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Ukraine

Publishing Environmental Information (UA0078)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Ukraine Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources Other bodies responsible for environment monitoring

Support Institution(s): Reform Support Team at the Ministry of Ecology, Government-Civic Initiative “Together against Corruption,” Open Environment Project of Open Society Foundation, USAID and UK aid-funded Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services Program/TAPAS, European Environment Agency (SEIS in Ukraine), other CSOs and international organizations (upon their consent)

Policy Areas

E-Government, Environment and Climate, Legislation & Regulation, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ukraine Transitional Results Report 2018-2020, Ukraine Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Providing free access of citizens – through modern ICTs – to environmental information received by public authorities in the field of environment protection, rational use, reproduction and protection of natural resources Ensuring environmental rights of citizens in terms of free access to the information on environmental status, risks for life and health, environmental perspectives is currently complicated by a number of problems: • Lack of the national digital geoinformation infrastructure of public authorities and local self-government bodies to support them in implementation of their authorities on environment protection, rational use, reproduction and protection of natural resources; • Lack of a unified centre to accumulate information on environmental status; • Unclear division of authority, poor coordination of activities and suboptimal institutional capacity of public authorities and local self-government bodies to gather, accumulate and exchange information/data on environmental status; • A lot of autonomous and non-unified – in terms of structure – registers and databases, non-systematized information on environmental status on hard copies that should be digitized and published in open data format. Actions Responsible Timeframe Partners Indicator 1. Establishing legal framework for ensuring citizens’ access to environment information in line with European norms and requirements Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources Other bodies responsible for environment monitoring December 2018 – May 2020 Reform Support Team at the Ministry of Ecology, Government-Civic Initiative “Together against Corruption,” Open Environment Project of Open Society Foundation, USAID and UK aid-funded Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services Program/TAPAS, European Environment Agency (SEIS in Ukraine), other CSOs and international organizations (upon their consent) Action Plan on implementation of Concept Note on establishing the National Automated System “Open Environment” adopted; Procedure for Operation and Administration of National Automated System “Open Environment” and Action Plan of information policy and strategic communications on Open Environment System approved 2. Developing and implementing the components of Open Environment System as a Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources Other public authorities and local self-government December 2018 – December 2019 Reform Support Team at the Ministry of Ecology, Government-Civic Initiative “Together against Corruption,” ToRs developed and approved, pilot projects and components of Open Environment System as a whole implemented 16 whole bodies (upon their consent) Open Environment Project of Open Society Foundation, USAID and UK aid-funded Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services Program/TAPAS, European Environment Agency (SEIS in Ukraine), other CSOs and international organizations (upon their consent) 3. Upgrading/reforming the national system of environment monitoring, in particular, of radiation monitoring Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management Other public authorities December 2018 – December 2020 Reform Support Team at the Ministry of Ecology, Government-Civic Initiative “Together against Corruption,” Open Environment Project of Open Society Foundation, USAID and UK aid-funded Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services Program/TAPAS, European Environment Agency (SEIS in Ukraine), other CSOs and international organizations (upon their consent) A tool for GPS-environment monitoring, in particular, of radiation monitoring, is developed, piloted and launched; the structure of sub-system of radiation monitoring formed; software developed; technical capacity for its operation built; ecosystem project piloted, launched and integration into Open Environment System Expected results are ensuring environmental rights of citizens in terms of free digital access to information on environmental status, risks for life and health, environmental perspectives; updating and digitizing national environment administration system, and thus, improving the quality of administrative service provision by digitizing them; creating conditions to increase participation of citizens, CSOs and economic entities in decision-making in the field of environment protection; launching new methods and technologies of environment monitoring, in particular, of radiation monitoring, and providing public access to monitoring data.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

9. Provide public access to environmental information

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [78] Providing free access of citizens – through modern ICTs – to environmental information received by public authorities in the field of environment protection, rational use, reproduction and protection of natural resources

Ensuring environmental rights of citizens in terms of free access to the information on environmental status, risks for life and health, environmental perspectives is currently complicated by a number of problems:

  • Lack of the national digital geoinformation infrastructure of public authorities and local self-government bodies to support them in implementation of their authorities on environment protection, rational use, reproduction and protection of natural resources;
  • Lack of a unified centre to accumulate information on environmental status;
  • Unclear division of authority, poor coordination of activities and suboptimal institutional capacity of public authorities and local self-government bodies to gather, accumulate and exchange information/data on environmental status;
  • A lot of autonomous and non-unified – in terms of structure – registers and databases, non-systematized information on environmental status on hard copies that should be digitized and published in open data format.

Milestones:

  1. Establishing legal framework for ensuring citizens’ access to environment information in line with European norms and requirements
  2. Developing and implementing the components of Open Environment System as a whole
  3. Upgrading/reforming the national system of environment monitoring, in particular, of radiation monitoring

Start Date: December 2018

End Date: December 2020

Context and objectives

There are multiple problems that inhibit Ukrainians’ constitutional right to freely access information on environmental status, risks for life, and health. Essential ecological information is either closed or available for a fee. [79] An ecological activist with Open Society Foundation Ukraine estimated that government ecological policies receive only 9% of necessary funding, [80] and there is no system to instantly collect ecological information in real time, causing delays of up to two years.

This commitment seeks to establish a legal framework for ensuring citizens’ access to environmental information, and introduce the nationwide automated Open Environment System. It also seeks to upgrade the national system of environment monitoring. It continues from Commitment 10 from the third action plan, which aimed to improve public monitoring of the state of the environment via the Open Environment System. [81] While some tangible results were achieved during the third aciton plan period, including the developemnt of an interactive map of river pollution, [82] the Open Enviroment System was not fully developed by the writing of the IRM End-of-Term Report. [83] This commitment is also connected to Commitment 10 of the current action plan, which calls for updating the state registers of natural resources.

Given several indicators for measuring the success of each activity, this commitment is verifiable. By disclosing a large amount of ecological data in digital form, this commitment relates to the OGP values of access to information and technology and innovation.

The government foresees multiple outcomes from this commitment, [84] including ensuring environmental rights and increasing participation in decision-making around environmental protection. A consulted civil society representative further emphasized that such system will inform citizens when choosing where to live, [85] and provide official environmental information that could be used for changing local policies or in courts to make authorities implement national environmental policies. Considering this, the commitment could singificantly improve access to environmental information. However, it is unclear from the commitment text what type of enviromental information will be disclosed in the Open Enviroment System.

Next steps

During the implementation of this commitment, the IRM researcher recommends that the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR) collaborate closely with civil society partners including leading international NGOs that focus on environment. The IRM researcher also recommends the MENR to review its funding policies to ensure sustainability of the Open Environment System.

This commitment could be continued in the next action plan and include environmental monitoring of other pollution beyond the planned radiation monitoring.

[79] Lesia Shevchenko (Open Society), interview by IRM researcher, 7 Mar. 2019.
[80] Ibid.
[81] “On approval of the Government Priority Action Plan for 2018” Order No. 244-p on The Government Portal, Unified Web-Portal of Executive Authorities of Ukraine (Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Secretariat, 28 Mar. 2018), https://www.kmu.gov.ua/ua/npas/pro-zatverdzhennya-planu-prioritetnih-dij-uryadu-na-2018-rik.
[82] “Clean Water: The Online Map of River Pollution in Ukraine Was Presented” on the Government Portal, Unified Web-Portal of Executive Authorities of Ukraine (Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Secretariat, 6 Jul. 2018), https://www.kmu.gov.ua/ua/news/chista-voda-prezentovano-onlajn-kartu-zabrudnenosti-richok-v-ukrayini.
[83] Dmytro Khutkyy, Ukraine End-of-Term Report 2016-2018 (Open Government Partnership, 2019), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Ukraine_End-of-Term_Report_2016-2018_EN.pdf.
[84] “The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Decree on 18 December 2018 #1088-p” on The Government Portal, The Unified Web-portal of Executive Authorities of Ukraine (Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Secretariat, 18 Dec. 2018), https://www.kmu.gov.ua/storage/app/media/17-civik-2018/partnerstvo/plan_2018%20-%202020.pdf.
[85] Lesia Shevchenko (Open Society), interview by IRM researcher, 7 Mar. 2019.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

9. Provide public access to environmental information

Completion: Limited

The Ministry of Environment has only developed a draft concept paper and action plan for implementing this commitment (as part of an Open Environment system). [101] The ministry had not yet launched the software for the Open Environment system, according to an independent ecology expert, due to the merging and restructuring of ministries in 2019 and 2020. [102] The Open Environment system would include a radiation monitoring system. A separate radiation monitoring system, functioning as an online map, [103] existed prior to this commitment. [104]

[101] Open Government Partnership, The Report on the Realization of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in 2018–2020, 3 December 2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Ukraine_End-of-Term_Self-Assessment_2018-2020_UKR.pdf. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources said that it revised the Open Environment system by drafting a concept on digital development and digital transformation in environmental protection, rational use of natural resources, and environmental safety. As part of the implementation of the concept, it is planned to develop new functional modules of the system, which will create a Unified Environmental Platform, email exchange with IRM, 15 April 2021.
[102] Dmytro Averin (independent expert), interview by IRM researcher, 4 November 2020.
[103] “RM & EWS Chornobyl,” accessed November 2020, http://www.srp.ecocentre.kiev.ua/MEDO-PS/index.php?lang=ENG.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership