Dmitry Mariyasin, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Armenia, at the International Parliamentary Forum in Moscow, Russian Federation.

Section 3. Development of national legislation: lawmaking in the interests of sovereign peoples, exchange of best practices and international harmonization.

Moscow, 4 June 2018

I am privileged to represent UN Development Programme – a key partner to parliaments around the world in a number important areas: parliamentary oversight – here I refer you to the joint Global Parliamentary Report 2017 of UNDP and IPU and the role of parliaments in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals – agenda 2030 that was mentioned in the Plenary.

But today I would like to focus on the issue of Legislative transparency and Openness – as more and more parliaments embrace the Open Parliament Partnership and use new technology to be closer to their constituency – the citizens. It is a topic that links two dimensions of today’s session: introduction of new technologies and interaction of national parliaments with civil society

Transparency is far from enough to ensure access and fairness for all, yet the transparency urge is a necessary stepping stone for the Parliaments to be truly representative and open to the citizens.

1.    Many parliaments apply tools to open Parliamentarians’ individual choices and votes, the legislative work and key research and data, as well as visualisation of the budget and budget reports. Simple tools such as open legislative plans, integrity declarations and all-party groups for legislative transparency.

2.   Technology can help refine and revisit “business as usual” processes. The experience of UNDP points at importance to work with parliamentarians to produce reliable data and information on parliaments’ proceedings and functioning in visual formats. This means establishing dedicated big and user data units in parliaments and creating easy-to-use visualization platforms.

3.    Also, by putting in place tools to systematize processes and document step by step the negotiation of draft legislation and oversight committees, the parliaments remove barriers for transparency and responsiveness while providing opportunities to optimise legislative processes.

4.    An additional focus for technological solutions can be the transparent tracking of citizens’ and private interest groups impact on legislation and oversight functions of parliaments.  

5.    As for Legislative empathy by using the latest researches and tools of behavioural science and user-centred design, the legislative power can change how it interacts with their constituencies.   These tools will allow to adapt legislation to the actual need and real-life experiences of users and develop the understanding and points of contacts of the legislators and their constituencies. The example of events in Armenia in the past 2 months is a good illustration of this point.

UNDP’s role in parliamentary support

Let me now share a few results from UNDP’s engagement with Parliaments globally and in Europe and Central Asia.

6.    Globally, UNDP is behind Agora- The platform for parliamentary development.  Based at UNDP Brussels, the AGORA Portal is a leading knowledge hub on parliamentary development jointly implemented by UNDP, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the World Bank Institute and the National Democratic Institute.  AGORA public website contains the largest set of resources on parliamentary development currently available.

7.    In Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, UNDP has been implementing wide-ranging projects to help Parliamentarians benefit from state-of-the-art thinking and tools. For example:

·      In Armenia, UNDP has launched preparations for an ambitious Open Parliament Programme which will help the National Assembly revamp its media interaction, create completely new ways of working directly with citizens and will help with capacity in key thematic areas.

·      In Georgia, UNDP is designing new tools and innovative ways of engagement for the Parliament to become more transparent and accessible to citizens.

·      In Moldova, deputies drafted their first integrity charter with the support of UNDP and started collaborating with the Anti-Corruption Agency on transparency measures.

·      In Serbia, UNDP is working with Parliamentarians to bridge the central-local divide and enable citizens and businesses from the rural areas to connect with their deputies and the commissions of direct concern to them. We also developed a tailored budget visualisation tool to help Parliamentarian apprehend public spending.

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