Assessment of Internal Reform Implementation and Institutional Capacity Building of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

The presentation of the Roadmap on Internal Reform and Institutional Capacity Building for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by the European Parliament’s Needs Assessment Mission at the end of February 2016 heralded the beginning of a comprehensive reform of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. After the Verkhovna Rada, on March 17, 2016, by Resolution No. 4219 undertook the commitment to take measures to implement the Roadmap recommendations, the VRU Reform Working Group was set up, and the inter-factional Jean Monnet Dialogue platform was launched.

Agency for Legislative Initiatives decided to analyze the declaration of Parliamentary reform.

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As of February 2019, many draft laws, analytical and informational materials have been drafted, strategic documents have been developed and approved, and a number of innovative tools have been introduced to improve the transparency of the work of the Ukrainian Parliament. However, only a few recommendations have been fully implemented, and none of the required legislative changes has passed the second reading. Apart from that, despite the considerable efforts of international technical assistance projects, some of the proposed tools and products have not found broad support within the Parliament.

The need for another impetus for the Parliamentary reform is now evident. This analysis of the current state of implementation of the Roadmap is aimed at encouraging full and effective implementation of the internal reform of the Verkhovna Rada. For the purposes of this analysis, in order to hold to the most objective stance, we have assessed only the implementation of the recommendations accepted for implementation by the Parliament as specified in Resolution No. 4219 on the basis of the indicators proposed by the authors of the Roadmap.

The methodology involves assessment of the implementation of each individual recommendation on a scale from 0 to 4, where 0 means that there are no developments or a decision has been taken not to support the recommendation, whereas 4 implies that the relevant recommendation has been implemented in full. Thus, the maximum number of points awarded in case of the full implementation of all 52 recommendations is 208.

The assessment is based on information from open sources, as well as consultations with parliamentary stakeholders.

The status of implementation of all 52 Roadmap recommendations is estimated at 87 of 208 points, which amounts to 41.8%. Having examined the initiatives regarding the implementation of the Roadmap recommendations and the parliamentary reform as a whole, one can conclude that progress in the areas of reform that require amendments to the current legislation (and, hence, support of the parliamentary majority) is too slow.

At the same time, analyzing the implementation of the Roadmap recommendations on openness, transparency and accountability to citizens, one can argue that the proposals that depend for their implementation on the decisions of the leadership of the VRU Secretariat, rather than on MPs’ vote, have been implemented more promptly and efficiently. This can be illustrated by the significant progress in implementing the recommendations contained in the “Openness, Transparency and Accountability to Citizens” block (implementation level – 68.8 %).

Based on the analysis of the implementation of the Roadmap recommendations, we can propose the following steps:

  • establishment of a single parliamentary reform coordination center;
  • systematic work on the implementation of the recommendations – current tasks should not interfere with the work on the reform;
  • approval of the “end-to-end” legislative process concept (endorsed by all persons entitled to legislative initiative), which would reflect the target system of decision-making and decision-taking, outline the key stages of the implementation of the reform and set forth the effective ways of the implementation of certain components of the reform in order to ensure the coherence of efforts of all persons entitled to legislative initiative;
  • ensuring effective communication on parliamentary reform both within parliamentary factions and groups and between dialogue platforms;
  • establishing communication with the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in order to improve coordination of the reform processes in the Parliament and Government.