Since 2014, Ukraine has invested in decentralisation, strengthening local self-government. Ukrainian cities and municipalities are now called on to shape and manage their processes independently, following examples of Western European cities. However, some cities are growing rapidly, and so too are the challenges they face. Administrative staff are often unprepared for taking on the new work that this involves. They are tasked with reconciling economic and environmental matters in their cities, while also facing demographic challenges. In line with the approach of integrated urban development, processes are no longer assigned to one sector but are now comprehensive and interdisciplinary. Plans developed on this basis support sustainable development, social balance and diversity. Having these overall conditions in place facilitates investment in technical and social infrastructures. If this is not the case, the quality of buildings and the cultural opportunities they support will suffer, and economic growth is difficult to achieve.
Selected cities are increasingly shaping their development processes in line with the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities. Citizens in six Ukrainian cities participate in political and economic development processes. The cities make sustainable, long-term plans for development, with a focus on citizens. Living conditions in the cities are improved.
On behalf of the German Government and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the project Integrated urban development in Ukraine is committed to improving living conditions in the Ukrainian cities of Vinnytsia, Chernivtsi, Poltava, Lviv and Zhytomyr, and in Podil, a district of Kyiv. Together with international and national experts, the project supports the development of integrated urban development concepts and provides advice in important areas such as transport and land registry systems. Building on this, partners develop sectoral plans to improve structures and prepare the implementation of these plans. The population is involved in every step. The project supports its partners in creating inclusive, safe and sustainable cities (2030 Agenda, SDG 11). Administrative staff take part in courses that train them in how to approach their new local self-government work in a professional manner and improve how they cooperate with one another. The cities share their experience with the relevant ministry (MinRegion) on a regular basis, and thus drive forward the national reform process. The project has also provided advice on how to establish a solid basis for a new law on spatial planning.
Since 2016, more than 1,600 employees from the partner cities have participated in around 200 seminars under the ‘Qualification 2030’ training programme, which is designed to strengthen cooperation, communication and coordination within city administrations. As a result, course participants have learned more about the relationship between integrated urban development and infrastructure investments. The cities have set up platforms for civil society participation and invite people to get involved. Citizen information centres advise people about initiatives, and citizens have worked with the cities to set priorities for development. Over four years, around 40,000 people have participated in a host of public events. In addition, basic and further training opportunities for urban planners have improved significantly. Along with new courses on urban development, there is also an opportunity to study at a German university of applied sciences for a semester as part of an international exchange. Two white papers and a concept for restructuring administration in the construction sector have been submitted to the partner ministry, marking the starting point for further improvement of the political framework.