Turning open data into a powerful tool of social change in Ukraine

Kyiv, 24 September - The roundtable discussion of interim results of the Open Data Readiness Assessment (ODRA) of Ukraine was held by the State Agency for e-Governance and UNDP in Ukraine.

IMG 7413 1Following the growing request from the public for openness, transparency and accountability at all levels of the Ukrainian society, Ukrainian authorities declared their intention to expand the possibilities of using open data. As evidence, on 9 April 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine regarding access to public information in the form of open data."
UNDP was the first international organization in Ukraine that popularized the use of open government data at the national level. Hence, UNDP in Ukraine, namely its Democratization, Human Rights and Civil Society Development Programme, supported the government's initiative for assessment of Ukraine's readiness to work with open data and has commissioned an ODRA report and action plan for the Ukrainian government.
In her opening remarks, UNDP Senior Programme Manager Yuliya Shcherbinina emphasized: "The issue of open data is not new for us. Our open data activities started as a small pilot initiative on disclosing municipal budget information and grew later on into a much bigger initiative to stimulate state bodies to disclose public information in the open data format, which eventually culminated in the adoption of the open data law."
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The purpose of this assessment is to assist the government in diagnosing what actions the government could consider in order to establish an Open Data initiative. This means more than just launching an Open Data portal for publishing data in one place or issuing a policy. An Open Data initiative involves addressing both the supply and the reuse of open data, as well as other aspects such as skills development, financing for the government's open data agenda and targeted innovation financing linked to open data.
"Today, the development of open data is a top priority of many democratic countries, because it is a tool for economic growth, government transparency, and public participation," said Oleksandr Ryzhenko, Head of the State Agency for e-Governance of Ukraine. "Ukraine has a great potential in the field of open data, and together we - government, business, and civil society - should do everything necessary to quickly implement new opportunities!"
In August and September 2015, ODRA experts conducted a series of interviews as well as the analysis of legislation and relevant documents using the ODRA methodology, developed by the World Bank and adapted to the needs of Ukraine.
This methodology uses an "ecosystem" approach to open data, evaluating the country's readiness based on eight dimensions: government commitment; policy/legal framework; institutional structures, responsibilities, and capabilities within government; government data management policies, procedures, and data availability; demand for open data; civic engagement and capabilities for open data; funding an open data program; national technology and skills infrastructure.
During the roundtable discussion of interim results of the assessment, Daniel Dietrich, a renowned international open data expert, focused on the most critical moments for each of the eight areas to develop joint proposals regarding their possible solutions. The final results of the assessment and relevant recommendations will form the basis for creating a road map of open data development in Ukraine.