Commonwealth Parliamentary Association agrees to new cooperation on parliamentary strengthening, budgetary oversight, public engagement, and post-legislative scrutiny with the Parliament of Malawi
At a special ceremony on Wednesday, 4 October 2023, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Parliament of Malawi.
The new collaboration will give the CPA the opportunity to provide learning and development for upskilling the institution and its Members in several areas, including budgetary scrutiny and oversight, public engagement, and post-legislative scrutiny.
The agreement includes a commitment to deliver a three-day training course for a cross-party cohort of Members, plus staff from the Budget Office, on the budget process, public finance principles, debt management and taxation. The agreement also outlines that an education and outreach pack will be developed to support the institution in its public engagement, covering social media and online engagement, civic education programmes, open days, youth engagement activities, public events, and the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings.
The signing ceremony was attended by Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara, MP, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Malawi, and Stephen Twigg, the CPA Secretary-General, and took place in Accra, Ghana, on the sidelines of the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.
Above: Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara, MP, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Malawi, and Stephen Twigg, the CPA Secretary-General, meet in the sidelines of the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Accra, Ghana.
The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg, signed the MoU with the Parliament on behalf of the Association and said:
“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is an important step that the Parliament of Malawi is taking towards strengthening its practice in public engagement, post-legislative scrutiny, and budgetary oversight. This new MoU will bring both of our institutions closer together in promoting best practices that positively contribute to Malawi’s democracy.”
The Speaker of the National Assembly of Malawi, Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara, MP, added:
“This new partnership with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association will allow us to strengthen our institution and learn best practices and parliamentary processes through capacity building. This will contribute towards us achieving our goals as part of our 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.”
Earlier this year, the Parliament of Malawi undertook a self-assessment of the Legislature against the CPA’s Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures, resulting in an assessment report that provided 19 recommendations to strengthen the governance, independence, and administration of the Parliament. The assessment included extensive consultation with a large cross-section of stakeholders, including the Speaker of Parliament, current and former Members, members of civil society groups, government and parliamentary officials, and the media.
Recommendations included greater financial independence and transparency, updating of legal and procedural matters, stronger governance of the House, and increased parliamentary staffing support. The initiatives outlined in the MoU will support the Parliament of Malawi to build the capacity of Members and staff in the key areas of focus identified during the self-assessment process and to implement the report’s recommendations.
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.
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