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Our Principles

Since its establishment, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has endorsed and been a signatory to a number of international, regional and Commonwealth-wide principles, commitments and declarations. 

Other than the Commonwealth Charter, the CPA has developed and/or endorsed the following:

Declaration on Parliamentary Openness

The Declaration on Parliamentary Openness was officially launched at the World e-Parliament Conference 2012 in Rome, Italy, on International Day of Democracy on 15 September 2012. Before its launch, members of the OpeningParliament.org and parliamentary strengthening communities provided input on the draft Declaration on Parliamentary Openness and its accompanying commentary here. The open comment period ended on 31 July 2012.

The document is accompanied by an extensive compilation of best practices and background information, the Provision Commentary: Download the Declaration here 

Since its launch, the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness has been formally endorsed by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)'s Parliamentary Assembly, the CPA, and the First Summit of Legislative Presidents of the Americas organized by the Organization of American States (OAS). It has also been endorsed by a number of national and subnational Legislatures and Parliamentarians.

Common Principles for Support to Parliaments

The Common Principles for Support to Parliaments set out the fundamental principles for planning and implementing programmes to strengthen Parliaments. They were first developed in 2014 by a group of Parliaments and partners convened by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and have been widely endorsed around the world. They consist of the points below:  

Parliamentary support should:

  • Be guided by the needs of parliament
  • Take account of the social, economic and political contexts of individual parliaments
  • Aim for sustainable outcomes
  • Include all political tendencies
  • Be grounded in international standards
  • Address the needs and potential of women and men equally
  • Use local and regional expertise
  • Use effective coordination and communication
  • Guarantee ethical and responsible conduct by partners


There are 163 endorsements of the Common Principles which include 136 national Parliaments, 8 parliamentary assemblies and 19 partner organisations. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association endorsed the Principles in 2020.

Download the principles here

Commonwealth Latimer House Principles

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) played a key role in the establishment of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers.

The Commonwealth Latimer House Principles (officially titled: Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Three Branches of Government) highlight the importance of the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary to ensure effective governance and democracy. The Latimer House Principles provide guidance on the role of the separation of powers in the Commonwealth, its effectiveness in providing democratic governance and the role of civil society.

First published in 1988/89, the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles were further revised and updated in 2003 and again in 2008/09. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) was a partner in the establishment of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles together with partners: The Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA), the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Commonwealth Legal Education Association. These actors remain members of a Working Group. This Group meets regularly to coordinate programmes and activities, to promote the Principles and to examine opportunities to strengthen to Principles and their development. 

For further information about the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers and to find out about programmes available for your Parliament or Legislature please contact the CPA Headquarters Secretariat via hq.sec@cpahq.org.

Download the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles here

View the Practitioners Handbook here

Regional Human Rights Declarations

Between 2014 and 2016, the CPA and the Commonwealth Secretariat held a series of seminars on 'The Role of Parliamentarians in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights' which resulted in three regional declarations – the Mahé Declaration (Africa), the Pipitea Declaration (Australia and Pacific) and the Kotte Declaration (Asia).

The implementation of these three Declarations provides a powerful foundation upon which we can build upon human rights at a CPA Branch level, a Regional level and globally.