Civil society gets a C grade for impact



A study carried out by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation suggests that the public are being given less and less opportunity to have impact on decision-making by the authorities.

The Foundation spoke to over 30 leaders of NGOs from all regions of Ukraine which are part of the civic campaign New Citizen.  In advance of the full publication of the report, the Foundation’s Director Iryna Bekeshkina explained that the respondents had assessed the level of development of civil society in Ukraine as between medium and low, “at a low C grade”.

They did however see NGOs as being fairly effective in resolving social problems. Bekeshkina sees it as paradoxical that most of the respondents see their role as more effective at national level than at the level of influencing the local authorities and its decisions in resolving specific problems in a given city or village.

The most effective mechanisms of influence on the authorities were see as active cooperation with the media and appeals to the world community and international organizations. The lowest impact was given to the work of public councils attached to bodies of power. Only 5 of the 34 civic leaders questioned gave this as a source of impact.

Bekeshkina said that all respondents were unanimous that under the present government the opportunities for the public exerting influence on decision-making by the authorities had diminished significantly. Among the main obstructions they named insufficient activity from the NGOs themselves, the lack of transparency of the authorities and the passiveness of the public. 

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