Regional Capacity Building Seminar on “Drafting Legislation and Oversight Bodies for Regulatory Quality”, 29-30 April 2008, Amman, Jordan

 

 

The one and half day Regional Capacity Building Seminar on “Drafting Legislation and Oversight Bodies for Regulatory Bodies for Regulatory Quality” took place in Amman, Jordan on 29 and 30 April 2008. It was held under the Patronage of the Prime Ministry of the Hashemite Kingdom Jordan in cooperation with the Executive Privatisation Commission of the Hashemite Kingdom Jordan, the Institute of Law at Birzeit University and the OECD. It was an activity organized in the framework of the Working Group on Public Service Delivery, Public-Private Partnerships and Regulatory Reform of the Good Governance for Development (GfD) for Arab Countries Initiative. 


Pariticipants to the Seminar


H.E. Mr. Mohammed Al Alawneh, Chairman of the Legislation and Opinion Bureau of the Prime Ministry in Jordan, chaired the seminar on behalf of the Jordan government. Mr. Kheireddine Ben Soltane, Legal and Legislative Advisor to the Government of Tunisia, represented the Chair of the GfD Working Group on Public Service Delivery, Public-Private Partnerships and Regulatory Reform.
There were 60 participants attending the seminar. Delegates from nine MENA region delegations were present from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan (host country), Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian National Authority, Tunisia, and Yemen; as well as delegates from 3 OECD countries: Korea, the Netherlands and Switzerland. On the Jordanian side, numerous institutions participated actively in the seminar: the Legislative and Opinion Bureau of the Prime Ministry, the Upper House of Parliament, the Court of Cassation, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Justice, the Public Sector Development Ministry, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning and International Co-operation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Jordan Investment Board, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Environment. In addition, a number of private lawers and the Sustainable Achievements for Business Expansion and Quality (SABEQ) programme in Jordan attended the meeting.


Objective


This seminar aimed at promoting law drafting capacities in Arab Countries to improve the quality of regulation. This is one of the priorities highlighted by Arab countries participating in the Good Governance for Development (GfD) Initiative. Sharing policy experiences in Arab and OECD countries is key to the creation of those capacities. This policy dialogue exercise focused on institutions, tools to support drafting of new and existing legislation, and mechanisms to improve law drafting skills in government.


Policy Dialogue

 

The seminar explored government capacities and institutional framework for law drafting. Discussions were organised in five sessions:

  1. In the first session, the focus was institutional. Participants presented experiences regarding regulatory oversight bodies from OECD and MENA countries. The role of this institution is to promote coherence and coordination in regulatory management.
  2. The second session focused on managing the creation of new legislation. The importance of impact assessments tools, such as Regulatory Impact Analysis, was highlighted. The use of these mechanisms enables governments to forsee the impacts of regulation and thus avoid unnecessary regulatory barriers.
  3. The third session focused on the revision and simplification of existing legislation. Different approaches to the management of the stock of legislation were presented and discussed. The challenge for governments is to keep up to date all legislation, and be adaptive to changing society’s needs. This challenge is even greater with a complex legal history background, as it is the case in most of Arab countries.
  4. The fourth session concentrated on the ways of strengthening capacities for legal drafting in government institutions. The aim of this capacity building should be to improve the quality of legislation. Participants discussed about resource allocation, human capital development and different training mechanisms.
  5. The last session referred to improving legal drafting techniques and the use of drafting manuals and guidelines. A whole-of-government perspective was defended to homogenise the drafting tasks among institutions. These efforts contribute to enhancing coherence when laws are implemented.


Some of the challenges underlined during the seminar, in need of further discussion, refer to the importance of: (a) enforcing effective legislation, meaning that laws achieve clearly defined policy objectives; (b) providing a legal environment facilitating an even field-ground for public-private cooperation, (c) correctly allocating responsibilities among public institutions taking into account a multilevel governance perspective, and (d) sofisticating the administrative culture towards innovative and efficient legislative approaches. The final goal for law drafters should be to promote economic activity and social development.


Outcomes


Support from Arab and OECD countries to the GfD Initiative was raised and gathered around the table. There has been a clear demand to develop further the topics discussed in the framework of this working group. The key topics that raised attention for future work are (i) understanding commonalities and differences among countries regarding the elements of sound law drafting processes; (ii) the use of manuals, guidelines and documentation framing the context of law drafting; and (iii) the development of training initiatives focused on the creation of capacities.
Some Arab countries are willing to give more weight to an economic perspective in the law drafting processes. The OECD has offered its support to continue promoting policy exchanges and organising capacity building activities to spread the knowledge and the expertise among participating countries. As part of these efforts, the publication Building an Institutional Framework for Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA): Guidance for Policy Makers has been recently published to provide key ideas for institutional design to analyse the impacts of legislation in the economy.


Documentation

 

Presentations

Session 1

Session 3

Session 5

Background