The public organization Anti-Corruption Headquarters presented a Roadmap for Regional Recovery, which includes seven pressing problems of recovery, as well as ways to solve them.
“The state and local authorities began to restore damaged facilities that support the life of the country in the spring of 2022. We, as a public organization, together with our partners, monitor the transparency and openness of these processes, since this is a prototype of the future fast recovery. Together with our partners, ten public associations, we conducted a study and, based on it, identified seven main problems that could become an obstacle to restoration in the future and for which solutions are already being sought,” chairman of the board of NGO Anti-Corruption Headquarters Serhiy Mytkalyk said during a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on November 16.
The public and executive authorities consider the lack of qualified personnel, lack of standardized and systematized information on attracting investments, prioritization, transparency, accountability, regulation and digitalization of the recovery process, overpricing and abuse during tenders, restoration of demolition of damaged houses on expensive land on dubious legal grounds, significant reduction in recovery funding for 2024 to be a challenge.
Experts studied the restoration process using the example of three regions: Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhia. Solutions to some of the challenges have already been developed. In particular, the issue that concerns the public and donors is transparency, accountability and digitalization of the process.
“We have the answer to this challenge – this is the DREAM system. It is already working, the analytics module is available. We already have the first challenge – filling the system with quality information. When it comes to preventing corruption, introducing digital tools and prioritization, this tool, DREAM, will not work if we do not have a commitment to use this system for all restoration sites, at all levels. We are preparing relevant legislative initiatives and hope that they will find support in parliament,” said Deputy Minister for Communities and Territories Development and Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandra Azarkhina.
The State Agency for Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Development of Ukraine said one of the key challenges is considered to be the shortage of qualified personnel and the preparation of design and estimate documentation.
“Among the listed challenges, the most relevant are the preparation of design and estimate documentation and the qualified personnel who will prepare it. The quality of restoration projects and the efficiency of use of funds depend on this. We have partners who help in analyzing solutions,” noted the deputy chairman of the agency, Valeriy Ivanov.
The problem of personnel is critical at the local level as well. According to the deputy mayor of Zhytomyr, Serhiy Kondratiuk, Zhytomyr even before the war faced a shortage of qualified design organizations. Today this problem has worsened even more. At the same time, the city faces a large-scale task – the restoration of 517 damaged or destroyed objects.
Director of the Democratic Practice program of the International Renaissance Foundation Oleksiy Orlovsky emphasized that the focus of donors’ attention is “the issue of accountability and transparency, because we are talking about the effective spending of the funds that Ukraine receives.”
The second factor that worries donors is the issue of public participation at all stages of project implementation.
“Decentralization reform is also the focus of many donors. No one wants to lose the achievements that were achieved before the war,” Orlovsky noted.
The project “Roadmap for the restoration of regions in Ukraine: searching for solutions using the example of three regions” was implemented with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation. Ten public associations were involved in the development of the roadmap, including the RISE coalition.