New report on Ukraine finds progress in access to information, but more efforts are needed in government accountability

Kyiv, 21 March 2016 – A new Open Government Partnership (OGP) Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) report on Ukraine finds that despite recent political turmoil, notable progress has been made in passing laws to improve access to government held information. However, more efforts are needed to improve government accountability.

GOL 4329The report highlights that significant progress was made in a number of areas, even in the midst of a difficult political situation in the period of December 2014 through September 2015. Specifically, big strides were made in improving access to government held information. In particular, with support of UNDP Ukraine, legal acts were passed that require various government agencies to publish their information in open data format on their websites and on the government's central open data portal, starting with over 300 priority datasets.
Additionally, the report notes that the Ukrainian government has done well in keeping to the schedule outlined in its second National Action Plan (NAP). One year into implementation, 86% of the OGP NAP has been completed.
GOL 4358As Veronica Cretu from the OGP Steering Committee notes, "Corruption is a virus. Open Government might be the best vaccine and if properly and timely used it can help the Government become stronger and "healthier" in long run."
Over the years, UNDP has been a consistent supporter of open and transparent governance. It has stood by the Ukrainian government in attempts to organize meaningful dialogue with the civil society on priorities such as anti-corruption, e-governance, administrative services efficacy, participatory decision-making – all within the realm of the OGP commitments of Ukraine.
GOL 4352Amongst other things, UNDP worked side by side the Government of Ukraine as a reliable long-term partner to organize the OGP national consultations that ultimately resulted in producing the NAP. It was a breakthrough as it largely (by 80% at least) consisted of the proposals submitted by Ukrainian civil society – more than 400 proposals from CSOs nationwide were considered in the elaboration process.
After the Open Government Partnership's reload in June 2015, the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine initiated work of the OGP Coordination Council's 6 working groups with UNDP's active participation.
GOL 5590In the course of 2014-15, UNDP, working side-by-side with civic and government experts, held public consultations on the open data launch in Ukraine, supported the First International Open Data Conference in Ukraine, designed a concept for the relevant draft law, and worked closely with the National Agency for e-Governance and the Presidential Administration in order to arrive at an agreed vision shaped as a draft law. The UNDP-supported draft law initiative also became one of the signature products of the Reanimation Package of Reforms e-Governance group, taken up by the Administration of the President as part of a Digital Ukraine legislative package, which was introduced to Parliament and finally passed as a law. In addition, UNDP facilitated the development of terms of references and other supporting documents to pass the Open Data Portal to the State Agency for e-Governance of Ukraine for full ownership and management.
GOL 5633Although Ukraine was successful in meeting many of its transparency commitments, the country fell short in delivering on promises made to improve government accountability and fight corruption. Commenting on the report's findings, Dmytro Kotlyar, an independent expert specializing in open government and anti-corruption in Ukraine, added: "To truly tackle the systemic corruption that has long plagued Ukraine, improvements are needed in government accountability. Moving forward, Ukraine needs to further open public contracting, including in publicly owned enterprises, and bring more transparency to natural resource extraction. Open government principles and mechanisms should be extended to the parliament and the judiciary." Dmytro's presentation could be found here
GOL 5617In order to more effectively implement the laws that have been passed, the report recommends that Ukraine prioritizes more feasible commitments in their next action plan and increases its focus on public accountability and anti-corruption.
Reflecting on Ukraine's progress, Joe Powell, Acting Executive Director of OGP, noted: "The Open Government Partnership provides an opportunity for reformers in Ukraine to learn from others around the world. It can help accelerate the reform effort, and give space to civil society. The international community should now intensify support for open government efforts in Ukraine." Joe's presentation could be found here.
A new Action Plan is to be developed during the first half of 2016. After being enabled by the government, it will become the third Ukraine's NAP and put Ukraine in one cohort of openness and transparency promoters and OGP pioneers.
The event is organised under the framework of UNDP's Democratization, Human Rights and Civil Society Development Project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, in cooperation with the government of Ukraine.
Check out the event's story told in tweets here.
OGP is a partnership of 69 governments and hundreds of civil society organizations working to make government more accountable to their citizens. At the core of OGP are national action plans which are composed of government commitments to improve transparency, open up decision-making, and make officials answerable to the public. In order to monitor progress and encourage continued momentum on the two year National Action Plans, OGP's Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) team publishes annual reports that provide an assessment of countries' progress in successfully implementing their commitments. Reports are carried out for each country by a national researcher of that country. Ukraine joined OGP in 2011 and is half way through its second action plan. The Ukrainian Progress Report was prepared by Dmytro Kotlyar, an independent expert specialising in open government and anti-corruption. The report reviews the period from December 2014 through September 2015.