Ukraine keeps sharing its progress on parliamentary openness with foreign partners, while also learning from international experience. After hosting the Global Parliamentary Openness Conference earlier this year, Ukrainian experience is in demand. This week a delegation from the Parliament of Nepal visited the Verkhovna Rada to meet staff and representatives of CSOs and understand the Ukrainian experience of parliamentary reform and the Open Parliament Initiative in Ukraine.
The Nepali delegation took part in a workshop on open legislative data where the staff of the IT Department of the Rada presented the VRU Open Data Portal and the module permitting citizens’ online comments on draft laws. They also shared new functionalities of the ‘legislation’ section at the parliamentary website.
The delegation also met CSOs active in transparent parliamentary activities within the framework of Ukraine’s innovative Open Parliament Initiative. The OPORA CSO network and the CHESNO movement presented parliamentary monitoring tools, and the League of Interns shared their successful experience of the youth internship program in the VRU.
The Nepalese delegation also shared their experiences. The new constitution of Nepal, which establishes a new framework for governance after a long civil war, emphasizes non-discrimination towards minorities and disadvantaged groups, and establishes a federal state. One contrast with Ukraine is that there is strong party discipline; one of the Nepali MPs mentioned that he had only voted against his party position on two occasions in his long parliamentary career. The stronger parliamentary party organization makes it easier to negotiate agreements on key issues.
The delegation’s discussion of gender policy provides an interesting and positive example to Ukrainian counterparts. Nepal electoral law requires parties to have at least 33% women on their party lists, and there is a principle of parity in leadership positions. The country’s president, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, is a woman and advocate for the rights of women and minorities in Nepal.
The visit was an opportunity to share South-South development experience. It was supported by the UNDP-EU Rada for Europe Project within the framework of the Open Parliament Initiative in Ukraine.