The Ukrainian Parliament, the “Verkhovna Rada”, has endorsed the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness to promote and enhance transparency in the parliamentary process.
Launched in 2012, the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness is a set of shared principles “on the openness, transparency and accessibility of parliaments supported by more than 140 organizations from over 75 countries”, said OpeningParliament.org, the project’s platform. OpeningParliament.org defines itself as “a call to national parliaments, and sub-national and transnational legislative bodies, by civil society parliamentary monitoring organizations (PMOs) for an increased commitment to openness and to citizen engagement in parliamentary work”.
Civil society to monitor Parliament’s performance
By endorsing this Declaration, the Ukrainian parliament must now take action to improve transparency and accountability and to increase public access to information, as stated in the text of the principles. There will also be a focus on “citizen inclusion in parliamentary processes, financial accountability and ensuring convenient usage of the parliament’s web portal”, OpeningParliament.org wrote on its blog.
Members of Ukrainian civil society will help the parliament to monitor the implementation of the measures and the performance of the public institution. The Media Law Institute, a Ukrainian civil society organization, will be among them.
As stated in the blog, some steps have already been taken to promote and increase transparency in parliamentary processes in Ukraine. For example, in 2014, citizens were allowed to sit in the Ukrainian Parliament for the first time. Information about MPs’ assistants and property are now publicly available.
However, OpeningParliament.org said there is still room for improvement: “Despite newly adopted amendments to the law that guarantee the right of NGO representatives to attend sittings of parliamentary committees, there are committees that ignore the law and do not allow citizens in without special passes.”