Commonwealth Parliamentarians and global experts share their experiences of  common democratic challenges at series of CPA virtual workshops  

Over 200 Commonwealth Parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and international experts from a wide range of organisations have examined some of the most pressing, universal challenges faced by democracies worldwide in a series of virtual workshops. 

The ‘Virtual CPC Workshop’ series, hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), brought together elected representatives, parliamentary officials, international organisations and leading academics for five workshops, held over the course of two weeks. Topics examined included: climate change; International Humanitarian Law; democracy and social media; disability representation; and youth activism. The Virtual CPC Workshops were held ahead of the next Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC).

Every day across the Commonwealth, Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff grapple with legislation, debates and constituency issues related to these cross-cutting themes. The workshops offered participants an opportunity to consider the issues at hand in greater depth, informed by presentations from world-leading experts, and discuss concrete actions that legislators can take to lead international, national and local action on these issues.

Representatives from the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Accountability Lab and the UK think tank Demos were amongst a host of expert panellists speaking at the workshops. By facilitating knowledge sharing between Parliamentarians and international organisations, the CPA is working to bolster connections between Parliaments and civil society to ensure that the actions of those in public office is informed by the latest data and research.

The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg said, “At the CPA, we recognise that many issues are universal to Parliamentarians in every corner of the Commonwealth. We are committed to facilitating ongoing dialogue between legislators, parliamentary officials and international experts to find solutions to these common democratic challenges. This series of workshops showed that the specialist knowledge of academics and NGOs will always be an invaluable resource for our elected representatives, particularly on complex topics such as International Humanitarian Law and climate change.”

Virtual CPC Workshop: Promote and Respect for International Humanitarian Law - Placing Humanity First
While the Executive is, generally speaking, primarily responsible for matters relating to International Humanitarian Law (IHL), IHL is nonetheless relevant to Legislatures and to Parliamentarians. Although the roles of the Executive and Parliament differ across jurisdictions, Parliamentarians at all levels can perform a number of important roles that can contribute to strengthening IHL. This workshop provided an open and engaging discussion on the importance and applicability of IHL to the role of Parliamentarians, through the involvement of international experts and Parliamentarians themselves.

Virtual CPC Workshop: Leading the Way: How the Commonwealth can Empower Persons with Disabilities? 
Through the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network, the CPA has committed to not only recognising the vital contributions of persons with disabilities in Parliaments across the Commonwealth, but also increasing and building off these contributions. This workshop highlighted the importance of drafting disability-sensitive legislation, improving the accessibility of our legislative institutions in both a physical manner and otherwise, and maintaining an informed and intelligent culture within the walls of Parliament. The webinar also provided an opportunity to highlight the work undertaken to date by the CPwD network and the important work still to come.

Virtual CPC Workshop: Youthquakes and Rising Youth Activism in the Commonwealth
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, political activism of young citizens around the Commonwealth has been emboldened. In contending with physical distancing rules, young people and youth-led movements have embraced digital technologies to campaign and raise awareness. From climate change activism to advocating for racial justice, youth activists are continuing to fight inequalities online. This workshop explored the actions of young political activists and organisations, as well as the role of Parliaments in engaging with these stakeholders to improve how they legislate on issues affecting their growing young populations.

Two further Virtual CPC Workshops - video links coming soon!
  • Virtual CPC Workshop: National Action Towards Climate Change: Role of Parliaments and Parliamentarians of the Commonwealth
  • Virtual CPC Workshop: Social Media - A Curse or a Blessing
If you are interested in attending any future virtual CPC workshops, please email

All of the Virtual CPC Workshops are also now available to watch on the CPA YouTube channel.

To find out more about future CPA events, download the CPA Programmes Booklet or email   

Updated 15 March 2021.


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. 
For further information about the CPA, please contact:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Headquarters Secretariat  
T: +44 (0)20 7799 1460
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