These meetings are aimed to establish a dialogue between representatives of the donor community and people's deputies of Ukraine on most crucial issues and challenges in parliamentary development.
USAID RADA Program’s Deputy Chief of Party Tetiana Bibik presented to the participants including representatives of the profile Parliament committees with whom the Program cooperated, people's deputies and their assistants, heads of departments of the Verkhovna Rada's Secretariat, achievements, products and instruments developed jointly by Program and Secretariat during last five years.
The second issue in agenda was a presenation of priority areas and ways for further cooperation between technical assistance programs and the Verkhovna Rada Secretariat, in particular, in support of the implementation of the E-parliament strategy by 2020.
As Tetyana Bibik noted, despite the still not very high level of citizens' confidence in Parliament, changes in Parliament are taking place. And these changes are very positive. In particular, these changes were initiated USAID RADA Program initiatives. These changes are happening due to the importance of continious daily monitoring and expert work of NGOs and other technical assistance programs.
"Parliament is changing due to public and technical assistance programs influence: only 28% of parliamentarians rated the work of public organizations as effective at the start of the USAID RADA Program. Now, in five years, according to the results of a poll conducted by KIIS among the deputies of the 8th convocation, 68% already consider this monitoring work of NGOs as effective. "
During the meeting a video highlighted USAID RADA activities and achievements was broadcasted to participants
Among the most important achievements of the program it’s worth to highlight the following
results of the flagship project "model district", which introduced the latest innovations in to increase effective communication between deputies, voters and local authorities
Improvement of understanding and implementing Parliament’s control function (through the use and dissemination of such tools as the Government's hour, appeals and requests by deputies, the creation of such a precedent as alternative “shadow”reports to present alternative opinion on important issues for citizens initiated by the USAID RADA partner, Agency for Legislative Initiatives. Development and conductin of the training program on policy analysis, advocacy campaigns - these tools also contributed to strengthening the control function.
Within the framework of its, USAID Program also participated in the elaboration and implementation of two important strategies of the Verkhovna Rada: the communication strategy and strategy of the E-Parliament till 2020.
In addition, the Program transfered the methodology for implementing several important initiatives to the Secretariiat of the VRU, in particular, the mechanism for organizing and conducting of all the stages of the Youth Internship Program in the Parliament and conducting information fairs - platforms for cooperation between the VRU, experts from NGOs and technical assistance projects.
The latest sociological survey conducted by KIIS at the request of the Program, named most priority areas o for further parliament development, defined by the People's Deputies. These areas are in line with our next task, including improving electronic interaction between voters and parliament, involving them into legislative process through the use of new electronic tools.
In the framework of our joint work with the VRU Secretariat, the Program pays much attention to the development of the electronic parliament. That is why the second part of the meeting was devoted to discussing the situation and prospects of the development of the e-parliament in accordance with the strategy approved in summer of 2018.
Oleksiy Sydorenko, Head of Computerized Systems Department of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, presented the status of the strategy, which was officially signed in July and was developed with the support from East Europe Fopundation expertise within USAID RADA Program activities.
Among the main theses raised by Oleksay Sydorenko:
the strategy is designed to implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Cox Mission, it anticipates the digitization of all major processes that take place both in the work of the Secretariat and during the plenary session, the work of the parliamentary committee, the work of each deputy.
Vision of the strategy of e-parliamentarism: the means of ICT should help all employees of the Verkhovna Rada's Secretariat, People’s deputies in their work in order to make the parliament more transparent and effective in its interaction with citizens.
Among the main achievements on which the development of strategy was based was a lot of work done together with the Secretariat and USAID RADA Program. In particular, it refers to the system of e-petitions and the Citizens-Rada Legislative Discussion E-Platform. In particular, on the VRU website 388k of citizens authorized as users of electronic resources and tools, 2047 petitions were created, 7 received the necessary number of votes for consideration by the Parliament, recently one of the petitions was adopted as a resolution, and 1122, which did not get the required 25 thousand, but scored the appropriate number of voices, became e-appeals, and were reviewed as E-queries wuthin the deadline
About 20 bills from various committees have been placed for public commenting at portal for discussing of bills. Among the important functions of the portal: it automatically generates a comparative table. Such a portal is very innovative not only for Ukraine but also for the EU, as recognized by members of the profile committee of the European Parliament
E-queries and requests for public information can now be processed automatically by the VRU Secretariat through the voter's cabinet, if the appeal is signed by the difital signature.
However, many important tasks that require both technical expertise and funding are still within the framework of the Strategy's implementation. Oleksiy Sidorenko has highlighted to the representatives of donor organizations main areas where methodological, expert and financial assistance are needed. These arfeas include development of the prototype of the new RADA system, the digitalization of the work of the committees, conducting of an electronic plenary meeting, building up the capacity of the already established authorized system for committees and expanding the functionality for the work of deputies.
In 2019, the need for purchasing tablets for deputies of the 9th convocation and the purchase of an online communication system for committees that require communication with profile committees from other countries are foreseen by the budget.
In addition, the chairman of the secretariat of the profile parliamentary committee, Mr. Oleksandr Starynets who also participated in the event, in his speech also emphasized on importance of continuing effective cooperation on issues of digitalization of the whole country, the importance of raising the level of digitization and e-document circulation in the lawmaking process, which can not be done without changes in the Parliamentary regulations.