In Republic of Moldova, the process of drafting legislation is not sufficiently transparent and doesn’t allow for effective public engagement. The public and civil society are not sufficiently encouraged to participate in the legislation drafting process and there is no system of two-way communication. The current process is: There are three groups that should participate in the legislation drafting process. First, ministries and public authorities. They get a formal letter with the draft law and invitation to comment. They send their comments back with another letter. Second, civil society – a couple NGOs follow a similar process (note should be made that it is the Ministry that selects to which NGOs the invitation for review is sent thus impacting negatively the principle of equality). For the third group - the general public - (including the NGOs not included in the second group), the draft legislation is placed on the Ministry web-site with an e-mail address where the public can submit their comments. No further communication takes place. This, although a step in the right direction, is not fully consistent with principles of transparency, accountability, participation and empowerment.
In addition, the process is not very efficient for the Ministry itself, because once the official replies are received from the other ministries and the select group of NGOs a “Synthesis of objections and suggestions” (Sinteza obiecțiilor şi propunerilor) in a table format is created manually outlining the comments, whether they were accepted or rejected, and why. The tables do not indicate any comments sent by the public.
The proposed solution to the problem is setting up an online system, with the following features (piloted in the Ministry of Justice):
- Citizens and NGOs register within the system;
- - Ministry uploads draft legislation documents into the system;
- - Once the document is uploaded, the system automatically sends an email to all registered users informing them of the newly uploaded document and deadline for submitting comments;
- - All comments are visible to the users of the system as they are added and can be 'liked' or 'disliked' by other users;
- - The system provides spaces for comments by the designated person in the ministry used to generate the table with comments which accompanies the law further.
A public awareness campaign will accompany the launch of the system to inform the public of the possibility and encourage interest and participation.
A simple to use online platform will be set up and used to ensure equality, non-discrimination and accessibility.