Screen shot of the website for public consultation on draft legislation in Kyrgyzstan
Screen shot of the website for public consultation on draft legislation in Kyrgyzstan

Within the framework of the EU “Rule of Law Programme in the Kyrgyz Republic – 2nd Phase”, which is being led by the German Development Agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH or GIZ) as head of a consortium involving several partners in Kyrgyzstan, the IRZ is supporting the legislation, e-justice and court organisation components. The complex subject of legislation covers the digitalisation of the legislative process and web-based public participation in legislative procedures. The IRZ and its Kyrgyz partners have set up a test portal on the Internet for public consultation on draft legislation, which has been online since the beginning of March 2020.

Although public consultation on draft legislation is compulsory in Kyrgyzstan, in practice only few draft laws have been commented on until now. Even in cases where this does take place, it generally involves only a limited number of non-governmental organisations. The extension of this participation is also hampered by the fact that legislative bodies each publish their draft laws on their own individual websites. Moreover, these websites are often not very user-friendly, with inadequate search options, for example, or even none at all. Those who do get involved receive very little feedback on their suggestions, since legislative bodies are not under any obligation to respond to comments and suggestions.

The development and introduction of the new standardised website for public consultation on draft legislation is set to solve all these problems in Kyrgyzstan. Officials are currently working with developers and other experts to further develop the test portal and improve its various features and functions. The search mode should make it easier to look for key words, individual areas of the law and legislative bodies, whilst the newsletter function ensures that those who are interested receive regular notifications about new draft laws. As well as draft legislation, the website will also supply all the supporting documentation (justifications, expert reports, etc.).

The plan is for legislative bodies in Kyrgyzstan to publish all draft laws on this website in future, so that citizens, associations and other representatives of civil society can then comment on them. Since it is compulsory for legislative bodies to answer these comments, the legislative process will become more transparent overall. Over the next few months, the IRZ will provide support with the supply of the necessary hardware components, as well as introducing a comprehensive training programme and a supporting advertising campaign in Kyrgyzstan. Once the definitive version of the website is online, accompanied by an app for mobile devices, this should lead to greater participation, increased transparency and more comments on draft legislation.