The Parliamentarian 2018: Issue One: Pre-CHOGM 2018 Issue

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 is a diverse community of 53 nations who work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. In April, the UK will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) when leaders from member countries come together in London and Windsor to reaffirm our shared common values and address the global challenges that we all face.

The Commonwealth theme for 2018 is ‘Towards a Common Future’ and the CHOGM this year will focus on delivering a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fairer future for all its citizens, particularly its young people. The future of the Commonwealth depends on its one billion young people and the CHOGM's priorities will have a strong youth focus. Across the Commonwealth, we all face common challenges: global trade and investment; cross-border security threats; the effects of climate change on small and vulnerable countries; pressures on the shared Commonwealth values of democracy, good governance and inclusivity.

Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s membership will come together with heads of government, global leaders, business executives, civil society groups, international and women’s organisations and young people for a Commonwealth Summit that also includes four Forums. The Forums – Business, People’s, Women’s and Youth - offer an opportunity for Commonwealth dialogue and provide a platform for a wider debate of some of the key issues and challenges, in advance of and alongside the discussions by leaders at CHOGM. For the first time, all of the Commonwealth Forums will come together in the same venue on a single day to discuss shared agendas, forge important new partnerships and celebrate common interests.  

The Commonwealth’s wide network of organisations – from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians through to the Commonwealth Youth Council and the Royal Commonwealth Society – give the Commonwealth a unique role in responding to the world’s global challenges. This issue of The Parliamentarian looks ahead to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018 and Commonwealth Summit in the United Kingdom with a wide range of articles from Parliamentarians and Commonwealth organisations.

We are delighted to feature a message from the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC ahead of CHOGM 2018. Rt Hon. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK Minister for the Commonwealth looks ahead to the United Kingdom’s hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 and the Commonwealth Summit.

Ahead of the CHOGM 2018, the first Commonwealth Parliamentarians’ Forum took place over four days in February in London with 90 delegates from 30 Commonwealth countries. The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Executive Committee, Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP (Cameroon) addressed the Commonwealth Parliamentarians’ Forum and her speech is included in this issue for her first View article in which she speaks about the role that Parliamentarians can play in the Commonwealth. Hon. James Duddridge, MP (United Kingdom), the CPA UK Chairperson also writes about the successful Commonwealth Parliamentarians’ Forum which was hosted by the CPA UK Branch.

Hon. Anġelo Farrugia, MP, Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches (Malta) asks what the CHOGM 2018 events will hold for CPA Small Branches and that all Branches need to work together to achieve these goals. The CPA Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan in his View article writes about putting democracy at the heart of our common future.

Hon. Njume Peter Ambang, MP (Cameroon) gives us the view of a Parliamentarian looking ahead to CHOGM 2018 while Baroness Elizabeth Berridge (United Kingdom) discusses how the Commonwealth can be a beacon for Freedom of Religion and Belief. Vijay Krishnarayan (Commonwealth Foundation) looks at the role of civil society groups and their interaction with Parliamentarians as he looks forward to the Commonwealth People’s Forum.

Ahead of the Commonwealth Business Forum, Rt Hon. Lord Jonathan Marland of Odstock (Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council) examines how the Commonwealth is becoming one of the world’s leading global business networks. The power and potential of Commonwealth scholarships is explored by Dr Joanna Newman (Association of Commonwealth Universities) which is of increasing importance especially as one of the key focuses of this year’s events is youth. Mahendra Ved (Commonwealth Journalists Association) gives us a journalist’s view of the Commonwealth and academic Dr Eva Namusoke (Institute of Commonwealth Studies) looks at the challenges of securing a fairer future. Finally, as the Commonwealth Games 2018 takes place on the Gold Coast, Australia ahead of the CHOGM 2018, David Grevemberg (Commonwealth Games Federation) looks at the developmental role that sport can play in the modern Commonwealth.

We also feature a number of different topics in this issue of The Parliamentarian. Joyce Watson, AM (Wales) provides a contribution as the Vice-Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) and also as a new member of the Editorial Advisory Board for The Parliamentarian. Her article examines the difficult problems of modern slavery and how the authorities in Wales have been tackling this global issue. Hon. Dr Jiko Luveni, Speaker of the Parliament of Fiji writes about the CPA Technical Assistance Programme that has benefitted the Members and parliamentary staff in Fiji and has increased parliamentary capacity and awareness.

Climate change expert, Kishan Kumarsingh writes about the Talanoa Dialogue and the next steps for the global community following the Paris COP21 and regular contributor, Ravindra Garimella (Lok Sabha Secretariat, India) gives an interesting insight into the whips system in the India Parliament.

The Parliamentary Report and Third Reading section in this issue includes parliamentary and legislative news from Canada Federal, Québec, British Columbia, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and Australia Federal. 

We look forward to hearing your feedback and comments on this issue of The Parliamentarian, on the issues of concern to Parliamentarians across the Commonwealth and to receive your future contributions.

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