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CPA Small Branches Network

The CPA Small Branches network represents small jurisdictions of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to identify their particular needs and requirements in parliamentary strengthening, development and cooperation. Small Branches are classified as those jurisdictions (national and sub-national) with populations of under 1 million inhabitants. The CPA has a long history of working with its Small Branches and since 1981, has held an annual CPA Small Branches Conference for Parliamentarians to promote cooperation and share best practice. 

CPA Small Branches Mission

To empower small Parliaments to overcome national and global challenges through cooperation, advocacy and the strengthening of parliamentary democracy and good governance.

CPA Small Branches Governance and Structure

Learn more about the CPA Small Branches and who we are.

The CPA Small Branches network comprises of Commonwealth jurisdictions with populations under 500,000 and operates within the framework of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. It is governed by an elected Chairperson and a Steering Committee of representatives from each of the CPA Regions within the CPA Small Branches network. Staff from the CPA Headquarters Secretariat support the network by coordinating activities alongside its members.

CPA Small Branches Steering Committee

The CPA Small Branches Steering Committee comprises of the CPA Small Branches Chairperson and seven Members who represent the seven Regions of the CPA that include Small Branches; Africa, Australia, British Isles and the Mediterranean, Canada, Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and South-East Asia.

The formation of the CPA Small Branches Steering Committee was approved and recommended by the CPA Executive Committee at its Mid-Year Meeting in Mauritius in 2018.

The current list of Regional Representatives on the CPA Small Branches Steering Committee are as follows:

  • CPA Africa Region: Hon. Churchill Gill MNA (Seychelles)
  • CPA Australia Region: Hon. Mark Monaghan MLA (Northern Territory)
  • CPA British Islands and Mediterranean Region: Hon. Juan Watterson SHK (Isle of Man)
  • CPA Canada Region: TBC
  • CPA Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region: Hon. Barbara Webster-Bourne (Anguilla)
  • CPA Pacific Region: TBC
  • CPA South East Asia Region: Hon. Hamizan bin Hassan (Perlis)

CPA Small Branches Chairperson

The position of CPA Small Branches Chairperson was approved at the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon in 2014 and the first elected Chairperson began in 2016. The CPA Small Branches Chairperson is elected at the CPA Small Branches Conference for a term of three years. 

CPA Small Branches Chairperson

Joy Burch MLA, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory
Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches network (2022-2025)



Joy Burch was elected as CPA Small Branches Chairperson in August 2022 at the 38th CPA Small Branches Conference. Previously she assumed the role of Acting CPA Small Branches Chairperson in February 2021 upon the resignation of the previous CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Hon. Niki Rattle (Cook Islands). She was at the time the Vice-Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches Steering Committee and so assumed the role of Acting CPA Small Branches Chairperson until the next CPA Small Branches Conference.

As CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Joy Burch MLA also becomes a member of the CPA Executive Committee and the CPA Coordinating Committee. 

Joy Burch was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 2008 and has served on a number of Committees including Administration and Procedure; Health, Ageing, Community and Social Services; and Justice and Community; and has held several Ministerial positions. She served as Deputy Speaker becoming Speaker of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory in October 2016.

Under CPA election rules only delegates from CPA Small Branches to the next Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference can take part in the vote to elect a new Chairperson. The next election will take place at the 38th CPA Small Branches Conference in Halifax, Canada in August 2022.  


Previous CPA Small Branches Chairpersons:

  • 2019-2021: Hon. Niki Rattle, Speaker of the Parliament of the Cook Islands 
  • 2016-2019: Hon. Angelo Farrugia, MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Malta

Download the CPA Small Branches Strategic Plan

Latest Issue:

CPA Small Branches Strategic Plan 2021-2023:

The CPA Small Branches Strategic Plan 2021 - 2023 sets out the network's mission, strategic objectives, and thematic priorities.

CPA Small Branches Programmes

Learn more about the network's projects, activities and events
Regional Initiative Funds

Funding for Regional Initiatives is approved in the Small Branches Work Programme annually. Funding is provided specifically to facilitate a Clerk exchange, with a focus on strengthening technical capacity of the host Clerk and parliament. This is in line with the fund’s priority issue areas, identified at the previous Steering Committee meeting. Funding is available for two regions per year.

Sustainable Economic Development

In early 2020, the network delivered a Sustainable Economic Development Workshop in Valletta, Malta between 29-31 January. As part of the Workshop a committee was formed to scrutinise and assess SED across the Commonwealth and developed a set of recommendations. The network will continue to pursue these recommendations over the course of 2021 and 2022 through a range of workshops and bilateral programmes.

Read the Workshop Report and recommendations here

Climate Change

In 2020, the network produced the Climate Change and Small States a Parliamentarian's Toolkit: A Guide for Effective Climate Change Action. In the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021, the network will continue to pursue a number of activities to embed learning from the publication and to further support small parliaments in adapting and mitigating climate change. The network will work with organisations such as UNESCO and the Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence and others to drive this agenda.

Read the toolkit here

Public Financial Management

Formed by McGill University and led by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the network has undertaken research specifically focused on financial oversight conducted by legislatures of small jurisdictions. Research and resources will be published in 2021. In addition, the network continues to work with the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees (CAPAC) in supporting smaller jurisdictions and promoting best practice.

CPA Small Branches Conference

Taking place in advance of the CPA Annual Conference, the Small Branches Conference is an opportunity for Parliamentarians from small jurisdictions to examine and discuss strategies to meet the unique developmental needs of the CPA’s smallest Legislatures. The Conference includes four workshops which seek to will build parliamentary capacity and create greater opportunities for the sharing of knowledge, parliamentary strengthening and cooperation across the network.

The previous Conference, the 37th CPA Small Branches Conference has been held in Kampala, Uganda in September 2019. Find out more about the recommendations emanating from the Conference here

The next 38th CPA Small Branches Conference is scheduled to take place in Nova Scotia, Canada in August 2022.

CPA Small Branches Resources

Browse CPA and Commonwealth articles and publications

Blog | Climate Change, Democracy and Parliaments

Members of Parliament from Barbados, Belize and Seychelles reflect on key takeaways from the 'Empowering Climate Democracy' workshop co-hosted by CPA Small Branches and UNDP.
Read the blog

Blog | Seychelles: A Parliament for the Planet

Find out how the Seychelles National Assembly took action on climate change and transformed its approach to sustainability
Read the blog

Blog | The CPA at COP26

The CPA Secretary-General reflects on the GLOBE COP26 Legislators Summit, hosted in Edinburgh from 5-6 November 2021
Read the blog

Download our resources

CPA Small Branches Handbook on Lay Members of Parliament

This Handbook serves as an information resource on the adoption of lay members into small states and territories' parliamentary systems.

Climate Change and Small States: Parliamentary Toolkit

The Toolkit seeks to support parliamentarians from small states and jurisdictions to increase their understanding of Climate Change and how best to ensure adaptation and mitigation strategies are in place domestically and internationally. 

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Meet the CPA HQ Team

Contact us if you'd like to know more about the network
James Pinnell
Deputy Head of Programmes - Multilateral Engagement
CPA Headquarters Secretariat
Jack Hardcastle
Programme Manager - Small Branches Coordinator
CPA Headquarters Secretariat