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Ukrainian Parliament endorses the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness

Nadiia Babynska|

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine officially declared the 5th of February as a Day of Ukrainian Parliamentary Openness, announced during the presentation and adoption of Ukraine’s Open Parliament Action Plan.

On that day, the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Groysman, signed an order to officially endorse the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness. Thus, Ukraine joined the global movement “to enhance transparency of representative legislative bodies and aiming to ensure readiness of Parliament to invite citizens into decision-making, make legislative processes clearer and easier to understand and provide more tools for interaction”, as it is written in the recently adopted Open Parliament Action Plan for Ukraine.

The Open Parliament Action Plan for Ukraine was developed by OPORA, CHESNO,Transparency International Ukraine, Center for Political Studies and Analysis, and Media Law Institute together with MPs and the support of UNDP in Ukraine. These NGOs have been working on expanding parliament openness in Ukraine for many years and now, with the Action Plan in place, their work has common platform for coordination.

The process of the Open Parliament Action Plan for Ukraine started after Ukrainian civil society, UNDP, and MPs of Ukrainian Parliament attended the Legislative Openness Working Group conference in Tbilisi, Georgia last September. At the conference, Ukrainian activists and parliamentarians learned more about legislative openness action plans and their implementation in various countries. In particular, the Georgian experience provided guidance and motivation.

Ukraine’s success in this area is due to the political leadership of MP Svitlana Zalishchuk, the dedicated work of legal expert Sofia Kovach, and the coordination of UNDP, OPORA, TI Ukraine, and Chesno Movement, all of whom are supporters of the Declaration and members of the OpeningParliament network.

After dozens meetings, hours of discussion and consultation, we finalized the Open Parliament Action Plan for Ukraine with 20 commitments that Parliament and civil society will implement together during next two years (2016-2017). The primary areas of focus are:

  1. access to information,
  2. involvement of citizens in the parliamentary process,
  3. accountability, and
  4. technology and innovation.

All these commitments were accepted by the Ukrainian Parliament. The special Monitoring group consisting of PMOs, MPs, and the Parliament’s Administrative Office was established for monitoring, consulting and implementing the Open Parliament Action Plan. 

The plan was designed to advance public interest and broaden participation in the legislative processes in Ukraine. If the challenges of political instability can be overcome, the plan will help ensure that the Ukrainian Parliament is as open and its processes are as transparent and understood as possible.

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