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Announcing the Open Parliament Action Plan in Ukraine

Julia Keutgen|

 

Friday, February 5th, marked the launch of the Open Parliament Action Plan in Ukraine and the endorsement by parliament of the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness. For Ukraine, the Open Parliament initiative has become a long-awaited opportunity to connect the expectations of civil society for more legislative responsiveness with the commitments for reform by the new Parliament’s Administration and Members of Parliament, on both political and practical levels.

Ukrainian civil society organisations, in cooperation with Parliament, (the Verkhovna Rada) and with the support of UNDP, developed an Open Parliament Action Plan for Ukraine. The document comprises 20 commitments between Parliament and civil society. These commitments will facilitate access to information for citizens, open avenues for citizen engagement into the parliamentary process and ensure public accountability. All these commitments will be facilitated through the use of technology and innovation. The implementation of these commitments will follow the two year timeline set by OGP.

There is much hope that this plan will bring about substantial change in the relationship between the parliament and citizens. “Modernizing the way parliament communicates with citizens is a way to “de-communize” the Parliament, move away from the Soviet approach to informing citizens, and transition to the standards of transparency and openness” stressed Taras Shevchenko, Director of the Media Law Institute.

To date the Parliaments of Chile, France and Georgia have developed an Open Parliament Action Plan and engaged in commitments to reform their institution to become more open, transparent, accountable and responsive to its citizens. Many other parliaments, together with civil society organisations, are currently exploring the opportunity to develop such a plan. These Open Parliament Action plans are not officially part of OGP but a discussion during the SC in May will hopefully acknowledge the full participation of parliaments into OGP.

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