Will technology bring more democracy? About PDFUA 2017

PDF Ukraine was organized in Kyiv for the second time on 25-26 September, 2017

During this year’s edition of PDF Ukraine we focused both on the positive tendencies and possible risks that can be brought by technology. “How to use technology for human-oriented solutions without creating new risks?” was an overarching question we tried to answer.

The event was organized in the framework of TransparenCEE Network by Civic Network “OPORA”, TechSoup Europe, and ePanstwo Foundation with the support of OSCE/ODIHR and UNDP Ukraine.

The participants of the conference were welcomed by the Acting Deputy Director of UNDP Ukraine Ms. Van Nguyen, as well as by Luna Kalas (TechSoup Europe) and Krzysztof Izdebski (ePanstwo Foundation). Ms Kalas pointed out that since first PDF Ukraine edition in 2016 TechSoup Europe has expanded the network of people who can both change lives and use technology. Mr Izdebski added that in times of technocratic movement it’s important to hold events like PDF UA that create communities who are willing to talk about possible risks of using technology.

The agenda of PDF Ukraine 2017 was developed in close consultations with the Ukrainian civic tech activists and organizations highlighting the most important and relevant topics for the local actors.

On the first day the participants listened to 17 speeches, including Cosmin Pojoranu’s (Funky Citizen Romania) presentation about the experience of using Facebook as a media during mass protests against corruption in Romania and Michael McNulty’s (National Democratic Institute USA) speech about the importance of honest and transparent election process.

The event this year had a strong emphasis on maintaining a proper gender balance which currently is one of the challenges in the tech industry. Reflecting on this issue Krystyna Skopyk’s and Nataliia Ilchenko’s from Women Who Code Ukraine gave an inspiring talk about women’s return to technology.

Open data in cities was another popular topic that was covered by CEO of S.U.iTS (link) & the Smart City Consultant to UNHABITAT (link) from Israel Rafi Rich as well as Ruslana’s Velichko-Trifonyuk (Civic Network OPORA) and Nedim Useinov’s (TechSoup Europe) who talked about the development of open data policies for Ukrainian cities and challenges of collaboration with city administrations.

At the end of the day TransparenCEE Community members hold a panel moderated by Anna Sienicka (Vice President Europe, TechSoup) that gave practical insights on the process of building cross-border civic tech solutions presented by Sandor Lederer (K-Monitor), Darko Brkan (Zasto Ne) and creative strategist from Croatia Tin Geber.

The first day of the conference was concluded with a wrap-up speech from Civic Network OPORA Chair of the Board Olha Aivazovska.

“Our main goal is to keep your attention. And this attention can concentrate in different ways, by various means. I do not mean that social networks are bad or the Internet is bad. I’m about to encourage you to assess risks and implications of using it better”, – concluded Ms Aivazovska.

The second day of PDF Ukraine 2017 was dedicated to workshops. Eleven workshops exploring deeper the main questions of the previous day were held both in Ukrainian and English languages. Participants had a chance to learn more about analysis of election data, combating corruption in the use of public resources, use of state and public information registers, protecting personal data, the idea of public consultation and many more.

TechSoup Europe and Civil Network OPORA held a cross-sector workshop “OPEN DATA IN ACTION” in the framework of Dani Mist and TransparenCEE projects that was aimed to bring civic activists, technologists, and city administration to learn together about how synergy between local governance and civic activists can be achieved. You can find more information about it here.