The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine endorsed the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness

Kyiv, 5 February 2016 – The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine endorsed the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness which places the country amongst the leaders of the global legislative openness movement.

The official signing ceremony of the Declaration was held at the Verkhovna Rada. During the event, the Action Plan to implement the Declaration was presented and a working group to coordinate and implement the plan was operationalized. By signing the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness, Ukraine is officially joining the global movement to enhance transparency of representative legislative bodies and aiming to ensure readiness of Parliament to invite citizens into decision-making, make legislative processes clearer and easier to understand and provide more tools for interaction.
The Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Groysman, launched Ukraine's implementation of the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness by three means: improvement of legislation, creation of technological capacity, and public consultation. "We are committed to improve parliamentary transparency as a best way to earn trust from citizens and fight corruption," he underlined.
During the presentation of the Action Plan, MP Svitlana Zalishchuk emphasized: "We have an ambition to make the Parliament open and transparent. We have already opened MPs' income and asset declarations, information about their assistants and made committees accessible for journalists. The Declaration on Parliamentary Openness creates positive conditions for the MPs of 8th convocation to introduce further irreversible changes in the Parliament."
6"Citizens do not like MPs, because they don't know how to use them. When citizens understand what their MPs for, they will no longer require changing a lamp. The parliament's role is not just representation, legislation, and control, but also informing the public which will help the parliament in doing it," said Andrii Kruhlashov, Coordinator of the CHESNO Movement.
The Open Parliament Action Plan for Ukraine was developed by Ukrainian parliamentary monitoring organizations (OPORA, CHESNO, Transparency International Ukraine, Center for Political Studies and Analysis, Media Law Institute) together with members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with the support of UNDP in Ukraine. The document sets out 20 commitments that Parliament and civil society will implement together: 1) access to information, 2) involvement of citizens in the parliamentary processes, 3) accountability, and 4) technology and innovation.
2"The Open Parliament Action Plan provides a set of effective measures to prevent conflict of interest in decision-making as well as violations of the rules of ethics. Yet, how to achieve this in practice? Parliamentarians need a well-developed code of ethical conduct and a clear and easy to use form to register situations of MPs' conflicts of interest. Transparency International Ukraine is ready to help the parliament to elaborate and properly implement these documents. Moreover, we would like to help citizens easily communicate with the parliament, especially through electronic appeals and e-petitions. Most importantly, we will also ensure that the developed tools are really working and people know about the new features, said Oleksii Khmara, Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine.
"Information on the budget resources use by the Verkhovna Rada has been a secret for many years with no access of civil society to this information. To be fully transparent, the parliament needs to create a web-site section "Usage of Budget Funds" with the information on the budgets, financial reports, budget requests, and budget programmes' passports. This information needs to be in a machine-readable format to contribute to the open data development in Ukraine," underlined Viktor Taran, Head of the Centre for Political Studies and Analytics.
9The Open Parliament Initiative for Ukraine like Open Government Partnership is based on the principles of transparency, public participation, accountability, and technological innovation.
"Modernization of the parliamentary media is a way to "de-communize" the Parliament, move away from the Soviet approach to informing citizens, and transition to the standards of transparency and openness. We hope that the parliament's leadership will do further steps to reform the Voice of Ukraine and the Viche newspapers, as well as the Rada TV Channel with no delay," stressed Taras Shevchenko, Director of the Media Law Institute, RPR Board member.
"A competent parliament should be embodiment of the attitudes and political preferences of citizens, institutional independence, openness, accountability, and transparency. The effective implementation of the Action Plan will take our country two steps closer to the most progressive countries with a high level of political culture. For this, we need to reform the parliament itself envisaging institutional, managerial, and procedural changes," said Olha Ayvazovska, Coordinator of the OPORA Civic Network.
The initiative is supported by the Democratization, Human Rights and Civil Society Development Programme, implemented by UNDP Ukraine and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.
The Open Parliament is a global initiative that functions under the umbrella of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and is coordinated by the Legislative Openness Working Group to induce parliamentary processes that are inclusive and transparent and disseminate the best practices thereof. The activity of the Working Group is based in particular on the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness. This document is presently supported by more than 160 parliamentary monitoring organizations from 82 countries. Costa Rica, France, Georgia, Greece, and Mexico have already approved their Action Plans to implement the Declaration, while Colombia, Ghana, and Serbia are currently developing theirs.