Kyiv, March 4, 2016. Ukraine has approved the “road map” of public data for 2016. The strategy paper contains 41 complex tasks that are structured in five priority areas: improving access to and quality of open government data; building the capacity of the authorities to publish public data; strengthening the role of public data in public policy; regulatory support and development of demand and ability of the target audience to use open data. Oleksandr Ryzhenko, Head of the State Agency for E-Governance in Ukraine, provided this information at a debate at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The “road map” is based on the results of the study of Ukraine’s readiness for open data conducted in 2015 by the United Nations Development Program in Ukraine (UNDP) at the request of the State Agency for Electronic Governance in Ukraine, said Diana Zubko, Expert on Democratic Governance, UNDP. She said the study was carried out according to the World Bank method, based on the analysis of all legal framework documents in Ukraine and interviews with key participants in this field. NGOs, particularly those involved in the fight against corruption, as well as several ministries, were engaged in the work.
Mr. Ryzhenko reminded that Parliament had passed a law on access to public information in the form of open data in April 2015. And in October, the Cabinet approved a decree which defined requirements for the format, structure, order of open data publications on data.gov.ua and approved the list of 327 sets of government data to be released within six months. “As of today, about 80 government agencies, both central and regional, have registered and made public about 257 sets,” said Mr. Ryzhenko.
According to the survey, among the published data, citizens are mostly interested in information on renting state movable and immovable property, revenues of state enterprises, financial plans of enterprises, plans for road repairs, Ukrainian railways passenger turnover and freight turnover, said Oleksiy Sobolev, Advisor to the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine. “50 sets out of 30 are available on the ministry website, another 10 will be this month,” he said.
According to Oleksandr Krakovetskyi, KyivSmartCity, most published sets are not good enough. “But first we must make the number, then start working on quality,” he said, explaining that, given the officials’ low level of information and professionalism in the field of IT-technology, they failed to present perfect quality data over six months. However, the “road map” provides training for officials, to explain to them what should be opened and in what way, explained Mr. Krakovetskyi. According to the experts, it should be a “computer-readable format” and not just the scanned data.
Denis Gursky, SocialBoost representative, noticed that the government has motivation to open data, as many functions have been transferred from the NGO sector to state bodies. According to him, national priorities indicate that there are two problems. “The first problem – anti-corruption issues and the second one – the lack of investment climate that would be attractive to foreign investors. It is the issue of innovations, intellectual property protection and conditions for development of start-ups in Ukraine. Open data are the cornerstone that will enable the both problems to be solved at least partially,” said Denis Gursky.
“In Europe, open data can yield USD 200 billion to business and society. Data opening can be used for commercial purposes. And it is a great opportunity for Ukraine as well,” explained Yantomas Himstra, Head of the UNDP. When opening data, we should also develop statistical tools for processing and presenting the data that can be used in business, journalism and other fields, explained Yantomas Himstra.
Today, in the era of information technology, many countries are doing their best to become more transparent and to make the most use of the open data disclosure potential , said Oleksandr Ryzhenko. First of all, this is necessary for improvement of the efficiency of making managerial decisions, for fighting against corruption, and gaining social, economic and other benefits. Head of the State Agency for E-Governance in Ukraine stressed that, according to global concept, all the data produced by the state should be open to citizens and they have the right to use it freely, with the exception of personal data.
Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing Maksym Malashkin called 2015 the year of open data birth in Ukraine. According to him, this is a new formation for the society and the state. The development of open data is a priority direction for any democratic country that is trying to cooperate with its citizens and the media. “It is not only the transparency and openness of the work, but also significant impetus to the development of the digital industry, which currently makes it possible “to digitize” our country and to provide very useful and quality services and start-ups,” emphasized Maksym Malashkin. Besides, Ukraine has good specialists in the field of IT-technologies, and open data will enable them to fulfil their potential, said the Deputy Minister.