Heads of Ukrainian communities learn best governance practices of Estonia and Sweden

With the support of UNDP and the EU, leaders of communities in eastern Ukraine took part in an international visit, where they gained valuable experience and knowledge, opened up new opportunities and established partnership relations

November 28, 2022

Participants of the international study visit, 24-29 October 2022.

Photo credit: Viktor Huzun / UNDP in Ukraine

Kyiv, 28 November 2022 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine, with the financial support of the European Union, organized an international study visit to Estonia and Sweden on 24-29 October 2022. The topic of the visits was the study of the best practices of effective crisis response and management, the implementation of development projects at the local level, and the study of ways to improve the quality of regional project development.

The establishment of cooperation between the amalgamated communities of eastern Ukraine and the municipalities of Estonia began in 2019 within the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme support. The visits studied Estonia's acquired experience in decentralisation processes, particularly e-governance and democracy. As part of the partnership activities, the forum "Estonia's experience for eastern Ukraine: e-governance, decentralisation, business" was also held, which later became the basis of new strong connections between the Ukrainian and Estonian communities.

Frederik Coene, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, noted that the study of the best European governance practices, in particular, the work and structure of local authorities, inclusive regulation, fair and efficient provision of public services, is essential for creating a favourable environment for the country's recovery.

"The government of Estonia was one of the first to support Ukraine in granting the status of a candidate for EU membership. The experience of Estonian partners is invaluable for Ukrainian communities on their way to recovery,” he added. “In many contexts, there is a strong connection between governance and peacebuilding, which is why our efforts with a focus on good local governance are designed to help community leaders build better and more effective policies on the ground.”

This year's study trip aimed to provide participants with a deeper understanding of the concepts of anti-crisis governance in the municipalities of Estonia and Sweden to adopt the best management experience for implementing best practices during the post-war recovery of Ukraine. Among the participants were representatives of the communities of Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Sumy and Kharkiv oblasts.

The impressive agenda included visits by the participants to the Ministry of Finance of Estonia, the Tallinn City Council, the Association of Municipalities of Estonia, the Estonian Rescue Board, the Rakveri City Administration, the Agency for Business and Innovation, the Embassy of Ukraine in Estonia, meetings with members of the Ukrainian community in Estonia, as well as visits to the Stockholm City Council and the Sweden's government agency for development cooperation (SIDA).

Jaco Cilliers, interim UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine, noted that UNDP comprehensively supports local government authorities, especially in the frontline oblasts of Ukraine, providing tools for training, expert exchange of experience and consulting on new directions of development.

“As a result of the visit, five communities have already started negotiations on establishing partnership relations with the municipalities of Estonia, Sweden and other EU countries, which will facilitate the exchange of international experience in carrying out comprehensive reforms, organizing administrative territories and local self-government,” he added. “We at UNDP are doing everything necessary to support local communities to contribute to sustainable peace and achieve long-term development results effectively.”

The study visit was organised with the support of the UNDP within the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme and the European Union's financial support.


The United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme (UN RPP) is being implemented by four United Nations agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). Eleven international partners support the Programme: The European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org