Put to heads of local government, the question “why do we need openness?” may at first seem simple, but when pursued further, cuts to the heart of key issues facing the ongoing development of open government strategies at the local level in Ukraine. It was with this question that Drago Kos, Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions, opened the round table session “Open local government: a driver for resilient democratic societies” at the XV Ukrainian Municipal Forum on 19 June 2019 in Odesa, Ukraine.
In his presentation, Drago Kos highlighted the importance of increasing transparency in everyday governance by engaging with mayors and underlining the direct benefits that open government practices can bring to their constituencies. While it can pose its own challenges in local politics, promoting transparency and accountability is a long-term investment in building public trust, which is not only fundamental in combatting corruption but also in the interests of local elected representatives seeking re-election.
In the Declaration agreed at the end of the “Day of the Congress”, local elected representatives, members of the Association of Ukrainian Cities committed to further develop and implement strategies and mechanisms to engage citizens in local decision-making processes in an open, democratic, inclusive and participatory manner.
The Congress and the Association of Ukrainian Cities will continue to closely co-operate to further promote the inclusion of local authorities into the design, implementation, monitoring and impact of Ukraine’s commitments to the Open Government Partnership.
The “Day of the Congress” is organised jointly with the Association of Ukrainian Cities within the XV Ukrainian Municipal Forum, and as part of the project “Strengthening democracy and building trust at local level in Ukraine”. Implemented by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2018-2021, the project aims to improve the quality of local democracy in Ukraine by strengthening institutional frameworks and by supporting local authorities and their national associations in their efforts to promote ethical decision-making and more citizen-oriented, responsive and transparent local governance.