States Members Attend 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Wednesday 15 November 11:52

Three Jersey Deputies have recently participated in the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1 to 8 November 2017.

Deputy Kevin Lewis led a delegation to the the annual conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) held last week in Bangladesh. Deputy Lewis was accompanied by Deputies Susie Pinel and Montfort Tadier and the Deputy Greffier, Lisa Hart.

Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh for the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, under the conference theme of ‘Continuing to enhance high standards of performance of Parliamentarians’. The conference discussions focused on the importance of development for Parliamentarians, and in turn, parliament’s performance as a guarantor of democracy and an independent pillar in the separation of powers.

Hosted by the CPA President and Chairperson, Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh, the conference provided a unique platform for inter-parliamentary dialogue to take place bringing together Speakers, Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff representing the nine regions of the CPA, 52 countries of the Commonwealth and over 180 national, state, provincial and territorial Parliaments and Legislatures. Workshops and debates were held during the conference on a wide range of related topics including the role of Parliament in addressing the challenges of democracy; the role of trade in building stronger ties within the Commonwealth; climate change in the Commonwealth context and giving a voice to the youth of the Commonwealth, as well as the election of Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon as the new Chairperson of the CPA International Executive Committee at the General Assembly. There was also a special briefing regarding the Rohingya situation in which Deputy Lewis made a speech about the likelihood of the refugees returning to Myanmar following the extreme violence against them.

During the week in Bangladesh, the Jersey delegates also attended the 36th CPA Small Branches Conference and a meeting of the British Islands and Mediterranean Region representatives. The CPA Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan said: “The smallest of the CPA’s legislatures seek to meet the same expectations of service delivery as larger legislatures and in doing so, they recognise the importance of constantly innovating in the face of fiscal and human resource constraints; they recognise the central role of parliament in meeting the challenges of combatting corruption; and the threats in the face of climate change to some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable.”

Of the over 180 Branches of the CPA, forty-three Branches are classified as ‘Small Branches’ which are defined as jurisdictions having a population below 500,000 people. Examples of CPA Small Branches include Commonwealth countries such as Barbados and St. Lucia, as well UK Overseas Territories such as Montserrat or states or provinces within larger countries like Northwest Territories in Canada.

The diverse nature of its membership provides the CPA with a unique position within the parliamentary community to offer a valuable perspective on how to strengthen parliamentary democracy Commonwealth-wide and discuss new and innovative approaches on how to do so.

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