Instruments of local democracy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
The Ukrainian legislation distinguishes the following instruments of local democracy: general meetings of citizens, appeals (including petitions), public hearings, participatory budgets, work in self-organisation bodies of the population, public councils.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the need to take anti-epidemic measures forced the authorities to reconsider not only their work schedule but also the methods of communication with citizens. As a result, the restriction of direct communication with citizens and the transition to remote communication affect the ability of the public to influence the decision-making process, while the authorities themselves lose to some extent the sharpness of understanding of social problems.
In this publication, experts from the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting analysed the work of local democracy instruments in Ukraine in 2019 and 2020 and concluded that the COVID-19 crisis in most cases did not block citizens’ access to the instruments of local democracy and local authorities in Ukraine, although some interaction forms were restricted. Such restrictions have contributed to the development of e-government and online local democracy platforms in most communities.