E-declaration is a real breakthrough in Ukrainian reforms

31 Oct 2016

By Janthomas Hiemstra, UNDP Ukraine Country Director

Today it is crystal clear: what is happening right now in Ukraine is a real breakthrough in reforms and especially in the critical fight against corruption. We are sure on this, even while we recognize that some officials did not submit their electronic declarations and others may have made mistakes in the process. The full results of the e-declaration system launch, its successes and failures, and its real impact will be seen only after some time, maybe even in a year or two.

Yet, some results are already confirmed: yes, Ukraine has done it! Yes, Ukraine can produce real and spectacular reform! Yes, Ukraine can introduce the highest standards and make visible change in an area that was widely acknowledged as an ugly stain on the country’s image.

These achievements reflect the efforts of everyone with good will – parliamentarians, civil servants and the government, civil society, the international community. It was a partnership of those who wanted Ukraine to be a success story, a modern country with clean accounts, with representatives of the state that have a clean conscience.

As we learnt some hours ago more then 100 000 e-declarations were filled in and submitted to the system. The system may not be the easiest and most user-friendly in the world but it was able to manage the flow of declarations without a breakdown. Now everyone has access to the information about assets and revenues of officials as foreseen by the law № 1022-VIII adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on 15 of March this year.

We in the UN have been closely following discussions inside of the Ukrainian political circles and within civil society: where we have been asked to contribute, we have paid attention to the concerns expressed by different sides. We have said from the beginning: while adopting different technical or legal shortcuts, Ukraine should not compromise on the fundamentals – it takes quality systems and the genuine political will of Ukrainians and their leadership to fight corruption.

Now experts and citizens have started examining the declarations. Yes, there will be scandals, allegations, accusations and there will also be legitimate explanations. It can only be so, when such profound change touches so many influential citizens. I am confident this is a healthy process for Ukraine’s democracy. The most important message will be to stay on the path of change, to rebuild trust between the state and society, and to use this country’s tremendous resources for the benefit of all, not just a few.

Progress in the declaration of assets makes even more urgent the work to bring all elements of anti-corruption up to standard, to ensure the rule of law is objective, independent in every respect of any possible interference and applied equally to all. For some years to come, Ukraine will face the challenge to pursue full clean-up.

Success will come with determined action and consistency of purpose. We, as international community and international organizations supporting Ukraine, will remain squarely behind the people of Ukraine on this ambitious path into a better future.

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