In 2014, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the law “On cooperation of local communities”. Cooperation mechanism could be used for improving the quality of public services, infrastructure development of neighbor community without unification. The law aims the state support to the consolidation of local resources and efforts of the neighbor’s settlements for the regional sustainable development. The state encourage consists of government subventions, the transfer of state property into municipal ownership, methodological and information support. Mayors, deputies can initiate community cooperation. Local activists may propose the cooperation throw the local initiative.
The law adopted five forms of cooperation:
- delegation of the powers to the one of the cooperation partners for solving the common problem;
- implementation of joint projects;
- co-financing(maintain)infrastructureobjects- enterprises,institutions and organizations ofcommunal ownership;
- create joint municipal enterprises, institutions and organizations for the project management;
- create the joint management body for the execution of powers defined by law.
The implementation of joint projects is the most popular cooperation form for the local community (14 agreements). Community use “co-financing (maintain) infrastructure objects” form in two cases, “create joint municipal enterprises” in one case.
The practice of engagement local communities in cooperation is unusual. According to the Register of agreements on community cooperation in Ukraine (Ministry of Regional Development portal), only 17 such agreements were registered. It were approved in 5 of 24 areas: Ivano-Frankivsk (7 contracts), Poltava (5), Khmelnytsky (2), Chernihiv (2), Vinnitsa (1).
The possible reasons of the problem are:
- the lack of information for the local authorities about this legislative norm, especially for the citizens in far rural communities;
- the regulation gap of the local initiativeprocedure in Municipal Charters of communities;
- the lack of understandings on the local level the perspectives of cooperation because of deficit of the collaboration practice in Ukraine;
- inability the local authorities to hold negotiations and find consensus with the partners for the realization common projects.
The Ministry for Regional Development and Building of Ukraine:
- could post the success stories about community cooperation on the ministry internet portal. Also on the portal should be published the joint project implementation report.
Local council deputies:
- could put into their agenda the communities cooperation item and initiate the debates with activists and council members;
- create a working group for the holding discussion on topic of cooperation;
- regulate the local legislation towards to oversimplification the local initiatives procedure;
Civil society organization and self-organization bodies:
- might initiate the public debates on the topic of advantages and disadvantages possible communities cooperation, the perspective form of such collaboration.