The Parliamentarian

The Parliamentarian is the quarterly Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments published by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and features articles and news written by Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff across the Commonwealth about international issues.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Small Branches network represents the smallest jurisdictions in all regions of the CPA and the network identifies their particular needs and requirements in parliamentary strengthening, development and cooperation. The representation of small jurisdictions through the CPA is one of the unique functions of the Association, bringing together many Parliaments and Legislatures that are not represented in other inter-parliamentary organisations. 

Since 1981, the CPA Small Branches network uniquely brings together small national and sub-national jurisdictions across the Commonwealth. The demands of the network have evolved over this 40-year period, although many of the unique challenges faced by the CPA Small Branches remain the same. The work of the CPA Small Branches is guided by its focus on three thematic priorities: Climate Change and Environmental Governance; Connectivity, Technology and Innovation; and Human Rights; and these priorities and many other key themes are examined in this issue of The Parliamentarian which marks the 40th anniversary of the CPA Small Branches.

The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Executive Committee, Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP (Cameroon) in her View article congratulates the CPA Small Branches network on its 40th anniversary and looks at its progress over its last four decades of existence.

The outgoing CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Hon. Niki Rattle, Speaker of the Parliament of the Cook Islands writes about the positive role of the CPA Small Branches and the recent launch of the CPA Small Branches Strategic Plan 2021 – 2023. 

The Acting CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Joy Burch, MLA is also the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory and she writes about the Legislature's evolution as a CPA Small Branch.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the CPA Small Branches network, Hon. AnÄ¡elo Farrugia, MP, the Speaker of the Parliament of Malta and the Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches network from 2016-2019 outlines measures to build resilience for the network in recent years and the work of the Maltese Parliament during the pandemic. 

The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg in his View article for The Parliamentarian looks at how the Commonwealth as a whole can learn vital lessons from the unique challenges faced by the CPA Small Branches.

The United Nations High Representative for Small Island Developing States, Ms Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu outlines how building Small Island Developing States (SIDS) strategies and increasing cooperation between states can secure key outcomes and development for small jurisdictions.

Hon. Gervais Henrie, MNA is the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of the Seychelles and his article for The Parliamentarian focuses on one of the most pressing issues for the CPA Small Branches – climate change - as he reports on the Seychelles efforts in this area.

The smallest Legislatures in the Commonwealth often face resourcing issues due to their size and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Yukon, Hon. Nils Clarke, MLA writes about the influence of his Assembly’s small size on the exercise of parliamentary democracy.

Deputy Lyndon Trott has written about the leading role that Guernsey is playing in ‘green finance’ and Hon. Juan Watterson, SHK, Speaker of the House of Keys in the Isle of Man writes about a year in the life of a CPA Small Branch.

Deputy Kirsten Morel from Jersey asks the question ‘What is the nature of being a Commonwealth Parliamentarian in the 21st century and the importance of Parliament being reflective and responsive to the needs of society?

'Remote working' has a special meaning in the world's most isolated council chamber. Chief Islander of Tristan da Cunha, Councillor James Glass reflects on a momentous time and delivering democracy during a pandemic in one of the world’s remotest islands.

Collaboration on the global response to COVID-19 has demonstrated the UK Overseas Territories’ unique links and a special report by the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) provides readers with a unique insight into these relationships.

The importance of academic research in studying islands and small states is vital for the CPA Small Branches network and our understanding of the unique challenges they face. Readers will hear from three academic leaders in the field.

The Islands and Small States Institute at the University of Malta promotes research on the economic, social, cultural, ecological and geographical aspects of islands and small states – we hear from three of its leading academics - Stefano Moncada, Godfrey Baldacchino and Lino Briguglio.

The work of the Centre for Small States at Queen Mary University of London in the UK focuses on many of the legal issues facing the world's small states and Dr Caroline Morris outlines their work.

Dr Laurie Brinklow writes about the work of the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada and asks readers ‘What can island studies show us about sustainable development and public policy today?’

In addition to looking at parliamentary democracy in small jurisdictions, this issue of The Parliamentarian also examines other current issues in the Commonwealth and the CPA.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2018, Commonwealth leaders pledged to halve malaria by 2023 in a landmark commitment for the Commonwealth – however progress has been slow. Two Commonwealth Parliamentarians, Hon. Pauline Latham, OBE, MP (United Kingdom) and Dr Hon. Otiende Omollo, SC, MP (Kenya) ask ‘What is the role of Parliamentarians in overcoming one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases?

Hon. Jonathan O’Dea MP, the Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly writes about the introduction of a Virtual Parliament in New South Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on democracy.

Clive Lawton, OBE writes about the work of the Commonwealth Jewish Council and their aims to reach beyond their traditional audience.
Mr Alasdair Rendall is the Head of Media Relations for the UK House of Commons and he writes in this issue of The Parliamentarian about an exciting new project developing a Commonwealth Parliamentary Communications Network for parliamentary staff and the importance of sharing knowledge in these unprecedented times.

The CPA hosted a week-long Virtual Commonwealth Youth Parliament in December 2020 with young citizens from across the Commonwealth, giving them the opportunity to experience parliamentary democracy, to meet other young leaders and discuss urgent global issues. This issue of The Parliamentarian reports on this youth event and David Salmon, youth participant from Jamaica, shares his impressions of the event as well. 

This issue also features news and reports of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) activities including extracts from two speeches - Hon. Selina Napa, MP (Cook Islands) spoke about her own jurisdiction and the wider Pacific Region and the CWP Vice-Chairperson, Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MP (Nigeria), spoke about the wider Africa Region.

The Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Hon. Linda Fabiani, MSP writes about an innovative programme that is addressing the under-representation of young women in politics in Scotland.

Professor Sarah Childs (Royal Holloway, University of London) writes about the new 2020 CWP Gender Sensitive Parliaments Guidelines and how Gender Sensitising Parliaments is a democratic imperative in crisis as well as good times.

The Parliamentary Report and Third Reading section in this issue includes parliamentary and legislative news from Canada Federal; British Columbia; Trinidad and Tobago; India; New Zealand; the United Kingdom; Uganda; and Australia Federal. 

The CPA Headquarters Secretariat would also like to thank Mr Neil Iddawala, until recently the Deputy Secretary-General at the Parliament of Sri Lanka, for his dedication and commitment as the parliamentary correspondent for The Parliamentarian for many years. His parliamentary reports and articles about the Parliament of Sri Lanka over many years have provided a record of events for future generations and a source of interest for other Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures who want to share their experiences of parliamentary democracy. We congratulate him on his new role as a Judge of the High Court in Sri Lanka.
We look forward to hearing your feedback and comments on this issue of The Parliamentarian, on the issues affecting Parliamentarians across the Commonwealth and to receiving your future contributions to this publication.

Print and digital copies of The Parliamentarian are available to Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff - please contact your CPA Branch Secretary for details.

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Updated 04/03/2021/CPAHQ