Ambassador Yovanovitch’s Remarks at Launch Event for the USAID Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency (DOBRE) Program

October 25, 2016

Доброго ранку! Я рада вас привітати сьогодні на цьому заході.

Good morning Prime Minister Groysman, Vice-Prime Minister Zubko, and distinguished guests.

I am both honored and excited to be with you today for the launch of USAID’s decentralization program.

Support for decentralization in Ukraine is truly an international effort.

I want to thank our partners from the EU, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Poland, and the many other donors who are working so hard to make this reform a success.

DOBRE stands for “Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency.”

It is a rather modest title for very ambitious reforms.

These reforms involve shifting authority and resources to the local level, while simultaneously undertaking much-needed territorial reorganization of those same consolidated communities.

I congratulate the Government of Ukraine for its leadership in this area and for the progress made so far. There is broad public support for these reforms, and you have responded.

New fiscal decentralization laws have been implemented and have already led to significant increases in local government budgets.

Special funds have been made available for regional development, and capital improvements are being planned.

One hundred and eighty-four (184) new communities have already been consolidated, and that number is expected to double by the end of the year.

With expanded territories, and additional authorities and resources, these communities now face the challenge of meeting their new responsibilities and public expectations.

For reforms to succeed, local governments must manage these new resources effectively, deliver high quality services, promote economic activity, fight corruption, and ensure that citizen voices are heard in making decisions.

The USAID project will help 75 newly consolidated communities in seven oblasts succeed in these areas.

These 75 communities will in turn serve as models for others, showing how decentralization can work for citizens and encouraging further consolidation.

We believe it is critical that citizens begin to see tangible benefits from decentralization as soon as possible, and this project was designed to make this happen.

With us here today are the first 25 newly consolidated communities selected – through a competitive process – to participate in the program. I congratulate each of you.

You were among the first communities that voluntarily consolidated. Despite uncertainty and concerns about the outlook for reforms, you took a bold step forward.

I am excited to have the opportunity to meet and talk to you, and I’m confident you will have much to learn from one another about your plans and challenges.

More importantly, I look forward to following your progress as local governments across Ukraine act together with citizens to develop your communities. The potential is tremendous.

Hub schools will provide better access to modern classes and new learning experiences.

Cleaner, properly maintained parks and playgrounds, and well-lighted streets will enhance the community and social life.

More investment will lead to economic opportunity and jobs, and youth will see a future in their home communities.

Improvements in local medical facilities will give pensioners access to better and more reliable health services.

The list goes on.

Through your openness and commitment to reform, with assistance from USAID and other donors you can make real improvements in the day-to-day lives of citizens.

I look forward to hearing about your successes over the coming years and, more importantly, I hope you will share them broadly with your colleagues and friends in communities across Ukraine.

Thank you again. Дуже дякую! Децентралізація це ДОБРЕ!