Starting ‘untact’ cooperation

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Starting ‘untact’ cooperation

Lee Kang-seop
The author is Minister of Government Legislation.

The unprecedented spread of Covid-19 has changed the working environment in each sector, social system, and our daily lives this year. In early February, we were scheduled to go to Jakarta, Indonesia, to sign an Action Plan containing specific matters for legislative exchange and cooperation with the Cabinet Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia (Setkab) and to discuss cooperative activities, including holding a seminar in Indonesia.

Unfortunately, however, as the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in January in Korea and Covid-19 infection risk was increased, we finally canceled our business trip to the country just days before it. Until now, we have faced the situation where we can’t try to visit other countries for discussion on legislative cooperation. In addition, as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced almost global airlines to curb flights, there was no visit from other countries to our organization. In fact, many countries, including Thailand, visited our ministry to listen to our experience of legislative development every year.

As the Covid-19 pandemic is prolonged, we decided not to cling to the cooperative activities that need person-to-person contact and have sought for ways for contact-free cooperation known as “untact” in Korea. We and Setkab held a seminar on legislative cooperation and signed a 2020-2021 Action Plan via an online video meeting on Sept. 24. In the seminar, we discussed specific cooperative measures for the establishment of a unitary legislative organization in Indonesia that is modeled after the Ministry of Government Legislation (Moleg). Fadlansyah Lubis, the Deputy for Politics, Law and Security of Setkab, said in the seminar that for Indonesia pursuing legislative innovation, cooperation with Korea is important and he was delighted to cooperate with us through an online video meeting.

Furthermore, we will hold the 8th Asian Legislative Experts Symposium online and offline simultaneously on the theme of “Laws and Systems for Response to Infectious Diseases and Cooperative Measures in the Post-coronavirus Era” on Nov. 25. The symposium will be a meaningful venue where speakers from the New Southern countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore participate in it through video presentation without visiting Korea to discuss measures for the modification of laws and systems and international cooperation for the preparation for the post-pandemic era and it would be broadcasted live online.

Despite the protracted Covid-19 pandemic, various countries, including the New Southern countries, are continuously requesting sharing of our experience of legislative development and our advice for the legislative advancement of the countries. Most of the requests are about capacity building for public officials in charge of legislation. However, it will be difficult for us to invite other countries to Moleg and visit them to provide an education at an early date. Therefore, we are planned to make an educational video for the countries on common interests such as overview of Moleg’s tasks, statutory modification, examination and interpretation, legal information system and our efforts to support local governments in drafting legislation in order to help other countries strengthen the legislative capacity of their public officials.

We will hold a regular online meeting, foster legislative cooperation by holding a joint seminar and maintain our cooperative channel by providing our legal information to the country which asks for it in a timely manner. And we will endeavor to vary the ways in which we do cooperative activities such as signing a memorandum of understanding without direct contact when necessary.

In this way, we will share our know-hows on the development of legislative administration that enables the advancement of Korea’s system and play a leading role in ensuring the legislative development of Asian countries through “untact” cooperation to prepare for the post-pandemic era. I hope that other countries, including the New Southern and New Northern countries, would gain a foothold for their further development from laws and systems that played a key role in achieving economic growth and establishing democracy in Korea and Covid-19 would be defeated at the earliest possible moment.
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