On November 4, 2016, in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine there was held a presentation of new e-resources that will help make Parliament activities more transparent: the Portal for Public Discussion of Draft Laws and the Electronic Register of Non-Governmental Organizations (E-Register of NGOs).
Thanks to these resources, the public will have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion of draft laws before they are submitted for consideration to specialized parliamentary committees.
The Portal for Public Discussion of Draft Laws, developed with the support of the USAID RADA Program and at the initiative of the Computerized Systems Department of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, will make it possible to citizens:
• to get acquainted with draft laws submitted to the VRU for discussion,
• to get acquainted with the work of specialized committees of the Parliament,
• to participate in the discussion of draft laws.
Ihor Kohut, Director of the USAID RADA Program, said,
“The potential of civil society has to be used to improve the quality of drafting bills and work of committees. The portal for public discussion of draft laws will provide an opportunity to improve transparency and confidence in committees.”
The Portal for Public Discussion of Draft Laws was designed in response to the recommendations of the European Parliament on internal reforms of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. It is aimed to improve its institutional capacity and step up public involvement in the legislative process.
“Our main goal is to ensure real and effective communication. Owing to the Agency for Legislative Initiatives, all participants in today’s meeting have got an excellent presentation of the electronic database,”
said Oleksii Sydorenko, Head of the Computerized Systems Department.
Petro Bodnar, First Deputy Head of the VRU Secretariat, said,
“The portal is an important step towards the reform of the VRU. Much has been done. According to the rating of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the VRU was rated 24th. I am confident that the pace of the reform of the Verkhovna Rada will remain very high next year.”
The other tool, i.e. Electronic Register of Non-Governmental Organizations (E-Register of NGOs), is designed to ensure public consultation during the work on draft resolutions in VRU committees. The E-Register was created by the Agency for Legislative Initiatives within the framework of the USAID RADA Program.
Thanks to this resource, committees will have up-to-date information on public associations, their expert input, management and expert composition, etc. The committees will be able to use this e-resource, which currently includes more than 80 organizations, to effectively involve non-governmental organizations in cooperation with one another. An application for cooperation can be submitted here.
Svitlana Zalishchuk, MP:
“Public activity and donor support really influence the work of the parliament. The global trend when the civil society influences the government work continues after the Maidan. I think that we changed the influence of experts, analysts, and intellectuals after 2014. All revolutionary bills – those on the media, civil service, declarations – were adopted under pressure from the public. Therefore, increasing accessibility for citizens is the first and foremost task.”
Ruslan Sydorovych, MP, said the following:
“We must make it clear that most of the MP’s work takes place not in the session hall, but it continues in the committees. Of course, this is not a “Green” or “White” Book. However, this will create an opportunity to increase the presence of experts in the committees. Therefore, it is necessary to popularize this resource in expert communities. Besides, it is important to understand which legislative initiatives are truly top priorities. One of the higher goals is to change the algorithm for reviewing and adopting laws to get rid of “legislative spam”.
By the end of 2016, the resources already integrated into the Verkhovna Rada portal would work in a test mode to troubleshoot possible problems.