Read more about the results of the 2020 transparency and accountability rankings
11 June 2019, 00:00

I had an internship in the United States from April to May, where I had been studying the American experience of transparency. At one point, I asked one of the local anti-corruption activists whether they have organizations that combat corruption in the United States? “There is no doubt that corruption exists in the USA. It is at very high levels, though, so it is difficult for NGOs to do something about it,” my source explained.

I was really shocked by this answer. It is no secret that Americans are actively involved in the fight against corruption around the world. Therefore, the fact that the American public does nothing to solve its own corruption problems was a real surprise.

However, I still had an opportunity to become acquainted with some interesting examples from the fight against corruption there:

  • The Open Cities program is almost identical to our Transparent Cities. This project is run by two organizations, the Sunlight Foundation and the Open Contracting Partnership, they measure the openness of U.S. cities and advocate for increases in openness. But the distinction from Transparent Cities is that every user here, after registering on the site, can submit his own proposal to evaluate a particular indicator in the rating.
  • The What Work Cities program was launched by the Bloomberg Foundation together with five non-governmental organizations. This program is essentially a consulting project aimed at helping cities improve their lives through open data and transparency. What Works Cities conducts urban certification. The certification is a sign that the city is effectively managed and open data works for the benefit of its inhabitants. There are gold and silver certifications. So far, the program only operates in the United States.
  • The Global Cities Initiative is another example of business involvement in urban development assistance. This is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. It helps leaders in U.S. cities reorient their economies to a greater degree in global markets. One of the latest research initiatives is Global Metro Monitor, which explores the life of cities with a subway. Kyiv has also entered this study.

It would be wrong to say that everything that is done in the U.S. is unique and dissimilar to Ukraine. Approaches to ensuring transparency and combating corruption are similar, though methods of their implementation are different. For me, the internship program was useful because I had the opportunity to look at practices in the U.S. , to have the material for reflection, and to use raw materials to work out more concrete ideas that could be implemented in Ukraine.

* Participation of the author in the program is possible thanks to the support of the American Councils for International Education, funded by the US State Department.

Kateryna Tsybenko