The title “Life after PC” aims to demonstrate projects which have been implemented in reality
Before May 2019, Institute Respublica and the All-Ukrainian “Active Community” launched 44 public consultations in the cooperation with local councils. They were working on different topics, levels of engagement, and on various spheres of life. Thanks to the “Roadmap for Government” project, citizens have become accustomed to the new instrument and have increasingly become involved in the participation by proposing themes for other public consultation.
A campaign: Roadmap for Government. Started with 44 PC in 21 cities around Ukraine.
The public consultation process is protracted. Therefore, time has to pass in order to see the result. Following are examples of various projects, its developments, and implementations in different cities of Ukraine.
In September 2018, citizens in Sumy agreed to set up a zone with free Internet access in the city. At first, there were 5 suggestions on the “Your Opinion” web site, from which the citizens of the city had to select only one choice. In total, nearly 300 people took part in the public poll. As a result of the consultation, Kozheduba Park earned first place.
Subsequently, in January 2019 a new point of free Wi-Fi was installed in the park. Therefore, residents and guests can enjoy the beauty of the park and immediately post photos on social media.
On December 26, 2018, public consultations were finalized where the participants were discussing to select a name for two squares between the streets of Lesia Ukrainka, T. Shevchenko and I. Franko in Drohobych. The results of these consultations were reviewed by the Standing Committee on education, culture, youth policy, family, sports, tourism, information, health care, labor and social protection of the population. The session of the Drohobych City Council approved the name on the basis of the decision of the executive committee from 21.02.2019. № 44 “On the name of the square”, taking into account the recommendations of the permanent commission of the names of the parks.
As a result, today the square between the streets of I. Franko and Lesia Ukrainka, near the building of the National House of I. Franko, has been named “The Students’”. This option received the strongest support from the residents as a result of the public consultation. Furthermore, the second square between the streets of Ivan Franko and Taras Shevchenko, near the building of the philological faculty of the University of Ivan Franko, was named as “Ivan Franko”. This option received 2nd place based on the results of the PC.
– We are glad that following the results of public consultations, three of the five consultations with citizens have already been implemented. This creates the necessary trust and interaction between the authorities and the community, – Olena Yurkevych, Communication Coordinator of the “Active Community” concluded.
In Dobropillya, in April, the work began on the results of a public consultation which took place in October last year. The authorities asked citizens to agree on to find the best place to install an information screen in the town. During this discussion, about 400 people were involved in the public consultation.
The decision made by the citizens of the city was as follows: with a small difference of 16 votes, citizens decided to place the screen “near the sports complex.” According to the regional coordinator of the All-Ukrainian “Active Community” in Dobropillya, Sergiy Kalinin, thanks to the opening of the stadium and sports complex, the area has recently become one of the most popular places in the city. Therefore, placing an information screen is perceived as beneficial for the city’s residents and its guests as they are well informed about the latest developments of Dobropillya.
Rubizhne (Luhansk region)
In Rubizhne, city authorities listened to the opinion of the community, whose comments were expressed during their first public consultation The active inhabitants of the city expressed their position: to plant other trees instead of the poplars that were damaged by a storm. The main reasons behind the community’s decision were that the popular spreads fluff (an allergen), as well as the tree’s crown, grow very high with a small diameter which often becomes the victim of a thunderstorm.
In the spring of 2019, maple and other tree species (linden tree) were planted instead of the poplars.
– When people chose the option, and the authorities implemented it – then it give a hope for the citizens to further use the public consultation tool and it give them a feeling of a greater involvement to participate in the decision-making processes in their cities, – summarized by the regional coordinator of the All-Ukrainian “Active Community” in Rubizhne, Dmytro Bondarenko.
Altogether, 370 citizens took part in the public consultation. During the online poll, the leaders of the survey were also walnut and lime trees. The discussion lasted till April, and the results were almost immediately implemented.
On March 18, another public consultation was concluded. The discussion was on the election to agree on placing a monument dedicated for the victims of the Holodomor in Uzhgorod. There were 1090 unique members who took part in the consultation, out of which 25 used SMS messages to express their opinion via a platform “Your opinion”.
In general, the votes of the participants in Uzhgorod were divided as follows:
- 487 votes – Tykha st. (Calvary’s foot)
- 355 votes – Independence waterfront (near the medical faculty of UZHNU)
- 119 votes – Heroes st. (Hill of Glory)
- 103 voices – Kapushanska st. (cemetery)
- 15 votes – Friendship of Nations Square (Rotary Park)
- 11 votes – Shevchenko st. (Park of St. Tatiana)
On November 24, 2018, “Candle of Memory” monument was opened on the occasion of the commemoration of the Day of Holodomor victims on the Independence promenade near the medical faculty of UZHNU. The construction of this monument caused a lively discussion among Uzhgorod residents regarding the artistic expression of the idea, and the suitability of the place to honor the victims of the Holodomor.
On May 30, the issue of the transfer was raised during the session of Uzhgorod City Council. The deputies did not support the idea. Thus, the “Candle of Memory” remains to be placed on the waterfront. Although this issue on social networks remains unsolved until today there is a debate about its feasibility and of changing the location.
The path towards adopting democratic instruments is hard and thorny, and it often faces various obstacles. This is exactly the case with public consultations in Kamianets-Podilskyi. At the end of December last year, the “Active Community” team in Kamyanets-Podilskyi presented results of public consultation, in which nearly 400 citizens of Kamyanets participated.
The consultation was about renaming Vatutin Street, which belongs under the Law of Ukraine “On De-communization”. Among all the variants, a notable majority voted to name the street in honor of an opera singer and a volunteer, Vasyl Slipak.
In accordance with the procedure, this result should be adopted by the toponymic commission of the Kamianets-Podilskyi City Council. After half a year of several unsuccessful attempts, the toponymic commission was eventually able to meet and adopt the decision of public consultations. Now, the next step is on the local council, which will consider the decision on renaming the Vatutin street to Vasyl Slipak, on the first Tuesday of September.
In autumn, citizens of Kropyvnytskyi decided on the fate of children’s outdoor sandpits. Based on the results of the public consultation, (attended by 467 people (273 offline and 194 online), 228 (83.5%) citizens expressed their opinion in favor of the variant which would replace the closed roof cover with an installation of a new cover. The rest 45 (16.5%) persons, were in favor of repairing the existing open sandpits instead.
In the spring, the process of reconstruction of sandboxes began, although the local council decided not to vote for a separate decision on the installation of new children’s sandboxes with a covered roof. According to agreements of the political party factions in the City Council, the construction of such sandpits will be carried out through deputy’s funds that are allocated from the local budget for the improvement of playgrounds in electoral constituencies, which are fixed for deputies.
Public consultations are simple and affordable tools for a government to receive information from its citizens about how they see a solution to a particular socially important issue. These consultations are focused on conducting general discussions, where every citizen can speak and influence the final decision.
Benefits for the authorities:
- A simple and accessible method to learn more about the views of the citizens
- Making decisions supported by the community
- An indicator of openness and readiness to take into account the interests of citizens
- An ability to increase the level of confidence among the authorities
Benefits for the public:
- Participation in decision-making processes at the local level
- An ability to express your opinion and see the result of it
- An effective method of influencing the decision of city authorities on the development of the city
- Building a constructive dialogue with the authorities
Additional note: Public consultations are being implemented within the framework of the “Roadmap for Government” project with the support of the National Democratic Institute (NDI).