Commonwealth Parliamentarians focus on the resilience and preparedness of the smallest jurisdictions across the Commonwealth at 38th CPA Small Branches Conference in Canada
Over recent years, logistical, financial and infrastructure demands have placed huge demands on the smallest jurisdictions in the Commonwealth and Parliaments and Governments are increasingly required to prepare for different eventualities.
Commonwealth Parliamentarians have met at the 38th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Small Branches Conference to examine the unique challenges they face. The conference discussed strategies to meet the unique developmental needs of the CPA’s smallest Legislatures through key thematic seminars and development activities that will build parliamentary capacity for CPA Small Branches and create greater opportunities for the sharing of knowledge, parliamentary strengthening and cooperation across the network.
The newly elected CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Joy Burch, MLA, Speaker of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly said:
“The CPA Small Branches Conference helps to build capacities for the small Parliaments and Legislatures of the Commonwealth and create greater and more constant opportunities for the sharing of knowledge and cooperation across the CPA network. The CPA Small Branches come together to address their common difficulties, common strengths and their shared experiences.”
The Members of the CPA Small Branches elected the Speaker of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly as the new Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches, following her time as the Acting CPA Small Branches Chairperson since February 2021. The role of Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches is an Officer role within the CPA’s governance structure and the new incumbent will sit on the CPA International Executive Committee to bring a voice for Small Branches to the governing body of the CPA.
The CPA Small Branches network highlighted the importance of tackling climate change for the Commonwealth, especially its 31 small and developing states which are often the least polluting but the first casualties of climate change.
The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg said:
“The CPA works with its Small Branches network across the Commonwealth in strengthening parliamentary democracy. The smallest of the CPA’s Legislatures seek to meet the same expectations of service delivery as larger Legislatures and in doing so, they recognise the importance of constantly innovating in the face of fiscal and human resource constraints; and the threats in the face of climate change to some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable.”
The CPA Small Branches Conference included four plenary sessions exploring key themes proposed by the Membership: Disaster Risk Preparedness for Small Jurisdictions; Building Sustainable Economies in CPA Small Branches; Financial Scrutiny and Oversight: How can small Parliaments ensure effective accountability?; and Wellbeing Indicators for CPA Small Branches.
In the margins of the conference, the CPA Small Branches Steering Committee met to discuss the strategic direction for the network and to elect Hon. Churchill Gill, MNA from the National Assembly of Seychelles as the Vice-Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches network. The CPA Small Branches Steering Committee comprises the CPA Small Branches Chairperson and seven Commonwealth Parliamentarians who represent the seven Regions of the CPA with Small Branches: Africa; Australia; British Isles and the Mediterranean; Canada; Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic; Pacific; and South-East Asia.
Of the over 180 Branches of the CPA, forty-three Branches are classified as ‘Small Branches’. Examples of CPA Small Branches include Commonwealth countries such as Barbados and Tonga, as well UK Overseas Territories such as Turks and Caicos or states and provinces within larger countries like Northwest Territories in Canada or the Northern Territory in Australia.
The 38th CPA Small Branches Conference took place as part of the wider 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
On social media follow the hashtag #65CPC
Images of the 65th CPC are also available at the CPA's Flickr page.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) organises its annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) to address global political issues and developments in the parliamentary system through conference workshops and sessions for leading Parliamentarians representing Parliaments and Legislatures throughout the Commonwealth.
The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.
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