Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's good to be back in Lviv!

It's good to be back in Lviv. I'm wondering what the mood of Lviv Today will be. Being in Ukraine today means being in the heart of Der Weltgeist. You could sense that at the Nuclear Top the last days in The Hague. It was perfectly clear that it was very convenient to have all these world leaders together. Talking about nuclear arms and waste was a good pretext to have the opportunity to discuss Ukraine and make again some tough statements on the Putin War on Ukraine.

It's good to be back in Lviv. It's also good to see that Frans and I, and my collegues of Governance & Intergrity, made the right decision, a couple of years ago, to go to Ukraine, after we were very succesfull in working on the integrity of government in The Netherlands and Belgium. Every citizen deserves a government that's good enough, however most citizens are deprived of such a government. 'A good enough state' is a human right, and it should be in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We thought it would be wise to extent our activities to Central Europa. And then we decided to go to Ukraine. "Where Ukraine goes, Russia goes." That was our opionion. And quite unexpectedly we find it confirmed today. It has become evidence based practice. But even in a more radical way then we presumed in 2007. 'Where Ukraine goes, Russia goes. Where Ukraine goes, Europe goes. Where Ukraine goes, over time, the world will go."

It's good to be back in Lviv. When we started our experiments in making a contribution to curbing corruption and improving the integrity of local government in Ukraine, on a summer course in Kyiv, all the attending civil servants - from east to west - recommended that we should go to Lviv. So we did. The first years pro bono. The two of us. Frans and I. Four times a year a week. Talking and experimenting with the mayor, civil servants, the guys from City Institute and City Council: Andriy, Iryna, Ihor, Galena, Orysya, Taras, Volodymir, Natalia, and our good wise guide, the Dutch Honorary Consul, Bogdan Pankevych. Since about a year the Lviv Local Integrity Program is founded by Europeaid. 

It's good to be back in Lviv. The last time was in Januari, and before that in November. By the way, not only in Lviv but also in Kyiv. Of course Euromaidan changed everything. It's hard to imagine what happenend these five months. It's a historical monster, an emotional rollercoaster, which normally would take five years or even five lifes. Kyiv and Lviv. Kyiv: antagonistic, struggling, activistic and, in the end, violent - a tragedy of the common people, which I can't help thinking could have been avoided. Lviv: more reflective, fueling Euromaidan with human power, somehow beter placed to capture the spirit of Euromaidan. When Frans I and where in Kyiv and worked with Euromaidan 'second echelon' leaders, it was a tremendous experience. But when we could take the Hyunday to Lviv, we also felt relieved.

It's good to be back in Lviv. Especially at this conference about decentralizing government and empowering, economically, fysically, financially municipalities, civil society and urban development. It's gonna be quite a thing, and very important. Without exagerating: it's about dismantling the (post-) soviet state. But there is a real huge trap here: if we only dismantle the (post-) soviet state, and not the (post-) soviet mind, than we most certainly fail. Let's face it: concentrating more money and power in the cities will on the short run increase the risk of corruption. So I was a bit dissappointed to see that in the two day program of the conference there is only halve an hour reserved in the program of Friday afternoon, dealing with the integrity of local government. That seems to me a bloody shame. What was  Euromaidan all about? Lviv has an unique experience on working on local integrity to share with mayors, experts, ministers and ambassadors. So I have to think about how making a bit Maidan here.

Anyway. It's good to be back in Lviv. Sitting on a couch in the Dnister Hotel listening to the musak I usually only hear at Glory in the city center. I'm very happy to have my guitar here - a pretty Washburn I bought here last Januari. Home is where you guitar is. So I will definitely do a little private concert in Room 518. They certainly will know that I'm back in Lviv.

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