During the meeting of the NALAS Committee of Liaison Officers, held on 8 December 2013 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, our Network has been enriched with two new associate members. The Association of Small Towns of Ukraine and the All-Ukrainian Association of Village and Settlement Councils of Ukraine joined NALAS family, which now has 16 full and 7 associate members.
The Association of Small Towns of Ukraine (ASTU) facilitates city mayors’ professional growth and competence; represents the interests of communities and local self-government bodies and influences development of Ukrainian communities. It gathers 278 members, towns with population below 50,000.
The All-Ukrainian Association of Village and Settlement Councils of Ukraine, includes rural and village councils, which represent almost 9,000 communities and over 80% of the rural population in Ukraine. The Association protects the interests of rural communities, and works for their social, economic and cultural development.
Local government reforms in Ukraine have a long way to go facing challenges such as the division of competences between different government levels, the financial autonomy, the equalization system as well as territorial organization.
Both Associations expect that their NALAS membership will help them achieve their missions by learning from the experience of other NALAS members in lobbying for the interest of local governments, exchange of experiences in local development and EU accession process, as well as establishing partnership between towns from different countries.