Kyiv, March 23, 2016. The Open Government Partnership action plan was 86 percent implemented in 2014-2015, said Diana Zubko, UNDP Democratic Governance expert at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “It is a very good result. Over the last period – in 2012-2014 such successful initiatives only totaled 60 percent,” she noted. “The Open Government Partnership is not only helping the government to work in a more professional and quality way but also enhances cooperation with civil society. It includes engaging citizens into consultations at the stage of drafting Open Government Partnership action plans and an independent reporting mechanism that helps monitor the progress of the action plan implementation.
Over the time when the Open Government Partnership initiative is being implemented there are success stories “worth of being proud of”, said Zubko. “For example openbudget.in.ua is used in over 40 cities of Ukraine as an instrument of budget visualization. It helps demonstrate the destination of expenses of local budgets as well as engage citizens in active planning processes of these expenses and revenues,” the expert said. She said the Prozorro procurement platform is another initiative that is being a success. Diana Zubko also noted the promising start of the initiative on parliamentary openness. “On February 5, Ukraine officially joined the declaration on openness of parliament and approved the action plan set to implement this initiative,” the expert added. An important part of this action plan is work with open data and set up of the state-owned website of open data. It is being actively filled already today and will have over 300 datasets posted on the web site in May available for public use.” Commitments in the framework of the Initiative need to reflect the main principles of open government such as transparency, participation of citizens, accountability, technology and innovation for transparency and accountability, the UNDP Democratic Governance expert said.
Joe Powell, Acting Director of the Open Government Partnership’s Support Unit said this initiative is a political opportunity for Ukraine. First of all it opens access to a network of reformers all across the globe. Secondly, many countries, not only Ukraine are facing the challenge to restore trust between government and citizens, when citizens are calling for increased accountability. According to Joe Powell, Ukraine is demonstrating progress in implementation of the action plan. “The current action plan which ends in June this year had 26 individual reform commitments. This varied from access to information to civic engagement, e-government and anticorruption,” he noted. Ukraine has fulfilled its commitments on approval of the law on public access to the Communist-era archives that were closed for dozens of years; the law on access to information; and the laws that oblige state agencies to openly publish all information, said Powell.
Joe Powell also provided some recommendations to improve the Open Government process in the future. Thus clear and effective cooperation between the government and civil society is needed, clear tasks and deadlines for their implementation need to be decided. He also advised to actively engage private sector representatives in a dialogue with Open Government. “We also need to involve private sector representatives in the open government conversation. If we are going to make progress on anticorruption, you must have the private sector at the table otherwise it becomes extremely difficult to make anticorruption efforts work,” advises the Initiative’s Acting Director. The coordination mechanism of the Open Government Partnership needs to be reformed in order to more actively engage the state agencies that need to implement different parts of this plan. Moreover Powell suggested formulating clear priorities and strategies. Increased international presence of both the government and civil society is now needed. Thus more meetings with international reformers need to be conducted, emphasized the Acting Director of the Open Government Partnership.