Parliamentarians from CPA Small Branches focus on the unique challenges affecting small parliaments and legislatures across the Commonwealth at 36th annual conference

With the increased logistical, financial and infrastructure demands facing small jurisdictions in the Commonwealth, Parliamentarians meet to examine the unique challenges they face. The 36th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Small Branches Conference has been held in Dhaka, Bangladesh with Members of Parliaments and Legislatures from CPA Small Branches attending the conference. The conference discussed a new CPA Small Branches Strategy which for the first time in the CPA’s 106 year history will seek to meet the unique developmental needs of its smallest legislatures through key thematic areas and development activities that will build parliamentary capacity for CPA Small Branches and create greater opportunities for the sharing of knowledge, parliamentary strengthening and cooperation across the network. 

The CPA President and Chairperson of the CPA International Executive Committee, Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh said at the opening of the Small Branches Conference: “I am honoured to be here today. The CPA works with the Small Branches in all the regions and we extend full cooperation in strengthening parliamentary democracy. The CPA’s priorities include supporting all of our Small Branches in meeting their challenges.” The CPA President also sent her thoughts to the CPA Small Branches in the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region affected by recent hurricanes who were not able to attend the conference.

The CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Hon. Angelo Farrugia, MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Malta said: “The CPA Small Branches Conference will help to build capacities for the small parliaments and legislatures of the Commonwealth and create greater and more constant opportunities for the sharing of knowledge and cooperation across the CPA network. The CPA Small Branches need to come together to address their common difficulties, common strengths and their shared experiences.” 

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.”  To view the Secretary-General's Opening Speech in full, please click here.

The conference included four plenary sessions exploring key themes proposed by the Membership: Logistics and Infrastructure challenges facing small jurisdictions; Parliamentary innovations in small jurisdictions in the face of financial and human resource challenges; The role of Parliament in Combating Corruption; The role of Parliament in meeting the challenges of protecting territorial waters.

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 CPA Headquarters Secretariat works closely with Small Branches in all Regions of the CPA to identify their unique needs and requirements in parliamentary strengthening, development and cooperation. 

The 36th CPA Small Branches Conference took place as part of the wider 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1 to 8 November 2017.

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Published Friday 3 November 2017/CPAHQ

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Notes to Editors:

36th CPA Small Branches Conference, 2-3 November 2017, Dhaka, Bangladesh 
The CPA Small Branches Conference takes place as part of the annual 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference hosted by the CPA Bangladesh Branch and the Parliament of Bangladesh. 

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) exists to develop, promote and support Commonwealth Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and to implement the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of over 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. The CPA is the only Commonwealth organisation to represent national, state, provincial and territorial Parliaments and Legislatures. 


For further information about the CPA, please contact: 
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Secretariat 
Westminster House, Suite 700, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA, United Kingdom 
T: 44-20-7799-1460 
F: 44-20-7222-6073 
Email hq.sec@cpahq.org

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