Kyiv, 12 March 2014 – a meeting was held at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center at the initiative of the Renaissance Foundation and a group of expert organizations which brought together over 30 representatives of donor organizations and public authorities to discuss a mechanism for the effective engagement of experts to developing and implementing government reforms.
“Given the great number of independent expert initiatives, there is an urgent need for high quality, productive coordination of expert efforts. No less urgent is the need to establish a direct dialog between the expert community and the officials from the Cabinet, ministries and departments. EU and US experts are already working on a sort of a Marshall Plan for Ukraine, and Ukrainian experts must be involved in order to ensure the efficiency of this plan”, said one of the initiators of the coordination meeting Yevgen Bystrytskyi, commenting on the tasks of the meeting.
“Quasi-civil society organizations that previously existed within the executive authorities don’t work”, said Yulia Tyschenko (Ukrainian Independent Center for Political Studies). Ostap Semerak, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, agreed with her, stressing that the government, which is now implementing the 100 Days – 100 Steps program, is very interested in engaging the Ukrainian expert community to developing the reforms. According to Mr. Semerak, one of the tools for this is the institute of governmental committees envisaged by the newly updated Cabinet Procedures and Regulations. Four governmental committees are now being formed, said the Minister.
“After 100 days of work, we not only want to have a ready plan of reforms, but we also want some real changes to happen. This is why in the new Procedures and Regulations we have significantly reduced the time for approval of decisions by the executive authorities, which used to be 194 days”, said Mr. Semerak. Speaking about the expert control over the work of the new government, the minister said that ‘total’ control was required.
NGO’s and expert organizations are already working on a package of reforms for the new government. More specifically, a civil initiative called Reanimation Reforms Package has already been launched which brings together experts and which is already working with the ministries and Verkhovna Rada committees within 15 task forces. Maksym Latsyba (UCIPR), one of the participants of such task forces, has reported on the first results of cooperation: “Ministry of Economy Pavlo Sheremeta has issued an order to provide public access to all public procurement information on a governmental web portal.”
Participants of the coordination meeting agreed to establish and formalize a forum for a full-fledged interaction between experts and authorities, both the executive and the legislature.
Apart from the expert support in developing reforms, analytical centers offer their assistance in reforming the government itself. Anatoliy Pinchuk (Ukrainian Strategy) said: “Ministerial staffing is not about individuals, but rather about the incentive system. How does one motivate qualified personnel to join the government and provide them with good standard of living without corrupt schemes? We need to offer a model of a new government where public officer’s salary will depend of the gross national product or other indicators. It necessary to cut the staff by more than a half. No reform will work until the essence of the governmental authorities is changed.”