Reports

Ukraine Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1)

Country : Ukraine
Dates Under Review : December 2016 – September 2017
Report publication year : 2018
Researcher : Dmytro Khutkyy

Overview - Ukraine Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1)

Ukraine’s third action plan covers several major priority areas, including flagship transparency commitments on public contracting, disclosure of asset declarations, and beneficial ownership. Moving forward, the government could improve the next action plan’s development process by clearly identifying the intended changes for targeted policies. 

Process 

The action plan development process was participatory and involved in-person and online consultations to gather commitment proposals. The Coordination Council acts as the multistakeholder forum, and monitors the action plan implementation through four thematic working groups. 

Did not act contrary to OGP process

A country is considered to have acted contrary to process if one or more of the following occurs:

  • The National Action Plan was developed with neither online or offline engagements with citizens and civil society
  • The government fails to engage with the IRM researchers in charge of the country’s Year 1 and Year 2 reports
  • The IRM report establishes that there was no progress made on implementing any of the commitments in the country’s action plan

Level of Input by Stakeholders

During Action Plan Development
Y1
No Consultation
Inform
Consult
Involve
Collaborate
Who was involved? 
Civil Society Involvement
Beyond "governance" civil society
Mostly "governance" civil society X
No/little civil society
Narrow / little government consultation Primarily agencies that serve other agencies Significant involvement of line ministries and agencies
Government Involvement

The Coordination Council has 14 members from government and civil society, and acts as the multistakeholder forum to monitor the action plan. A wide range of ministries and civil society groups are involved in the action plan. Some CSOs are leading partners in the implementation of certain commitments.

OGP Co-Creation Requirements Followed 

Commitment Performance 

Ukraine’s third action plan covers a variety of important issues in the country, such as transparency on ultimate beneficial owners, extractives and construction industries, and urban planning, as well as public monitoring of pollution. While two commitments were fully completed during the first year of the action plan, significant progress has been made on several others.

Commitment Completion 

Current Plan
Year 1: 15%
2014-2016
Year 1: 27%
Year 2: 46%
2012-2013
Year 1: 23%

Commitment Ambition 

Current Plan
Year 1: 23%
2014-2016
Year 1: 27%
2012-2013
Year 1: 13%

Starred commitments 

Current Plan
Year 1: 15%
Year 1: 12%
Year 2: 15%
2012-2013
Year 1: 23%

IRM Recommendations 

  1. Make commitments more specific and results oriented.
  2. Involve Parliament in action plan development for commitments that require legislative action
  3. Create an automated system for verifying e-declarations and sanctioning public officials who violate the law.
  4. Prioritize the implementation of the verification system on beneficial ownership.
  5. Include a commitment to develop a user-friendly online system for monitoring the budget and public spending.

Commitments Overview

Commitment Title Well-designed * Complete Overview
1. Quality and transparency of administrative services No No This commitment is an important continuation of the decentralization of administrative services, but is not clearly relevant to open government.
2. Introduce administrative e-service No No The government committed to improve the functionality of the Unified State Portal for Administrative Services. As of November 2017, there are 52 public services available on the portal, covering a variety of areas.
3. Filing and publication of e-declarations No Yes Through the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP)’s unified e-declaration registry, 1,127,588 e-declarations were filed by July 2017. However, civil society is concerned over the NACP’s lack of willingness to act on e-declarations. 
4. Access to urban planning documentation No No The government has elaborated two draft laws on access to urban planning documentation, one of which has been submitted to Parliament.
5. Ultimate beneficial owners’ verification system Yes No This commitment seeks to introduce a verification mechanism for the existing register for ultimate beneficial ownership. The Ministry of Justice needs to improve the quality of data in the register, and develop software to verify the information.
6. Introduce CoST standards No No The Construction Sector Transparency Initiative standard has been implemented in four pilot infrastructure cases, including significant public engagement during implementation.
7. Online transparent budget system No No The Ministry of Finance seeks to create the Transparent Budget system. However, it is unclear what budgetary information will be displayed in the new system.
✪8. Openness and transparency in public procurement Yes No The government created a public feedback mechanism integrated through the DoZorro online platform to report procurement violations, and established a monitoring group to discuss the feedback. The government now receives 600 individual feedback reports monthly.
✪9. Implement EITI Yes No Ukraine drafted a law on extractives industry information disclosure with support from the EITI multistakeholder group. The country also published its second EITI report, which includes information on additional extractive industries.
10. Public monitoring of the environment No No This Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources aims to introduce a public monitoring mechanism for environmental pollution. While a list of polluters has been compiled, the data portal and monitoring system are under construction.
11. Community policing system No No This commitment seeks to improve public trust in Ukraine’s law enforcement. While police trainings and in-school informational programs occurred, there has been no media campaign, and no citizen advisory groups formed.
12. Draft law on public consultations No No This Ministry of Justice aims to improve the legal framework for public consultation. While a working group of government and civil society drafted a law on public consultations, the draft has not been submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers.
13. Elaborate e-democracy roadmap No Yes The Cabinet of Ministers adopted a concept paper (drafted by a multistakeholder coalition with public feedback) and the Action Plan for the Development of Electronic Democracy.

* Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as specific, relevant, and has a transformative potential impact
✪ Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as being specific, relevant, potentially transformative, and substantially or fully implemented

IRM Report - Ukraine Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (Year 1)


I. Introduction 
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The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international multistakeholder initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. OGP provides an international forum for dialogue and sharing among governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector, all of which contribute to a common pursuit of open government.

Ukraine began its formal participation in September 2011, when the minister of foreign affairs, Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, declared his country’s intention to participate in the initiative.[Note1: “Letter of Intent to Join OGP,” Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/ukraine-letter-of-intent-join-ogp.]

In order to participate in OGP, governments must exhibit a demonstrated commitment to open government by meeting a set of (minimum) performance criteria. Objective, third-party indicators are used to determine the extent of country progress on each of the criteria: fiscal transparency, public official’s asset disclosure, citizen engagement, and access to information. See Section VII: Eligibility Requirements for more details.

All OGP-participating governments develop OGP action plans that elaborate concrete commitments with the aim of changing practice beyond the status quo over a two-year period. The commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate action in an entirely new area.

Ukraine developed its third national action plan from October 2015 to November 2016. The official implementation period for the action plan is December 2016 through July 2018. This year one report covers the action plan development process and first year of implementation, from December 2016 to September 2017. Beginning in 2015, the IRM started publishing end-of-term reports on the final status of progress at the end of the action plan’s two-year period. Any activities or progress occurring after the first year of implementation, December 2016 to September 2017, will be assessed in the end-of-term report. The government published its self-assessment in September 2017.[Note2: “Ukraine Midterm Self-Assessment Report 2016–2018,” Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/ukraine-mid-term-self-assessment-report-2016-2018]

In order to meet OGP requirements, the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) of OGP has partnered with Mr. Dmytro Khutkyy, who carried out this evaluation of the development and implementation of Ukraine’s third action plan. As an active citizen, he was engaged in the e-democracy movement, overlapping with the Commitment 13. Therefore, to ensure maximum objectivity, Commitment 13 was evaluated by a junior researcher, Ms. Kateryna Maltseva of BI Norwegian Business School.

To gather the voices of multiple stakeholders, Mr. Khutkyy conducted a series of interviews with stakeholders and conducted desk research of relevant documents, including the government self-assessment report, published in September 2017.[Note3: “The Interim Report on the Realization of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in 2016–2018,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Web-site, accessed 13 September 2017, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018) http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/uploads/attach-3467-910681586.doc. ] 

To gather the voices of multiple stakeholders implementing Commitment 13, Ms. Olga Polishchuk, an Assistant Professor at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, organized one stakeholder forum in Kyiv, which was conducted according to a focus group model. She also conducted a personal interview and an email questionnaire, thus collecting original qualitative data. Ms. Maltseva reviewed the commitment-related online documents and wrote the chapter on Commitment 13.

The IRM aims to inform ongoing dialogue around development and implementation of future commitments. Methods and sources are dealt with in Section VI of this report (Methodology and Sources).


II. Context 
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The third national action plan covers major themes related to OGP values and priorities, including simplification of public service delivery, transparency in construction and extractives sectors, and several flagship initiatives against corruption. While anti-corruption activists note the slowing pace of reforms and insufficient efforts for tackling corruption, the country has undertaken major transparency initiatives, including the ones on public procurement, disclosure of assets owned by public officials, and beneficial ownership.

2.1 Background

After the Revolution of Dignity and the subsequent change in the government, the president, and Parliament, in 2014, the drive for institutional reforms in Ukraine received a new start. In November 2014, the parliamentary coalition adopted a coalition agreement, defining priority areas for change.[Note4: “The Agreement on the Coalition of Deputy Fractions ‘European Ukraine,’” Laws of Ukraine, The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: The Official Web-Portal, 27 November 2014, http://zakon3.rada.gov.ua/laws/file/text/33/f439014n8.pdf.] While the coalition officially ceased to exist in February 2015,[Note5: “The Parliamentary Coalition Has Officially Collapsed,” News, Fifth Channel, 19 February 2016, https://www.5.ua/polityka/parlamentska-koalitsiia-ofitsiino-rozpalasia-106684.html.] the government seems to treat the reform agenda as an international commitment conditional for foreign political and financial support. Therefore, it remains topical, at least in rhetoric. The alliance among civil society organizations (CSOs), the Reanimation Package of Reforms, and numerous other stakeholders has pushed for comprehensive reforms supported by international organizations and donors.

Furthermore, the political reform agenda is reinforced by the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement. The parties adopted this agreement in May 2014. It took effect in September 2017. (Much of the agreement took effect much earlier, starting from November 2014, and in the case of the trade agreement, from January 2016).[Note6: “Association Agreement between the European Union and Its Member States, of the One Part, and Ukraine, of the Other part,” Official Journal of the European Union, L 161 (29 May 2014): 1–2137, http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2016/november/tradoc_155103.pdf.] Despite its focus on trade relations, the agreement remains important due to its synchronization of Ukrainian legislation with European Union standards. As embassies and donor projects of the United States and European states have a strong voice in defining policy priorities, their support for reforms is significant.

Indeed, during 2014–2015, the government and the parliament undertook a number of important initiatives within the OGP framework, leading to changes in legislation, executive acts, and their implementation. These include Parliament’s (Verkhovna Rada) laws on increasing transparency in extractive industries, opening public spending online, and opening Soviet archives. The laws also involve introducing e-appeals and e-petitions to authorities, publishing public datasets as open data, launching a unified state portal for administrative services, and establishing a unified web portal for the use of public funds.

Other important governmental and parliamentary initiatives have taken place beyond OGP commitments. These initiatives have had an impact on society in the light of the core OGP values and grand challenges. Thus, they are relevant to OGP themes. Some of them stem from prior OGP accomplishments.

Some of the most prominent transparency reforms include the e-procurement system, ProZorro. Additional prominent transparency reforms include the new e-declarations system for assets owned by politicians and government officials, and the public register for beneficial ownership.

ProZorro has become a symbol of dramatic reform of government procurement in Ukraine. The government, civil society, and business collaborated on the system. The system, an innovative technology, makes all tender information open, including suppliers’ offers. Thus, it makes it possible to monitor the entire tendering process. ProZorro, which means “transparently” in Ukrainian, is open source. All data is structured along the Open Contracting Data Standard. The Law on Public Procurement provides the legislative basis for the system. Adopted on 25 December 2015, the law introduced mandatory electronic public procurement procedures. By the end of 2016, governmental agencies from all over Ukraine had joined the project. Purchases amounted to 232,000. Savings (the difference between the estimated lot price and the winning bid) were estimated at more than UAH 5.4 billion (over USD 200 million).[Note7: “The Public Procurement Reform in Ukraine and the Results of Functioning of the Electronic System ProZorro,” Transparency International Ukraine, https://ti-ukraine.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Zvit-ProZorro-2016.pdf.]

Alongside publishing procurement transactions, Ukraine has taken important steps in setting up anti-corruption institutions. The new National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) is politically independent and can prosecute. However, it cannot implement the full law enforcement cycle on its own. This restriction lies in the reliance on referrals from other state institutions and the failure to establish an independent anti-corruption court.[Note8: Vitalii Shabunin (Anti-Corruption Action Center), interview by IRM researcher, 27 July 2017.] At the same time, however, many commentators agree that NABU remains a game changer. The bureau can also open criminal cases against public officials, which raises discontent among the ruling class.

Reforms have also included actions designed to strengthen citizen engagement. In May 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree on the action plan for implementation of the National Strategy for Assisting the Development of the Civil Society in Ukraine in 2016–2020.[Note9: “The Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers #296-p,” The Legislation of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: the Official Web-Portal, http://zakon3.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/296-2017-%D1%80.] In September 2017, the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers reported on the progress in implementing this action plan.[Note10: “The Information on the State of Implementation of the Action Plan for Implementation in 2017 the National Strategy for Assisting the Development of Civil Society in Ukraine in 2016–2020,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, 11 September 2017, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018)  http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/3469. ] A law on citizens’ appeals, which was also an OGP commitment in the previous action plan, enabled e-appeals and e-petitions. The president, Parliament, the Cabinet of Ministers, and hundreds of local authorities developed and launched the respective normative acts and online portals with the support of civil society and international organizations. The degrees of citizen engagement on various petition topics and actual resolution of popular requests vary. However, the e-petitions are considered to have brought an opportunity to leverage new technology to powerfully aggregate citizen voice over the large and geographically dispersed Ukraine population. An electronic system for submitting local e-petitions (e-dem.in.ua) extended its scope from 11 cities to more than 100 local communities. The State Agency for E-Governance, in cooperation with international partners (see above), launched they system in 2015. It has accepted more than 7,000 e-petitions.[Note11: Dmytro Kotliar, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Ukraine End of Term Report 2015–2016 (Washington, DC: Open Government Partnership, 2017), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Ukraine_EOTR_2014-2016_ENG.pdf.]

Ukraine has continued e-governance reforms that are focused on advancing the digitization of government-provided services. A 2015 survey conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology demonstrates that as many as 57 percent of the adult population uses the internet.[Note12: “E-government and E-democracy: What Is the Opinion of Ukrainians?” Kiev International Institute of Sociology, 2015, http://egap.in.ua/biblioteka/e-uryad-ta-e-demokratiya/.] Therefore, e-governance reforms can potentially reach over a half of adult citizens. In November 2016, a partnership of international donors launched the Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services program in Ukraine. The program aims to improve public procurement, e-services, and access to public data to help reduce corruption.[Note13: “Ukraine Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services,” Eurasia Foundation, http://www.eurasia.org/Programs/ukraine_TAPAS.] As a logical follow-up to the law on open data, the government adopted the Open Data Roadmap, with clear objectives and deliverables, in March 2017.[Note14: “On 10 March 2017, the Open Data Roadmap for 2017 Has Been Presented,” Data.gov.ua: The Unified Web-Portal of Open Data, 10 March 2017, http://bit.ly/2q6u0gd.]

Despite these important achievements and Ukraine’s generally conducive political climate, the country has yet to see systemic change effectively tackling corruption. Corruption remains a serious concern, undermining achievements of the Euromaidan protests. On Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Ukraine still ranks one hundred thirty-second in the world, indicating that it remains a very corrupt country.[Note15: “Corruption Perceptions Index 2016,” Transparency International: The Global Coalition against Corruption, https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016#table.] According to the representatives of the Reanimation Package of Reforms, despite some notable transparency achievements, major reforms are still stalled.[Note16: “Reforms under the Microscope: Overview of the Key Reform Developments in 2016-early-2017,” Reanimation Package of Reforms, 14 September 2017, http://rpr.org.ua/en/news/reforms-under-the-microscope-overview-of-the-key-reform-developments-in-2016-early-2017/.]

Ukrainian civil society, with outspoken anti-corruption activists, has been a driving force behind transparency and anti-corruption reforms. However, recent changes in the law undermine OGP values. In March 2017, the parliament has passed a new law[Note17: “The Draft Law on Amendments to the Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine ‘On the Prevention of Corruption,’” The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: The Official Web-Portal, http://w1.c1.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb2/webproc4_1?pf3511=61314.] that introduces discriminatory rules for civil society organizations and their contractors. The law demands additional public reporting. In particular, the law requires the submission of mandatory electronic declaration of assets for participants of any anti-corruption activities.[Note18: “Joint Position of the Representatives of the Civil Society: E-declaration for Activists Shall Be Urgently Withdrawn and Provisions Concerning the Reporting of Civil Society Organizations Shall Be Revised,” Reanimation Package of Reforms, 6 October 2017, http://rpr.org.ua/en/news/joint-position-of-the-representatives-of-the-civil-society-e-declaration-for-activists-shall-be-urgently-withdrawn-and-provisions-concerning-the-reporting-of-civil-society-organizations-shall-be-revi/.] It also introduces the application of sanctions. Oversight authorities can deny nonprofit status to civic organizations with a total annual income of more than 300 minimum living wages if those organizations have not submitted or published an annual financial report with a complete list of mandatory information.[Note19: “Reanimation Package of Reforms Urges to Fix Discrimination Faults in the Draft Laws on Public Reporting on NGOs and to Urgently Adopt Them,” Reanimation Package of Reforms, 13 September 2017,  http://rpr.org.ua/en/news/reanimation-package-of-reforms-urges-to-fix-discrimination-faults-in-the-draft-laws-on-public-reporting-of-ngos-and-to-urgently-adopt-them/.] This may create pressure for CSOs from fiscal authorities.[Note20: Nastia Korinovska, “The Changes to the Tax Code Contain Risks of Pressure on Civil Society Organizations – RPR,” Hromadske, 11 July 2017, https://hromadske.ua/posts/u-zminakh-do-podatkovoho-kodeksu-ie-ryzyk-tysku-na-hromadski-orhanizatsii-rpr.] Parliament has argued that it intended for the law to lead to accountability of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). However, there are concerns the law could also result in abuse and reduction of civil society’s space. Amendments to the law have been condemned by the international community and followed up by requests to change them.[Note21: Vasyl Artiushenko, “The Brussels Has Severely Criticized the Amendments to the Law on E-declarations,” Politics, Zn,ua, 24 March 2017, https://dt.ua/POLITICS/u-bryusseli-zhorstko-rozkritikuvali-popravki-do-zakonu-pro-e-deklaraciyi-237557_.html.] But the law remains in force. Moreover, state agencies have opened criminal prosecution cases against some outspoken civil society activists.[Note22: Vitalii Shabunin (Anti-Corruption Action Center), interview by IRM researcher, 27 July 2017.]  

Budgeting remains an area in need of further improvements in transparency and public engagement. Ukraine scores 54 out of 100 on Open Budget Survey 2017,[Note23: “Open Budget Survey 2017,” International Budget Partnership, https://www.internationalbudget.org/wp-content/uploads/ukraine-open-budget-survey-2017-summary-english.pdf.] representing an increase from its score of 46 in 2015. Since 2015, Ukraine has published the Citizens Budget online, increasing its net score. However, according to the survey, the government provides the public with few opportunities to engage in the budget process. The report recommends the government hold legislative hearings on the formulation of the annual budget. It also recommends allowing for public and CSO testimony and establishing formal mechanisms for the public to participate in audit investigations. Initiatives on participatory budgeting have been initiated by a partnership of NGOs and local authorities, without any government-led strategy or leadership. These worked well in a few pilot municipalities. Such initiatives later spread among dozens of local authorities, with support of diverse CSOs and international NGOs.[Note24: Serhiy Loboyko, Mykhaylo Nakhod, Dmytro Khutkyy, eds., Instruments of e-democracy in Cities of Ukraine: Informative and Analytical Handbook, 2017, https://github.com/DevRainSolutions/books/blob/master/edeminua/output/edeminua.pdf. ]

2.2 Scope of Action Plan in Relation to National Context

Compared to the previous two action plans, the third OGP action plan of Ukraine is more focused and contains commitments that are relevant for the anti-corruption and good governance reform agenda. A range of issues have been included in the OGP action plan for the first time. These issues include transparency of company ownership, open contracting, and access to information on environmental pollutants. Some important commitments have been updated and carried forward in the current plan. These commitments involve transparency in the construction sector, implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and electronic filing of asset declarations of public officials.

Most commitments are part of existing government programs, donor-funded projects, and ongoing efforts of the key civil society groups and anti-corruption activists. While this raises the questions about the novelty this action plan offers, financial support and prioritization of these issues by political leadership and international community creates the impetus for better implementation of proposed actions. 

Notable commitments represent particular importance for the anti-corruption agenda. They include the verification mechanism for the register of ultimate beneficial owners of companies, and transparency and monitoring of public contracting. Other notable commitments in this area involve filing of asset declarations of public officials and transparency initiatives in the construction and extractives sectors.

Ukraine is often cited as a country where the real owners of companies are hidden from the public eye. This allows officials to hide assets and to siphon money from public tenders to benefit their own firms.[Note25: “Investigating Ultimate Beneficial Ownership in Ukraine,” Global Risk Affairs, 13 December 2017, http://www.globalriskaffairs.com/2017/12/investigating-ultimate-beneficial-ownership-in-ukraine/.] In this context, the transparency of beneficial owners of companies is an important issue. On 25 October 2014, the parliament of Ukraine adopted the law “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts Related to Identification of Ultimate Beneficiaries of Legal Entities and Public Officials.”[Note26: “The Law of Ukraine No. 1701-VII ‘On Amending Certain Legislative Acts Related to Identification of Ultimate Beneficiaries of Legal Entities and Public Officials,’” Legislation of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: The Official Web-Portal, http://zakon2.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/1701-18.] The law mandates that all companies registered in Ukraine disclose information about their ultimate beneficiaries by 25 May 2015. It also requires companies to update this information on a regular basis. The law applies an administrative fine for officers or authorized representatives of companies who fail to disclose the information on ultimate beneficiaries to the state registrar.[Note27: “Ukraine Enacts Law Requiring Mandatory Disclosure of Beneficial Owners of Companies,” Global Tax Alert, EY, 28 October 2014, http://www.ey.com/gl/en/services/tax/international-tax/alert--ukraine-enacts-law-requiring-mandatory-disclosure-of-beneficial-owners-of-companies.] Ukraine has been one of the pioneers in creating a beneficial ownership register. It developed a national, central public register on beneficial ownership information in 2015.[Note28: “On Reporting the Information on Ultimate Beneficial Owners (Controllers) of a Legal Entity to a State Registry,” Legislation of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: The Official Web-Portal, 27 November 2015, http://zakon2.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/v1032323-15.] In May 2017, Ukraine became the first country to integrate its national register of beneficial ownership with the OpenOwnership Register.[Note29: “About the Project,” Open Ownership, http://openownership.org/about/] That register links beneficial ownership data from across the world.[Note30: “Ukraine Takes Important First Step towards Ending Corporate Secrecy,” Transparency International, 1 June 2017, https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/ukraine_takes_important_first_step_towards_ending_corporate_secrecy.] The action plan commits to introducing a mechanism to verify the accuracy of information about registered beneficial owners. However, the register has had technical, legislative, and data protection challenges.

In 2015, extracting industries constituted 11 percent of the Ukrainian economy, generating over UAH 191 billion of industrial turnover annually.[Note31: State Statistics Service of Ukraine, Industry of Ukraine, 2011–2015: Statistical Publication (Kyiv: State Statistics Service of Ukraine, 2016), 26–27, http://www.ukrstat.gov.ua/druk/publicat/kat_u/2016/zb/12/zb_pu2015pdf.zip.] While an important segment of the economy, the industry is not transparent. Thus, it carries immense corruption risks. To address this problem, in 2013, the government committed to the passage and implementation of the EITI. A global standard, the EITI promotes open and accountable management of oil, gas, and mineral resources.[Note32: “Who We Are,” EITI, https://eiti.org/who-we-are.] The commitment in the third action plan builds on the achievements of the previous plans. It also commits to passing landmark legislation on transparency of the extractive sector.

The lack of political transparency and accountability of political parties, politicians, and members of parliament remains a concern. There is an ongoing debate in the country about the need for the financing of political parties to be more transparent. National sentiment also leans toward limiting the maximum donation from a single person or organization.[Note33: Miriam Kosmehl and Andreas Umland, “Ukraine Introduces State Financing for Political Parties,” Harvard International Review, 30 August 2016, http://hir.harvard.edu/article/?a=13876.] Lobbying activities could be made more transparent, as it is a deeply influential aspect of the current Parliament.[Note34: Marek Dabrowski, “Ukraine’s Oligarchs Are Bad for Democracy and Economic Reform,” Bruegel, 3 October 2017, http://bruegel.org/2017/10/ukraines-oligarchs-are-bad-for-democracy-and-economic-reform/.] Interviewed stakeholders point to the need for limited immunity for members of Parliament. Legislation addressing the immunity of Parliament members currently lies in limbo at the Constitutional Court.[Note35: Christopher Miller, “Ukrainian Deputies Send Immunity Bill to Constitutional Court In 'Small Victory' for Protesters,” Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, 19 October 2017, https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-immunity-bill-parliament-constitutional-court/28804248.html.] Interviewed stakeholders also point out the need for a full-scale reform of parliamentary elections. In particular, civil society activists believe that a transition to a proportional system (where political groups or parties are given legislative representation proportional to their vote totals in an election), with open regional lists of party candidates, could help reduce the risks of oligarchic influence and the vote buying. Lowering the electoral threshold to two or three percent (instead of the current 5 percent) would open opportunities for smaller parties. Such parties are more likely to be free from oligarch influence and closer to their constituents. This in turn, could help to increase their representation in Parliament. Although the executive alone cannot address these issues without the involvement of the Parliament, the next action plan could consider working together with the legislative branch to develop meaningful commitments in this area.


III. Leadership and Multistakeholder Process 
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The action plan drafting process lasted for almost a year, including a six-month offline consultation with civil society. It was an iterative process. It started among authorities, continued with civil society, and ended with final adoption by the government, with occasional consultations in between. Advance notice was given for public consultation, allowing sufficient time to elaborate suggestions and plan participation in offline meetings to develop the action plan.

3.1 Leadership

This subsection describes the OGP leadership and institutional context for OGP in Ukraine. Table 3.1 summarizes this structure while the narrative section (below) provides additional detail.

Table 3.1: OGP Leadership

1. Structure

Yes

No

Is there a clearly designated Point of Contact for OGP (individual)?

 

 

Shared

Single

Is there a single lead agency on OGP efforts?

 

 

Yes

No

Is the head of government leading the OGP initiative?

 

2. Legal Mandate

Yes

No

Is the government’s commitment to OGP established through an official, publicly released mandate?

 

Is the government’s commitment to OGP established through a legally binding mandate?

 

3. Continuity and Instability

Yes

No

Was there a change in the organization(s) leading or involved with the OGP initiatives during the action plan implementation cycle?

 

Was there a change in the executive leader during the duration of the OGP action plan cycle?

 

 

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is the leading office responsible for coordinating Ukraine’s OGP process and action plan. In practice, two persons from the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers coordinate national OGP activities on a part-time basis. No full-time staff or budget is centrally allocated for national action plan implementation. Overall, a multistakeholder agency, the Coordination Council, oversees implementation of the national action plan. During the previous cycle, the council included 39 members. However, at the end of 2016, it was reorganized to include 13 members, from both authorities and civil society. The council includes influential third-party actors. These include the United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine, Transparency International Ukraine, and International Renaissance Foundation. Each have strong voices in the OGP process.

The Coordination Council is headed by the minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, and not by the prime minister. Still, the council has a strong link to the executive branch. Each commitment has at least one ministry assigned and vested with executive authority to implement it. Even when it is not stated explicitly, each commitment requiring legislative change is reviewed by the Ministry of Justice. Similarly, each commitment requiring financing is reviewed by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Consequently, the adoption process of the action plan entailed multiple stages. This approach ensured agreement among executive bodies responsible for implementation.

On 30 November 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers issued Ordinance #909.[Note36: “Ukraine Third National Action Plan 2016–2018,” Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/ukraine-third-national-action-plan-2016-2018.] This ordinance outlines the responsibilities for implementation of the third national action plan. Its issuance makes implementation by all subordinate authorities mandatory.

The Cabinet of Ministers holds executive powers over the key areas of focus for the OGP commitments. On the other hand, within the frame of decentralization reform, local authorities and self-governing bodies have a substantial degree of freedom in implementing nonmandatory decrees from central authorities.

3.2 Intragovernmental Participation

This subsection describes which government institutions were involved at various stages in OGP. The next section will describe which nongovernmental organizations were involved in OGP.

Table 3.2: Participation in OGP by Government Institutions

How did institutions participate?

Ministries, Departments, and Agencies

Legislative

Judiciary (including quasi-judicial agencies)

Other (including constitutional independent or autonomous bodies)

Subnational Governments

Consult: These institutions observed or were invited to observe the action plan but may not be responsible for commitments in the action plan.

75[Note37: Seventy-five ministries and subordinate departments.]

0

0

0

25[Note38: Twenty-five regional administrations, namely: The Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Cherkasy Oblast State Administration, Chernihiv Oblast State Administration, Chernivtsi Oblast State Administration, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast State Administration, Donetsk Oblast State Administration, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast State Administration, Kharkiv Oblast State Administration, Kherson Oblast State Administration, Khmelnytskyi Oblast State Administration, Kyiv Oblast State Administration, Kirovohrad Oblast State Administration, Luhansk Oblast State Administration, Lviv Oblast State Administration, Mykolaiv Oblast State Administration, Odesa Oblast State Administration, Poltava Oblast State Administration, Rivne Oblast State Administration, Sumy Oblast State Administration, Ternopil Oblast State Administration, Vinnytsia Oblast State Administration, Volyn Oblast State Administration, Zakarpattia Oblast State Administration, Zaporizhzhia Oblast State Administration, Zhytomyr Oblast State Administration..]

Propose: These institutions proposed commitments for inclusion in the action plan.

75[Note39: Seventy-five ministries and subordinate departments.]

0

0

0

25[Note40: Twenty-five regional administrations listed above.]

Implement:  These institutions are responsible for implementing commitments in the action plan whether or not they proposed the commitments.

22[Note41: Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Internal Affairs; Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Housing; Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food; State Agency for E-Governance; State Land Cadastre; Ministry of Economic Development and Trade; Ministry of Information Policy; State Special Communications Service; National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption; Ministry of Defense; Ministry of Infrastructure; Ministry of Finance; Ukraine State Roadway Agency (Ukravtodor); State Audit Service; National Police; State Treasury; Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry; Ministry of the Ecology and Natural Resources; State Service of Geology and Mineral Resources; State Agency on Exclusion Zone Management; and Ministry of Education and Science.]

0

0

0

25[Note42: Regional administrations listed above, Kyiv and Sevastopil municipal state administrations, local government authorities, and local state administrations, upon consent.]

 

In Ukraine, participation in OGP includes a range of executive agencies. Although the Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for the action plan, many commitments imply a role for Parliament in the adoption of respective laws. Additionally, the government’s ordinance included key civil society organizations as partners. In most cases, it included the organization that actively proposed the commitment. The ordinance also states that it is open for inclusion of new partners upon their request. Table 3.2 above details which government institutions were involved in OGP.

Early participation in OGP was ad hoc. Initially, the Cabinet of Ministers announced the schedule of consultations in December 2015. It then sent out invitations to all chief officers in each ministry, department, and agency. After that, the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers elaborated a draft national action plan and sent it out to executive agencies. In January 2016, the Coordination Council working groups continued drafting the action plan. This intragovernmental collaboration lasted for about two months.

As noted above, a multi-sector, interagency Coordination Council began meeting regularly. During the implementation stage, participation patterns of governmental agencies varied, depending on specific sectoral commitment. See commitment sections for more details.

3.3 Civil Society Engagement

Countries participating in OGP follow a set of requirements for consultation during development, implementation, and review of their OGP action plan. Table 3.3 summarizes the performance of Ukraine during the 2016–2018 action plan.

Table 3.3: National OGP Process

Key Steps Followed: 6 of 7

Before

1. Timeline Process & Availability

2. Advance Notice

Timeline and process available online prior to consultation

Yes

No

Advance notice of consultation

Yes

No

 

 

3. Awareness Raising

4. Multiple Channels

Government carried out awareness-raising activities

Yes

No

4a. Online consultations:     

Yes

No

 

 

4b. In-person consultations:

Yes

No

 

5. Documentation & Feedback

Summary of comments provided

Yes

No

 

During

6. Regular Multistakeholder Forum

6a. Did a forum exist?

Yes

No

6b. Did it meet regularly?          

Yes

No

 

 

After

7. Government Self-Assessment Report

7a. Annual self-assessment report published?         

Yes

No

7b. Report available in English and administrative language?

Yes

No

 

 

7c. Two-week public comment period on report?

Yes

No

7d. Report responds to key IRM recommendations?

Yes

No

 

 

                 

 

In December 2015, the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers published a full consultation timeline on the government website.[Note43: “The Discussion of the Realization of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in Ukraine in 2016–2018 Is Starting,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, 29 December 2015, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018) http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/2839.] In February 2016, the OGP Coordination Council announced via its website its intent to produce the third national action plan.[Note44: “The Discussion of Implementation of the Open Government Parliament Initiative Implementation in 2016–2018 Is Being Started,” Open Government Partnership in Ukraine, 2 February 2016, http://bit.ly/2zfg7nC.] In February 2016, it conducted a series of regional public consultations.[Note45: “The Inputs for Implementation the Open Government Partnership Initiative in Ukraine in 2016–2018 Are Discussed in Regions of Ukraine,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, 16 February 2016, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018) http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/2901.] In March 2016, it held a public discussion in a “world café” format, convening stakeholders from authorities and civil society to brainstorm ideas and rank priorities. Finally, in May 2016, the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers made an online public call on online voting, with the aim to prioritize inputs for the action plan.[Note46: “We Invite You to Discuss the Inputs for Implementation the Open Government Partnership Initiative in Ukraine in 2016–2018,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, 17 May 2016, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018) http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/3004.]] Within the same month, proactive citizens suggested some inputs and voted for them on an open online platform.[Note47: Olena Ursu (United Nations Development Program in Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 20 July 2017.] The next month, the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers communicated the online voting results.[Note48: “The Voting Results Regarding Activities for Implementation the Open Government Partnership Initiative in Ukraine in 2016–2018,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, 1 June 2016, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018) http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/3011. ] The voting procedure indicates that the level of public influence reached the level of “collaborate” (see Table 3.4 below). After that, the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers aggregated and structured all suggestions.[Note49: Olesya Arkhypska (Transparency International Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 28 July 2017.]

The Coordination Council conducted the final review of finalized suggestions and passed the draft text to committees of the Cabinet of Ministers in June 2016.[Note50: Natalia Oksha (Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] Committees and ministries conducted a final review.[Note51: Oleksiy Orlovsky (International Renaissance Foundation), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] It took five months for the Cabinet of Ministers to finalize and adopt the action plan, which was signed on 30 November 2016.

The government website is not widely read. It appears that the information was disseminated within the inner circle of CSOs that have collaborated with the government during previous action plan cycles.

For regional consultations, local authorities invited local CSOs working in the relevant field. The Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers explained that in selecting and inviting nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the criteria included proven activity represented by either publications or public communication.[Note52: Natalia Oksha (Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] The Secretariat of Cabinet of Ministers also made an online announcement, giving more actors an opportunity to join. However, a civil society representative stated that a wider public awareness campaign, involving state mass media, failed.[Note53: Olesya Arkhypska (Transparency International Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 28 July 2017.] In practice, the most active government bodies, national NGOs, and international NGOs took part in the elaboration of commitments.

Contributions submitted by all stakeholders were diverse and extensive. The full text of inputs totalled 100 pages[Note54: Oleksiy Orlovsky (International Renaissance Foundation), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] and included over 200 suggestions.[Note55: Natalia Oksha (Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] The Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers shortened the text by eliminating irrelevant points. This culling also included deleting those not falling within the scope of the OGP mandate, merging similar proposals, and ranking priority topics.[Note56: Olena Ursu (United Nations Development Program in Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 20 July 2017.] Further, the draft focused on five OGP challenges: improving public services, enhancing integrity in governance, increasing efficient management of public resources, creating safe communities, and enhancing corporate accountability.[Note57: Natalia Oksha (Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] Civil society stakeholders were able to provide feedback through in-person consultations and through social media.[Note58: Olena Ursu (United Nations Development Program in Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 20 July 2017.] The Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers states that it has published online a table summarizing which inputs were included and which were not.

Table 3.4: Level of Public Influence

The IRM has adapted the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) “Spectrum of Participation” to apply to OGP.[Note59: “IAP2's Public Participation Spectrum,” International Association for Public Participation, http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iap2.org/resource/resmgr/foundations_course/IAP2_P2_Spectrum_FINAL.pdf.] This spectrum shows the potential level of public influence on the contents of the action plan. In the spirit of OGP, most countries should aspire for “collaborative.”

Level of public input
During development of action plan
During implementation of action plan
Empower

The government handed decision-making power to members of the public.

 

 

Collaborate

There was iterative dialogue AND the public helped set the agenda.

Involve

The government gave feedback on how public inputs were considered.

 

 

Consult

The public could give inputs.

 

 

Inform

The government provided the public with information on the action plan.

 

 

No Consultation

No consultation

 

 

3.4 Consultation During Implementation

As part of their participation in OGP, governments commit to identify a forum to enable regular multistakeholder consultation on OGP implementation. This can be an existing entity or a new one. This section summarizes that information.

The Coordination Council serves as a multistakeholder forum specifically created for OGP purposes. In February 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers issued a new regulation regarding the council. It required the Coordination Council to have seven representatives from authorities and civil society. The council has two co-chairs, one from the government and one from civil society.[Note60: “The Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on 14 February 2017 #79,” Legislation of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: The Official Web-Portal, 14 February 2017, http://zakon3.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/79-2017-%D0%BF.] The minister of the Cabinet of Ministers and a governance expert from Transparency International Ukraine[Note61: “The Composition of the Coordination Council for Implementation the Open Government Partnership Initiative in Ukraine,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018) http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/2650. ] serve as co-chairs.

After the adoption of the third action plan in November 2016, the previous Coordination Council conducted activities to form the new one. It directly invited representatives from authorities and announced an open competition for representatives from civil society. Its donors and selection committee comprised international and national nongovernmental organizations.[Note62: Olena Ursu (United Nations Development Program in Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 20 July 2017.] The Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers announced an online call for civil society representatives in March 2017[Note63: “The Competition for Election to the Coordination Council for Implementation the Open Government Partnership Initiative in Ukraine from Civil Society Is Announced,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, 30 March 2017, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018)  http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/3402. ] and extended the call in April 2017.[Note64: “The Competition for Election to the Coordination Council for Implementation the Open Government Partnership Initiative in Ukraine from Civil Society Is Extended,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, 18 April 2017, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018)  http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/3418.] The selection committee announced the results in May 2017.[Note65: “The Results of the Competition for Membership in the Coordination Council for Implementation the Open Government Partnership Initiative in Ukraine from Civil Society,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, 13 May 2017, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018)  http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/3432.]] As a result, the current Coordination Council consists of relevant professionals in the field.

During the selection process, the former Coordination Council had finished its mandate and could not perform its functions. However, by May 2017, the new group had not met.[Note66: Natalia Oksha (Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] This created a vacuum in multistakeholder leadership for a few months. The Coordination Council members made three attempts to conduct meetings, but they failed because not enough members came, meaning the quorum requirements were not fulfilled.[Note67: Olesya Arkhypska (Transparency International Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 28 July 2017.] Still, there was at least one unofficial meeting, with incomplete participation.[Note68: Olena Ursu (United Nations Development Program in Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 20 July 2017.] The Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers held a series of working offline and online meetings with other stakeholders.[Note69: Natalia Oksha (Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] Civil society organizations perceived that they were the ones pushing for action and driving implementation of commitments.[Note70: Maksym Klyuchar (independent researcher), interview by IRM researcher, 22 July 2017.] Civil society was represented in the council’s co-created agenda, and working groups made progress through in their routine activities of implementing commitments. But the plan lacked centralized coordination. However, within each commitment, civil society actors and the working groups established a format for iterative dialogue, bringing public participation to “collaboration” level (see Table 3.4 above).

The new Coordination Council officially met for the first time in October 2017. It then elected the co-chair from civil society, established work procedures, and created four working groups. The groups will focus on administrative services, transparency and anti-corruption activities, e-democracy and e-governance, and general organizational activities. The council also announced that the working groups would consist of members of the Coordination Council, authorities, and civil society partners, as mentioned in the action plan.[Note71: “The Coordination Council for Implementation the Open Government Partnership Initiative in Ukraine Has Held Its Meeting,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, 4 October 2017, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018) http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article/show/3472. ]

The statute regulating the functioning of the Coordination Council[Note72: Oleksiy Orlovsky (International Renaissance Foundation), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] outlines its functions and the operational rules passed in October 2017, outline procedures.[Note73: “The Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on 14 February 2017 #79,” Legislation of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: The Official Web-Portal, 14 February 2017, http://zakon3.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/79-2017-%D0%BF.] In practice, the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers drafts and sends out an agenda. That agenda can be modified by Coordination Council members. The Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers conducts its meetings according to the updated agenda, with substantial discussion.[Note74: Olena Ursu (United Nations Development Program in Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 20 July 2017.] The Coordination Council makes decisions by simple majority voting. The Coordination Council holds advisory power to the Cabinet of Ministers. Still, the minister of the Cabinet of Ministers serves as the co-chair of the Coordination Council. Thus, the minister can directly translate the council’s joint opinion to the government.

According to regulations, the primary mode of operation of the Coordination Council occurs offline, but online participation is also possible. Members of the Coordination Council can arrange a live online streaming of a meeting and subsequent online publishing of follow-up notes.[Note75: Oleksiy Orlovsky (International Renaissance Foundation), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.]

The Coordination Council as an entity does not monitor the implementation process on a regular basis.[Note76: Oleksiy Orlovsky (International Renaissance Foundation), interview by IRM researcher, 24 July 2017.] Still, involved council members monitor sectoral commitments.[Note77: Olena Ursu (United Nations Development Program in Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 20 July 2017.] The Secretariat oversees the overall progress.[Note78: Olesya Arkhypska (Transparency International Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 28 July 2017.] The Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers collects progress reports from ministries quarterly and publishes findings online in infographics.

According to a civil society representative, regularly monitoring the implementation of commitments could be a time-consuming process. Thus, the implementation of commitments totally depends on the most active stakeholders.[Note79: Olena Ursu (United Nations Development Program in Ukraine), interview by IRM researcher, 20 July 2017.]

3.5 Self-Assessment

The OGP Articles of Governance require that participating countries publish a self-assessment report three months after the end of the first year of implementation. The self-assessment report must be made available for public comments for a two-week period. This section assesses compliance with these requirements and the quality of the report.

The Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers published a draft self-assessment interim report in September 2017.[Note80: “The Interim Report on the Realization of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in 2016–2018,” Civil Society and Authorities: Governmental Website, accessed 13 September 2017, (link no longer accessible as of 25 April 2018)  http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/uploads/attach-3467-910681586.doc. ] The report covers the consultation process during the action plan development. The report briefly mentions consultations during implementation in the case of several commitments. Some evidence appears in the form of referencing external documents, but only for some commitments. The self-assessment report provides brief information on the progress of all commitments. Yet, not all of them have an explanation of challenges or delays. However, the majority of commitments offer a vision of the next steps in implementation.

3.6 Response to Previous IRM Recommendations

Table 3.5: Previous IRM Report Key Recommendations

Recommendation
Addressed?
Integrated into Next Action Plan?

1

Renew high-level political involvement of the OGP.

2

Ensure an effective cooperation with civil society.

3

Reform the coordination mechanism.

4

Focus on priority commitments.

5

Focus on ambitious and realistic commitments.

 

The government renewed high-level political involvement with the OGP by involving ministries and agencies during consultations and appointing the minister of the Cabinet of Ministers as co-chair of the Coordination Council. This appointment could have gone to the prime minister. Nevertheless, the appointment ensured government ownership and leadership. The government neither made a major political announcement nor engaged in a wide public awareness campaign to strengthen the national role of OGP. In response to previous recommendations, the new action plan emphasized implementation-related commitments. The Cabinet of Ministers has reformed the multistakeholder forum, the Coordination Council, to include the most motivated and professional actors and to balance the representation of government entities and the public. The Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers has included CSOs, who were active either during the drafting or during implementation of the national action plan as partners. CSOs had the opportunity to join the open list later. Still, few actors from the private sector joined the initiative as partners. The Coordination Council reduced the number of commitments, making the national action plan more focused and actionable. Not all, but most, of the commitments have a strong potential to reform government practices. In particular, commitments one through nine are essential for ensuring transparency and accountability using digital technology. These commitments have high potential for increasing efficiency, preventing corruption, and improving the country’s international standing.


IV. Commitments 
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All OGP-participating governments develop OGP action plans that include concrete commitments over a two-year period. Governments begin their OGP action plans by sharing existing efforts related to open government, including specific strategies and ongoing programs.

Commitments should be appropriate to each country’s unique circumstances and challenges. OGP commitments should also be relevant to OGP values laid out in the OGP Articles of Governance and Open Government Declaration signed by all OGP-participating countries.[Note81: “Open Government Partnership: Articles of Governance, June 2012 (Updated March 2014 and April 2015),” Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/attachments/OGP_Articles-Gov_Apr-21-2015.pdf.]

What Makes a Good Commitment?

Recognizing that achieving open government commitments often involves a multiyear process, governments should attach time frames and benchmarks to their commitments that indicate what is to be accomplished each year, whenever possible. This report details each of the commitments the country included in its action plan and analyzes the first year of their implementation.

The indicators used by the IRM to evaluate commitments are as follows:

·       Specificity: This variable assesses the level of specificity and measurability of each commitment. The options are:

o   High: Commitment language provides clear, verifiable activities and measurable deliverables for achievement of the commitment’s objective.

o   Medium: Commitment language describes activity that is objectively verifiable and includes deliverables, but these deliverables are not clearly measurable or relevant to the achievement of the commitment’s objective.

o   Low: Commitment language describes activity that can be construed as verifiable but requires some interpretation on the part of the reader to identify what the activity sets out to do and determine what the deliverables would be.

o   None: Commitment language contains no measurable activity, deliverables, or milestones.

·       Relevance: This variable evaluates the commitment’s relevance to OGP values. Based on a close reading of the commitment text as stated in the action plan, the guiding questions to determine the relevance are:

o   Access to Information: Will the government disclose more information or improve the quality of the information disclosed to the public?

o   Civic Participation: Will the government create or improve opportunities or capabilities for the public to inform or influence decisions?

o   Public Accountability: Will the government create or improve opportunities to hold officials answerable for their actions?

o   Technology & Innovation for Transparency and Accountability: Will technological innovation be used in conjunction with one of the other three OGP values to advance either transparency or accountability?[Note82: “IRM Procedures Manual,” Open Government Partnership, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/IRM-Procedures-Manual-v3_July-2016.docx.]

·       Potential impact: This variable assesses the potential impact of the commitment, if completed as written. The IRM researcher uses the text from the action plan to:

o   Identify the social, economic, political, or environmental problem;

o   Establish the status quo at the outset of the action plan; and

o   Assess the degree to which the commitment, if implemented, would impact performance and tackle the problem.

Starred commitments are considered exemplary OGP commitments. In order to receive a star, a commitment must meet several criteria:

  • Starred commitments will have “medium” or “high” specificity. A commitment must lay out clearly defined activities and steps to make a judgement about its potential impact.
  • The commitment’s language should make clear its relevance to opening government. Specifically, it must relate to at least one of the OGP values of Access to Information, Civic Participation, or Public Accountability.
  • The commitment would have a "transformative" potential impact if completely implemented.[Note83: The International Experts Panel changed this criterion in 2015. For more information, visit http://www.opengovpartnership.org/node/5919/.]
  • The government must make significant progress on this commitment during the action plan implementation period, receiving an assessment of "substantial" or "complete" implementation.

Based on these criteria, Ukraine’s action plan contained two starred commitments, namely:

·       Commitment 8: Ensure openness and transparency in public procurement, and

·       Commitment 9: Implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Finally, the tables in this section present an excerpt of the wealth of data the IRM collects during its progress reporting process. For the full dataset for Ukraine and all OGP-participating countries, see the OGP Explorer.[Note84: “OGP Explorer and IRM Data,” Open Government Partnership, http://bit.ly/1KE2WIl.]

General Overview of the Commitments

The commitments cover a broad spectrum of themes, so the best way to group them is by the core open government values.

Actions related to access to information include checking the information of beneficiaries, promoting the transparency of extracting and constructing industries, opening urban planning documentation, and introducing the monitoring of environmental pollutants.

The improvement of the mechanism for verifying information about ultimate beneficial owners aims to help identify relationships. It identifies connections among legal entities and their founders (participants), ultimate beneficial owners (controllers)—including ultimate beneficial owners (controllers) of the founder—and heads of legal entities. The commitment to continue implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Ukraine importantly adds transparency to this profitable sector with high corruption risks. The introduction of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) international standards aimed to ensure the accountability of procurement organizations. It also seeks to open access to information on publicly funded construction work. The construction sector carries high corruption risks; therefore, the highly valuable CoST Initiative can ensure sector transparency and subsequent corruption prevention. The commitment to provide free public access to urban planning documentation aims to contribute to corruption prevention by opening up historically closed documentation.

Concerning civic participation, the commitments intend to develop better public consultations, electronic democracy, and community policing. The commitments in these areas seek to create the mechanisms for more intensive civic engagement in policy making.

The commitments using technology for improving transparency include initiatives to develop tools for a transparent public budget and transparent public procurement, as well as electronic declarations systems.

The plan lists two important commitments focusing on decentralization and expansion of administrative services. However, the commitments’ main focus targets improving government-provided services rather than opening government practices in these areas.  Therefore, these commitments are not clearly relevant to OGP values.


V. General Recommendations 
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Given the need to continue anti-corruption efforts, the next action plan should focus on deepening and expanding the scope of current anti-corruption commitments. While developing the next action plan, the government needs to clearly identify the status quo of the targeted policy areas and communicate the intended change for each commitment.

This section aims to inform development of the next action plan and guide completion of the current action plan. It is divided into two sections: 1) those civil society and government priorities identified while elaborating this report and 2) the recommendations of the IRM.

5.1  Stakeholder Priorities

According to civil society stakeholders, the most fundamental commitments in terms of preventing corruption on a national scale involve the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. They also involve openness and transparency in public procurement, an integrated Transparent Budget information and analysis system, and a functioning system for the filing and publication of asset declarations.

All of these areas contribute to preventing corruption, one of Ukraine’s biggest challenges. Therefore, civil society advises placing these as the highest priorities for further strengthening in relevant commitment sections.

For the next action plan, the IRM researcher advises the government to add commitments that were conceived as legislative actions. The government should also include as commitments projects that were in piloting stages in the current action plan but require implementation and further expansion in the near future. In particular:

·       An automated system of checking e-declarations, synchronized with other state registries like the land cadastre;

·       Accountability mechanisms for public officials submitting e-declarations that reveal violations of law;

·       Full operation of the software and hardware system for the state-level urban planning cadastre;

·       Development and launch of the Transparent Budget system, the launch of the Budget for the Citizens subsystem, and introduction of national participatory budgeting mechanisms;

·       Accountability and enforcement mechanisms for public procurement via the multilateral monitoring group; and

·       Introduction of public consultations for central and local authorities, both offline and online.

Here are other key initiatives:

·       Civil society has been actively advocating the creation of a specialized, independent anti-corruption court, with specialized judges. These judges would be elected by the government, civil society, and international organizations. The court would move forward court cases of top officials, ensure justice, and increase trust in authorities.

·       The financing of political parties has been on the agenda. Civil society has been advocating for limits for a maximum donation from a single person or organization.

·       Civil society has also noted the need to regulate lobbying activity and reform Parliament immunity.

5.2 IRM Recommendations

Make commitments more specific and results oriented

Several commitments lack specificity. Commitment texts do not clearly describe the principles or the content that particular reforms should entail or the process through which the activities would be performed. In the next action plan, the government needs to consider using the suggested format of the OGP Support Unit and adequately identify verifiable activities. Furthermore, to be transformative, the action plan should clearly identify the status quo of the targeted policy areas and communicate the intended change for each commitment.

Involve legislative and judicial branches of government in action plan development

Several OGP commitments require legislative changes, such as Commitment 9 and Commitment 12. Consequently, the IRM researcher recommends the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine involve Parliament and the relevant decision-making committees. These stakeholders should be brought on in the early stages of developing commitments that require legislative action. Moreover, parliamentary committees should proactively hold committee meetings on green papers, instead of waiting for the draft law to be submitted by the government. Beyond that, the OGP process in Ukraine could involve other state agencies, the judiciary branch, and local governments in drafting and implementation.

Create an automated system for verifying e-declarations and sanctioning public officials who violate the law

The system of e-declaring income, property, and expenditures by public officials has several, cumulative components. The government should building upon the web portal developed in the second action plan and the e-declarations registry implemented in the current action plan (Commitment 3). The government should consider creating an automated system for the verification of e-declarations and the sanctioning of public officials who violate the law. Specifically, the following steps could be included in a commitment:

·     According to the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative’s recommendations, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) should be authorized to make its own decisions on procedures and methods of checking declarations. It should not need to register these decisions with the Ministry of Justice.

·     The government should develop an automated verification system or work with civil society organizations to transfer a pre-made system to the NACP. It should take these actions rather than continuing the practice of manually checking declarations. Automation software could check the e-declarations database, and it could link with the other existing databases on property and income, like the land cadastre.

·     The government should implement a mechanism for the public to monitor actions taken against public officials who violate the law.

Prioritize the implementation of the verification system on beneficial ownership

Improving the beneficial owner verification system has seen limited progress. In the next action plan, the government should prioritize the full implementation of this commitment. Thus, it should provide technical support for the development of the software through the continued cooperation between Transparency International Ukraine and the Ministry of Justice.

Include a commitment to develop a user-friendly online system for the monitoring of the budget and public spending

In the fourth national action plan, the government could include a commitment addressing limited budget transparency and accountability within the country, in the context of efforts to improve the quality of public financial management. The Ministry of Finance could commit to an online system that is user friendly and focuses on the visualization and analysis of budget information. The system could also include information on opportunities for the public to engage in budget processes. The DoZorro module and the 007 system could act as models during the development process. DoZorro and 007 monitor public procurement and public spending, respectively. Finally, the government should keep in mind the 2017 Open Budget Survey recommendation to produce and publish a Citizens Budget and midyear review.

Table 5.1: Five Key Recommendations

1

Make commitments more specific and results oriented

2

Involve Parliament in action plan development for commitments that require legislative action

3

Create an automated system for verifying e-declarations and sanctioning public officials who violate the law

4

Prioritize the implementation of the verification system on beneficial ownership

5

Include a commitment to develop a user friendly online system for the monitoring of the budget and public spending


VI. Methodology and Sources 
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VI. Methodology and Sources

The IRM progress report is written by researchers based in each OGP-participating country. All IRM reports undergo a process of quality control to ensure that the highest standards of research and due diligence have been applied.

Analysis of progress on OGP action plans is a combination of interviews, desk research, and feedback from nongovernmental stakeholder meetings. The IRM report builds on the findings of the government’s own self-assessment report and any other assessments of progress put out by civil society, the private sector, or international organizations.

Each IRM researcher carries out stakeholder meetings to ensure an accurate portrayal of events. Given budgetary and calendar constraints, the IRM cannot consult all interested or affected parties. Consequently, the IRM strives for methodological transparency and therefore, where possible, makes public the process of stakeholder engagement in research (detailed later in this section.) Some contexts require anonymity of interviewees and the IRM reviews the right to remove personal identifying information of these participants. Due to the necessary limitations of the method, the IRM strongly encourages commentary on public drafts of each report.

Each report undergoes a four-step review and quality-control process:

1.     Staff review: IRM staff reviews the report for grammar, readability, content, and adherence to IRM methodology.

2.     International Experts Panel (IEP) review: IEP reviews the content of the report for rigorous evidence to support findings, evaluates the extent to which the action plan applies OGP values, and provides technical recommendations for improving the implementation of commitments and realization of OGP values through the action plan as a whole. (See below for IEP membership.)

3.     Prepublication review: Government and select civil society organizations are invited to provide comments on content of the draft IRM report.

4.     Public comment period: The public is invited to provide comments on the content of the draft IRM report.

This review process, including the procedure for incorporating comments received, is outlined in greater detail in Section III of the Procedures Manual.[Note332: IRM Procedures Manual, V. 3, Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/irm-procedures-manual.]

Interviews and Focus Groups

Each IRM researcher is required to hold at least one public information-gathering event. Researchers should make a genuine effort to invite stakeholders outside of the “usual suspects” list of invitees already participating in existing processes. Supplementary means may be needed to gather the inputs of stakeholders in a more meaningful way (e.g., online surveys, written responses, follow-up interviews). Additionally, researchers perform specific interviews with responsible agencies when the commitments require more information than is provided in the self-assessment or is accessible online.

To evaluate the progress of implementation of Commitment 13 on the advancement of e-democracy, the researcher conducted a stakeholder meeting in a focus group format. Via email, the researcher invited stakeholders who signed the memorandum, reportedly participated in discussions, or co-authored the concept paper and action plan for the development of e-democracy. The stakeholder meeting was held 23 August 2017. The four participants were Oksana Gubrenko, Association4U; Nataliia Harashchenko, Club of Economists; Serhiy Karelin, E-Governance for Accountability and Participation (EGAP) Program; and Sofia Sakalosh, Podolian Agency for Regional Development (PARD). The discussion covered the initial problem, objectives, the process of elaborating the document, inclusiveness and scope of discussion, democratic participation, the stage of review of the document, and outcomes.

About the Independent Reporting Mechanism

The IRM is a key means by which government, civil society, and the private sector can track government development and implementation of OGP action plans on an annual basis. The design of research and quality control of such reports is carried out by the International Experts Panel, comprised of experts in transparency, participation, accountability, and social science research methods.

The current membership of the International Experts Panel is

·     César Cruz-Rubio

·     Mary Francoli

·     Brendan Halloran

·     Jeff Lovitt

·     Fredline M'Cormack-Hale

·     Showers Mawowa

·     Juanita Olaya

·     Quentin Reed

·     Rick Snell

·     Jean-Patrick Villeneuve

A small staff based in Washington, DC, shepherds reports through the IRM process in close coordination with the researchers. Questions and comments about this report can be directed to the staff at irm@opengovpartnership.org.

 

Total / Possible

(Percent)

13/16

(81%)

13/16

(81%)

No change

75% of possible points to be eligible