18 June 2024
Dialogue between Parliament and communities: institution of starostas discussed in Chernivtsi
Dialogue between Parliament and communities: institution of starostas discussed in Chernivtsi

On February 28, 2024, in Chernivtsi, a dialogue event on improving the legislation regarding the institution of starostas gathered over 80 community leaders from Bukovyna, Members of Parliament, representatives of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the President of Ukraine, All-Ukrainian associations of local government bodies, heads of the Chernivtsi Regional Military Administration and Regional Council, and experts. USAID HOVERLA Activity supported the event.

Oleksandr Kornienko, First Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, emphasized the importance of the starosta institution and noted the need for development and improvement of this institution:

“It is important to remember that starostas are a vulnerable group; also, there are starostas who are at war. We must ensure that they are equipped with necessary resources — institutionally, in terms of legislation, and with the support of partners such as the USAID HOVERLA Activity, DESPRO, and civil society organizations. This will allow us to implement a model, where a starosta is not just a local government service center, but a person who can help with all issues, alleviate and support the resident in the small villages, representing local, state, and soon European authorities.”



Participants discussed key challenges facing the starostas institution, including the lack of a clear appointment procedure and adherence to public discussions, the difficulty of holding mass events during martial law, personnel issues such as mobilization and emigration, limited resources of communities, professional requirements for the position, and political and communication conflicts in local councils. They also shared their views on how starostas should be appointed.

In particular, Vitaliy Shefer, Yurkivets Mayor, shared his positive experience of appointing starostas with public discussions, as is currently prescribed by law:

“I like this approach because it combines two important steps — the head of community proposes a candidate for starosta, and the residents of the community must support him. I am glad such discussion was organized in Chernivtsi, and that the opinion of the heads received the attention. It is a powerful and productive format where together we can come to the right decision.”



Community representatives also expressed their views on the number of residents required to support the candidacy of a starosta. Bohdan Kobylyansky, Horodenka Mayor (Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast), said:

“Currently, the percentage of residents required for support of the candidacy is extremely high, especially in the times of war. Gathering such support in any settlement is almost impossible. Therefore, it is necessary to simplify this procedure. Such events are a good opportunity for the MPs to hear the voice of communities. And the fact that the USAID HOVERLA Activity organizes and supports local government is very valuable.”



Similar events will soon be held in other parts of Ukraine to hear the opinions of communities from different regions.

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