Ukraine gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. An uprising and elections in 2014 put Ukraine on the path away from Russia’s orbit and towards a European future – a path that required major social, economic, and political reforms.
The illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 is devastating. Ukraine has been on a journey strengthening its democracy and WFD has been proud to have provided support along this road. Over the past years, WFD’s work has focused on helping the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (parliament) to strengthen its role in scrutinising government, improving accountability for legislative and financial matters, and making society more inclusive of women and underrepresented groups.
Despite the outbreak of the war, WFD continues to work with parliament on a range of initiatives, including post-legislative scrutiny, improving support to law drafting, full policy cycle, hybrid and online procedures, and co-operation between parliament and the government. These processes will be essential to Ukraine’s resilience and post recovery.
Since WFD first worked in Ukraine in 1992, it has developed an excellent understanding of the Ukrainian political context and established strong working relationships with officials, committees and parliamentarians in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU). Our partners value and respect WFD’s expertise and insight, and we work closely with them to help foster more inclusive and accountable political practices.
Statement on the illegal invasion of Ukraine
28 February 2022: The illegal invasion of Ukraine is devastating, and the consequences will be far reaching. For decades, Ukraine has been on a journey strengthening its democracy for the good of its people and WFD has been proud to have provided support along this road. This unprovoked attack on Ukraine is also an attack on our values of democracy and freedom. The fight to defend democracies around the world is getting harder and has never been more urgent.
We have joined other members of the Global Democracy Coalition in signing a statement that supports Ukraine and condemns this invasion. Autocratic repression and violence will never lead humanity to peace and security. The world needs more, better, and stronger democracies to face the grave challenges of our time, not more autocracy and bloodshed.
WFD is currently implementing one programme in Ukraine.
The USAID-funded Rada Next Generation (RANG) programme works in partnership with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU). It was in the early phases of implementation in February 2022 when the Russian military invaded Ukraine.
It took a week for parliamentary partners to adapt to circumstances and for WFD’s team to relocate, but the programme has not missed a day of implementation. The VRU quickly communicated its revised needs and WFD, as a member of the consortium delivering the programme, adapted to them.
WFD’s component of the programme focuses on the VRU’s institutional capacity, primarily around accountability and oversight procedures. The programme is delivering reports with recommendations on improving civil society engagement support to legal drafting, parliamentary research services, full policy cycle and post-legislative scrutiny (PLS). Responding to the outbreak of war, WFD also advised the VRU on hybrid and online procedures and policy-making in conflict settings.
WFD first worked in Ukraine in 1992. Between 2008 and 2013, WFD implemented The Westminster Consortium (TWC) programme, which focused on strengthening the capacity of the VRU staff. Prior to 2008, WFD mostly supported civil society organisations. Since 2016, we have consistently supported the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU) and civil society through our programmes.
WFD worked to ensure governance in Ukraine is inclusive of all groups through its Inclusive and Accountable Politics programme, as well as supporting the parliament to ensure effective legislation.
WFD’s work through our Inclusive and Accountable Politics programme in Ukraine helped the parliament to strengthen its role in scrutinising government, improving accountability for legislative and financial matters, and making society more inclusive of women and underrepresented groups.
Ukraine required the rapid introduction of new emergency legislation and regulation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many new laws were enacted in first months of the pandemic. Due to the necessary speed of the legislative process, there was not much time to scrutinise and analyse draft laws. What is more, Government decisions of the use of public funds related to COVID-19 have been challenged.
With WFD support, the VRU reviewed and assessed COVID-19 emergency legislation (the second economic package), made recommendations for improvements, and documented lessons learned to help the government design better policies and laws in future emergencies.
Sponsored by the British Embassy in Kyiv, WFD directly shared British democratic experience with the parliament through our MP’s Partnership Scheme, enhancing relations between members of the Verkhovna Rada and Westminster.
In partnership with GIZ Ukraine, WFD helped establish a Financial and Economic Analysis Office (FEAO) in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2015 to provide the parliament with accessible economic and financial information and help it monitor public spending.
The FEAO helped the Verkhovna Rada to oversee the actions of the executive by reviewing the use of public funds and providing independent financial and economic research and analysis. This supported the parliament in its role as an effective safeguard for service delivery for Ukrainian citizens and helped ensure that international standards for financial oversight are applied throughout the parliament’s operations, particularly when drafting bills or amending legislation.
The FEAO produced 300 research studies and pieces of analysis; 156 analyses upon the parliamentary committees’ requests, and 13 analyses relating to EU acquis legislative compliance for the Verkhovna Rada.