Two years ago, we didn't even have the national flag when we were taking our oaths of office," said Purna Bahadur Gharti, Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Province No. 5. Gharti was recalling the absence of basic infrastructure in the assembly's initial days at an interaction program titled, 'Two Years of Provincial Assembly in the Perspective of Open Parliament and Practices,' which was organized by the Journalist Society for Parliamentary Affairs (JSPA) with UNDP's Parliament Support Project in interim capital Butwal on February 1.
In the two years since then, the provincial assembly has had a number of structural additions, such as a hall, offices of the parliamentary parties, a library, a dialogue center and a media desk, stated the Speaker.
Deputy Speaker, Krishni Tharu, then spoke about the concept of open parliament, which, in his opinion, has not only promoted transparency and accountability of the parliament towards the citizens, but also piqued the interest of the public in the work and activities of parliamentarians. On a related note, Secretary of the Provincial Assembly, Durlav Kumar Pun Magar, stated that initiatives had been taken to increase people's participation in law making.
The need of a proper implementation of laws was stressed by Provincial Assembly Member, Bhoj Prasad Shrestha. The MP stated that implementation has been an issue due to contradictory provisions in the laws, which is why it was necessary to resolve such clauses.
Later, Mahendra Pandey, an advocate, gave a presentation on the activities executed by the Provincial Assembly in the past two years, and emphasized on the need to take each bill drafted by the Provincial Assembly for wider public consultation and discussion before being endorsed. The event also saw the unveiling of the Profile of Members of Provincial Assembly No. 5, which was published by the JSPA with support from UNDP's Parliament Support Project.
The event was attended by Provincial Assembly members, secretariat staff, government employees, representatives of civil society organizations, the media and the public.
UNDP's Parliament Support Project (PSP) is devoted to supporting the capacity building of parliaments, creating wider discourse around draft laws and promoting parliamentary openness, among others. The project also emphasizes on creation of opportunities for people from marginalized groups, youth and women to participate in parliamentary affairs.
Source: United Nations Development Programme