AmCham Macedonia Winter 2014 (Issue 40) - Page 19

ANALYSIS “Government Mirror” Aims to Increase Public Participation in Law-Making Author: Macedonian Center for International Cooperation Rapid advances in ICT and internet usage in Macedonia, particularly over the last five years, are being leveraged to transform the role of government, to improve public services and lead change. Tools have been developed that enable unprecedented access of civil society to all levels of government. However, if these e-tools and services are to succeed in their mission of informing, involving and empowering citizens, they must be promoted, trusted, used, monitored and properly maintained. Now that there are conduits for public participation, expectations in some circles have risen, yet implementation and substantive change is lacking, as is the requisite activity and participation from civil society. serve three main purposes: informing and encouraging participation, educating and monitoring (mainly the ministries’ respect of the 10 day minimum public comment period). The site offers visitors a wide variety of information on public involvement in policy creation and law-making processes and is regularly updated with approved laws and bylaws that regulate public participation, informative and educational articles, publications, illustrations of the policy creation cycle as well as important links. In November 2013, MCIC started publishing weekly and monthly newsletters summarizing ENER activity to encourage public participation in the early phases of lawmaking process. In Macedonia, government ministries are required to publish proposed laws for at least 10 days on www. (the “Unified National Register of Laws of the Republic of Macedonia” or ENER) to encourage public comment before the laws enter parliamentary procedure.1 The Ministry that proposed the law is required to respond to each comment and finally to publish a report detailing any consultations it conducted both on ENER and its own site. Since timely notification is essential to obtaining meaningful participation in the legislative process from civil society, good practice dictates that all ministries consistently use ENER as it was intended. The results of “Government Mirror” monitoring are available by ministry under “Violations”. In 2013, the biggest violator of guidelines was the Ministry of Finance with 23 violations. A counter is also shown on the homepage to highlight all violations registered in the current year. For example, the site noted 57 violations of the public comment period minimum in 2013. There were 123 draft law proposals last year, thus no less than 46% of the draft-law procedure public comment periods were violated! Given the obvious advantages of the ENER system (24/7 availability, low relative cost), The Macedonian Center for In ѕɹ