Stefan Priesner: Opening Remarks for the International Workshop on Scrutiny of Draft Legal Acts

Sep 22, 2016

Welcome to the participants of the international workshop.

UNDP is very pleased to cooperate with the Ministry of Justice, Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis and the Institute for Monitoring of Current Legislation on an issue of utmost importance – the quality of legislative and regulatory drafting.

We believe that the quality of regulatory policy, i.e. quality of laws and regulations is a key element of the country’s central vision articulated by late President Karimov – I quote –   “to build an open democratic and law governed state, in which a person, his interests, his rights and freedoms are the highest value”.

Indeed, it is noteworthy that sincere efforts in Uzbekistan are being undertaken to improve Regulatory Policy and progress is made to establish an effective, transparent and accountable public administration system both at central and local levels.

As a general norm applicable to the public or a defined target group the quality of a law or a regulation can indeed have a dramatic impact – both positive and negative. It may be enabling or stifling; it may be providing clear guidance or add to legal insecurity and confusion.  We all know that it is possible to draft a law in a very short time; however to draft an effective and well-balanced law that meets the defined regulatory purpose while also respecting rights and freedoms is a more complex endeavor.

In this context I would like to express my appreciation to the Ministry of Justice and the Institute for Monitoring of Current Legislation as well as the Parliament, who are actively involved in improvement of law-making and rulemaking, be it legal scrutiny, regulatory impact assessment, anti-corruption proofing or other regulatory policy issues in line with strategic priorities of the country.

At the same time, we would like to encourage continuing to strengthen the following aspects and processes in regulatory policy, which are of utmost importance – I would like to focus on four issues:

First. Institutional capacities for evidence-based impact assessment need to be strengthened in Uzbekistan to provide the highest level of efficiency of regulatory reforms, supporting economic and social reforms.

Ex-ante and ex-post regulatory impact assessments of bills and legislation are excellent tools for checking the impact of proposed legislative act by Government on socio-economic dimensions. The screening of legislation to identify any corruption prone bottlenecks is another tool to streamline and remove, excessive discretionary powers, possible red tape and maladministration.

Second, law-making and rule-making procedures themselves need to be streamlined to diminish the workload in state bodies and increase the quality of draft legal acts. In this regard, deeper involvement of different stakeholders in the assessment process could be one of the solutions. In addition to collection  online feedback, it will raise the accountability of the agency proposing regulations to make its own assessment of future implications and will allow the public to review and comment on it in a more meaningful way. Moreover, once a stakeholder is responsible to self-assess a draft legal act it has developed, it is easier for a supervising body to check whether the stakeholder complies with all the requirements set up in the legislation.

Third, I recall the words of late President Karimov, who stressed the importance of securing the adoption of self-executing laws (laws of direct action)” to ensure the separation of powers between parliament and executive branch is actually adhered to. Laws must be sufficiently specific to enable meaningful regulations.

Last, but not least, in an interconnected world with universal values, it is important to ensure that relevant laws and ensuing regulations are compliant and aligned to international standards and treaties. We believe that an assurance mechanism that systematically looks at this aspect will also enhance the quality of regulatory policy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Evidence-based impact assessment, adequate institutional capacities, attention to the voice of users and to international standards will benefit the quality of new laws and regulations.  

The rule of law is at the core of the new development vision of the Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by all UN member states as a framework until the year 2030.  It also is at the heart of the UNDAF 2016-2020 agreed between Government of Uzbekistan and the UN system. Hence, as UNDP, we stand ready to further support the agenda of enhancing the quality of legislative processes and of ensuring effective and transparent and equitable execution of laws and we look forward to collaborating with you in this noble endeavor.

I wish the international workshop fruitful discussions and all the success. 

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