“Establishment of the Research Center is one of the integral parts of the institutional reform of the Parliament, which is already envisaged under the new Rules of Procedures”, - the Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze stated at the public meeting.
He addressed the attendees of the presentation “Strengthening the Research and Analytical Capacity of the Parliament: Challenges and Future Plans”.
The new Constitution has become effective upon swear-in of the new President, which envisages strengthening of the role of the Parliament.
“We have established the improved Parliamentary administration system with the key role of the Parliament in the Constitutional system and this change requires its practical implementation. There is the Constitution, the Constitutional frame and we shall ensure successful implementation thereof in practice”.
He underlined the primary task – practical reforms and changes. “Development of this document followed the wide-scale process with engagement of various parties concerned, including the international partners, civil society, experts, various political groups and these discussions resulted in development of the document to ensure further enhancement of the Parliament. I would like to particularly thank Mme. Tamar Chugoshvili for successful implementation of this process, who was the leader of this process for months”.
The Speaker spoke about key functions of the Parliament stating that institutional capacity of the Parliament is not due developed, it requires reform and Research Center is one of the components of this reform. “When we speak about the Parliament, we shall outline two main functions: legislation and oversight. We have to do much in both directions, though the traditional weakness of the Parliament still lies in undue development of oversight functions. Hence, development of this function is the key priority for me. Naturally, the changes already reflected in the Constitution, Rules of Procedure and other legal acts require respective resources in the Parliament. Unfortunately, our institutional capacity is not yet due developed and hence, practical implementation of the changes requires the institutional reform, including reorganization and establishment of the Research Center is one of the components of this reform, which is already envisaged under the new Rules of Procedure”.
The Center will be established in capacity of LEPL with due resources.
The Speaker elucidated the reasons for granting the LEPL status to the Center: “LEPL holds more resources and is capable to develop internal resources and attract external resources for research activity and I believe that the LEPL was the best suitable status for this goal. This status enables the Center to widely engage academic circles, civil society and ensure openness of public decision-making in the Parliament”.
He emphasized importance of engagement of the academic circles. Unfortunately, the link with the academic sphere with the decision-making process is weak. “When speaking about functioning of the Research Center, the key task is to ensure close contact with the academic circles and institutions in decision-making process and in this regard, the Center will serve for formation of respective links between the Parliament and the academic institutions. The Center will allow the perspective youth, future researchers and academicians being actively engaged in public decision-making”.
The Speaker underlined importance of engagement of the partners: "The Center operates on the level of the Rules of Procedure so far and needs to be composed”.
The Speaker confirmed commitment for cooperation with all parties concerned and underlined that management is of the key importance along with selection of the Director of the Center and personnel according to the objective criterion.
“Close cooperation with every party concerned is important. We hope for close cooperation with our international partners. We see their interest and we express commitment for active cooperation with every party to ultimately achieve our common goal – establishment of the Research Center, capacity building of the Parliament to ensure effective implementation of the key role thereby imposed under the Constitution”.
L. Vinton spoke about importance of the Research Center and enhancement of analytical capacity of the Parliament. A. Ruiz confirmed commitment for cooperation with the Parliament.
The First Vice Speaker, Tamar Chugoshvili held the presentation “Strengthening the Analytical and Research Capacity of the Parliament: challenges and future plans” stating that this model is assessed and recommended by the best experts.
“The representatives of the Parliaments who for years led the best Research Centers in their countries cooperated with the Parliament assessing and analyzing the system, gaps therein and issuing recommendations”.
She spoke about the challenges and noted that the Center will enhance the Parliament is all directions. “It is facilitation to effective oversight on the Government, improvement of the legislative process, definition of main policy directions in domestic and foreign terms to be based on the research and the facts. Thus, research-based public policy and informed decision-making is one of the key tasks of the Parliament”.
She emphasized importance of the oversight activity. “The Committees are assigned with the new functions backed with the research activity and assessment of the current legislation. Research-based oversight activity is paramount as it cannot be implemented on the basis of the media information solely. MPs shall be supported on the analytical and research level allowing them asking the competent questions to the Government. It is important for our image”.
She noted that all resources will be used and spoke about main characteristics of the Center: political impartiality, professionalism and non-political affiliation; field expertise; and bridge to the external world. “The research and analytical capacity of the Parliament shall be enhanced to: facilitate to effective oversight on the Government, improve the legislative process and define the policy directions. The Parliament will enjoy the high confidence for 2020 as within so beyond its borders through the various services which are vital for the Parliament”.
The Secretary General, Givi Mikanadze spoke about challenges and future plans of the analytical and research capacity.
The special Article of the Rules of Procedure is dedicated to the Research Center to enjoy the status of LEPL as of April 1. The Center will be established in the Parliament.
He spoke about the reason for the status of LEPL: this structural unit shall be at maximal extent independent, neutral and impartial. “This status allows the Center possessing own budget supported by the state. The status will also simplify relations with various donor and partner organizations. The state will maximally ensure its financial sustainability”.
The special provision will define composition and structure, as well as activity of the Center. “The initial visions are being formulated on the sector and thematic approaches. There are the specialists in this context to be employed here. We shall also need the expert base”.
He stated that the Supervisory Board shall as well be established to call the public contest for election of the Director of the Center. “At this stage, the Supervisory Board may call the open contest to select 3 best candidates and nominate them to the Parliament. Henceforth, the Speaker at his discretion will choose the best one”.
The Center will work on 5 main directions: social, economic, international, legal and human rights and defense and security. “Its activity will not limited with these 5 directions. The directions may be more if necessary and it will be discussed and reflected in the provisions”.
The Supervisory Board shall be composed of internationally recognized and local scientists and researchers.
G. Mikanadze noted the future plans and spoke about the Statute of the Center. “As soon as the Statute is approved, the positions will be selected according to the certain structure. First of all, we shall select the Director and then compose the thematic groups”.
The EU-funded UN project expert has already submitted the draft. He emphasized the capacity building and underlined importance of the donor and partner organizations.
The Center employees will pass internship in the Parliaments of the friend countries.
“The Center is the guarantee of effective Parliamentary activity”.