Regional Workshop on Benchmarks for Democratic Parliaments for the Asia, India, South-East Asia Regions

Date: 14- 17 December, 2015
Location: Perak, Malaysia

In 2010, the Asia, India and South-East Asia regions developed and adopted the ‘Recommended Benchmarks for Asia, India and South-East Asia Regions Democratic Legislatures’. As part of this process, it is important for the Regions to measuring their progress to attain these Benchmarks. It is with this in mind that this Workshop, scheduled to take place on the 14 - 17 December, has been organised.                                                                                                                    

Parliaments are constantly being assessed by outsiders – the media, academics, intergovernmental agencies, civil society – and this practice is growing.  In 2006, the CPA developed "Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures" so Parliaments and Legislatures can undertake their own self-assessments based on a Commonwealth standard developed by Members and parliamentary officials, a standard specifically designed to help Parliaments identify possible new ways to function as effectively as possible. The original Benchmarks evolved further with the introduction of the following regional Benchmarks - Pacific (2009); Asia, India and South East Asia (2010) and Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic (2011). These regional benchmarks identify variations in practices and priorities so Parliaments have Benchmarks truly reflecting the Commonwealth’s diversity.

A “Benchmarks” self-assessment can lead to discussion and debate – both inside and outside of Parliaments – about their appropriateness and utility in different nations.  It is a useful tool around which to formulate a debate.  It can also provide a basis for measuring parliamentary effectiveness, and to help leverage reforms. 

This workshop will bring together approximately 15 participants from the three regions involved.