Training on the Use of E-Democracy Tools in Volyn Oblast

The experts of the Political Analysis and Election Consulting Center and the Local Development Foundation spoke on the nature of working with e-democracy platforms and e-governance tools, the most popular e-democracy tools in Ukraine and in Volyn Oblast, as well as the prospects for their future improvement and use, during the training seminar called Special Aspects of Working with E-Democracy Platforms and E-Governance Tools.

The event took place on Wednesday, May 18, within the auspices of the Electronic Governance for Government Accountability and Community Participation (EGAP) program. The participants included city council members and their assistants, as well as heads and employees of local government and self-governance agencies of Volyn Oblast.

During the event, Mykhailo Nakhod, head of the Political Analysis and Election Consulting Center, talked about the most popular areas of electronic democracy in the world, Ukraine, and in Volyn Oblast, as well as the reasons for government agencies to develop electronic democracy tools.

In particular, according to the expert, the most popular electronic democracy tools in the world are e-parliament, e-legislation, e-voting, e-elections, e-referendum, e-justice, e-petitions, e-initiatives, e-consults, e-surveys, e-education, e-ecology, e-transportation, e-security, and open data.

In Ukraine, popular electronic democracy tools include Petitions to Parliament and the President, Verkhovna Rada’s Open Data Portal, Unified State Open Data Portal, ProZorro Public Procurement Portal, E-Data Official Public Finance Portal, and Posipaky Open Database of the Aides People’s Deputies.

As regards the regional level, the tools most widely used in Volyn Oblast are: draft regulations and local self-governance regulations, electronic kindergarten waiting lists (Lutsk), online broadcasts of city council meetings (Lutsk), multimedia automated complex for monitoring and managing public transport (Lutsk), Unified Local Petitions System (Lutsk, Kovel, Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Zhovtneve, Zhydychyn, etc.), Open City (Lutsk), and Unified System of Community Initiatives (Lutsk).

“Why should government agencies develop electronic democracy tools in communities? First of all, this is an imperative of time. Today, there are more people online than on the streets. The second reason is to promote trust in the government and give a positive signal for investors. Another reason is increasing the transparency of local self-governance bodies and demonstrating the government’s goodwill to cooperate with  citizens”, said Mykhailo Nakhod.

The special features and operation results of Open City and Unified Local Petitions System platform were discussed during the seminar by Volodymyr Pavliuk, the national moderator of the respective platforms.

According to the expert, the Open City platform was created for cooperation between citizens, local government agencies, municipal enterprises, local development agencies, community associations, charities, and the business community in order to resolve the relevant community problems. As regards the Unified Local Petitions System, its distinctive feature is helping local self-governance bodies comply with the provisions of the Electronic Petitions Law No. 577-VIII of July 02, 2015.

“The Open City project currently covers 27 cities, whereas the Unified Local Petitions System has already been joined by 58 local self-governance agencies. Besides, the Unified Community Initiatives System is already working in Lutsk”, said Volodymyr Pavliuk.

Petro Verzun, head of the Local Development Fund NGO, told attendees about the essence and tasks of the EGAP Program, as well as about the activities planned under the Electronic Governance for Government Accountability and Community Participation project.

Roman Matviichuk, Expert on electronic democracy and electronic governance, head of the project “Administrative Services Centers as an Innovative Tool for Cooperation between the Government and the Community”, mentioned the advantages of using the E-Data official public finance portal, Open Budget portal, ProZorro electronic public procurements system, and explained the procedure for using them.

In conclusion, Mykhailo Nakhod spoke about the start of the EGAP Challenge and invited those present to take part in it. The challenge is intended to implement new electronic democracy tools to help citizens receive new high-quality services, cooperate with the government efficiently and directly influence it, and help the government reach a new level of transparency and efficiency.