On September 27-28 the International Seminar on Strengthening Parliamentary Oversight in the Kyrgyz Republic was held in Bishkek. This is a timely and relevant topic at this development stage of the country. The purpose of the seminar was to strengthen and pay attention to the Parliament’s control functions, to raise awareness about improved controlling procedures and regulations, which are developed and will be implemented; and to strengthen collaboration with international partners and experts on possible and effective mechanisms, best practices and innovative control approaches.
The seminar was held with the participation of parliamentarians from Georgia, the European Parliament, Serbia, and Ukraine, as well as experts from the UK, Greece, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Uzbekistan, the event, was organized within the UNDP framework: “Strong and inclusive parliamentary democracy" project with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for development and cooperation (SDC).
Vice-speaker of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic Mirlan Bakirov noted the importance and relevance of the event. According to him, the control function of the Parliament is one of the most important strategic tools in public administration, especially in matters of compliance with the principles of the rule of law, monitoring how the Executive branch of power manages the state, provides social security for citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic. "Parliamentary control is an effective tool for increasing the transparency of political processes, ensuring the openness of state bodies and involving representatives of civil society in these processes", said Mirlan Bakirov.
During the seminar there were identified best practices as well as successful and practical initiatives undertaken by parliaments to hold the government to accountability, to assess the impact of government action on society and monitor the implementation of national and international commitments.
“Our contribution focuses on strengthening direct participation of citizens in decision making processes and improving public service delivery at the local level. Indeed, oversight function is key for improving the transparency and accountability of the government. In any democratic system, having an effective, inclusive and transparent Parliament is key to connect people with state institution”, mentioned Veronique Hulmann, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Kyrgyz Republic.
Parliamentary oversight is also expected to underpin countries’ progress toward achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Agenda 2030 acknowledges the essential role of national parliaments through their enactment of legislation and adoption of budgets and their role in ensuring accountability for the effective implementation of our commitments.
“UNDP assists more than 60 national parliaments in promoting and monitoring implementation of the SDG and providing forums for National Dialogue, citizens’ engagement in decision making processes, as well as promote more effective government transparency and responsiveness, including openness to independent and public evaluations of national development progress”, said Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Resident Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic
Parliaments perform their oversight role in a variety of ways covering the work of parliamentary committees and plenary sittings, debates, motions, questions, inquiries, as well as hearings during the parliamentary stage of bills and the budgetary cycle.
“Parliamentary control is a no less important function of Parliament than legislative and representative. Effectively used control powers allow the Parliament to ensure compliance with the laws adopted by it, to identify problems of legislative regulation, to prevent abuse of power by officials, to provide and protect the interests of the population of the country", - said Aida Kasymalieva, Vice Speaker
The seminar developed several recommendations, including control over the budget process, Parliamentary control and SDGs, the Role of civil society in parliamentary control.
The seminar was open to MPs and parliamentary staff from the Jogorku Kenesh, relevant members of the government, as well as national parliaments of countries strongly and actively engaged in supporting progress in parliamentary oversight, national and international Civil Society Organizations involved in promoting parliamentary oversight mechanisms and civic engagement as well as to practitioners from UNDP, OGP, OSCE and other development partners currently working with national parliaments to strengthen oversight and create innovative approaches to monitoring of governments’ performance, including in the implementation of the SDGs.
UNDP intends to organize the seminar in partnership with the Jogorku Kenesh, Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the “Adilet” Legal Clinic.