On January 30, 2019USAID RADA Program conducted regular International Parliamentary Technical Assistance Coordination Meeting (IPTAC) aimed at fostering coordination and cooperation between Verkhovna Rada and technical assistance projects implemented by international donors community.
More than 50 representatives of technical assistance projects supported by the EU, GIZ, USAID, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, MPs and their aids, representatives of the VR` Secretariat participated in the event.
The purpose of ICPAC meetings is to establish dialogue and cooperation between representatives of donor organizations and Ukrainian parliament on most crucial issues. The agenda included several issues, in particular, the outcome of the 9th session and the priority issues for the next parliamentary session.
Thomas White, Director of the USAID Ukraine Democracy and Governance Office in a welcoming remarks informed the audience that USAID had decided to continue the USAID RADA Program for another year and a half, because next year will be very intensive and challenging for the Parliament and Secretariat and MPs will need expertise and support from the Program .
Chief of Party of the USAID RADA Program Ihor Kogut briefed participants about changes in USAID RADA format and tasks, in particular changes in the Model District initiative, development of the parliamentary research service, which will include successful experience of the RADA’s Program European Information and Research center, training for new-elected MPs, and other important steps. The Program will continue to coordinate with other technical assistance programs and projects to strengthen their cooperation with Parliament.
The Senior Expert of the USAID RADA Program, Volodymyr Kryzhanivsky, summarized the results of the 9th session.
'The number of issues resolved decreased compared with the total number of issues resolved during all sessions of the 8th convocation but noted that this session was objectively shorter and with fewer meetings. At the same time, during this session, a number of decisions were taken, which required more time from deputies, such as, for example, the budget.'
In addition, he emphasized that the Government Hour had turned into a real mechanism of interaction between the executive and the legislature branches and stressed that the attendance of the Government's hours by the Prime Minister of Ukraine increased significantly in comparison with former Prime Ministers.
The Program's analyst Alyona Hurkivska described steps on the implementation of parliamentary reform. In particular, she noted that in summer of 2018, a working group on drafting a law on parliamentary service was set up. There were 3 ways to regulate this issue through a separate law or changes to the Parliamentary Procedure or Law on the Public Service. The debate is ongoing, but it is most likely that it will be a separate law on a Parliamentary Service. She also reminded that the Program experts have developed a Green book for improving the legislative process.
MPs also summarized their reflections on the results of the past and forecasts for the forthcoming session.
MPs, present at the meeting, Oksana Prodan, Yuriy Miroshnychenko, Oleksandr Chernenko, Ivan Vynnyk, and Mykhailo Dovbenko shared their forecasts and expectations on the most important and resonant issues that will be considered during the next session.
Everyone noted that the presidential election will be a factor that will slow down the work of Parliament. It was also noted that the majority of decisions will be dictated by the election campaign.
The most resonant will be the discussion on Draft law on language, the Electoral Code, the chances of adoption of which at the next session are low.
Oksana Prodan also noted that many important, high-quality, relevant laws have been adopted, which can be called real reforms that will have an impact on the issues of the economic bloc. One of these issues is energy market regulation.
She also stressed the importance of setting the research parliamentary service, mentioned she had a very positive experience of working with the European Information and Research Center developed by USAID RADA Program.
Oleksandr Chernenko said that one of the important issues to be considered by the parliament is the introduction of amendments to the Constitution regarding the consolidation of the Eurointegration vector and membership in NATO. He added that all amendments to the Electoral Code were considered by Parliament, but it caused a large number of technical inaccuracies, which still needs to be reconciled so that the draft corresponded to other legislation.
MP Igor Vinnyk spoke about the challenges for the 10th session in the field of security and defense, which will include the regulation of the work of the committee on oversight the activities of law enforcement agencies, the reform of the Security Service of Ukraine, reducing the level of secrecy of public procurement. He emphasized the importance of security, defense, patriotic education, supervision, and control.
Mykhailo Dovbenko focused on the necessity of high-quality policy analysis based on the qualitative indicators. It will help define real policy issues and quality of state institutions` work. MP also supported the setting of a research service, which will help to evaluate the proposed solutions on a qualitative level.
MP Yuriy Miroshnichenko underlined the importance of the implementation of the full public policy cycle and proposed to cooperate to introduce a cycle by a legislation adoption. It will reduce the ‘legislative spam’ and change the approach to the decision-making process in an effective way.