The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has just issued:
This is the first such report by the UNDP.
Highlights from the executive summary of the report include:
- Genuine public influence over the parliamentary deliberations is limited. The promise of greater influence must result in greater influence.
- Politicians are obliged to account publicly for their actions more regularly and routinely. a) The role of political parties is changing in many regions of the world. b) A number of institutional changes are limiting the scope within which politicians can operate. c) The desire for greater public accountability from politicians is driving the growth of a new breed of parliamentary monitoring organization (PMO).
- Constituency service is an accepted and expected part of the job and appears to be growing in volume, content and complexity.
Summary Conclusions (also from the executive summary):
- Parliaments’ resilience reflects their ability to adapt and evolve to public expectations.
- However, parliaments need a much more strategic analysis of the causes and sources of pressure for change.
- Parliamentary efforts to improve the relationship with voters need to be based on an understanding of how the role of the individual representative is changing.
- Compared with 50 years ago, parliaments are, generally, more open and accessible, more professionally run, better-resourced and more representative.
(Also from the executive summary) Three specific challenges stand out:
- Reforms need to reinforce the role of the representative and improve public understanding of what MPs [members of parliament] do, inside and outside parliament.
- Reforms designed to improve public understanding and political accountability need to ensure that they strengthen the role of parliament rather than undermine it.
- Parliaments need to collaborate more fully with external organizations to strengthen links with the public.
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