The Uruguayan Parliament, with the support of the World Bank, is currently implementing a project that involves the participation of legislators from all political sectors, and its coordination with other branches of government to strengthen the dissemination and implementation of laws recognizing social rights. On June 26, a workshop was held in the Parliament to disseminate the outcomes of consultations and training activities conducted to assess how these laws can be more effectively implemented.
Since 2010, the Parliament of Uruguay is implementing an innovative project in the region with the support of a World Bank grant. The “Institutional Strengthening to Promote Equitable Access of Society to the Legal System” project seeks to enhance coordination among State powers to promote a more efficient implementation of laws protecting social rights, ensuring a better and wider exercise of those rights by the citizens, and thus improving the delivery of public services.
In the context of this project, a workshop was held on June 26 in the Uruguayan Parliament in order to present the results of the diagnostic and capacity building activities carried out so far across the country. The workshop exposed the outcomes of a widespread consultation campaign that has surveyed over 2,000 Uruguayans and trained over 400 public servants on the challenges and opportunities to improve the implementation of the three laws selected for study: the Family Allowances Act, the Hazardous Child Labour in Rural Areas Act, and the Domestic Violence Act.
Introductory words were delivered by Mr. Peter Siegenthaler (World Bank Country Representative), Mr. Danilo Astori (Vice President of the Republic) and Senator Roberto Conde (President of the special Parliamentarian commission in charge of overseeing the project). They stressed the strategic impact of this project to improve the delivery of the services and rights contained in the laws, as well as its relevance as the first ever in the country to promote this level of coordination among State powers and bring the work of the Parliament closer to the people. Mr. Astori also highlighted how coordination among powers enhances the legislative work of the Parliament, transcending the debate and passing of the law to ensure that its content effectively reaches citizens.
Three panels moderated by the World Bank’s project manager, Ms. Mariángeles Sabella, went on to present the results and recommendations that arose from the consultations and capacity building activities for each of the selected laws. Technical presentations were carried out by members of the Consortium Mori-Deloitte S.C.-Saldain & Asociados, in charge of carrying out the original activities, and included high level speakers such as the Minister for Social Development, Mr. Daniel Olesker; the Director of the Institute for Children and Adolescents, Mr. Jorge Luis Ferrando; and the Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice, Mr. Ricardo Cesar Pérez Manrique.
Presenters and panelists discussed the current challenges to ensure a correct dissemination of the social rights contained in the laws that can lead to citizens effectively exercising their rights, and highlighted the importance of replicating the innovative methodology used for the project activities. Said methodologyincluded public consultations, surveys and interviews to gather the opinions and views of the general public and the public servants involved in the implementation of the laws, as well as capacity building activities that brought together representatives of the different institutions and different State powers in charge of the implementation of the selected laws, creating a space of dialogue and exchange that provided rich feedback on how to improve delivery of the social rights contained in said laws. Bringing together different actors to share their views and work together evidences the complexity of service delivery and the need for coordination, corroborating that the correct implementation of the Law transcends the Legislative -- as Mr. Astori, Vice President of Uruguay, stated-- and involves a wide range of actors in different spheres of the government that must coordinate to effectively reach citizens.
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