Local democracy and security in Ukraine

ICLD Local Democracy Talks: May 17, 2022

Conventional security discourses did not predict the magnitude and endurance of resistance efforts in Ukraine, considering the asymmetry between Russia and Ukraine in terms of military capacity. Based on our own research on local democracy in Ukraine, we propose that sweeping decentralization reforms combined with widespread multipronged democratic innovations, including a digital transformation of the state, in recent years has significantly contributed to Ukraine’s resilience. The purpose of the event is to revisit the state of Ukrainian local democracy before the war and discuss how this has contributed to the resilience and problem-solving capacity that we see today.

  In this event, we aim to identify major underlying factors that account for the support for and engagement with the state, civil society, and business in Ukraine, with a specific eye to previous achievements and practices on the local level of governance, much of which has continued to function even through the war.

  The panelists, drawing on interviews with local government officials and a survey of over 200 civil society organizations, along with first-hand experience, will explore the following topics:

  • How the bottom-up nature of the decentralization effort, as well as its inherently participatory character, gave rise to a transformation in the relationship between citizens in the state (from citizens without citizenship, to citizens against the state, to citizens and the state).
  • How the state-society networks, collaboration, contestation, and communication evolved and operated, based on the example of successful local anti-corruption initiatives and the implications for donors.
  • How the collaborative and communicative processes can be characterized and how they may account for Ukraine’s resilience in the war.

Speakers are scheduled to include:

  • Yuliya Bidenko, Karazin Kharkiv National University
  • Marcia Grimes, University of Gothenburg
  • Mariana Vershynina, Deputy of the city council of Ivano-Frankivsk
  • Oksana Huss, Bologna University
  • Oleksandra Keudel, Kyiv School of Economics

More information and registration: https://icld.se/kalendarium/seminar-ukraine/

Inspired by the Swedish foreign policy initiative, “Drive for Democracy”, ICLD organizes live streamed high-level political panels called “Local Democracy Talks”. The aim of the talks is to create a constructive dialogue and exchange of experiences among leading local politicians to strengthen democratic governance. These talks are key in our efforts to make democracy resilient and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals from below. The talks are facilitated by ICLD and arranged in cooperation with Swedish Embassies, UCLG and other key partners.