Paving the Path from Innovation to Tradition: the First progress of The Social and Scientific Platform for Human Development

Paving the Path from Innovation to Tradition: the First progress of The Social and Scientific Platform for Human Development

Today, in a context of decentralization, significant changes in the country's social infrastructure are under way. In this regard, a number of important questions arise. What will be the consequences of optimizing social expenditures, how will this affect social policy both at local and state levels? How to effectively use social investments to create new mechanisms for providing social services and interaction between industries, so that they are seamlessly embedded in the system of local self-government? How to ensure the continued operation of these mechanisms by means of local resources, so that they would not end after donor funding is over? What kind of technical assistance does Ministry of Social Policy and local authorities need to implement the social policy, which would ensure human development, not merely reducing poverty? Finding answers to these complex questions was the task of the project "Approaches to Social Reform: from Innovation to Tradition", which was implemented by the NGO "Bureau of Social and Political Developments" supported by UNICEF.

On December 16, 2016, a round table was held at the conference hall of the Ministry of Social Policy, during which an expert project team had the opportunity to present their know-hows to a wide range of stakeholders. During the meeting, the proposals on the format of the integrated social model of human development, its long-term implementation in Ukraine, as well as ensuring minimization of threats to the system of social protection during the transition period in connection with the processes of decentralization in Ukraine, were discussed.

Representatives of more than 30 institutions took part in the round table, among them – the representatives of ministries of social policy, regional development, finance, youth and sports; scientists of the leading research institutes – Institute of Demography and Social Studies n. a. M. Ptukha, Academy of Financial Management, Research Institute of Labor and Employment of MSP and National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, School of Social Work and the School of Public Health at NaUKMA, Faculty of Social Sciences and Management of NPU n. a. M. Drahomanov; the analysts from non-governmental organizations – the Institute for Budgetary and Socio-Economic Studies, the Bureau of Social and Political Developments; the experts from the international organizations UNICEF and ICF "Caritas Ukraine"; as well as representatives from the regions – the heads of united territorial communities (UTCs), the representatives of Odesa and Vinnytsia city administrations, social service centers, etc.

The welcoming speech addressed to the participants of the meeting was spoken by: Olha Krentovska, First Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, Yevhen Kapinus, Deputy Minister of Finance, Natalia Fedorovych, Deputy Minister of Social Policy, Artur Aivazov, Head of Social Policy Section of UNICEF Ukraine, and Rostislav Dzundza, Chairman of the Board of the NGO "Bureau of Social and Political Developments". They outlined the main problems facing the social security system today, and thanked the organizers of the round table for the "timely initiative" – the consolidation of stakeholders of social reform in Ukraine to work out a common vision of it.

Coordinator of the project "Approaches to Social Reform: from Innovation to Tradition", executive director of the NGO "Bureau of Social and Political Developments", Olha Tsviliy outlined an array of research conducted by the project team over the last three months. She also announced the working format expansion of Coordination and Expert Council on Social Policy of Research Institute of Labor and Employment by attracting several other scientific and expert institutions and organizations. Thus, there will work a special scientific platform: Social and Scientific Platform for Human Development. “The platform is created based on experience of the Coordination and Expert Council, – she noted. – The Council has a long history of both scientific work and advocacy. What we have done – is somewhat changed the working format of the Council, expanding the range of involved scientific institutions. Our vision of reform is based on the Integrated Social Model of Human Development, that was developed during the project." Social and Scientific Platform for Human Development is a coordination and advocacy platform, open to cooperation, which will work with the support of UNICEF.

One of the know-hows of the Platform became the Social Component of the Human Development Model, developed by the experts of the School of Social Work together with the School of Public Health at NaUKMA, and the NPU n. a. M. Dragomanov, and presented during the round table.

In his presentation, Arthur Aivazov outlined the current state of the social sector of Ukraine and the challenges it faces: “In this project, we wanted to understand all those processes occurring at the grassroots, in particular in Dnipro, Odesa, Mariupol, Vinnytsia. Some of them are related to social policy, some are local initiatives that do not always go “upwards”. We attempted to identify those developments of local communities, which should be distributed to the national level, that is, should be offered to the government as a centralized policy. And it seems to me that we have achieved our goal.” He believes that only a system approach, built based on the Integrated model (that is, which will include, along with social protection, the problem of ensuring a decent living standard, health and appropriate level of knowledge), will be able to overcome the collisions and inefficiency that currently characterize the social policy of the state. Taking a quotation from Edgar Morin, he called to "learn to swim in a sea of uncertainty, focusing on the islands of certainty", because social policy is an integral part of the national security of the state, and to treat it as secondary or less important than economic/military issues means endangering the society and the state.

The presentation was welcomed by all the participants of the round table, and the proposed integrated approach received accolades from the deputies of the Ministry of Social Policy and the Ministry of Finance. They emphasized that namely that approach could become a methodological basis for the implementation of social reform in Ukraine.

Next, the experts who were involved in the project “Approaches to Social Reform: from Innovation to Tradition”, have presented their achievements: Methodological principles of UTCs’ budget revenues (Academy of Financial Management), Proposals on Financial Mechanisms for Providing the Functioning of an Integrated Social Model of Human Development (IBSER), Functions of the Unified Social Services Center at the UTC Level (International NGO “Labor and Health Social Initiatives”), Model of the Unified Social Services Center at the Level of Big City (Odesa City Center for the provision of social services for the family, children and youth), Cross-Cutting Indicators of Model of Human Development (Social Component) (IDSS n. a. M. Ptukha), and Methodology for Calculation of Indicators of Functioning of the Model of the Social Sector in Ukraine (Research Institute of Labor and Employment).

After the presentations, a discussion began. Representatives of local self-governments also had the opportunity to speak. In particular, the head of the Kalynivka City Council underlined, how important the cooperation of the district state administration and the management of the united territorial communities is for the successful social sector reform. “When such cooperation is in place, the risks of losing the capacity of social institutions in a transitional phase of decentralization process are reduced. However, we should not forget the need for methodological support in formation of its development strategy, including the assessment of the needs of the community and training the staff”, – he told.

Summing up the meeting, the moderator of the Artur Aivazov thanked the participants for their work and remarks, and expressed his hope for further cooperation. “The time has come for piloting the concept of the Integrated Social Model and the Unified Social Services Centers in several cities of Ukraine, – he said. – So, I hope that with our joint developments we will be able to pave the way through this sea of uncertainty.”

Науково-достідний інститут Unicef Європейський союз Civil Society Forum Карітас України international renaissance foundation Європейська соціальна мережа