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Kyiv

27/09/2022

“There is no question whether to use the digital approaches in reconstruction. The question is how to use them?”

In the podcast "RISE Ukraine — Everything about reconstruction," Oleksiy Dorohan, Executive Director of the Office of Effective Regulation, talked about the need to implement the Rebuild Ukraine Digital Management system, the work of the Register of Damaged Property, and the role of the public in the reconstruction.

Ukraine’s reconstruction will not work without the Rebuild Ukraine Digital Management system. If we look for money, structure projects, hold tenders, and do public monitoring on paper, then we are doomed. Our reconstruction must be fast and at the same time transparent — fulfilling these two criteria is impossible without digitization. There is no question whether to use digital approaches in the reconstruction. The question is how?

The Rebuild Ukraine Digital Management system is our approach, our concept, which we are developing together with RISE Ukraine to understand how to build these processes correctly.

We're not starting with a clean slate. We have Diia, Prozorro, Prozorro.Sale, Spending and the Unified State Electronic System in the field of construction. Therefore, we look at what the reconstruction process looks like and analyzing what pieces (of this future system) already exist in Ukraine. Based on this analysis, we are developing an overall vision of how to build a unified ecosystem of digital solutions for reconstruction management that integrates these pieces.

The very first stage of the system's operation is the collection and inventory of information about the damage. This is a register of damaged property. The register should become the main source of verified data in the state about the damaged and destroyed property. The register begins with housing, public buildings, and facilities such as infrastructure and energy.

This registry has many different clients: local self-government bodies, people who report damaged property through Diia, commissions, and ministries. After the information about the damaged objects are collected, there will be assessments and possible payment of compensation. This is a complex system that cannot be completed in one day.

The registry of damaged property is already running and ready to use. What does it offer? We now provide statistics, information, and news about the damaged properties, but the people who have been affected need more clarity. They want to know that the information is recorded in the state register, that it is verified, and that they can expect repairs or compensation soon. This is precisely the goals that the registry should fulfill.

Next comes the planning and initiation of reconstruction projects. This is where our projects come from. We would like to have a central database of all existing projects so that they are not proposed by just one agency or ministry, but are chosen through an inclusive process where both the community and other stakeholders can propose projects. This is a conditional "participatory budget" implemented on reconstruction projects - that’s how community representatives can vote for projects, give their feedback, and propose ideas. This is important not only for understanding the opinion of the population, but also for maintaining contact with those who temporarily left. We believe that this will motivate people to join the reconstruction of their regions and return home for the further development of the country.

To successfully collate the list of projects, data should be the main focus in reconstruction planning. We need to understand how many people live there, where they live, what the roads are like, how many people need to be educated at school, the best place to situate the school hospital, etc. For this approach to be possible, we need to collect all this data and have access to it during the planning phase through the geoanalytical module.

Then there is the selection and financing of the project and the choice of the executor. This is the most interesting question because it is about priorities: what do we build first, what will we do later, and what do we never build? In the process of selecting projects for financing, whoever finances this reconstruction will obviously play an important role.

We would like public, international, and Ukrainian funding sources to have an "online store" of reconstruction projects. We want all projects to be evaluated, have documentation, and be on the map. It is important to give the donors an understanding of whom they will help with their contributions and how long this process will last. This “project showcase” for funding, as we call it, is an important part of this process.

The next key part is the implementation of the project. If it is construction, then the information about it already appears in the Unified State Electronic System in the construction field, so you just need to automatically pull it up from there. It also stores information about the entire construction of the project. It will be necessary to review how it looks and show the participants of the reconstruction whether everything suits everyone.

Before the project is completed and sent to the archive and for operational maintenance, we must receive payment for the work. When the work is completed, if it is money from the state budget, information about it appears on spending.gov.ua. We will use  an Open Contracting Data Standard for data disclosure to apply not only to Ukrainian funds but also to international ones.

Post-war reconstruction is a big, complex process. There are dozens and hundreds of donor organizations, central authorities, ministries and agencies involved. There are thousands of the local organizations involved. It's a lot of business. It's a bunch of public. And no one knows how to do such a large-scale reconstruction.

Let's be honest: no matter what meeting you come to, no matter what circle of people you gather, no matter what conference you hold - you will find no one, except for the impostor, who will tell you: I know how to do everything! Give me a bag of money, I will do all the rebuilding for you! Because no one has done such a large-scale reconstruction in such a large country, with so many different sources of money, and with such requirements for transparency, openness, and inclusiveness, which we expect in a democratic society.

This is the first time, and now we need to adjust this mechanism. Only not just state, but interstate. And the better we build it, the better the product of this mechanism will be, the better and faster the reconstruction will begin, pass and end.

The key role of the public now is to help with negotiation between the authorities and international partners. Thanks to this, we should get closer to a working, efficient, and transparent reconstruction mechanism.

No one knows how to organize reconstruction. In this dialogue, the search for a working model can take a very long time, because there is a lack of a third participant representing the public interest. A participant who cannot be suspected of having a private interest in making money from reconstruction, distributing this money incorrectly, becoming the next President, Prime Minister, and so on. If not the public, then it is not clear who could be such a third participant.

Now the public is succeeding. Otherwise, we would not have meetings and events in which the authorities, international partners, and civil society simultaneously participate. The results will be understood when the specific mechanism is approved.

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