- Only the local authorities can initiate the public hearings and general meetings, citizens have not such possibilities (Mykolayev, Rivne).
Moreover, the research has detected the next problems:
- The citizens don’t even know about these form of participation;
- The local authorities are not willing to involve the citizens in local governance;
- Communities members do not belief in the effectiveness of such involvement.
On the central government level:
The Presidential Administration of Ukraine:
- Put into the new “National Strategy for the civil society in Ukraine” the action plan for the development of participatory democracy forms;
- Implement the policy clarification of participatory democracy forms (articles in media on topic how does participatory democracy works and success stories of citizens involvement in decision-making);
- Establish an effective training program for the local officials on topic of importance of involvement the community in local governance and Municipal Charters.
On the local government level:
- Adopt the Municipal Charters, which include clear procedures of communities involvement in decision-making (Association create the typical Municipal Charter for the local communities);
- Put into regional “Programs for the civil society” the action plan for the development of participatory democracy forms;
- Correct in the current Municipal Charters the public hearings and local initiatives procedures towards simplification and democratization.
The information was received from the answers on the request by Regional justice department’s
First-Ever IRI Ukraine National Municipal Poll: Ukrainians Deeply Concerned Over Corruption; Remain Committed to Europe and Democracyhttp://www.iri.org/resource/first-ever-iri-ukraine-national-municipal-poll-ukrainians-deeply-concerned-over-corruption