Ukraine launches Reform Support Teams

By Anton Usov

Ukraine launches Reform Support Teams

Focus on implementation with streamlined and more efficient public administration framework

The Government of Ukraine - with the support of international donors as well as the EBRD and the EU - is strengthening its drive to #MakeReformsHappen with the introduction of dedicated teams to help with reform delivery and implementation of Ukraine's Public Administration Reform Strategy 2016-2020.

The Reform Support Teams (RSTs) are formed of professionals from outside the Ukrainian civil service and will work in ministries on a temporary basis to implement priority reforms and transform the ministries themselves. The programme will first be rolled out at the Ministries of Finance, Economic Development and Trade, Infrastructure and Agrarian Policy and Food. Following a pilot phase, other ministries and state agencies are encouraged to join the programme on the basis of sectoral strategies.

The Government of Ukraine - with the support of international donors, the EBRD and the EU - is strengthening its drive to #MakeReformsHappen.

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The aim of the RSTs is to support the implementation of reforms through increased capacity, improved coordination and close oversight, combining strong commitment of Ukraine’s leadership with national and international experts’ advice.

The cornerstone of this effort is the Ukrainian authorities’ commitment to public administration reform, aimed at upgrading the competences and working conditions in the civil service as well as enhancing the efficiency and transparency of the public administration. The goal is to lay the foundations for a new generation of reform-oriented Ukrainians working in the civil service.

Ambassador Hugues Mingarelli, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, said: "Today Ukraine is undertaking difficult, but necessary steps to modernise its civil service and to make government more efficient, transparent and responsive to the demands of citizens. We are proud to assist Ukraine by hiring highly talented individuals in order to accelerate reforms in the fields of public finance, agriculture and infrastructure and also by bringing in world-known reformers in order to provide strategic advice and best practice for Ukrainian political leadership."

Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, said: “This is a major step forward on Ukraine’s reform path. Over the past two years the country has passed many important reforms and laws and now this new initiative will help accelerate implementation. The support framework will be an effective instrument to transform reform concepts into tangible actions with all stakeholders responsible for its success. There is now a coherent and powerful architecture to drive and implement reform in Ukraine, for which I am very pleased.”

The Reform Support Teams are part of an effort to create a coherent and efficient framework for reform implementation in Ukraine. The framework will also include a Reforms Delivery Office under the Prime Minister, with a focus on ensuring the consistency and efficiency of reform delivery across the Government.

Olexander Sayenko, the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, said: "Ukraine requires a systemic reform of public administration as the foundation for any other reforms, but this takes time.  We are rebuilding the bureaucratic system on the move and have no time to wait until this process is fully complete. However, we will be able to achieve a tangible strengthening of the institutional capacity of the public administration system already in one or two years. The Reforms Delivery Office is the tool that must ensure productivity of reforms at this stage by strengthening the coordination of activities and streamlining the planning, monitoring and achievement of specific results".  

A high-level international Strategic Advisory Group for Support of Ukrainian Reforms will provide strategic advice to the President and the Prime Minister of Ukraine. The group will advise on the effective implementation of reforms, based on first-hand successful experience, offering best practice and linkage to international resources. The committee will be headed by two former senior statesmen, Leszek Balcerowicz (former Deputy Prime Minister of Poland) and Ivan Mikloš (former Minister of Finance of the Slovak Republic).

The National Reform Council (NRC) Project Management Office will be transformed into a support team and continue to assist the committee with technical support, ensure adequate coordination with the other bodies in the reform architecture and provide regular reporting on the progress of reforms.

The elements of the reform architecture are financed by the Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account, established at the EBRD in November 2014 to support Ukraine’s efforts to reform its economy, improve its business climate and return to a path of sustainable growth. Contributors to the fund are Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union has earmarked a contribution of €8 million to the account.

Furthermore, a large EU programme aiming at supporting Ukraine in implementing a comprehensive Public Administration Reform (PAR) Strategy for the period 2016-2020 is planned to be launched by the end of 2016. This programme foresees a total EU budget contribution of €104 million, including €90 million for budget support and €14 million for complementary technical assistance. According to an indicative disbursement schedule, a first budget support payment amounting to € 10 million is expected early next year.

Background

Since the signature of the EU Association Agreement in 2014, Ukraine has made progress towards the implementation of reforms. Supported by the European Union, it has embarked upon adoption and implementation of comprehensive PAR, one of the Ukraine's short-term commitments under the Association Agenda. Reforms in the public administration will result amongst other things in merit-based recruitment in civil service, introduction of performance measurement and better public service delivery, which will accelerate overall reform process.