EU and UNDP pledge another Euro 23 Million for Ukrainian Civil Society

August 13, 2012

As most regular readers of this blog will have noticed by now, I am something of a policy and governance watcher.  Invariably this means I also take note of civil society/NGOs/NFPs and their interaction with the authorities and individuals of influence.

The more than casual reader of this blog will also know that I do not hold a political bias towards one political party or another.  Generally they are all dire – but that does not mean they do not occasionally come up with a sound policy, and regardless of which party suggests a good policy it remains just that – a good policy.  As Albert Pike wrote, “The finger even of the idiot may point the way to the great highway.”  (Morals & Dogma.)

Where every national party has failed, and continues to fail, is policy implementation at a local level.  It is almost always ineffectively implemented due to the obstruction of the regional fiefdoms should it interfere with the local graft and corruption of the local patriarchy.

As such local governance, and less so national governance, in Ukraine is the key to any changes for the citizenry –  despite, or in support of, any policies and statements made by those in Kyiv.  Real change in Ukraine will be bottom-up driven and not top-down locally by tackling the regional patriarchy.

This, as I have said before in this blog, has seemingly and eventually been recognised by the EU who have dealt with the failed national governments of Ukraine past and present, and no doubt the government we have after the October elections will be a failure as well.  The EU pumps tens of millions of Euro into national and regional civil society/NGOs in Ukraine in an effort to communicate directly with the people and has done so for a good number of years.

Quite right too – If almost the entire political class are corrupt or useless or both, go directly to the people and civil society.

There are questions to be asked about this policy naturally.  What effects does it have?  What does it aim to achieve?  Over what timescale?  How are results measured?   How well is it publicised to Ukrainian society?  Would better publicity generate better results or be counterproductive?  How is the money spent?  Is it auditable?  What are the priority areas for the EU when engaging with and supporting civil society (is environmental more important than rule of law or fighting corruption etc)?  Are civil society/NGOs with a national reach more or less important than local and regional NGOs?  Which is better placed to tackle the regional fiefdoms that obstruct good, bad or indifferent national government policy – the national or regional NGO?  How many national NGOs are Ukrainian driven in comparison to local NGOs.  Is it more important to support the local Ukrainian driven NGOs which emerge to tackle local issues with the local patriarchy?  Should civil society be supported where there is the best chance of success, or the least chance and where support is probably most needed?

No single answer to any of these questions to be honest, but decisions must be made as the budget is not limitless.

Whatever the case, the EU and UNDP have pledged an additional Euro 23 Million to support and engage with Ukrainian civil society.  Maybe a very necessary step given the changes to the laws on NGOs that come into effect in January 2013.  One can only expect that there will be a significant rise in the number of local issue NGOs as a result, and all will need some form of assistance one way or another once they are registered.

I may even create one myself once the laws have changed as there are issues in Odessa that I would like to tackle with the local governance that light the fires of controlled anger within me.  Something to ponder in the coming months.

Nevertheless, it would be very interesting and perhaps very useful to know the answers to some of the questions I have posed above for any Ukrainian considering starting or joining an NGO and looking to the EU for guidance or help.

Anyone from the Brussels bubble reading this that is not on holiday at the moment and can give some answers to any or all of the above questions, do feel free to let me know.  If you wish to remain anonymous, I will apply the Chatham House Rule.

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