Over 600 legislators, senior civil servants and experts in democracy have come together today (17 June) to share insights into how parliaments in Asia and around the world are monitoring and reviewing laws to ensure they work effectively for citizens, at a conference in Yangon, Myanmar.

Delegates have come from Myanmar and 44 other countries at the Post-Legislative Scrutiny in Asia conference, which is organised by the UK democracy-support agency Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in partnership with the University of Jember (Indonesia) and the University of Yangon (Myanmar). The conference was opened by a senior Burmese legislator H.E. Dr Than Win, and a senior UK Government governance and aid adviser.

The conference is funded by UK aid through the UK Government’s Programme for Democratic Change to strengthen democracy globally, including in Myanmar. Post-Legislative Scrutiny – how parliaments evaluate whether and to what extent a law has achieved its intended purpose and is working effectively for citizens – is one critically important area that increases government accountability and the oversight role of parliament. 

(Photo: The conference offered a chance for representatives to discuss their insights into how parliaments work, to find better ways of reviewing laws in the future) 

The conference offered a chance for representatives to discuss their insights into how parliaments work, to find better ways of reviewing laws in the future.

The two-day conference showcased Asian parliaments’ different experiences of reviewing legislation, analysing new trends in the practice of post-legislative scrutiny and enabling participants to explore new practices in this growing field. 35 papers on post-legislative scrutiny have been presented and discussed by attendees.

Highlights from the conference include:

  • a keynote speech by Hon. Mr. Kakha Kuchava, Chairperson of the parliamentary environment committee of the Republic of Georgia on how post-legislative scrutiny is a step towards generating more people-friendly laws;
  • a presentation from Deputy Speaker of the Shan State Parliament Hon. Mr Sao Aung Myat on reviewing the impact of a local development law;
  • a panel discussion on how post-legislative scrutiny can help governments to ensure they are on track to reach the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals;
  • a plenary session on how reviewing laws can help ensure governments are addressing sensitive issues of public debate in society.

Speaking at the conference, Benjamin Powis, Governance, Peace and Society Team leader and Social Development Adviser of UK aid said:

“UK aid recognises the fundamental role that the Hluttaw has to play in driving forward Myanmar’s development – and this conference provide an opportunity to share experience from across the region on the transition towards more accountable and effective democratic institutions.”

(Photo: WFD CEO Anthony Smith speaks about making better laws for parliaments)

Speaking at the conference, WFD’s CEO Anthony Smith said:

“Too often, the way that laws are implemented does not match public expectations at the time they were adopted. That is why the Parliaments of Myanmar have been developing new ways to review laws, that include the voices and experiences of citizens to help make their laws more effective.

“WFD is pleased to support this conference to share international and Asian experiences on reviewing laws so that governments are better able to respond to public expectations.”

 

(Photo: Over 600 delegates from around the world attended the conference)