KYIV - January 21, 2021. What will 2021 be like for the interaction of government and society? What are the trends and expectations? These questions addressed Olga Lopushanska, Deputy Executive Director for Government Relations of the Ukrainian Bar Association, as published by delo.ua.
- Society's demand for real change in the country continues to be high. The demand for professional and effective communication between the authorities, the speed of response to events in Ukraine and the world, the country's reputation in the international arena - all these issues were on the agenda in 2020 and I am sure will remain there in 2021 until resolved.
In 2020, the Ukrainian Bar Association expressed 20 public positions on the resumption of anti-corruption reform, completion of judicial reform, protection of human rights, etc. In terms of statistics, this is a record number of public appeals for the organization. However, from the standpoint of the effectiveness of the government, this indicates that there is something to work on.
Involvement in management decisions
I cannot fail to mention that international organizations have repeatedly drawn attention to the need for the government to interact with the public when developing legislative initiatives.
Unfortunately, the authorities are not always ready to cooperate and are not always consistent in their interaction with civil society.
The real involvement of members of advisory bodies in the preparation and decision-making of the authorities, consultations with stakeholders in the adoption of appropriate decisions should not be an exception, but the norm of the authorities.
Expansion of tools for interaction
Despite the fact that in 2020 a number of crisis phenomena in the state and legal life occurred in Ukraine (institutional crisis, crisis in the judiciary, etc.), steps were taken to expand the tools of interaction between government and stakeholders resulting in adoption of a new version of the Government Regulation. This document pays considerable attention to public consultations. In aadition, the draft law “On Public Consultations” (№ 4254) was registered in the Parliament, supported by the relevant Committee; regular attempts have been made to regulate the institution of lobbying at the legislative level.
Quarantine measures have also affected the ways in which the government and the public interact. Some of the public discussions have gone online. In particular, a number of hearings in parliamentary committees were held using online platforms.
The issue of improving the tools of interaction between government and stakeholders is important for effective and efficient cooperation.
Changing approaches to government communication
Government communication is a primary duty of the state to its citizens. Failure to respond, lack of explanation, public information, prejudice, unverified data, errors – these shortcomings not only negatively affect the distribution of information, but also undermine the authority of the government.
The pandemic situation has once again demonstrated the importance of constructive and timely communication.
I believe that approaches to communication between the authorities should change, be filled with content, respect for people, their rights and freedoms.
I am deeply convinced that cooperation between the government and civil society must be effective. I hope that in 2021 the next steps will be taken in this direction.