Digital Transformation

5 min

Embracing Remote Deliberation in the Ukrainian Parliament: Challenges, Progress, and Future Prospects

Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Written on September, 2020

Strategic Partners



  1. Introduction


The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a radical shift in the way legislative bodies operate, with many parliaments around the world transitioning to remote deliberation to ensure continuity of the legislative process. The Ukrainian Parliament has also adopted remote meetings and implemented several changes to facilitate the smooth functioning of parliamentary activities. This essay explores the development, challenges, and future prospects of remote deliberation in the Ukrainian Parliament.


  1. Adopting Remote Meetings


On March 30, 2020, the Ukrainian Parliament approved changes allowing for remote meetings. By April 6, 2020, two remote meetings had already taken place. In February 2020, a single automated document management system was introduced, capable of creating 118 types of documents, including bills, decrees, and amendments. This system formed the foundation for remote work and interaction between deputies, Parliament, and citizens.


III. Equipping Deputies with Technology


Simultaneously with the release of the document management system, Ukrainian deputies received tablets, and a mobile workstation was created for each of them. This facilitated the creation of a platform for remote work, utilizing platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WebEx, and Skype for conducting meetings.


  1. Ensuring Security and Data Protection


The remote work systems employed by the Ukrainian Parliament are protected by appropriate hardware and software solutions, including protection against DDOS attacks and two-factor authentication. The protection system relies on national data encryption standards to ensure data integrity and confidentiality.


  1. Training and Technical Assistance


To prepare deputies and staff for remote work, the IT department organized classes, webinars, Q&A sessions, and electronic guides. Over a thousand users were trained to work with the document management system before the pandemic, and additional training was provided during the quarantine period. This training was made possible through collaboration with partners such as USAID and Microsoft Ukraine.


  1. Remote Meetings and Participation


During the quarantine period, the Ukrainian Parliament held 22 parliamentary committee meetings and over 200 committee meetings via videoconference. Out of 423 deputies, 401 were actively using the electronic document management and electronic bill systems. The Parliament held 11 extraordinary sessions, with deputies observing social distancing and wearing masks in the session room.


VII. Legal Challenges and Future Improvements


Despite the progress made in remote deliberation, the Ukrainian Parliament faces challenges in updating legislation to accommodate remote participation fully. A bill introduced on March 20, 2020, which would allow videoconference meetings, has not yet been voted on. Drawing inspiration from countries like Brazil, Estonia, and Latvia, the Ukrainian Parliament aims to improve its software to enable remote participation in committee and plenary sessions, including electronic voting registration.


VIII. Assessing the Remote Voting System


During the quarantine period, the Ukrainian Parliament used both normal and electronic vote counting systems. However, the current system is local, and remote voting is not yet possible. The Parliament is now evaluating the possibility of creating mobile applications, similar to Brazil’s remote work system, to facilitate remote voting, subject to the passage of adequate legislation.


  1. Recommendations for Other Parliaments


For other parliaments seeking to implement remote deliberation, the Ukrainian experience suggests that innovative communication technologies should be approved more quickly than the process of voting on legislative acts. Countries can look to the examples set by Spain and Brazil, which began working on remote work procedures in 2012 and 2016-2018, respectively, to ensure that they are prepared for future crises.


  1. Conclusion


The Ukrainian Parliament’s transition to remote deliberation has been a significant step towards adapting to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is room for improvement, the Parliament’s progress in remote meetings, equipping deputies with technology, and training users to work with the document management system demonstrates a commitment to ensuring the continuity of the legislative process. As the Parliament continues to work on updating legislation and enhancing remote participation capabilities, the Ukrainian experience offers valuable lessons for other parliaments worldwide seeking to implement remote deliberation. Future efforts should focus on enabling remote voting, improving the software infrastructure, and learning from the experiences of other countries that have successfully implemented remote parliamentary procedures. By embracing innovation and adapting quickly, the Ukrainian Parliament and other legislative bodies can continue to function effectively in an increasingly digital world.

Support this library and donate

Supporting and donating to this library is more than a contribution; it is a vote for the importance of freely accessible knowledge and a pledge to our shared intellectual growth. Each donation aids in the curation, preservation, and expansion of our resources, ensuring the continued availability of relevant and timely content. It helps us sustain the quality and breadth of our offerings, enabling us to serve our diverse community better. Your contribution signifies your commitment to fostering a vibrant, informed, and connected community, underpinned by the principle of equitable access to knowledge.