In its work to promote Parliamentary Democracy and good governance, the CPA carries out an extensive range of programmes and activities with Parliaments and other organisations to achieve its mission. This includes conferences, seminars and workshops, expert groups and study groups, as well as its publications, the Parliamentary Information and Reference Centre and the CPA website. It is through its Programmes that CPA aims to provide to Members and parliamentary officials a range of core functions to promote parliamentary knowledge and Commonwealth parliamentary co-operation.
The CPA’s wide ranging programme of seminars and workshops aims to provide both established and newly elected Parliamentarians and Parliamentary Staff with continuing professional development, and also to share experience and knowledge with other Parliaments.
Commonwealth Parliamentary Task Force on Climate Change
The CPA, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa, Globe International and the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank and the World Bank Institute are working together to promote the vital role of Members of Parliament in tackling Climate Change.
The CPA and its partners aim to support Members effective participation in setting and implementing policy frameworks related to climate change. Recent activities have involved encouraging Members to influence international negotiations on climate change issues. Web and tele conferences, as well as, workshops bring together Parliamentarians, Climate Change Negotiators and key officials from international organisations under the CPA Climate Task Force.
Workshops on the International Trading System
Working in partnership with the World Trade Organisation, a series of Regional Workshops on International Trading System have been organised. The series is aimed at fostering greater understanding of the multilateral trading system and its key issues. Through these fora Parliamentarians are able to communicate to WTO officials the concerns of their constituents and the effects of WTO policies on their countries. Participants have also been able to discuss issues of particular relevance to countries in a particular region in an informed and open debate on the role of trade in fostering development.
Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians
Recognising the need to enhance women’s participation in Parliament, the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) work programme includes a workshop on Gender and HIV/AIDs and a workshop for potential women candidates in the Pacific Region. In 2010, the second CWP Conference will be held at the time of the Annual CPA Conference and will be the largest gathering of Women Parliamentarians in the Commonwealth.
Technical Assistance Programmes
A few Commonwealth Parliaments have benefitted from three-year Technical Assistance Programmes (TAP). By intensively supporting one Branch, in partnership with an international development institution, or another developed Parliament, the CPA TAPs aim to provide a particularly vulnerable Parliament with a tailor made, sustained and concentrated level of assistance.
Branch Development Assistance Fund
The CPA has been able to respond to specific requests for assistance from Legislatures through its Branch Development Assistance Fund. A few CPA Branches have benefitted from CPA financial assistance for developing their parliamentary library facilities, assistance with computerisation of in the Chamber and providing technical assistance with Parliamentary Organisational Review.
CPA Outreach Programme
The CPA conducts an annual programme that targets the young people of the Commonwealth. Since 1993, the CPA has held a Commonwealth Day programme at its Secretariat to provide an induction to the Commonwealth and Parliamentary Democracy. In addition, a CPA bursary assists Parliaments to perform their own Commonwealth Day celebrations in their own legislatures that focus on the theme of Commonwealth Day.
Workshops on Parliament and the Public
Recognizing that parliamentary democracy is stronger when the public is fully informed about political issues and the parliamentary system, the CPA runs workshops on freedom of information and on Parliament’s relations with the media to improve parliamentary communication with the public. Sometimes organized in collaboration with the World Bank Institute and national aid agencies, these workshops familiarize Members and parliamentary staff with ways to provide effective freedom of information regimes and to strengthen relations between a Parliament and the media which cover its activities.