Digital Local Parliaments for Higher Efficiency, Savings in Resources, and Transparency in the Work

Oct 30, 2017

Participants of the Building the Digital Local Parliaments conference

Digital technologies enable building of strong, democratic parliaments that are more open and more transparent to citizens - this is the message of the participants at the conference „Building the Digital Local Parliaments“, which was held in the Master Centre in Novi Sad on 30-31 October 2017. Over 200 representatives of local assemblies from the entire Serbia participated in the work of the conference, who exchanged knowledge and experiences and discussed the topics, such as: importance of introduction of digitalization and e-parliament at the local level; best practices in the country and abroad; challenges, resources, and legal framework for setting up a digital parliament, as well as impact of social media on the change of functioning of parliaments.

At the opening of the conference, the participants were addressed by the host, Mr. Miloš Vučević, the Mayor of Novi Sad, Mrs. Maja Gojković, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Mrs. Karla Hershey, the UN Resident Coordinator and the UNDP Resident Representative, Mrs. Ursula Läubli, the Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office, the Swiss Embassy to Serbia, and Mr. Ištvan Pastor, the Speaker of the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

On the global level, the UNDP promotes introduction of e-parliament using best international practices and experiences. In Serbia, with the support of the Swiss Agency for International Development (SDC), the UNDP has developed the e-parliament software, which is free of charge and available to all the local assemblies in the country. „This digital platform we have developed consists of two segments”, pointed out Karla Hershey, the UN Resident Coordinator and the UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia. „The first one is the electronic document management system, which enables higher efficiency in the work, saves money, and enables simultaneous search for information to a greater number of users, whereby security, confidentiality, and availability of documents are ensured. The second part of the platform is the e-voting system, which increases transparency and which includes audio and video recordings, and posting of assembly documents in open data format, which enables easy access to those interested”, added Mrs. Hershey.

The UNDP is already piloting the e-parliament system in the assemblies of the Cities of Leskovac and Pančevo. Experiences of the two cities, as well as of Novi Sad, which was presented as the example of the best practice, indicate that its application on annual level can yield savings of as much as up to RSD 4-6 million, through reductions in the costs of paper, fuel, courier service, servicing of photocopying equipment, toners, electricity, and other material and human costs. In addition, it enables better flow of information, and it has established mechanisms for more efficient and effective work of MPs, preservation of integrity of the work and combat against corruption.

Contact information

coms-drr.rs@undp.org

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