Open Access Project: Opening New Data and New Possibilities for Ukraine
Omidyar Network supports the launch of the Open Access Project, an interactive platform to promote transparency in the management of Ukraine’s natural resources and environmental health
KYIV, Ukraine (July 31, 2018) – Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, has committed USD 290,000 to Open Society Foundation, a Ukrainian think tank, to launch the Open Access project, a new platform to promote transparency in the management of Ukraine’s natural resources and environmental health.
The project has been developed and implemented by a group of experts led by the Open Society Foundation, which focuses on projects in the field of public participation and management efficiency, and supported by the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine. The Open Access Project will enable interactions among business, civil society, and government related to Ukraine’s natural resources and environmental health management.
Ostap Semerak, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, said, "The Open Access project best practices will be used to implement the "Concept of the All-national "Open Environment" Automated System”, which will become an important element of the implementation of the systemic reform of good governance in this area. Together with the wider public community, we are launching the process of creating a modern analytical and communication system, which will enable the development of an effective and efficient policy. It is impossible to make a responsible decision and to determine the appropriate measure without open, reliable and high quality information, it is impossible to correctly demonstrate the appropriateness of a certain policy to the society and hence to expect a responsible attitude from business and citizens. The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine understands and supports the need for openness of the processes and is steadily progressing to integrate Ukraine into the global processes of transparency and open data usage".
Olena Boytsun, Investment Director in Central and Eastern Europe at Omidyar Network’s Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative noted, “The ‘Open Access’ Project in Ukraine is our first investment in Central and Eastern Europe aimed at increasing transparency in natural resources and environmental management. Omidyar Network’s Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative has previously committed more than USD 12 million to support similar work by international organizations dedicated to increased transparency around natural resources, such as Natural Resource Governance Institute, Publish What You Pay, and Global Witness. We are glad to support the project and are pleased that it has been made possible due to effective cooperation between civil society and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine."
Lesya Shevchenko, President of the Open Society Foundation has indicated that today the data on natural resources and environment management is scattered, it is collected and analyzed by 11 governmental agencies, 7 of which are not subordinate to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. "The main objective of the project is to publicize and systematize the most important data sets, to launch a new communication system, to teach the public and government agencies to seek and find compromises on the most essential issues, respond quickly to calls and use data to identify any violations.
For us, support from an international investor as well-known as Omidyar Network is extremely important. Its global experience in investing in natural resource management transparency is unique, and we are proud to represent Ukraine in their Central and Eastern Europe portfolio," said Shevchenko.
The project has already received support from a number of donors, such as GIZ, the Department of Natural Resources of Canada (Geomap-200 Project), and the EU Project on the development of the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) implemented jointly with the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).