Reforms en Route: how changes in legislation affect life in regions

6-8 May, Khmelnytskyi, Vinnytsia - With the support of UNDP and other partners, the Reanimation Package of Reforms initiative (RPR) continues its "Reforms en Route" all-Ukrainian tour, presenting their findings on the adoption and implementation of urgent reforms for the country. Having visited more than half of the planned cities in the tour, this time RPR experts visited Khmelnytskyi and Vinnytsia.

The RPR team held public lectures at Khmelnytskyi University of Management and Law, Khmelnytskyi National University, Vinnytsia Trade and Economic Institute KNTEU, Vinnytsia Scientific and Technical University, and Donetsk National University, which moved to Vinnytsia.
"Engaging youth in reforms and giving them tools for action is our goal. If after our meeting these students come home, install heat meters, and motivate neighbours to unite for home insulation, this will be the beginning of the energy sector reform," said the coordinator of RPR regional initiatives Natalia Vatamanyuk.
The team also met with local entrepreneurs and with local experts, NGO representatives, journalists, and authorities. Keeping in mind the specifics of the region, they discussed the energy sector reform and the steps to overcome the energy crisis, main directions of the tax reform, key instruments of community participation in the budget process of a city, as well as other reforms that are now on the agenda of the state, primarily fighting corruption.
Important changes can begin only with the successful overcoming corruption. RPR anti-corruption reform expert Oleksiy Khmara stresses the importance of 5 steps:
1. Establish clear rules.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the Parliament, the President, and the Reanimation Package of Reforms, we were able to achieve the formation of the necessary legal framework for the establishment of key anti-corruption institutions and launch of a real fight with corruption in Ukraine.
2. The inevitability of punishment.
This is still difficult, because we should have those who successfully punish everyone without any exception, particularly high-level corruption crooks. For this purpose, we contributed to the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which is gradually gaining momentum. But we still have very corrupt courts that can extinguish even the most high-profile investigations. So, there's a lot of work to be done.
3. The maximum access to information.
Our achievement is that now citizens can see who owns specific property directly from their house. We helped maximally open information about Ukrainian businesses, including data on the real owners of these businesses. Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done, because public registries that are already opened are not yet fully filled. So, continuing disclosure of information and filling registers is our next priority.
4. Effective government officials.
We have contributed to the implementation of e-government in Ukraine. The special coordinating institution is already established. The most difficult stage is providing online access to basic administrative services. Without this, bureaucracy will devour itself. That is why electronization of Ukraine is one of the key priorities of RPR.
5. Effective public pressure.
"You cannot leave officials alone with the power. They immediately use it as a way of self-enrichment. So, we need an effective control across the vertical of power, at all levels of Ukrainian life. The very fact we are today in Brussels. That is why we tell what each of us can do to effectively combat corruption. RPR can run reform. But we cannot do it instead of government and instead of citizens. Therefore, we are looking for partners willing to take responsibility for creating an effective country, comfortable for everyone," Mr. Khmara concludes.
As for the energy sector, over the past year, it cannot be called reformist. Despite the fact that many meetings with government officials sound right promises and theses on the need to reform the energy sector, real steps are few. RPR energy reform expert Andriy Zinchenko said: "The main problems of the energy sector are still its opacity, overregulation, dominance of monopolies, and lack of public policies that would stimulate the implementation of effective measures in the government and private sectors."
For further information: Natalia Vatamanyuk - 095 588 70 55, Tetiana Kyrylenko - 050 97 93 596, Andriy Andrushkiv - 096 60 959 76.