On March 24, 2012, the President of Ukraine adopted a Strategy of Government Policy for Civil Society Development. The Strategy was developed by experts under the leadership of the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research, and most of expert proposals were included in the final text of the Strategy.
According to the Strategy, the major aim of new government policy for civil society development shall be to create a favorable environment for the further development of civil society and the protection of human rights.
Among objectives of the Strategy are the following:
- To harmonize Ukrainian legislation pertaining to CSOs with relevant European standards;
- To attain the utmost openness and transparency and accountability of state executive bodies and local self-government bodies;
- To ensure participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the decision-making process and implementation of policies on national and local levels;
- To delegate certain competencies in social and humanitarian spheres from executive bodies to CSOs (through contracting of social services and financial support of initiatives that comply with objectives of government policies);
- To support different forms of local democracy; and
- To provide resources for sustainable CSO activities (including through stimulating taxation).
All central and local executive bodies are responsible for implementation of the Strategy.
To improve implementation of the Strategy, the Coordinating Council for civil society development under the President of Ukraine* is given the power to develop yearly implementation plans for the Strategy. Each executive body will be required to implement the plans that fall under their competency.
The Coordinating Council also has the power to: monitor the implementation of the Strategy and the plans; to propose changes to the Strategy and plans; to develop and provide expertise and proposals for draft Presidential Decrees and draft laws pertaining to civil society development; and to initiate public hearings on draft legal acts pertaining to civil society development.
The adoption of the Strategy is a positive development. The Strategy clearly defines the state’s obligations in terms of civil society development, includes of civil society development issues into all executive body agendas, and tasks all executive bodies with developing and implementing transparent procedures for citizen participation.
* The Council was established on January 25, 2012 by President’s Decree # 32/2012 “Issues of civil society development in Ukraine”. The aim of the Coordinating council is to provide assistance to the President and to coordinate activities of executive bodies within government policy for civil society development.
Members of the Council are heads of central executive bodies and regional government administration, heads of parliamentary committees, heads of scientific institutions and representatives of the public. Public part of the Council includes representatives of think tanks, rights-protection organizations, international donor institutions, associations of local self-governance bodies, ecological organizations, charitable funds et cetera.