Five years ago, major anti-corruption reforms started in Ukraine. Together with Transparency International Ukraine, we are thinking back to the changes that have touched upon every Ukrainian and have been made possible thanks to successful international experience, the openness of the government and engagement of the civil society.
In Ukraine, services that reduce corruption in various sectors of economy have appeared. The most recognizable one is the electronic public procurement system ProZorro.
The idea to reform the closed and corrupt sphere of public procurement was born back on Maidan. Thanks to the effective cooperation of the government, the business and the public, the idea of procurement digitization has been made into reality. Since August 1, 2016, public institutions and enterprises have been obliged to organize procurement via ProZorro. The system has made information on tenders available to everyone.
On the DOZORRO monitoring portal, everyone can post feedback or lodge a complaint about a tender. Activists look at the feedback and if the violation is confirmed, they will file it with supervisory and law enforcement agencies. Civil control over public procurement works using AI: risk indicators automatically identify suspicious tenders, such as potential conspiracy of bidding participants. This experience remains unbelievable for other countries.
Healthcare services have become more convenient. With the help of the eHealth system, patients can conclude agreements with their GPs. After the successful implementation of the first project stage, TI transferred the system to the Ministry of Healthcare.
The electronic trade system ProZorro.Sale is used to sell the property of insolvent banks and for small-scale privatization. Now everyone can lease or buy public or municipal property. The system has already generated over UAH 20 billion in revenue to the national budget and municipal budgets. It has received an award as the best anti-corruption startup in the world.
During the past five years, full-scale anti-corruption infrastructure has been created in Ukraine. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office investigate and prosecute crimes. The National Agency for Corruption Prevention analyzes officials’ declarations. The Asset Recovery and Management Agency manages corrupt officials’ illegally obtained property. The public, including TI Ukraine’s lawyers, has taken part in development of anti-corruption legislation, helped with recruitment of staff to anti-corruption organizations and oversaw their activity as part of public councils.
In September 2019, the High Anti-Corruption Court came into operation. This landmark event completed the development of anti-corruption infrastructure in Ukraine.
ANTI-CORRUPTION REFORMS IN THE REGIONS
Cities are becoming more convenient for the citizens, and regular Ukrainians are already observing it.
In 2017, Transparency International Ukraine published the Transparency Ranking of 100 Biggest Ukrainian Cities for the first time. It showed the level of citizens’ access to information about the life in their communities.
Publication of the ranking encouraged competition among city councils. Currently, Drohobych is in the lead, but Mariupol is close with less than 1 point of difference between the two. Mayors have understood that a place at the top of the ranking serves as an additional magnet for investors. Thanks to its high score, Mariupol has already gotten EUR 12.5 million to update its public transportation system. And it’s not the only one.
This “race” is useful for all citizens. The work of regional organizations shows that citizens can personally influence authorities. Transparency has grown in cities where activists have had a chance to implement their initiatives.
The level of Mariupol’s transparency grew from 28 points in 2017 to 76.35 points just a year later.
Transparency International Ukraine is raising citizens’ awareness through social advertising on the negative consequences of corruption.
The campaign Corruption Kills has changed the stereotype that corruption is not a crime. Almost half a thousand of city lights “They Would Not Be Silent” across Ukraine persuaded people that there is nothing wrong with blowing a whistle on corruption and encouraged people to report corruption and maybe save somebody’s life that way.
The campaign Corruption Must Be Spotted was aimed against double standards. A lot of people judge corrupt officials and yet are ready to engage in corruption themselves.
In 2017, the campaign I Don’t Bribe highlighted everyone’s personal responsibility for participating in bribery. The creators collected stories of people who do not condone corruption to prove that they are not alone.
UKRAINE ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
Ukraine is sharing its anti-corruption experience with the world. The ProZorro system has received international awards for effectiveness and leadership in open data, and ProZorro.Sale has been awarded as the best anti-corruption startup. World-famous outlets such as Forbes and Wired have written about Ukrainian innovations, and American students in Stanford learn from ProZorro’s experience.
The international initiative Open Government Partnership included Ukraine’s experience with DOZORRO on the list of the best reforms. Moldova, Poland, Indonesia, Nigeria, Armenia and the Philippines are interested in repeating the experience of DOZORRO and ProZorro.
Every year, the global anti-corruption movement Transparency International publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index. It is a global index of countries based on the perception of corruption. Zero points mean that the corruption replaces the government, while 100 points would mean that the government is free of corruption. Each step can bring Ukraine closer to the top. Now, we have 32 points and take 120th place. During the past five years, Ukraine has made good progress and gained 7 points in the ranking.