Ukraine: Presentation of Open Parliament Initiative's Progress Report

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As a result of cooperation between MPs, the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the VRU Secretariat, other governmental authorities, OPORA Civil Network, CHESNO Movement, Transparency International Ukraine, Eidos Center, and Media Law Institute with the support of UNDP, the Open Parliament Initiative managed to achieve a lot over the first three months of hard work:

- publishing MPs' inquiries and responses to them on the VRU website
External visitors of the Verkhovna Rada website have access to the MPs' inquiries in a scanned form (4,930 out of 8,000) and to the responses to them (all 2,395 are available). The Supervision Department which administers this resource is planning to publish the rest of inquiries shortly (delay is caused by the processing of personal data);

- developing a mechanism for publishing MPs' appeals
The system "MPs' appeals" publishing the texts of the appeals on the website was launched on 8 April 2016 (provided that every MP gives their consent). So far, 66 MPs have given their consent to the publication of their appeals;

- adding a section "Progress" to the information cards of draft laws on the VRU website: it will cover the "history" and results on the progress of draft laws;

- providing special rooms at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for persons who requested public information to work with documents
The addresses of such rooms: 3 Sadova St., office 820, office 628; 6-8 Bankova St., office 202; 18/2 Hrushevskoho St., office 33;

- publishing a staffing table of the Verkhovna Rada's Secretariat and, partially, the financial information
The information has been published as open data on the website. It is being negotiated whether it could include the names of the employees as well.

- developing a separate Open Data Portal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Currently, the Open Data Portal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine includes the following datasets in csv, json, and xml formats: MPs (ІІ– VIII convocations), draft laws (III–VIII convocations), legislative framework, plenary meetings (III–VIII convocations), financial and administrative information, and organizational structure of the Verkhovna Rada's Secretariat;

- developing additional resources on activities of MPs, legislative process as well as Zakonoproekt mobile application
With the help of rada4you.org, it is possible to find out and analyse whether the MPs vote consistently for the draft laws on a particular topic (e.g. open data, visa-free regime, President's political course), whether the MPs are regularly attending plenary meetings, and whether the factional discipline maintained. The resource contains all votes of the Ukrainian Parliament of the 8th convocation since November 2014; all data have been collected from the official portal of the Verkhovna Rada.

Zakonoproekt mobile application allows to filter the draft laws by the specialized committee or by the initiator and to track changes for each specific draft law. Users will receive information about the status of the selected draft laws: registration of draft laws, receipt of committees' opinions, results of voting at the session hall, and final adoption of law.

"For years, the Ukrainian Parliament has been a closed institution, and citizens did not see what parliamentarians were doing, how they lived, which governmental benefits they used. This shameful practice must end. We must stop button-punching, lobbying through parliamentary inquiries and appeals, funding governmental media that are merely promoting particular politicians. Therefore, as an MP, I am grateful to the Open Parliament Initiative for opening the parliament to the voters. I would really like to see the Verkhovna Rada become a pilot project, so that other governmental agencies will also become open one by one to ensure that every citizen knows what the taxpayers' money is spent on," says MP Anna Romanova.

Also, an active awareness and advocacy campaign to endorse the draft law No. 1895 which imposes penalties for button-punching (non-personal vote of MPs) is in progress.

"We have initiated collection of MPs' signatures in support of this draft law. So far, we have collected 165 signatures. We aim to collect more than 226 signatures to demand that the leaders of the Parliament put the draft law on the agenda as soon as possible and endorse it in the second reading," emphasizes Oleksandra Kryvoruchko, Projects Coordinator at CHESNO.

Full text of the Open Parliament Initiative's report is available here.

This initiative is supported by the Democratization, Human Rights and Civil Society Development Programme in Ukraine, implemented by UNDP and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

source: http://dhrp.org.ua/en/news/1234-20160520-en