“I hope these stories will inspire policymakers and others working on legal reforms and institution building to continue their good work.”
- Milot Ahma
- Zeynep Boba
- Catherine Bridge Zoller
- Divya Chawla
- Angela Delfino
- Pavle Djuric
- Giuseppe Grimaldi
- Vesselina Haralampieva
- Maya Hennerkes
- Paul Moffatt
- Eliza Niewiadomska
- Yulia Shapovalova
- Michael Strauss
- Chris Tassis
- Yuliya Zemlytska
- Patricia Zghibarta
- Alexei Zverev
ForewordBuilding resilience through legal reform
As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, the world is reminded daily of the true meaning of the word “resilience”. The Ukrainian people, in defending their homeland and continuing with their daily lives while already advancing plans for reconstruction, demonstrate this resilience in every way. The EBRD has long been a dedicated partner of Ukraine through investment and technical cooperation, stepping up its support in this time of greater need.
Looking to the future, the EBRD is preparing to help with Ukraine’s reconstruction and to assist with adopting the reforms necessary to support that process. As a demonstration of that readiness, the Bank hosted a conference at its London headquarters in June 2023 to reaffirm its commitment to supporting the resilience of Ukraine’s real economy.
With that in mind, this journal’s theme is both timely and important, with several contributions containing stories about Ukraine that emphasise how the EBRD Legal Transition Programme (LTP) continues to help implement the types of reforms needed to underpin reconstruction. This includes its work on:
- regulating the critical raw materials sector, which should greatly increase transparency and ease access for investors to valuable information on mining resources in Ukraine, resources essential to both reconstruction and greening, and digitisation of the economy
- creating green procurement processes for public-private partnerships, also crucial for reconstruction
- improving the governance of state-owned enterprises to make them eligible for investment by international financial institutions
- promoting online courts for small claims
All these stories demonstrate the critical role the EBRD can and will play in helping Ukraine not only recover from the war, but build back better.
Besides responding to the challenges in Ukraine, other recent projects in the LTP portfolio have focused on recovering from the post-pandemic economic slowdown and delivering sustainable development and the climate change agenda. In both of these areas, the LTP has made an important contribution towards the Bank’s strategic priorities of promoting economic resilience and fighting climate change.
As the world recovers from Covid-19, there are many ways to ensure the economies where we work are resilient and continue to benefit from the lessons learned during the pandemic. In that respect, the LTP plays a catalytic role, with its efforts reflected in the activities that comprise the “virtuous circle” of legal reform, which the Bank has advocated for many years.
This journal reflects on the various activities in this virtuous circle. One story details the LTP’s standard-setting activities in the field of public-private partnerships, where we have published a compilation of model laws and other reference documents. Another article covers assessment activities, in particular a review of the readiness of our countries of operations to implement online courts. Other articles describe our technical cooperation work, through which we advise governments on their reforms.
The work of the LTP continues to make significant contributions to strengthening the investment climate in our regions – an essential point at a time when resources to fund technical cooperation projects are more constrained and the Bank seeks to establish even closer linkages to its investments.
For example, judicial capacity-building activities, public procurement reforms and insolvency law reforms (to name just a few of the LTP’s portfolio of activities) provide essential support for private-sector development, in furtherance of the Bank’s overarching mission. It goes without saying that a well-trained judiciary facilitates dispute resolution for private investors, solid public procurement regimes limit corruption and quality insolvency systems allow for the orderly liquidation or reorganisation of insolvent companies. All these elements are crucial to the development of a vibrant private sector and sound investment climate.
Beyond supporting the key legal enabling environments for investment in our countries of operations, the LTP’s activities create direct value and impact in these economies. The reforms we help put in place catalyse specific investments, such as our work establishing crowdfunding legislation, which governs the platforms used by micro-investors. The investments made on these platforms often amount to millions of euros, demonstrating a strong multiplier effect from the EBRD’s intervention.
With that in mind, this journal spotlights the ways that the LTP helps the Bank deliver on its mandate, creating a predictable, transparent and investor-friendly legal environment for business.
Much done, much more to do.
This journal’s theme is both timely and important, with several contributions containing stories about Ukraine that emphasise how the EBRD Legal Transition Programme (LTP) continues to help implement the types of reforms needed to underpin reconstruction.
It is my great pleasure to present to you the 2023 edition of the Law in Transition journal. As usual, the publication reflects on the work of the EBRD Legal Transition Programme (LTP) in the last year or so. Our programme aims to support the economies where the Bank operates in establishing better legal frameworks for business and investment. This edition is full of lessons learned from our recent activities, which in the past year have focused primarily on climate work and post-Covid recovery.
We have arranged the articles in two parts: the first is dedicated to the green transition and the second focuses on finance and governance.
The first story, by Divya Chawla and Maya Hennerkes, looks into the available tools for companies to meet the Paris Agreement objectives. One of these tools, advocated by the EBRD, is developing and implementing corporate climate governance action plans. The article takes stock of early lessons from this new line of activities developed by the LTP in collaboration with other EBRD departments. It gives concrete examples of such corporate climate governance plans from the Bank’s investment portfolio.
In the second article, Mike Strauss and Vesselina Haralampieva consider the role of lawyers in tackling the impacts of climate change. The story highlights what lawyers can and should do in that context, taking a close look at the role of in-house counsel (including those working for international organisations). When it comes to addressing the climate crisis, lawyers are going to be very busy indeed.
In the article that follows, Paul Moffatt, with contributions from Andrea Garaiova, writes about EBRD support for the critical raw materials market. The Bank’s activities help build policy, law, regulation and governance with the aim of attracting more and better investment to EBRD countries of operations. This enables the sector to develop and make a greater contribution to broader economic growth.
In the next article, Eliza Niewiadomska and Angela Delfino, with contributions from Maya Almog, explain how buying green infrastructure and ensuring a more sustainable and greener supply chain are vital for countries in the EBRD regions. They argue that this requires harnessing innovation and technology, but that most governments are only just starting to look into the matter. The article showcases some results from the EBRD Green Cities programme.
The next story opens the part on finance and governance. Written by Milot Ahma, with contributions from Gamze Kahyaoglu and Andrei Mazur, it makes the case for digitalising trade, using the UN Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records for that purpose. The authors argue that using digital documents instead of paper-based processes would significantly improve the efficiency of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Catherine Bridge Zoller presents a review of the current situation with non-performing loans in the EBRD regions. She takes stock of what has been accomplished by the Vienna Initiative in that context. The piece also contains an interview with Eric Cloutier by Dejan Vasiljev about recent trends and future perspectives regarding such loans.
Pavle Djuric, Giuseppe Grimaldi and Yuliya Zemlytska then reflect on the role of state-owned enterprises in countries in which the Bank operates. The story showcases a new technical cooperation programme designed to help the EBRD provide policy advice that combines governance and sector reforms for these enterprises.
Alexei Zverev, Chris Tassis and Zeynep Boba reflect on the role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Their article considers the work of the LTP in that context and focuses on a recent publication called The EBRD PPP Regulatory Guidelines Collection, which is a comprehensive resource for policymakers and practitioners working on PPPs.
Lastly, Yulia Shapovalova and Patricia Zghibarta look into the readiness of EBRD economies to introduce online courts. Their contribution is based on a recent assessment conducted by the Bank in 17 jurisdictions, with a view to mapping the needs for technical cooperation in that area. As readers will appreciate, online courts have been crucial for ensuring access to justice during the pandemic.
I hope these stories will inspire policymakers and others working on legal reforms and institution building to continue their good work. Please do send feedback on this journal if you can.
Our programme aims to support the economies where the Bank operates in establishing better legal frameworks for business and investment. This edition is full of lessons learned from our recent activities, which in the past year have focused primarily on climate work and post-Covid recovery.