CPA Toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and delivering parliamentary democracy



The outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and its subsequent spread as a global pandemic that has rapidly spread to at least 180 countries, has consequently plunged many Parliaments and Legislatures across the world into a state of emergency. Commonwealth Parliaments and Parliamentarians are grappling with many different issues both to implement the emergency health measures during this global pandemic while at the same time looking at new ways to conduct debates, scrutinise and pass legislation, hold parliamentary committees and question the actions of their governments. At their heart, Parliaments need to be able to deliver democracy and democratic accountability, but can this be achieved while practicing social distancing measures?

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Headquarters Secretariat has conducted research amongst its membership of 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures to synthesise a forward-looking ‘CPA Toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and delivering parliamentary democracy’. This toolkit provides various measures and recommendations that can be adopted by both Parliaments and Parliamentarians in order to continue to deliver on the Legislatures’ role of scrutinising legislation and delivering democracy during a global pandemic.

Click here to download a copy of the CPA Toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and delivering parliamentary democracy.

The measures outlined for consideration in this toolkit are inspired primarily by measures actioned by various Commonwealth Parliaments in the midst of this current outbreak, combined more broadly with independently sourced research on business continuity and crisis management.

It has been acknowledged that the current COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak is continually developing and at different stages in different areas of the world, and as a result, the circumstances surrounding this global pandemic are also continually changing. We hope that this toolkit will serve some insight into the recommended practices to prevent disruption to parliamentary continuity that have thus far been executed in order to assist all Commonwealth Parliaments in their different stages of development.

FURTHER RESOURCES AND INFORMATION

The situation regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirius) is rapidly changing and so this information resource and the links below are subject to change. Please check the latest information.

World Health Organisation – the latest information on the global pandemic - www.who.int

Commonwealth Coronavirus Response Centre – providing a wide range of information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Commonwealth countries with further advice on action by governments, organisations and individuals; and links to a network of over 250 technical institutions globally that respond to acute public health events - www.thecommonwealth.io/coronavirus-response-centre

Commonwealth Coronavirus Trajectory Tracker – providing a daily update on the scale of the Coronavirus outbreak in Commonwealth countries, primarily based on the data provided by the World Health Organisation - www.commonwealthsdgdata.org 

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) - The IPU have published a wide range of information about the response from national Parliaments to the Coronavirus pandemic - www.ipu.org/parliaments-in-time-pandemic

Legislative Assemblies Business Continuity Network (LABCoN) - The LABCoN network has a range of expertise for Parliaments and Legislatures and has published the following guide: ‘Managing Disruption: Business Continuity for Legislatures’ (2019) – visit https://labcon.network/ to access further information.

UK Parliament: House of Commons Library - The UK Parliament’s House of Commons Library has produced a wide range of briefing papers and information available online about the Coronavirus and the Legislative response in the UK. Visit https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/
In addition, the briefing paper on ‘Coronavirus: Changes to practice and procedure in other Parliaments’ is also available at: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8874/

Click here to download a copy of the CPA Toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and delivering parliamentary democracy.

For further information about the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and to find out about programmes available for your Parliament or Legislature please contact the CPA Headquarters Secretariat via hq.sec@cpahq.org.

Updated 9 April 2020/CPAHQ