In Ukraine, an Award Ceremony to Celebrate the Success of Community Transparency Standards and Citizen Engagement

On November 19, 2019, DOBRE and the European funded U-LEAD programs co-hosted the Crystal of the Year Budget Transparency Award ceremony. The ceremony took place to mark successes of the best Ukrainian amalgamated hromadas evaluated on a common methodology implemented by USAID DOBRE and U-LEAD with Europe programs in 106 hromadas and within 18 oblasts of Ukraine. The ceremony brought together more than 400 participants: hromada representatives, central executive authorities, experts on international technical assistance projects, and heads of diplomatic missions.

USAID DOBRE, implemented by Global Communities, assessed the local governance budget processes in 106 consolidated communities (CCs) in 18 Oblasts of Ukraine. 75 DOBRE partner CCs participated in the assessment. This year, the initiative was jointly implemented by DOBRE and U-LEAD. It served as the tool to promote high budget transparency standards, to help build the “road map” for comprehensive budget planning, and to improve citizen engagement and oversight. An outcome of the assessment was 47 CCs practiced budget resident proposals; 31 CCs improved access to make budget amendments; 26 CCs carried out public reporting on budget spending. The final stage of the assessment was the 2019 Crystal of the Year Award Ceremony, convening over 300 representatives from the CCs. The top performing CCs were announced at the event.

The Crystal of the Year displayed exemplary approaches to effective hromada resource management. The participants learned about the participatory budget, engagement of the public in the transparency of budgetary decision-making, anti-corruption tools, importance of open budget information and active use of innovative practices in hromadas’ budget sector.

Wonderful remarks were made about the success of the various hromadas and oblasts:

“We all know how difficult it is to cope with new rules, new procedures, and a new environment. Therefore, hromadas have done a tremendous amount of work to meet the challenges given by decentralization aiming to get closer to the citizens and build trust by being transparent about their local budgets,” said Alexandra Fehlinger, Deputy GIZ Programme Director of U-LEAD with Europe.

“When we talk about budget transparency, we say that we need to make the data more accessible to citizens, better inform them in different ways so that they know where their money is going. I am very impressed with the results of our hromadas this year. Many of them have improved their transparency by thirty percent, and it is a tremendous job,” said Susan Fritz, Regional Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to Ukraine and Belarus.

“I believe that local self-government is the key to democracy in Ukraine, and a transparent budget is one of the main tools for local development. And it is the local self-government that by effective resource management will make Ukraine great,” said William Taylor, acting United States ambassador to Ukraine.

The winners of this year’ awards:

  • “The best budget for citizens” – Voznesenska AH of the Mykolayiv Oblast
  • “The most creative information campaign for collecting proposals for the budget” – Hrechanopodivska AH of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
  • “The most active hromada in the adoption of anti-corruption tools” – Nizhynska AH of the Chernihiv Oblast
  • “The best newcomer to budget transparency” – Lanovetska AH of Ternopil Oblast
  • "The best hromada in gender responsive budgeting” – Chmyrivska AH of the Luhansk Oblast
  • “Breakthrough in budget transparency” – Vyshnevetska AH of the Ternopil Oblast
  • “For the openness of budget information in the hromada” – Nemyrivska AH of the Vinnytsia Oblast
  • “The best engagement of citizens in the hromada budget process” – Shumska AH of the Ternopil Oblast
  • “The most innovative practices of budget transparency in the hromada” – Chmyrivska AH of the Luhansk Oblast
  • “Crystal of the Year – 2019” – Bashtanska AH of the Mykolayiv Oblast