Die Kyjiwer Gespräche haben im Rahmen ihrer 18. Jahreskonferenz eine Policy Study zu lokaler Demokratie und der sozialen Integration von Binnengeflüchteten in der Ukraine veröffentlicht. Ziel des Policy Papers war es, eine Bestandsaufnahme zum institutionellen Rahmen der Arbeit mit Binnengeflüchteten zu erstellen, wie lokale Demokratie trotz Einschränkungen unter Kriegsrecht funktioniert und Empfehlungen zu erarbeiten, wie internationale Partner gezielt bei der Versorgung Binnengeflüchteter und lokaler demokratischer Strukturen unterstützen können. Die Studie wurde erstellt von Dr. Oksana Huss (Universität Bologna) und Dr. Oleksandra Keudel (Kyiv School of Economics)
Internal displacement of over 5 million people in Ukraine due to the Russian war of aggression faces a wide variety of local responses while challenging especially small municipalities (80,000 people or less), as they lack governance tools to accommodate diversity. This study explores the role of local democratic governance in the social integration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and maps the ecosystem of IDP support and integration.
This ecosystem includes national and local governance structures, actors and functions in the system and identifies gaps, the closure of which can support the successful integration of IDPs in host communities.
Methodologically, the report relies on a qualitative study based on interviews, focus groups, and observations with 41 individuals representing NGOs who support IDPs, IDP initiatives, relocated NGOs, and local authorities in Cherkasy oblast and Zakarpattia oblast during May–August 2023.
Governance of IDP-related issues is intricate, involving various stakeholders. While significant social services are provided in challenging circumstances, a geographical and social gap exists between resource providers (international entities, national authorities) and those in need. This underscores the importance of representation, coordination- and organizational functions that local actors like public authorities and civil society, who directly engage with displacement challenges, provide for effective governance.
Local democracy’s core principles - participation, equity, and accountability - proved useful in the governance of displacement-related issues. Participation of different stakeholders in local governance increased overall. However, IDPs seem rarely involved in implementing solutions, while IDPs proactively request that local self-government authorities (LSGs) consult with them regarding their matters. Equity contributes to social cohesion when local actors diplomatically balance their responses to the needs of IDPs and community’s residents while considering their unique situations (e.g., when the homes of the community’s residents are destroyed). Collaborative governance around the complex displacement issues contributes to the alternative accountability forms complementing the conventional system of checks and balances.
Local programs, spaces, digital technologies, and social entrepreneurship facilitate stakeholder interaction in the IDP support and integration ecosystem. Programs allow targeted allocation of resources. Physical and discursive spaces nurture networks, aiding integration, and global-local collaboration. Vital support for these spaces is needed, especially for professional facilitators in sensitive interactions and ensuring safety in physical spaces during the ongoing war. Social media, digital platforms, and e-governance systems enhance coordination and evidence-based policymaking, necessitating continuous capacity building and safety measures. Social entrepreneurship encourages innovation and dignified problem-solving among IDPs, with the potential for amplification through communities of practice.
The institutional framework for IDP integration accommodates a diverse stakeholder ecosystem with overlapping functions spanning different distances from IDPs. While seemingly inefficient, this redundancy offers advantages in crisis scenarios by providing alternatives for essential services. Given the ongoing war context and Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion, donor efforts should prioritize resilience over efficiency, investing in redundant systems, barrier-free infrastructure, mental health support, and stakeholder coordination. Donors should focus on fostering social cohesion, enabling collaborative governance, and facilitating training to enhance trust-building and effectiveness within the IDP integration system.
Dr. Oksana Huss is an associate researcher in the BIT-ACT research project at the University of Bologna, Italy, and a lecturer at the Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre, Ukraine. Oksana has been researching Ukraine for over ten years.
Her areas of expertise cover (anti-)corruption and social movements, as well as open government and digital technologies. Oksana obtained her doctoral degree at the Institute for Development and Peace in Germany and held several research fellowships in Canada, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
She consulted international organizations, such as the Council of Europe, the EU Commission, UNESCO, and UNODC.
Oksana is a co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network and the author of the book “How Corruption and Anti-Corruption Policies Sustain Hybrid Regimes: Strategies of Political Domination under Ukraine’s Presidents in 1994–2014.
Dr. Oleksandra Keudel is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Policy and Governance at Kyiv School of Economics. at the Kyiv School of Economics. For eight years, Oleksandra has been researching state-society relations in Ukraine, including democracy and anti-corruption social movements as well as business-political arrangements at the local level in Ukraine.
She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin and an MSc in International Administration and Global Governance from the University of Gothenburg.
Her book “How Patronal Networks Shape Opportunities for Local Citizen Participation in a Hybrid Regime: A Comparative Analysis of Five Cities in Ukraine” has recently been published with ibidem/Columbia University Press.
She also does policy research and consulting for international organizations (UNESCO and Council of Europe) on open government, citizen participation and public integrity, with a special focus on local governance.