UNDP Project Summarizes Its Impact on Legal Aid Provision to the Poor, Land Rights in Focus

21 Nov 2012

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On 20 November 2012 in Kyiv UNDP “Legal Empowerment of the Poor” project brought together its partners and stakeholders to discuss  project results achieved within 18 months of its activity. The joint project of UNDP Ukraine and the Ministry of Justice sought to strengthen free legal aid system and to help poor population execute their land rights.

Thanks to project’s efforts over 800 legal aid providers – employees of the Ministry of Justice in each region of Ukraine were trained on land issues to further consult citizens. Such consultations are provided to citizens for free - according to the law adopted in 2011. Most topical land issues were summarized and addressed in the project manuals and are currently in use by legal aid providers and land owners - to include the issues of privatization and lease of the land plot, border disputes and altering purpose of usage of the land plot.

“Realizing rights is not a luxury for the few, but a must for everyone. Making the law work for the poor is not only an opportunity to improve lives of the people but a practical step for the state to improve its governance,” noted Elena Panova, UNDP Ukraine Deputy Country Director.

The project took action at the policy-making level as well. Recommendations on how to improve land legislation for it to better respond to the needs of the poor population were developed by UNDP experts and presented to the State Agency of Land Resources. Earlier this October the government has partly taken them into consideration when ceased some administrative fees in the land sector. Oleksandr Krasnolutsky, Director of the Department of Land Management, Land Use and Protection of the State Agency of Land Resources of Ukraine, confirmed that the State Agency will review the recommendations.

Regardless of the fact that the Project is running to end in 2012, partners have an intention to further develop its achievements. Lidiia Horbunova, Advisor to the Ministry of Justice and Project Coordinator from the Ministry of Justice underlined s that cooperation experience with UNDP Ukraine was successful and expects that further activities in the sector of legal education and legal aid provision planned by the Ministry could be moved forward jointly.