5th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Asia Regional Conference highlights Parliaments’ role in envisaging a diverse and developed South Asia 

The Pakistan Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the National Assembly of Pakistan have successfully hosted the 5th CPA Asia Regional Conference on the theme of ‘Envisioning Parliamentary Paths towards a Diverse and Developed South Asia’. The CPA Asia Regional Conference saw delegates from the CPA Pakistan Branch and from the Provincial Assemblies of Pakistan as well as from Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Uganda, Malaysia and the United Kingdom participate in the regional conference from 29 July to 2 August 2019 in Islamabad. 

The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, opened the 5th CPA Asia Regional Conference and was received by the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan and CPA Pakistan Branch President, Hon. Asad Qaiser; the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Hon. Qasim Khan Suri; and Hon. Dr Fehmida Mirza, Federal Minister of Pakistan and CPA Asia Regional Representative on the CPA International Executive Committee.

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Hon. Asad Qaiser said: "It is indeed a matter of great honour for me to have distinguished guests and colleagues from the Commonwealth fraternity in our midst at the 5th CPA Asia Regional Conference. I would like to thank Parliamentary delegations from Sri Lanka, guests from the UK, Malaysia, Cameroon and Uganda and all participating CPA Branches from the Provincial Legislatures of Pakistan for coming together for this regional conference and reaffirming our commitment to the strengthening of democracy. Pakistan deeply values the common bond which binds us together – the bond of the Commonwealth - and it is with utmost conviction that I express the hope of continuing collaborative synergy between the National Legislature of Pakistan and the CPA Asia Region Branches. Pakistan strongly believes in the promise of multilateralism. States can achieve more together than they can individually. The more we cooperate the more the space for unilateral action is reduced.”

The CPA Asia Regional Conference was attended by CPA Officers including: the CPA President Designate, Rt Hon. Rebecca A. Kadaga, MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda; the Chairperson of CPA International Executive Committee, Hon. Emilia Lifaka, MP, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon; and the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Chairperson, Hon. Dr Dato’ Noraini Ahmad, MP, (Malaysia). The CPA Chairperson, Hon. Emilia Lifaka highlighted the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a key priority for all Commonwealth Parliamentarians at the opening of the CPA Asia Regional Conference: “We can achieve our common goals by prioritising the betterment of our respective societies and by using the Sustainable Development Goals as a blueprint. The SDGs address the global challenges that we face including those facing poverty, inequality, climate change, prosperity, peace and justice. These goals interconnect and in order to leave no-one behind it is important that we achieve each goal and target by joint priorities.”

During the CPA Asia Regional Conference, Members discussed a wide range of topics including: The Challenges for Poverty Eradication in South Asia; The Sustainable Development Agenda and priorities of the States in the Region; Parliamentary Oversight and Sustainable Development Agenda

A seminar for the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) held at the CPA Asia Regional Conference discussed the challenges and impediments against women in politics in the region. The Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Hon. Asad Qaiser and the CPA Chairperson, Hon. Emilia Lifaka joined delegates led by Munaza Hassan, MNA, Secretary of the Pakistan Women’s Parliamentary Caucus to discuss a wide range of issues including the male dominant party structures; general seat versus reserved seats for women; and prioritising women issues as national issues. For more information about the CWP seminar please click here.

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Akbar Khan, attended the CPA Asia Regional Conference and chaired a youth roundtable event with young MPs and youth delegates from the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) of the National Assembly of Pakistan. The youth roundtable focused on the topic of ‘Making Democracy Relevant; Why is it Important to Recognize Young Voices?’ and discussed a wide range of issues affecting young people, including the role of youth in inclusive democracy; youth movements and platforms as a stepping stone to Parliament; opening up politics and Parliament to young people; young Parliamentarians’ strategies to advance common peace and prosperity. The CPA has long championed the inclusion of young people in the democratic process and in promoting Commonwealth values through its CPA Roadshows and the Commonwealth Youth Parliament.

In the sidelines of the regional conference, the CPA Secretary-General held meetings with both the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Hon. Asad Qaiser, and Hon. Dr Fehmida Mirza, Federal Minister of Pakistan and CPA Asia Regional Representative on the CPA International Executive Committee, to discuss matters of the CPA Pakistan Branch. The Secretary-General also had the pleasure of meeting with Hon. Kashmala Tariq, Federal Ombudsperson for the Protection Against Harassment of Women in the Workplace and former Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Chairperson, to hear more about her role in protecting women’s rights in Pakistan. 

Delegation heads at the CPA Asia Regional Conference included: Hon. J. M. Ananda Kumarasiri, MP, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka; Hon. Parvez Elahi, Speaker of the Punjab Assembly; Ho. Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani, Speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly; Hon. Sardar Barbar Khan Musakhel, Deputy Speaker of the Baluchistan Assembly; Hon. Ms Rehana Laghari, Deputy Speaker of the Sindh Assembly; and Lord Jeremy Purvis, Member of the UK House of Lords, representing the CPA UK Branch. The 5th CPA Asia Regional Conference also saw a meeting of the CPA Asia Regional Executive Committee and a meeting of the CPA Asia Region Branch Secretaries that took place in the margins of the main conference
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For images of the CPA Asia Regional Conference in Pakistan please click here or visit www.cpahq.org/cpahq/flickr.

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Updated 2nd August 2019.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. 
 
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