28.-30.06.2014, Oblast Kiev| Forum
Politicians from the local level have decided to take the initiative to start sharing their experiences and structuring cooperation with their colleagues from other regions. Such was the task set by the organising committee for the creation of a Network of Free Local Politicians, consisting of FNF partners Vitali Zahaynyy, head of the Centre for Civic Initiatives Lviv,Oleksandr Yarema, former head of the party “Reform and Order” and Maxim Kolesnikov and Oleksandr Medvedev of the party “Democrats”. Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom supported the organisation of the Network and its founding forum that took place on June 28-30th 2014 in Kyiv.
35 activists attended the forum, i.e. members of local councils and journalists from 15 regions of Ukraine. “Our forum is an attempt to build a horizontal relationship between politicians from the local level who are willing to support each other in solving local problems that are common for many. This may be corrupt practices or problems related to local budgets and other communal issues. Adopting international experience, we can successfully address these issues by offering new quality policy advise on-site. Sooner or later it will change the bottom-up for politics,” – says one of the members of the organising committee O. Yarema. Manfred Richter, an experienced German politician, former mayor of Bremerhaven, former member of the parliament of Bremen and ex-member of the German Bundestag, supervised the forum and helped to establish the formation of the Network in Ukraine. He shared his experience with similar entities in some countries of the Balkan region, where such networks have been operating successfully for many years. Ihor Koliushko, head of the Centre for Political and Legal Reforms and an active and renowned expert in the national Ukrainian process of constitutional reform assisted with his expertise.
The forum fittingly began on June 28th, Ukrainian Constitution Day. A platform was launched for scoring the most pressing communal problems local politicians face and which according to the participants need urgent solution.
“Organisationally the Network is a great format for coordination by representatives of different regions. It is effective for the Network participants to share best practices and to learn from each other in various aspects of public and political life. In the period between regular meetings we will work through an on-going discussion platform, organised on the basis of one of the social networks, and join our efforts for the implementation of public projects. Together we will organise events and lobby for joint decisions. It is the first project of this kind in Ukraine,” – says Vitali Zahaynyy of the organising committee of the Network.