Ukraine charts out roadmap for open data development in 2016

Mar 4, 2016

Kyiv, 4 March 2016 – Government officials, civic activists, experts, journalists, and representatives of international organisations gathered to discuss Ukraine’s roadmap for promoting open data development in the country.

A public transport route planner, a crime map with information about crime rates in each region, city, or district, a mobile app with a handbook for emergencies in Donbas and Crimea – these are just a few examples of useful services for citizens that have become available thanks to the opening of government data.

Held on the eve of the International Open Data Day, the public discussion set the ball rolling for open data development and, thus, for government transparency, which is among the key commitments on the reform agenda in Ukraine. Approved by the government on 4 February 2016, the Open Data Roadmap for Ukraine, which is the outcome of the Open Data Readiness Assessment for Ukraine (ODRA) commissioned in 2015 under the support of UNDP, details the government’s plans to move forward with the open data agenda in 2016.  

Complying with the roadmap, Ukraine commits to achieving 41 tasks in five key areas for open data development: improving open data availability and quality, training public authorities to publish open data, strengthening the role of open data in implementing state policy, providing regulatory support, and developing citizens’ capabilities to deal with open data.

Maksym Malashkin, Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, underlined that the Ukrainian government is fully committed to unlocking the data of public bodies.

"The development of open government data is not only aimed at increasing openness, transparency, and effectiveness of the government, but also at developing a powerful industry," said Mr. Malashkin. "Therefore, the roadmap is focused both on improving the capacity to publish open data and raising awareness of the public to access data."

Following the growing request from the public for openness, transparency, and accountability at all levels of society, UNDP became a long-term partner that contributed to the use of open government data at the national level.

Janthomas Hiemstra, UNDP Country Director in Ukraine, lauded the importance of the government’s efforts to increase transparency and integrity in Ukraine.

“Open government is all about people, about bringing the government closer to citizens, about making the governance structures and patterns more transparent and less corrupt, as well as about making data more user friendly and accessible to people,” emphasised Mr. Hiemstra.

For over two years, UNDP has been working with Ukrainian partner organisations to promote open government data as part of the Ukrainian national reform agenda, to raise stakeholders’ awareness on the benefits of open data, to reinforce the political will in the field of opening government data, and to strengthen the public and government support for the development of a favourable legislation on open data.

UNDP’s support activities in the field of open data started as a small pilot initiative on disclosing municipal budgets. It later grew into a national-level initiative to encourage state agencies to disclose public information in the open data format. This process culminated in the adoption of the open data legislation with the subsequent approval of the Cabinet of Minister’s resolution, opening 331 state datasets to the public.

Today, 252 datasets are already available on the Open Data Portal, administered by the State Agency for e-Governance in Ukraine. At the same time, one of the most advanced data portals in the neighbouring country Moldova contains 787 datasets and the United Kingdom – a globally recognized leader in the open data movement – offers over 23,000 datasets to the public domain.

The approval of the roadmap launched during the event was another step made by the government to set the necessary legal and normative precondition for open data development. Now, the key challenge for all stakeholders is to ensure the efficient implementation of the legislation. For this purpose, government institutions should be instructed to publish their data. At the same time, social activists, data journalists, and IT experts should be motivated to make the best use of the government data and to produce socially important applications and tools based on open data.

During the discussion, Andrii Gazin, data journalist of texty.org.ua, illustrated powerful examples of data visualisation and accorded special attention to the growing demand for various kinds of data related to health, environment, economy, society, and crime. “It is crucial for this data to be available in detailed and structured formats. Then, it will be interesting to analyse and visualise it,” concluded Mr. Gazin.

As open data evolves into an increasingly important tool for transparency, Ukraine still has a long way to go in this direction, but it also has a unique opportunity to move forward with the reform agenda.

The event took place under the framework of UNDP’s Democratization, Human Rights and Civil Society Development Project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

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