New Report on Ukraine Finds Progress in Access to Information, but More Efforts are Needed in Government Accountability

Contact: Dmytro Kotlyar, dmytro.kotliar@gmail.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.- A new Open Government Partnership (OGP) Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) report on Ukraine finds that despite recent political turmoil, notable progress has been made in passing laws to improve access to government held information. However, more efforts are needed to improve government accountability.

The report finds that significant progress was made in a number of areas, even in the midst of a difficult political situation between the period of December 2014 through September 2015. Specifically, big strides were made in improving access to government held information:

  • Parliament passed a law that provides public access to communist-era archives which have been closed for decades.

  • Legal acts were passed that require various government agencies to publish their information in open data format on their websites and on the government’s central open data portal, starting with over 300 priority data sets.

  • A new law was passed requiring the publication of government expenditure data including real time treasury transactions on a single web portal, and implementation of the law is well on track.

  • An Open City website was developed which allows citizens to report problems of local infrastructure. The website now functions in 18 cities.

  • A draft law was submitted to the parliament that would improve the oversight of access to public information.

Additionally, the report notes that the Ukrainian government has done well in keeping to the schedule outlined in its second National Action Plan. One year into implementation, it has completed 6 of 26 commitments and has made substantive progress on 11.

“Ukraine’s progress in creating a solid legal basis for improving access to information, corruption prevention mechanisms, and bringing citizens in government decision making is truly impressive, especially considering the political difficulties following the revolution,” said Joseph Foti, Program Director of the Independent Reporting Mechanism, “The next chapter of the story will be the one to watch. All of these new laws will need to be turned into real actions on the ground.”

Although Ukraine was successful in meeting many of its transparency commitments, the country fell short in delivering on promises made to improve government accountability and fight corruption. Specifically, the government is well behind schedule in developing a single portal for electronic asset disclosure of public officials. They have also stalled a law that would regulate administrative procedures that would address administrative corruption.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Dmytro Kotlyar, an independent expert specializing in open government and anti-corruption in Ukraine added, “To truly tackle the systemic corruption that has long plagued Ukraine, improvements are needed in government accountability. Moving forward, Ukraine needs to further open public contracting, including in publicly owned enterprises, and bring more transparency to natural resource extraction. Open government principles and mechanisms should be extended to the parliament and the judiciary.”

In order to more effectively implement the laws that have been passed, the report recommends that Ukraine prioritize more feasible commitments in their next action plan and increase its focus on public accountability and anti-corruption, in particular, by enforcing a system of electronic disclosure so that public officials’ assets are verifiable.

Reflecting on Ukraine’s progress, Joe Powell, Acting Executive Director of OGP noted, "The Open Government Partnership provides an opportunity for reformers in Ukraine to learn from others around the world. It can help accelerate the reform effort, and give space to civil society. The international community should now intensify support for open government efforts in Ukraine."

LAUNCH EVENT DETAILS:

The Ukrainian IRM progress report will be presented Monday, March 21st at the Club of the Cabinet of Ministers in Kyiv, Ukraine located at 7, Institutska Str at 12:00- 3:00pm.

The launch event is organised by the Government of Ukraine Secretariat in cooperation with the UNDP Office in Ukraine and Transparency International Ukraine, with the support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and the UK Embassy in Ukraine.

 

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

For more information and to read all the progress reports, please go to www.opengovpartnership.org/irm

For media inquiries: Madaleine Weber, Communications Officer, Open Government Partnership Support Unit, mweber@opengovpartnership.org

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About Open Government Partnership and Independent Reporting Mechanism:

OGP is a partnership of 69 governments and hundreds of civil society organizations working to make government more accountable to their citizens. At the core of OGP are national action plans which are composed of government commitments to improve transparency, open up decision-making, and make officials answerable to the public. In order to monitor progress and encourage continued momentum on the two year National Action plans, OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) team publishes annual reports that provide an assessment of countries’ progress in successfully implementing their commitments. Reports are carried out for each country by a national researcher of that country. Ukraine joined OGP in 2011 and is half way through its second action plan. The Ukrainian Progress Report was was prepared by Dmytro Kotlyar, an independent expert specializing in open government and anti-corruption. The report reviews the period from December 2014 through September 2015.

MEDIA CONTACT: Madaleine Weber, Communications Officer, Open Government Partnership Support Unit mweber@opengovpartnership.org

Filed Under: Research