COVID-19 Toolkit launched by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
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.
The Acting CPA Secretary-General, Mr Jarvis Matiya said:
“The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has been championing parliamentary democracy across the Commonwealth since 1911 and has since served as a forum that enables the development of the best parliamentary practices and most effective policies. The CPA upholds the advancement of democracy under all circumstances and seeks to support its membership particularly during times of uncertainty. 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.” *