On September 15, as part of the II Forum of Legal Reforms for Civil Society Organizations: New Challenges and Achievements in the Context of War, a panel was held ‘New Legislation for Volunteers: How the War Accelerated Changes’.
Panelists included Maryna Potapenko, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, Oksana Sulima, Deputy Director General of the Directorate for the Development of Social Services and Protection of Children’s Rights, Head of the Expert Group on the Development of Social Services System (Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine), Yurii Myronenko, Assistant to the Member of Parliament of Ukraine Roman Hryshchuk, and Nataliia Povtar, CEDEM lawyer. The panel was moderated by Maksym Latsyba, Head of the UCIPR Civil Society Development Program.
During the panel, the participants discussed achievements in the field of legislation for volunteers, which became possible thanks to the effective cooperation of civil society, expert organizations and authorities, as well as plans for future activities in this area.
Nataliia Povtar noted that the adopted laws No. 2519-IX and No. 2520-IX, which amend the Law of Ukraine “On Volunteering” and the Tax Code of Ukraine to support volunteers and CSOs, were a huge step forward in the development of the volunteer movement. She noted that even in spite of the war they managed to register the draft laws and vote for them in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, implementing the Legal Reforms Roadmap provisions developed before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.
Oksana Sulima also noted the well-established and effective cooperation between the public and the authorities for the sake of victory. According to her, after the adoption of the specified Laws, it is necessary to finalize the resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, in particular, regarding the issues of providing one-time allowance and engaging volunteers in certain types of volunteer activities. In addition, according to her, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine continues work on the creation of an information resource for volunteers, and also, together with the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, works on solutions that will encourage volunteering in Ukraine.
Maryna Potapenko noted the participation of volunteers in the fight against the enemy and reconstruction of Ukraine, and also shared the ideas of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine regarding the stimulation of volunteering in Ukraine. In particular, she meant various incentives for active volunteers, Ukraine’s joining the European Solidarity Corps and the continuation of the Ministry’s work on the state program “Youth of Ukraine”, which implements issues of increasing the level of involvement and support of volunteering, training for the volunteers, etc. According to her, volunteering should be understandable for the society, but not overly regulated by the state.
Finally, Yurii Myronenko talked about some issues on which the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is working. These include regulation of taxation of charitable funds raised by individual volunteers on their bank accounts, the search for solutions to simplify the registration of NGOs and charities in the context of war and their recognition as non-profit organizations, as well as the issue of specifying the status of recognition imported for the needs of the Armed Forces as humanitarian aid and clarifying the procedure for the legalization and customs clearance of such vehicles.