Ensuring Open, Transparent, Participatory and Accountable Process of State Policies and Legislative Reforms (AM0022)
Action Plan: Armenia, Second Action Plan, 2014-16
Action Plan Cycle: 2014
Lead Institution: Ministry of Justice
Support Institution(s): ARAZA
Policy AreasE-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Local Commitments, Open Parliaments, Participation in Lawmaking, Public Participation, Regulatory Governance
Making amendments in the agenda of the boards/councils of Ministries of the RA established by the protocol decision N 47 of November 20, 2008 of the RA government decision , that will:
• Separate and clarify the functions of boards and councils, will further specify the list of participants, their rights and responsibilities,
• Define open and transparent formation procedures and activities of councils, as well as the standards of CSO representation and professional qualification,
• Determine the introduction of electronic accountability system on the official websites of the RA Government and Ministries for making transparent and available the public proposals and official comments thereon, the annual reports of participatory and consultative bodies
IRM End of Term Status Summary
7. State Policies and Legislative Reforms
Independent research results show that the managing process of the Republic of Armenia public agencies sometimes has an informal nature because of the perception of the fundamental values of open governance and legal problems. This gives rise to public mistrust and civic apathy towards the country’s governance and oversight. Therefore, the issue of the formation of the efficient, transparent and accountable civil society is necessary in the process of policy and legislative amendments.
Making amendments in the agenda of the boards/councils of Ministries of the RA established by the protocol decision N 47 of November 20, 2008 of the RA government decision, that will:
- Separate and clarify the functions of boards and councils, will further specify the list of participants, their rights and responsibilities,
- Define open and transparent formation procedures and activities of councils, as well as the standards of CSO representation and professional qualification,
- Determine the introduction of electronic accountability system on the official websites of the RA Government and Ministries for making transparent and available the public proposals and official comments thereon, the annual reports of participatory and consultative bodies.
Responsible Institution: Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia
Supporting Institution(s): None
Start Date: August 2014 ....... End Date: August 2015
This commitment aims to promote public participation in policy development by including CSOs in the consultative bodies of governmental agencies. The Government set a goal to come up with a transparent mechanism of engaging CSOs in policy dialogue to address the issue of mistrust and civic apathy towards governance and oversight in Armenia.
By July 2015 the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) presented the draft regulation regarding the rules governing the fuctioning of public councils. Civil society was invited to comment on the draft.
End of Term: Complete
Representatives of the NGO Araza and the Freedom of Information Center of Armenia actively participated in discussions around the draft regulation. On 26 November 2015, adopted the rules on the functioning of public councils adjacent to each ministry.
As of the December 2016, some ministries created Public Councils See, for example, the information on the Public Council created by following ministries: Ministry of Health available at http://bit.ly/2smEXyk; Ministry of Education and Science available at http://bit.ly/2sW9ekq; Ministry of Culture at http://bit.ly/2rcw4mS; Ministry of Labor and Social Issues at http://bit.ly/2smHCrV. , while others are still in the process of establishment of such councils. According to monitoring conducted by Araza, as of late November 2016, 13 out of 18 Ministries had created the Public Councils; one ministry was in the process of creation, one did not create owing to insufficient number of applications from CSOs, and three did not create Public Councils. Among the 13 Ministries that created Public Councils, three had not conducted any sessions. Araza also highlighted that on ministry websites, it is difficult to find information on Public Councils or on the minutes of their sessions.
Did it Open Government?
Civic Participation: Marginal
The government viewed the establishment of Public Councils as an effective instrument for engaging CSOs in policy development and discussion. Araza, an NGO which cooperated with the government on implementation of this commitment, considered the development as substantial and the MOJ to be cooperative. According to Araza, the change in attitude of different ministries is discernible and could be noticed while working on the draft of the third OGP national action plan. Araza also indicated that the creation of public councils elevates expectations from CSOs by strengthening their capacity to engage in meaningful discussions.
However, Araza also pointed out that implementation of this commitment highlighted certain problems. Specifically, it noted that the Government did not carry out public awareness raising campaign. CSOs’ lack of interest was characterized by a deficit of trust and motivation owing to the belief that Public Councils would be assigned formal roles, thereby minimizing CSOs’ influence in decision making. Ambiguity on roles of CSOs is another challenge that affects proper implementation of this commitment.”
The commitment is not included in the third action plan.