Mrs. Prime Minister,
Mr. President of the Provincial Government,
Mrs. Speaker of the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina,
Dear Ms. Pickup, Resident Representative of UNDP in the Republic of Serbia,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am always coming to Novi Sad with utmost pleasure. And today even more as I will participate to the launching of the e-parliament system in the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.
We are very thankful to Her Excellency Prime Minister Ana Brnabic for her commitment and support to the digital transformation of the Serbian public institutions.
Switzerland is highly committed to promoting democratic institutions through its development cooperation, given its longstanding experience in decentralised governance and democracy.
Of all public institutions, Parliaments enjoy particular legitimacy, as they are directly elected by the people and represent the interests of the people.
The Provincial Assembly has an important role to play in representing the needs of local citizens and making sure that diverse views can be debated in order to find the best solutions to local issues. On the top of that, the Assembly can hold the provincial Government accountable to its work and scrutinize legislation as well as the budget.
The Swiss Federal Government has adopted a ’Digital Switzerland Strategy’ in 2016. The strategy combines initiatives using modern information and communication technologies for the benefit of Swiss citizens and their daily lives. The strategy was developed in dialogue with representatives from the economy, science, research and the civil society.
In Switzerland, Parliament and MPs widely use digital tools to communicate with the people. The Parliament’s bulletin, containing all the records about a session, is uploaded on the website within one hour after the closure of a session, which is of importance to the media. Given the multi-cultural composition of Switzerland, federal Parliament’s public online platform is available in five languages (four national languages and English). I would like to invite you to have a look at this site: www.parlament.ch
Such technological improvements have greatly helped the Swiss Parliament to open up to citizens, but also ensured that its work is carried out in an efficient and transparent manner.
The new e-parliament of the Assembly of Vojvodina combines e-voting and document management into a single system. In practice, this means that documents are available for MPs all the time and do not need to be printed anymore.
The e-parliament will bring significant savings and more efficiency to the work of the Vojvodina Assembly, while all decisions of the Assembly will be available to the public and to the media shortly after the sessions, increasing the transparency and accountability of the Assembly’s work.
Recent legislative changes (Law on Planning System and the revised Law on Local Self-Governments) have paved the way for increased citizens’ participation. We hope that the Assembly of Vojvodina, through this innovative approach, takes the lead in making stronger links with its citizens and actively involves them in decision-making.
The introduction of the e-parliament is possible thanks to the great dedication of the UNDP project team that implements the project in partnership with national counterparts.
The support given to E-Parliament system is part of a joint Swiss project implemented with UNDP and the National Assembly. A new 4-year phase of the project has been launched at the beginning of this year. This 4-year phase focuses on promoting dialogue within Parliament, on strengthening transparency as well as on fostering women’s political empowerment.
I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate the Vojvodina Assembly again for this forward-looking initiative and for hosting us today.
Thank you for your attention!