67th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference
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Parliament of Botswana undertakes first ever joint CPA Benchmarks and Gender Sensitive Parliament (GSP) self-assessment

A delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Headquarters visited the Parliament of Botswana from 20 to 24 November 2023 to support the first ever joint CPA Benchmarks and Gender Sensitive Parliament (GSP) self-assessment undertaken by a Parliament.

The CPA’s benchmarking work supports Parliaments to attain the highest standards of parliamentary and legislative practice through a process of self-assessment against the CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures. The Gender Sensitive Parliament self-assessment is a new stream of work focused on strengthening gender-responsive governance, ensuring that parliamentary practices reflect the principles of equality and inclusivity in line with global standards.

Speaking about the self-assessment, the Clerk of the National Assembly of Botswana, Ms. Barbara Dithapo said:

“Engaging with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Secretariat on the CPA Benchmarks and Gender Sensitive Parliament self-assessments has provided a multifaceted view of our institution's operations. This approach has not only allowed us to thoroughly evaluate our parliamentary procedures and practices but has also shone a light on the importance of gender mainstreaming within our structures. The outcomes of these assessments offer us clear indicators of our successes and areas for reform, ensuring that we forge a path towards enhanced parliamentary governance, inclusiveness and development."

CPA delegation visit the Parliament of Botswana

L - R: Jack Hardcastle (CPA HQ); Hon. M. Moatlhodi, MP (Deputy Speaker, National Assembly of Botswana); Nerusha Naidoo (Clerk, KwaZulu-Natal Legislature), James Pinnell (CPA HQ), Advocate Thowe (Parliamentary Counsel, Bostwana)

CPA delegation visit the Parliament of Botswana

James Pinnell (CPA HQ) during a meeting with officials at the Parliament of Botswana.

CPA delegation visit the Parliament of Botswana

Members of the Women's Caucus of the National Assembly of Botswana.

CPA delegation visit the Parliament of Botswana

The CPA delegation with the Clerk of the National Assembly of Botswana, Ms. Barbara Dithapo (second from right).

As part of their visit, the CPA delegation met with the Vice-President, the Deputy Speaker, the Clerk and Members of Parliament as well as parliamentary staff, the Attorney-General’s Office, the Independent Electoral Commission and civil society groups. The assessments were supported by Nerusha Naidoo, the Secretary of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature in South Africa, and staff from the CPA Headquarters.

The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg, said:

“The Parliament of Botswana is the first Parliament to undertake a joint CPA Benchmarks and Gender Sensitive Parliament self-assessment. Bringing together these complementary processes will allow the Parliament to closely scrutinise its practices and procedures and mainstream gender equality throughout the reform agenda that emerges from the self-assessment. I congratulate the Parliament for trialling this novel approach and also thank the British High Commission in Botswana for their support of this programme.”

The CPA Benchmarks and Gender Sensitive Parliament self-assessments were supported with funding from the British High Commission in Botswana. At the conclusion of the process, several recommendations for reform will be made, with the aim of strengthening parliamentary institutions in Botswana and advancing gender equality in Parliament. The final reports will play an important role in developing the effectiveness of the Parliament and contribute to its implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In recent years, 22 Commonwealth Parliaments have undertaken self-assessments against the CPA Benchmarks, which were first published in 2006 and updated in 2018. The CPA supports Parliaments to fulfil the outcomes of the self-assessments through CPA Technical Assistance Programmes, which could involve updating the rules of procedures, training for Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, or developing corporate policies. These project outputs strengthen parliamentary institutions for improved good governance.

-ENDS-

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of 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.
For media enquiries, please contact communications@cpahq.org.  

Related Documents

CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures (2018)

Building on the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers, the CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures provide a framework for excellence in Commonwealth parliamentary and legislative practice.

CWP Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines: Standards and a Checklist for Parliamentary Change

These guidelines have been created to help Commonwealth Parliaments to become gender sensitive institutions, providing legislatures with an outline of gender sensitising standards that they can look to achieve. 

CWP Gender-Sensitising Parliaments: A Seven-Step Field Guide

This Field Guide complements the 'CWP Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines', providing a blueprint for Parliaments interested in undertaking a gender sensitive review and making their institution more inclusive and representative.

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