Open Government: Citizens’ Suggestions on How to Make Government More Open

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Regional consultations on Ukraine’s Open Government Partnership Initiative Action Plan for 2014-2015 were held on June 16 2014. As a result, more than 150 proposals from civil society, local government bodies and activists were gathered and systematised.

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Ukrainian government in the frames of Open Government Initiative in cooperation with civil society and UN Development Program in Ukraine are developing an Action Plan to be implemented in 2014-2015. For the Action Plan to be effective and represent opinions people have throughout the country, the draft document was published and made available for comment on the governmental “Civil Society and Government” website following the link.  Several regional consultations were held on June 3-10 2014. Anyone interested was able to offer his/her own opinion regarding the key Open Governance priorities in the development of Open Governance standards, corruption eradication, access to public information and e-governance.

Representatives of civic coalitions and local governments from 15 regions of Ukraine (Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Volyn, Khmelnytsk, Ternopil, Rivne, Kherson, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kirovohrad, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Poltava, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia) took part in the regional consultations. Over 150 proposals to improve the Action Plan were submitted online.   On June 16 systematized results of consultations were presented in the Cabinet of Ministers at the round table meeting “Open Government Partnership Initiative: what Kind of Action Plan does Ukraine Need?”

Overall, 65 per cent of Action Plan items were supported by people, and only 2 per cent did not gain support. Considering four OGP Action Plan priorities, preferences of the respondents were divided as follows: preventing and combatting corruption – 90 per cent support; improving administrative and social services provision – 85 per cent; promoting activities of civil society institutions engagement in policy development and implementation, and in access to public information – 83 per cent; implementing e-government technologies and developing electronic democracy – 82 per cent.

Citizens agree that corruption eradication and anti-corruption legislation initiatives’ implementation has to be the main priority for the government. Consequently, “Elaboration and Submission of a Draft Law On Corruption Prevention” item gained 95 per cent support. In addition, establishment of a special body dealing with anti-corruption policy and creation of an all-Ukrainian online corruption whistleblower system were the needs voiced by the society.

The open budget and public access to data issues also turned out to be urgent. Open Budget project implementation gained 95 per cent support, establishment of a unified web platform of electronic asset, income and expenditure declarations of public officials gained 92 per cent support. Besides, 90 per cent supported the draft principles of government open data promulgation in the Internet. It was also suggested to introduce a system of online petitions to public bodies that would be obligatory for consideration in case of a certain support by citizens. Besides, civil society suggests obliging all municipalities to create their websites and provide citizen participation on all stages of rates’ formation and assessment of public services’ quality.

Besides, citizens require wider access to the decision-making and public policy forming process. An initiative aimed to develop a draft law of Ukraine On Public Participation in Development and Implementation of State Policies, and in Decision-Making on Matters of Local Significance gained 92 per cent support. There also were a number of recommendations to provide equal access of civil society organizations to participate in civic councils, and free access to sitting of MPs and deputies of all levels.

Measures on establishment of the following three interactive resources turned out to be incomprehensible for citizens: ‘Road Map for E-Democracy Development’, ‘Assessment of E-Readiness of Ukrainian Cities’ and ‘Public Libraries as Bridges to E-Government’.

There were the following recommendations: e-government activities need to be rooted in realistic assessments of how digital the government bodies are; the action items of the initiative need to be explained to the public in the scope of an information campaign etc.

All civil society recommendations have been sent to the government for consideration and inclusion in the final version of Ukrainian Open Government Partnership Action Plan for the next two years.

Regional consultations have been held due to the efforts of Open Government Partnership Coordination Council in Ukraine and support of the UN Development Programme in Ukraine, jointly with Transparency International Ukraine and local civil society organizations.

Ukraine officially joined the Open Government Partnership global initiative on September 11 2011. The initiative was founded by presidents of the USA and Brazil, and now includes 64 countries of the world. The initiative aims to secure member countries’ implementation of certain commitments in public administration transparency facilitation, citizen involvement in decision-making process, corruption eradication, and use of new technologies for improvement of quality of authorities’ decisions.

News Source : Open Government: Citizens’ Suggestions on How to Make Government More Open
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