INTER PARES is supporting the National Assembly of Niger in the elaboration of its ten-year strategic plan, which will concern the Parliament as a whole. To this effect, a Technical Committee composed of 10 Heads of Department from the National Assembly of Niger was created mid-2022 and assigned with the task of drafting the plan. So far, two drafts have been produced, and the first draft has been the subject of a Steering Committee meeting in Niamey in October 2022.
The draft plan supports the Nigerien Assembly’s objective to enable their parliament to become a “modern and exemplary Parliament, which carries out its constitutional missions fully while serving the people and democracy”. It establishes the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of the Nigerien Assembly and outlines specific objectives to enhance its performance in its key parliamentary functions, such as:
- Enhanced capacities to legislate, including through enhanced knowledge of the legislative procedure and the strengthening of legal expertise within the Parliament
- Enhanced oversight of government through better use of existing mechanisms and the creation of a system for follow-up of recommendations
- Enhanced capacities to conduct budgetary law-making and oversight
- Strengthened management capacities for the parliamentary administration
- Promotion of gender-sensitive approaches in Parliament, including by strengthening the Women’s Caucus
- Modernisation and use of ICT in Parliament
As part of the finalisation of the second draft of the strategic plan of the National Assembly of Niger, the Technical Committee was hosted in Brussels for a meeting in closed session at the International IDEA Office. This day-long working meeting allowed the Technical Committee and the INTER PARES team to address remaining questions and comments about the draft plan, and work jointly to agree on further revisions.
The meeting was followed by a full day visit to the Belgian Federal Parliament, where the delegation was welcomed by the Secretary Generals of the Chamber of Representatives and Senate of Belgium. The different Heads of Departments from the Nigerien Assembly then had the opportunity to exchange with peers from the Senate and Chamber about the comparative experience of the functions they carry out as part of their duties: Committee work, Finance, Human Resources, Protocol, IT and comms, etc. The welcoming and informal setting, in the Senate’s old Fumoir, allowed for honest and fruitful dialogues. The Delegation was then able to observe the Senate’s Youth Parliament in action by attending two separate simulations of committees.
The Technical Committee was then hosted by the French National Assembly for two days, where they mutually exchanged and learned with peers from the French National Assembly and Danish Folketing. The different examples shared also allowed the delegation to take inspiration from different models and experiences, which will support the finalisation of the strategic plan and its three-year action plan. The Danish Folketing is currently implementing its 2027 Strategy and was able to share valuable lessons learned and good practice from the early stages of implementation. The discussions about different approaches to institutional development in the three parliaments were particularly interesting and revealed opportunities for further exchanges and resources on the topic. As a result, INTER PARES will be developing an activity to promote and share different approaches to parliamentary institutional development.
Peers from all three parliaments exchanged practices, innovations, and opportunities on important topics, such as:
- Administrative functioning and human resources
- Digitalisation and archiving systems
- Oversight practices in plenary and in committees
- The way specialised bodies other than standing committees carry out oversight, for examples on women’s rights, through the experience of the French Women’s Rights Delegation and the Danish Sexual and Reproductive Rights’ Network; and on Sustainable Development Goals, through the example of the 2030 Network of the Danish Folketing.
The Technical Committee will be basing the revisions of the second draft plan on the different meetings and exchanges which took place in Brussels and Paris. A new Steering Committee meeting will take place in 2023 to present the final draft to the Assembly’s leadership.