Kyiv, 21 July 2014 – National Council for Reforms will become an advisory body consolidating efforts of authorities and civil society to develop and implement the programme of reforms in Ukraine. Such mechanism was discussed by participants of “Ukraine: a Strategy for Reforms” retreat to have taken place on 19-21 July in Kyiv initiated by the President of Ukraine, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers and supported by the Open Society Foundation and its national branch – International Renaissance Foundation in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The conference was attended by public policy experts, representatives of Ukraine’s Presidential Administration, Cabinet of Ministers, Ukraine’s Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) members, ministers, sectoral experts, think tanks, civil society, and international donor organizations.
Yevhen Bystrytsky, International Renaissance Foundation Executive Director, underlined that it is of extreme importance to launch reforms in Ukraine now, after the Maidan, when the authorities remain open for change and civil society is ready to put pressure on the authorities to have the reforms implemented. “Despite recent tragic events in Ukraine no international expert refused to take part in the conference,” he said. “Everyone understands that Ukraine now needs international assistance to develop the programme for reforms and their swift implementation. It is the best answer to the numerous challenges Ukraine is facing today.”
Conference participants defined the founding principles for the reforms, their key tasks and challenges as well as pointed out the ways for reforming particular sectors. As Oleksandr Sushko, Co-Chair of the Coordination Committee of Strategic Advisory Groups, reported: “We have agreed upon the need for a particular body that would deal with the strategy for reforms, would set priorities and consistency for them as well as control their implementation. The process to set up such a body and grant it certain mandate is underway.”
Discussion was held at both general and sectoral round-tables and panel discussions. As Oleksandr Pyvovarsky, Co-Chair of the Coordination Committee of Strategic Advisory Groups, underlined: “We succeeded to consolidate talks on reforms of different sectors in one discussion, the number of participants of such discussions reached 250 people.”
Pavlo Sheremeta, Ukraine’s Minister for Economic Development and Trade, noted: “This Conference was extremely useful from the intellectual point of view, as many experts with world-renowned name but with Ukrainian soul joined the process to develop ideas and implementation ways for reforms in Ukraine. Within almost three days they were sharing their years-long experience and working out a reforms concept taking into account peculiarities of the country and Ukrainian values. The most important thing is that all Conference participants noted the changes are as much necessary as inevitable.”
“Important component of the reforms is to communicate the issue to the society, thinks Dmytro Shymkiv, Deputy Head of Ukraine’s Presidential Administration. We will definitely explain to the wider society the need to conduct these or that reforms, including unpopular ones, will explain their stages, ways and consequences”.