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Sustainable development, digital reforms and youth engagement for Parliaments is highlighted at 53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference held in St Helena

Commonwealth Speakers, Members and parliamentary staff from the CPA British Islands and Mediterranean (BIM) Region have attended the annual Regional Conference, which was this year held in St Helena from 18 to 25 May 2024.

The 53rd CPA BIM Regional Conference focused on the theme of ‘Addressing Challenges to Sustainable Development in Times of Global Uncertainty’ and delegates shared their own Legislatures’ experiences as they participated in the discussions.

Delegates from 10 Parliaments and Legislatures across the CPA Region heard from panellists on a range of topics including digital reforms and artificial intelligence; decentralized finance; the climate emergency and green energy solutions; tourism development and improving agriculture productivity.

Parliamentarians and officials were welcomed by the CPA St Helena Branch President, Hon. Cyril Gunnell, Speaker of the Legislative Council, and the Chief Minister of St Helena, Hon. Julie Thomas, MLC to the CPA Regional Conference, the first of its kind to be held in St Helena.

The programme also included the CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Region’s Annual General Meeting and a Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians (CWP) network session promoting equal representation for women and men in Legislatures, Delegates heard from women MPs from Scotland, Jersey, Wales and St Helena as well as women leaders, business owners and community representatives from St Helena.

A plenary workshop was also held on the benefits of a Youth Parliament with delegates from Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Jersey and St Helena speaking about their engagement with young people via Youth Assemblies and Youth Parliaments. Youth campaigners, Selene Gough and Shanice Phillips spoke about youth engagement for young people in St Helena while Year 10 students from Prince Andrew School spoke about the benefits that a Youth Parliament could bring to St Helena.

53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference

Images from the 53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference, hosted by CPA St Helena Branch.

53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference

Images from the 53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference, hosted by CPA St Helena Branch.

53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference

Images from the 53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference, hosted by CPA St Helena Branch.

53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference

Images from the 53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference, hosted by CPA St Helena Branch.

53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference

Images from the 53rd CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference, hosted by CPA St Helena Branch.

 

On the conference, the Deputy President of the CPA St Helena Branch, Hon. Catherine Cranfield, MLC said:

“It is a great honour for St Helena to be hosting the CPA BIM Regional Conference for the first time ever. It is a valuable opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with other BIM delegates, sharing their valuable insights and knowledge in their respective fields. This is also a great opportunity to showcase to the BIM delegates this remarkable island and its community.”

On behalf of the St Helena Government, the Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources and Planning, Hon. Christine Scipio, MLC said:

“Regional conferences, such as this, are an ideal opportunity for Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff alike, to join together to network, to learn and to share similar issues in what is often a challenging and fast-moving global context. It is hoped that the attendees who began as delegates, will become colleagues and by the finale, will be friends which illustrates the true spirit of a regional conference.”

In his address to delegates, the CPA Chairperson, Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP said:

“We are extremely grateful to the CPA St Helena Branch for their historic hosting of their first CPA Regional Conference on behalf of the CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Region. Delegates have benefited from some excellent discussions and the Region goes from strength to strength.”

Representatives from many CPA Branches were in attendance including Scotland, Wales, Jersey, St Helena, Falkland Islands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Region is one of the nine Regions of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. It consists of thirteen Legislatures, from the United Kingdom, one of the largest Parliaments in the Commonwealth, to Alderney, one of the the smallest. The Regional Secretariat is based within the CPA UK Branch, and undertakes a number of programmes, including Election Observation Missions to Crown Dependencies and UK Overseas Territories.

-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.

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