Community Based Approach to Local Development
Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Donors support cooperation between local government and communities, praise successful partnership results in Crimea

A delegation of foreign partners and donors is on a two-day visit to Crimea. The visit participants, representing European Commission, the Governments of the Netherlands, Sweden,Turkey, the United Kingdom and USA will meet with its Crimean republican government partners and local authorities, representatives of territorial communities and their organizations, and the experts working within UNDP Crimea Integration and Development Programme (CIDP).

The visit’s overal goal is to discuss the achieved results and define long-term sustainable and effective solutions for social and economic problems and overal human development challenges faced by the multi-ethnic population of Crimea.

Earlier today the delegation met with Crimean Verkhovna Rada Speaker Anatoliy Grytsenko and members of the Crimean Council of Ministers.

Over fourteen years after joining partnership with UN Development Porgramme, the Republic’s 14 districts were supported in carrying out their local sustainable development projects amounting to over USD 34mn, while about 200,000 people have benefited from these community-based initiatives, according to UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine Francis O’Donnell.

According to Grytsenko, UNDP CIDP has largely enhanced its cooperation with the government bodies of the Autonomous Republic in the recent years, especially with the local government. This cooperation allows for increased effectiveness in selecting and implementing projects that are of social significance for the Crimean society.

“We are well aware of the amended strategy of UNDP CIDP until 2010, which fully coincides with the priorities of the Crimean government. At this stage of development in Crimea it is vital that while having a critical mass of projects, implemented with the UNDP CIDP support, successful development models are replicated in all rural districts of the Autonomous republic,” he said.

In 2008, UNDP Crimea Integration and Development Programme supported projects in 27 villages of 12 Crimean districts. A total of 29 projects in the areas of good governance, education, local economic development and strategic planning have been implemented.

During the meeting the participants agreed that one of Crimea’s key assets is its ethnic and cultural diversity. Recognizing the necessity of diversification for the sphere of tourism in our region, it was agreed to support the concept of providing more opportunities to rural communities in developing business-models for green and ethno-tourism. 35% of direct beneficiaries belong to formerly deported people (FDP) group.
According to Grytsenko, the republican authorities are willing to integrate the experience accumulated by UNDP CIDP into the ARC strategic development plans.

“We believe, though, that the main outcome of our cooperation is unifying the efforts of people of various ethnic backgrounds for universal human values, thus strengthening peace and interethnic harmony on the peninsula,” he said.

Finally, in Grytsenko’s words, the Crimean authorities are going to consider establishing a regional development agency in Crimea that could overtake the role and functions which are currently fulfilled by CIDP, once the Programme finishes its activities.

Speaking during the official meeting Francis O’Donnell praised the long-lasting and fruitful cooperation the UNDP and its international partners enjoy in Crimea. According to O’Donnell, the UNDP-led Crimean Integration and Development Programme “is not a purely UNDP’s programme anymore, but the Programme of Crimea’s people.

“When we look at financial statistics, most of the funding is actually coming from the Crimean government and local communities that the CIDP is supporting. All the donors’ contributions do not even reach the volume provided by our Ukrainian counterparts. Therefore, in a great sense, the future of this Programme is in your hands. Because it is your programme, more than ours”, O’Donnell said.

Importantly, the UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine has fully supported Crimean authorities’ idea of creating a regional development agency in Crimea which will be a successor to CIDP. “This is exactly the direction that we need to pursue,” he added.

At the same time, Laura Garagnani, Coordinator for Cooperation at the European Commission in Ukraine, called the idea to create a regional development agency “an excellent move”.

“We believe that the idea about the creation of a regional development agency you’ve announced is an excellent move. This agency could become a platform not only for attracting donor funds, but more importantly the investors’ funds,” she said.

Finally, Garagnani confirmed EC’s willingness to help Crimean government study the EU experience in regional development by organising specific study tours to see how the EU countries’ experience could be reflected in establishing a similar institution in Crimea.

Moreover, today, with EU’s financial support the sustainable social and economic development is being actively promoted in 22 municipalities across Ukraine, four Chernobyl-affected regions, Autonomous Republic of Crimea and all regions of Ukraine, in particular through Community Based Approach to Local Development Project.

The community-based local development approach is applied in all local activities held with UNDP support at the local level.

It proved to be effective in both urban and rural areas, and turned out to be particularly successful in community mobilization for improvement of local housing and communal infrastructure, solving the problems of education sector, reducing unemployment, and enhancing quality of the social services delivery.