21 achievements of the Agency for 21 years

The Agency for Legislative Initiatives was founded on April 28, 2000, by  Alumni of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. We have grown from the initiative into a powerful think tank that has implemented many socially important projects and aims to achieve even more ambitious goals in the future.

For 21 years, we have come a long way. Many things common in Ukraine today, such as the pro-European course or the importance of open government, we defended despite resistance. But we are happy to move forward on this path because we believe it is right for Ukraine.

We want to share our success with you and reminisce about the valuable moments, projects, and achievements, thanks to which ALI has been growing all these years.

1. Developed a law on the financing of political parties.

Back in 2003, ALI experts became the authors of the first law in Ukraine, which introduced state funding of political parties. In 2004, this law was passed. The mechanism prescribed in it provided direct financial support for parties at the expense of the State Budget of Ukraine. The amount of support was proportional to the party’s representation in parliament. The law also limited the maximum amount of state funding to prevent overfunding and protect parties from dependence on the state. However, later in 2007, the law was repealed. State funding of the parties has been postponed for many years. Only after some time did the provisions of this first law form the basis of the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning the Prevention and Counteraction of Political Corruption”, which is currently in force.

2. Helped to improve the bill “On local referendums”.

ALI has always taken a comprehensive approach to build democratic institutions in Ukraine. That is why we could not avoid the issue of local democracy and the direct participation of citizens in solving issues of local importance. When the Law on All-Ukrainian and Local Referendums expired in 2012, ALI experts were already working on improving the new profile draft on local referendums, which was being prepared for the second reading. However, the required law was never passed. The government returned to the settlement of local referendums only in 2021. Director of the Analytical Department of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives Oleksandr Zaslavskyy joined the working group on developing the corresponding draft law.

3. Launched The PARLIAMENT magazine.

The first professional magazine in Ukraine devoted entirely to the problems of parliamentarism was the PARLIAMENT Magazine, which ALI has been publishing since 2001. Everything that you can imagine about the work of parliament, MPs, as well as the functioning of relevant institutions, is on the pages of the magazine: legislative process and control functions, work of committees and factions, regulation of political parties, and public participation in the legislative process, and much more. The PARLIAMENT Magazine became the platform where problems such as the transparency of committee work or “button-pushing” were discussed for the first time. The first monitoring of the legislative activity of the parliament appeared in this magazine more than 10 years ago, and now it is difficult to imagine a public space without it.

4. Developed the first in Ukraine “White Paper” of Ukrainian parliamentarism.

Since the establishment of ALI, one of the highest priorities for the organization has been and remains the parliamentary direction. We have developed dozens of informational and analytical materials, as well as in-depth research on this topic. A turning point in the history of Ukrainian parliamentarism can be considered the first in Ukraine “White Paper” of Ukrainian parliamentarism – a comprehensive document with a complex analysis of key issues in parliament and proposals for their solution, which we prepared in 2010. A significant part of the analyzed problems, which had not been resolved at that time, was included in the Roadmap for Internal Reform and increasing the institutional capacity of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, prepared by the European Parliament’s evaluation mission in 2016. Currently, ALI regularly monitors the progress of parliamentary reform in Ukraine.

5. Have spread the practice of preparing Shadow Reports in Ukraine.

Using the experience of developed democracies, in 2016, ALI initiated and promoted the practice of preparing analytical documents in the format of Shadow / Alternative Reports, which we presented in the profile committees of the Verkhovna Rada. The main purpose of shadow reports is to strengthen the parliamentary control function and involve non-governmental think tanks to monitor and evaluate public policy. In 4 years, experts from ALI, together with other relevant organizations, have prepared and presented more than 10 Shadow Reports on topics ranging from the implementation of parliamentary reform to the creation of united territorial communities and the implementation of “decommunization laws”.

6. Together with the League of Interns resumed the activities of the European Information and Research Center under the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The quality of the legislative process in Ukraine still needs to be improved. That is why ALI, together with the League of Interns in 2015, restored the European Information and Research Center under the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The Center has become a prototype of a parliamentary research service designed to ensure the high quality of the legislative process and decision-making based on facts and analysis. In 2016 alone, taking into account the analytical materials of the center, MPs developed about 20 draft laws and submitted about 200 proposals for the second readings. The European Information and Research Center is still functioning, working to improve the legislative process in Ukraine according to the best European practices.

7. Created a platform for the professional development of journalists.

Aware of the special role of the media in a democratic society, the organization has made considerable efforts to develop professional media in Ukraine. The quintessence of this direction was the project “School of Professional Journalism “NEW Ukraine”. It has become a platform for communication between professional journalists, exchanging knowledge, experience, ideas, and initiatives. During its existence (from 2009 to 2012), more than 80 journalists from all over Ukraine graduated from this program.

8. Have developed a Matrix of forms of civic participation.

From the beginning of its existence, ALI has been working to ensure that the public is more involved in the decision-making process at both the national and local levels. Among the many analytical materials and projects aimed at improving cooperation between civil society, government, and local self-government, the Matrix of Forms of Civic Participation in the Process of Making and Adoption Political Decisions in Ukraine stands out. In 2014, this Matrix formed the basis of the Council of Europe’s policy to support civil society in Ukraine for the next few years.

9. We have launched and are developing the Ukrainian School of Political Studies, the most successful political education project in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian School of Political Studies is the most successful educational and network project in Ukraine, which in 16 years has brought together a community of more than 500 leaders from various fields. The school was established by a decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 2005 and is part of the international network of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe. USPS today is a unique platform for finding like-minded people, implementing joint initiatives, disseminating values, generating ideas, and creating opportunities for their implementation. Moreover, in 2007, the Agency for Legislative Initiatives established the Eastern European School of Political Studies (Belarus) to enable the leaders of Belarus to form their own platform for discussions on important socio-political issues.

10. We have created a separate educational program for MPs.

Before the 2014 parliamentary elections, ALI launched a separate educational program for MPs – “The new quality of the Ukrainian parliament: the impetus of the Maidan”. The program was attended by parliamentarians from civil society and journalism, elected for the first time. It was during their studies that they came up with the idea of creating an inter-factional union. This is how IFU “Eurooptimists” – the USPS branch in the Verkhovna Rada – appeared. The USPS parliamentary program also works in the 9th convocation.

11. Together with the EU Delegation to Ukraine, have launched the “Rada for Europe” project.

Since its establishment, the Agency for Legislative Initiatives has continuously dealt with Ukraine’s European integration issues. Back in the early 2000s, ALI experts developed a conclusion on the need to create a single coordinating body in the field of European integration. We were engaged in the preparation of analytical materials and advocacy of approximation of the legislation of Ukraine to the legislation of the European Union, Ukraine-EU Action Plan, and later the Association Agreement. After the signing of the Agreement, ALI, together with the EU Delegation to Ukraine, launched the “Rada for Europe” project, which informed the MPs about the cooperation between Ukraine and the EU.

12. Have established the School of Community Leaders project to work with local leaders.

The first local elections after the Revolution of Dignity required modern leaders in every town and community. In response to this challenge, we launched the School of Community Leaders – an educational program designed to bring together local leaders from all regions of Ukraine and help them develop their communities. 48% of Alumni of the SCL program of different years ran in the 2020 local elections. 40% of them have won.

The community now contains more than 250 local leaders across the country, and a new group will join this year.

13. We have popularized Town Hall Meetings in Ukraine and are working on developing other innovative participation tools.

Since 2010, ALI has been promoting Town Hall Meeting in Ukraine. It is a qualified, purposeful, and effective discussion of issues of public interest. Over the years, ALI has held more than 50 Town Hall Meetings in various Ukrainian communities, the results of which very often formed the basis for the formation of various public policies and political decision-making. A new tool of participation, which ALI adapts for Ukraine, is a social audit – a methodology that simultaneously activates the community and ensures government accountability.

14. Have held a Congress of NGOs in Ukraine.

Development, support, and protection of civil society have become an integral part of everyday activities for ALI. In 2007, ALI organized and held the Second Regional Congress of NGOs in Ukraine, which became a logical continuation of the first event in Warsaw in 2006. The Congress was a real impetus for civil society in Ukraine, as it laid the foundations for the activities of several civil society organizations and created the preconditions for the real democratic development of the civic sector and Ukrainian democracy in general. In memory of those times, we have the greetings of the Congress members from the then President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko.

15. Have developed a provision that made it possible to hold televised debates.

The debates of the 2019 presidential candidates at the stadium became a real media sensation and impressed millions of citizens. However, the real turning point in the history of Ukrainian democracy was the first televised debates in 2004, when few believed in the possibility of such an event at all. And exactly those debates took place based on the Regulations “On the procedure for conducting pre-election debates by the National Television Company of Ukraine during the Elections of the President of Ukraine in 2004” developed by our experts.

16. We help voters make conscious choices.

One of the key tasks for ALI is to fight populism and promote the civic consciousness of Ukrainians. Therefore, in 2006 the project “Conscious Choice – 2006” took place. ALI then led a consortium of NGOs to help voters make rational choices when electing their representatives in parliament.

17. Have coordinated the preparation of the strategic document “Modernization of Ukraine. Defining reform priorities”.

We are proud of our participation as a coordinating organization in preparing an unprecedented for the history of independent Ukraine strategic document – “Modernization of Ukraine. Defining reform priorities”. In 2009, this document became a public agenda for the next few years. It brought together a team of more than forty leading independent Ukrainian analysts to present to the public an expert vision of the most holistic picture of the key reforms the state needed.

18. Have organized the Forum “Ukraine-EU Summit 2011: Public Dimension”.

Sharing European values and implementing best European practices in its work, ALI has become one of the key actors in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum. For some time, ALI headed the Ukrainian national platform of the Forum. And in 2011, we took part in the preparation and organization of a historical event – a meeting of the then President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso with representatives of Ukrainian civic organizations, trade unions, business associations, expert and analytical institutions.

19. Have been publishing the Eurobulletin for 10 years.

ALI fully supports the European vector of Ukraine’s development and contributes to the spread of European values in Ukrainian society. Therefore, for ten years (from 2003 to 2012), the organization published and distributed the Eurobulletin – monthly information publication of the Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine. The magazine contained comprehensive information on the current agenda of the European Union, as well as comprehensive coverage of progress in relations between Ukraine and the EU.

20. Initiated a series of regional constitutional forums.

Since the constitutional reform of 2004 did not bring the desired result – the creation of a balanced system of public authorities – in 2007-2008, ALI initiated a series of regional constitutional forums. This was done in order to define the limits of constitutional reform and mechanisms for amending the Constitution, which would provide answers to the main challenges that were relevant at that time, meet the public interest and ensure the consolidation of society. Based on the results, analytical materials were prepared, which covered the positions of politicians, representatives of leading think tanks, scientists, and foreign experts.

21. Flag of Europe

ALI advocated the need for a pro-European course for Ukraine long before it was enshrined in the Constitution. In 2013, even before the Association Agreement with the European Union was to be signed – we initiated a symbolic project “Flag of Europe” in Ukrainian cities. The Sumy City Council was the first to join the initiative, agreeing to hang the European Flag next to the National Flag on public holidays and during international events. The same year, the project was supported by another 15 cities. The “Flag of Europe “united Volochysk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Illintsi, Kobeliaky, Koryukivka, Kremenchuk, Lviv, Lutsk, Mena, Mostyska, Ostroh, Rivne, Sarny, Sumy, Trostyanets, and Chernihiv, and later the initiative spread throughout the country.