On the 30th of September, the Department of Information and Communication of the Vinnytsia Regional State Administration held a press conference titled "How e-democracy tools will promote citizen participation in the development of Vinnytsia".
Oksana Grechko, project manager for the "Podolian Agency for Regional Development”’s "Laboratory of e-Democracy" program, said that e-democracy and e-governance topics are becoming more popular. According to the UNDP’s 2016 Index of e-governance, Ukraine’s ranking improved by 25 places. Furthermore, in the e-participation index, Ukraine improved from 77th (2014) to 32nd (2016). This is primarily due to the fact that Ukraine has implemented an e-petition system with the office of the President of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada, and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (August 2016). A general system of local e-petitions was also established.
However, despite the positive changes (such as accession to the International Charter for Open Data), the level of e-democracy awareness, its implementation, and use of e-democracy tools, is quite low.
Yurii Levchenko, main specialist of the Department of Information Technologies in the Vinnytsia City Council, said that the Vinnytsia region is one of the leading regions for innovation and communication with the authorities through the use of e-democracy tools. He went on to describe the resources allocated for local electronic petitions. Since the introduction of local e-petitions within the framework of the EGAP project in Vinnytsia, more than 440 applications for collective resources have been received. If a petition reaches the necessary 350 signatures, it is then considered a collective appeal. A total of 193 collective appeals have already been submitted.
In addition, Vinnytsia has begun adding public initiative projects to the budget. It is possible for both physical and legal entities to submit both small (up to 200 000 UAH) and large projects (from 200 000 UAH to 1 million UAH). Following the submission of project ideas, the Commission and the public select the best projects. They are to be implemented within 1 year.
Recently, the first nationwide competition of IT projects in the field of e-democracy - EGAP Challenge was held by the State Agency for e-government and the East Europe Foundation under the framework of the EGAP Programme. It is pleasant to note that among the 16 finalists, 5 were from Vinnytsia.
One of the projects - a service called the "Transliteration of cities", strives to correct the incorrect naming of settlements and ensure they appear correctly online. This service will improve the efficiency and quality of internet resource data. The «EcoCitizens» project, one of the EGAP Challenge winners, was presented by Oleg Sidoruk, a student of Vinnytsia National Technical University and Chairman of the Scientific Student Association of Vinnytsia National Technical University. The essence of the project is to create a system of environmental monitoring through the development of special sensors. The «EcoCitizens» project is based on geolocation, the internet, and free hardware and software for data collection and sharing.
The "Laboratory for Electronic Democracy" project, is a 2 year project. The first four months included a School of E-democracy, the international "E-Democracy for Change" forum, and an E-democracy Camp, which was attended by 50 representatives of 24 Ukrainian cities. The project also served as an educational resource, so during the summer and autumn e-democracy workshops were held in Vinnytsia (6) and the Vinnytska region (6).