Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Kristina Kvien at the 2019 Open Data Forum

September 20, 2019

Доброго дня!  Good morning everybody.  I’m afraid I don’t even have as much Ukrainian as the Ambassador from Great Britain, but I hope I can still share my thoughts with you in English.

Thank you for the opportunity to join you today.  It’s really wonderful to be here today among so many young and innovative people, although it does make me feel a little old and old-fashioned.  So I’m very happy to be here, especially with such a young and dynamic minister, who I think has a lot of great ideas taking Ukraine forward.

The U.S. Government is proud to support Ukraine in implementation of fundamental Open Data reforms, because we all share a common goal: transparent and efficient government.

Access to information is critical in a democratic society.  It allows journalists and civil activists to do their jobs.  It allows businesses to make informed decisions.  And it allows citizens to exercise their rights.

We’re pleased to see that Ukraine has been making progress to provide its people more access to government information.  And we’re proud to support Ukraine in these efforts through our program with USAID.

Starting in 2016, the U.S. Agency for International Development partnered with the government of Ukraine to develop an open data road map to identify data sets to be opened to the public.  Later, regulations were passed to require government institutions to make those previously closed data sets open.

This access to information makes a difference.

For example, on the quality of water in Ukraine’s rivers and lakes, data has been collected for decades by the government, but hadn’t been previously accessible to the public. Today, as a result of our collaboration with the government of Ukraine, this data is online, and citizens and environmental groups can access it to make better informed decisions about water quality.

Meanwhile, opening data paved the way for the expansion of e-services, which are now a driver to help prevent corruption, as we heard from the minister recently.

Ukraine has received well-deserved recognition for its success in open data efforts. And according to a recent international study, Ukraine has the most developed open data ecosystem in eastern Europe.  That’s important.

It takes a big team to achieve these great results: strong Ukrainian government leadership and support, a robust civil society, private sector involvement, regional networks, and international partners.

I hope you all take advantage of today’s forum, and the opportunity it presents to push your agenda forward.  By identifying additional ways to open data to the public, you, and Ukraine as a whole, will promote accountability, an efficient government, and a thriving democracy.  Thank you very much. Дякую!