Novopskov, Luhansk Oblast, hosted a two-day training course, organized by the UN Reconstruction and Peacebuilding Program, as part of the innovative anti-corruption program in the project titled “Promoting Integrity and Combating Corruption at the Local Level in the Eastern Partnership Area”. Over two days the trainers from the Institute of Regional Media and Information discussed the methodology for handling and counteracting corruption with the representatives of the village community.
The proposed methodology is clear and transparent, based on the Bolivian experience – the one of Ronald MacLean-Abaroa, Mayor of La Paz, who has made great efforts to overcome corruption in his city. How did he do that? What exactly did he do and what steps did he find courage to take? The struggle was long, however, in his approaches he focused on opposing the system rather than personalities. The experience of the Bolivian mayor has been adapted and tested by FPDL, a Romanian CSO, together with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). A similar project is also ongoing in Georgia and Moldova.
In Ukraine, the work is being carried out in several stages. During the first stage, the coaches discussed the approaches and methodology with municipalities representatives. Next, UNDP staff identified the target regions and proposed the selected methodology for the selected cities to process.
Novopskov is the first Ukrainian town where the project started “in the field”. Participants learned the principles and tools for diagnosing the platforms and services provided by the local administration for the citizens. Where do these services have corruption risks? Does the system allow itself to be abused? Over the training, special cases were covered not only from Bolivian mayor’s experience, but also the ones brought in by the activists from Kutaisi, Georgia, and the city of Straseni, Moldova. Taking it from there, Novopskov’s City Hall is planning to set up a working group that will carry out internal diagnostics, external research and develop and implement a strategy that will exclude corruption. Experts point out that the success of the initiative will largely depend on the progressivity of views, the will and enthusiasm of the representatives of the territorial community and of the mayor in particular.
Trainers emphasize that “The special value of the project is its problem solving potential rather than “pigeonholing”. People are by their nature not corrupt – they become such, falling into a certain system and schemes. The proposed approaches support the honest and effective management to be established, where the main focus is precisely on prevention and creating conditions under which the system does not provoke it is own abuse. The experience of La Paz Mayor, the first experiences of colleagues from Georgia and Moldova, signal us convincingly: that could be done.
The “Islands of Integrity” is an innovative anti-corruption methodology that has been implemented over the past 30 years in more than 30 countries in Eastern and Central Europe and in Turkey. The methodology was created with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, the Romanian International Development Agency and UNDP’s Istanbul Regional Hub.
The United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Program aims to cover priority needs in eastern Ukraine after the outbreak of the conflict in the spring of 2014. The goal of the program is to strengthen community security and social cohesion, support the economic recovery of affected communities, and promote the further implementation of decentralization and health reforms in the regions under the control of the Ukrainian government in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The program is being implemented by four UN agencies: UNDP, UN Women, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The program is supported by ten international partners: the European Union, the European Investment Bank, as well as the governments of Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan. The total budget for 2019-2022 is over 50 million US dollars.