2022

June 17, 2022

Government of Canada Announces Support to ParlAmericas Projects in Latin America and in the Caribbean

ParlAmericas is pleased to share that on June 10, 2022 the Government of Canada announced contributions to a pair of complementary projects to strengthen inclusive and gender responsive governance through work with parliaments and civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Strengthening Political Capacities for Gender Responsive Governance in Latin America ($4.9 million contribution) is a four-year project to promote a gender-responsive governance in 19 Latin American countries through knowledge sharing activities and technical support directed to parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, women’s advocates, and civil society.

Strengthening Political Capacities for Gender Responsive Governance in the Caribbean ($2.4 million contribution) is a four-year project that will similarly address political, structural and legislative barriers to gender equality and women’s empowerment through programming with parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, women’s advocates, and civil society in 14 Caribbean Community countries.

“These projects are an opportunity to build on important progress and promote exchange between parliaments on advancing climate action, open parliament, and the sustainable development of our societies using practices that are responsive to the needs of all our citizens, in particular those traditionally left out of decision making processes, such as women and girls. We must work collectively to empower women’s voices in our democracies,” stated Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas.

This announcement reflects commitments outlined in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), which recognizes that reducing poverty and inequalities requires a transformation of social norms and power relations that disadvantage women and girls. This aligns with the guiding principles and activities of ParlAmericas to promote women’s political participation and partnerships for inclusive governance.

“Proactive dialogue and relationship-building with women’s civil society is important to ensure that our work as parliamentarians is informed by experience of women from diverse backgrounds. The projects will provide a continued space, through ParlAmericas, for our parliaments to work together and alongside women advocates in confronting barriers to gender equality,” stated the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas.

For over 20 years, ParlAmericas has facilitated inter-parliamentary activities and collective efforts to advance women’s political leadership and gender mainstreaming in legislative work in the Americas and the Caribbean. These efforts are supported by a permanent working group of parliamentarians, the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas


June 7, 2022

The Parliamentary Gathering on the occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas in the city of Los Angeles comes to a close

The Parliamentary Gathering on the occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas, organized by the House Democracy Partnership (HDP) of the United States House of Representatives, came to a close today, June 7, 2022, in the city of Los Angeles, USA.

A ParlAmericas parliamentary delegation of legislators from the Americas and the Caribbean, participated in dialogue sessions with fellow legislators from the host country and from the different parliaments of the hemisphere where they addressed relevant issues related to the five thematic areas of the IX Summit of the Americas: democratic governance, health and resilience, a green future, energy transition, and digital transformation. The event's agenda also featured a discussion with Mr. Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States.

Tomorrow, thanks to an invitation extended to ParlAmericas by the Young American Business Trust, the members of the parliamentary delegation will have the opportunity to participate in the VI Youth Forum in the Americas to be held on June 8 and 9.

The Parliamentary Gathering on the occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas offered participants a space to promote parliamentary participation in the inter-American system and contribute to valuable inter-parliamentary dialogue on issues of hemispheric importance.

For more information on the participation of ParlAmericas in the Parliamentary Gathering in the framework of the IX Summit of the Americas, visit ​www.parlamericas.org​ and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.

 


 

June 6, 2022

ParlAmericas participates in the Parliamentary Gathering on the Occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas that begins today in Los Angeles

A ParlAmericas parliamentary delegation, composed of legislators from the Americas and the Caribbean, is attending the Parliamentary Gathering on the Occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas, organized by the House Democracy Partnership (HDP) of the U.S. House of Representatives, which begins today, June 6, 2022, in the city of Los Angeles, United States.

During the next two days, the participating parliamentarians, together with fellow legislators from the host country and from different parliaments across the hemisphere, will have the opportunity to share experiences and good legislative practices on the topics that will be addressed during the IX Summit of the Americas “Building a sustainable, resilient and equitable future”, which will have five thematic areas: democratic governance, health and resilience, green future, energy transition, and digital transformation.

In addition, and thanks to an invitation extended to ParlAmericas by the Young American Business Trust, parliamentarians will be able to attend the VI Young Americas Forum to be held on June 8 and 9. The Forum, which will be held in person and virtually, will provide a space for youth representatives to present recommendations to the Summit based on the 5 C's of Youth Development: climate change, COVID-19, collaborating with youth, combating corruption, and connectivity and digital transformation.

This series of activities are part of ParlAmericas' mission objectives, which seek to promote parliamentary participation in the inter-American system and contribute to inter-parliamentary dialogue on issues of hemispheric importance. Thus, since its creation prior to the III Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City, Canada, in 2001, ParlAmericas has led the participation of parliaments in the Summits of the Americas.

For more information on ParlAmericas' participation in the Parliamentary Gathering on the Occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas, please visit www.parlamericas.org and follow us on our social networks through @ParlAmericas.


May 31, 2022

Virtual Caribbean exchange on establishing parliamentary women’s caucuses hosted by ParlAmericas, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and UN Women Caribbean

On May 30, 2022, ParlAmericas, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), and UN Women Caribbean hosted a virtual exchange on establishing parliamentary women’s caucuses, which gathered parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from across the Caribbean region. Parliamentary women’s caucuses bring together parliamentarians committed to advancing women’s rights and gender equality to coordinate their efforts and accelerate progress. There is no set format for these groups. Rather, they can be designed to accomplish the specific goals of the individuals seeking to form the caucus, taking into consideration the national socio-political context. The meeting was organized to provide support to the many parliaments of the region who are currently in the process, or are exploring the possibility of, establishing these bodies.

The activity opened with remarks by the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), President of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas, and Ms. Tonni Brodber, Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean. Afterwards, a panel of representatives from three established women’s caucuses shared their experiences establishing and maintaining their respective groups: the Honourable Alincia Williams Grant (Antigua and Barbuda), President of the Senate; the Right Honourable Maria Miller, Member of Parliament and representative of the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in Parliament; and the Honourable Justine Mukobwa, Member of the Chamber of Deputies and Secretary General of the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum.

Following the presentations, panellists and participants engaged in a productive dialogue where they discussed challenges encountered and good practices learned thus far from their experiences creating parliamentary women’s caucuses. Representatives from the partner organisations also highlighted resources, tools, and opportunities for assistance that could serve as ongoing supports to the parliaments of the region in these efforts. The Honourable Valerie Woods (Belize), Speaker of the House of Representatives, provided remarks to close the meeting.


24 May 2022

ParlAmericas organizes meeting with parliamentary staff from Latin America to discuss induction processes with a gender perspective and new work dynamics in parliaments, caused by the pandemic

On Tuesday, May 24, representatives of parliaments from several Latin American countries participated in the second virtual meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality (PSNGE).

During the meeting, participants had the opportunity to learn more about induction processes with a gender perspective for parliamentarians in new legislative periods in Costa Rica and Colombia. In addition, a fruitful exchange of experiences was carried out on initiatives that promote gender equality within the operations of the parliament, intentionally or as a collateral result, which were implemented during the pandemic, and which remain in place to improve the dynamics of parliamentary work within legislative institutions.

Magister Sulma Campos Mata (Mexico), head of the Technical Unit for Gender Equality of the Senate and general coordinator of the ParlAmericas PSNGE, was in charge of the opening remarks for the working session. Additionally, official representatives of the Honourable Chamber of Senators of Paraguay shared institutional advances for gender equality after the presentation of the results of a survey carried out with ParlAmericas on harassment and violence in the workplace.

To learn more about ParlAmericas' work visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 20, 2022 

ParlAmericas gets briefed by the OAS in advance of the IX Summit of the Americas 

On 17 May, members of ParlAmericas’ governing bodies, its board of directors and thematic network executive committees, convening parliamentarians designated by the national parliaments from the Americas and the Caribbean, received a briefing from senior OAS officials in advance of the IX Summit of the Americas to be held from June 6-10 in Los Angeles, United States of America, under the central theme of Building a Sustainable, Resilient and Equitable Future

The meeting included interventions by ParlAmericas President Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay) and Vice-President Bridgid Annisette-George, Speaker of the House of Representatives (Trinidad and Tobago), and presentations by Francisco Guerrero, OAS Secretary for Strengthening Democracy and OAS representative to the Board of ParlAmericas, and María Celina Conte, Director of the Summits of the Americas Secretariat, followed by an interactive dialogue.

In their presentations, Mr. Francisco Guerrero gave an overview of the political climate in the region, and Ms. Maria Celina Conte shared a summary of the Summits of the Americas process, and the different official forums and stakeholders involved. 

Recognizing that the Summit is the hemispheric instance for the coordination of regional actions to address the ongoing and new challenges in the hemisphere and given the relevance of the issues it addresses, ParlAmericas has been taking steps to strengthen the substantive participation of parliamentarians of the hemisphere in the Summits of the Americas process. 

With this in mind and considering the need to reaffirm the importance of parliamentary participation in multilateral spaces, the meeting included the announcement that a hemispheric inter-parliamentary meeting will be held ahead of the IX Summit of the Americas. 

This virtual meeting, scheduled for the first of June, will bring together parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean to discuss the importance of parliamentary diplomacy for multilateralism and regional integration. 

In addition, a ParlAmericas parliamentary delegation composed of members of the Board and the executive committees of the ParlAmericas networks, will participate in the parliamentary meeting organized within the framework of the IX Summit to be held in the city of Los Angeles on June 6 and 7, 2022. 

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas.


 

April 27, 2022

ParlAmericas participated in the workshop “Leadership for Good Governance and Social Transformation in the Caribbean” hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Caribbean Women in Leadership, and UN Women Caribbean

ParlAmericas participated in the workshop “Leadership for Good Governance and Social Transformation in the Caribbean,” organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL), and the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean on April 25-27, 2022, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The workshop brought together parliamentarians, ministers, gender specialists, activists, and dignitaries from across the Caribbean to discuss women's empowerment and transformational leadership.

Following the official inauguration on April 25, an opening panel set the stage for the workshop discussions. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, took part in the session and in her remarks affirmed the importance of transformational leadership and how ParlAmericas supports parliaments in fostering women’s political empowerment. She noted that: “Without a doubt, the crises that we face today globally – which are compounded in various ways as experienced in Caribbean countries – require bold, feminist, and transformational leadership, from women and from men alike. This is simply a foundation of good governance – and it looks like: leaders recognizing a society’s differentiated needs, championing policies with equity at their core, and actioning political commitments to leave no one behind.”

The workshop then featured a series of thematic sessions addressing topics such as gender equality, leadership and post COVID-19 recovery; good governance and transformational leadership; gender analyses in parliamentary functions; and successful approaches in challenging barriers to political leadership.

In a session titled “Utilizing Parliamentary Processes to ensure Gender Equality” held on April 26, Eilish Elliott, ParlAmericas Project Manager - Gender Equality, presented strategies to apply a gender lens in parliamentary processes. She stated that, “By applying a gender lens in the drafting or review of any legislation, motion, budget, or other matter that comes before you – because every topic has a gender angle and will differently impact your constituents – every intervention you make and question you pose presents an opportunity to put gender equality on the agenda, contribute to more inclusive outcomes, and strengthen your representation of constituents.”

On April 27, the final day of the workshop, Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques (Jamaica), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, moderated the session “Successful Approaches in Challenging Barriers to Political Leadership.” This session also included a presentation by Senator Gregory Nicholls (Barbados) on the role of male parliamentarians as champions for women’s leadership and gender equality. Parliamentarians interested in further guidance on this topic may wish to consult the “Men as Allies for Gender Equality” toolkit available on the ParlAmericas and UN Women Caribbean portal ParlGenderTools, an online resource hub designed to support parliamentarians in applying a gender lens to parliamentary initiatives.

For ParlAmericas, this multi-stakeholder meeting was an important opportunity to reconvene with partners in-person on crucial issues related to promoting women's political empowerment in the Caribbean since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work undertaken in this area by ParlAmericas is done in collaboration with women’s organizations like CIWiL, thanks to the generous support of the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and its commitment to the advancement of gender equality in the Caribbean and more widely across the hemisphere.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


April 20, 2022

ParlAmericas took part in the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Escazú Agreement

On April 20, 2022, ParlAmericas, represented by Senator Raúl Bolaños Cacho-Cué (Mexico), vice-president of North America for the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, took part in the special session “Towards the effective implementation of the Escazú Agreement and greater cooperation” in the first Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Escazú Agreement, hosted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). A series of preliminary remarks on the progress made in the implementation of the Escazú Agreement, the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, were shared during this first COP held between April 20-22, 2022, in Santiago, Chile. The topics of articles 14, 15 and 18 of the Agreement were addressed, among other relevant matters.

This session was also attended by key representatives of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), among others. They shared their views on the progress made, the challenges to be tackled, and the opportunities ahead to achieve a full and effective implementation of the rights to access environmental information, public involvement in environmental decision-making processes, and access to justice regarding environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean. Public officers and experts agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation, foster dialogue among stakeholders and adopt a multilateral approach as strategies to enable further progress in the implementation of the Agreement. They also reaffirmed their commitment to advancing the agenda.

In his intervention, Senator Bolaños emphasized that it is key that parliaments continue to be included in these efforts: "Our role as parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean is instrumental for the success of the Escazú Agreement. Not only because the Parliament is charged with ratifying it, but also that the political and budgetary oversight we must perform favour its implementation. The involvement of parliamentarians in these areas is particularly relevant to the spirit of the Agreement, as the legislative branch is the forum for representation, deliberation and substantive participation of our fellow citizens in decision-making processes".

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


 

April 6, 2022

ParlAmericas and the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago hosted a workshop for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff on circular economy

On April 6th ParlAmericas and the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago hosted a meeting titled “Towards a Circular Economy: A Workshop for Parliamentarians and Parliamentary Staff of Trinidad and Tobago” to explore strategies for parliament to inclusively support and promote the transition towards a circular economic model at a national level, and simultaneously contribute to a green and future focused economic recovery post-COVID-19.

The honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas offered welcoming remarks, highlighting the opportunities that a circular economy presents to advance a sustainable development: “A circular economy not only stimulates greener economic growth, but when implemented through an intersectional lens can promote gender equality, by namely providing financial support to community projects and ventures of the youth and women that promote circularity. In this way we also empower our citizens as agents of change in the transition towards circularity, as we all work together to support a societal shift away from wasteful consumption patterns and towards the sustainable consumption and production practices recommended in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The workshop featured a series of circular economy specialists who presented on the manner in which a circular lens can be applied to a variety of sectors, such as waste management, trade, energy, agriculture, tourism and transport, and encourage synergy between them; the importance of gathering data to monitor the implementation of circular economy policies; the progress made thus far and opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago to further their transition towards circularity; the benefits of regional collaboration; and how to better engage the community on these topics. The specialists included: Vanessa Esslinger, Circular Economy Specialist & Coordination of the Circular Economy Coalition for Latin America and the Caribbean; David Oswald, Founder and President, DE Design + Environment Inc., FRCGS (Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society), and Associate Faculty, Royal Roads University; Dr. Sherwyn Millette, Sustainability Consultant at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago; and Sian Cuffy-Young, Waste management Educator, Trainer and the founder and CEO of Siel Environment Services Limited.

Senator Anthony Vieira (Trinidad and Tobago), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, moderated the workshop's panel discussion. The panel was followed by an interactive section, “Words into Action”, which had participants discuss the opportunities and challenges of integrating a circular economy in Trinidad and Tobago, by using a SWOT analysis which also applied a legislative approach and intersectional lens. During the meeting, Senator Vieira noted the role of parliament in this undertaking: “It has been said, and I agree, that there’s no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw something away, it must go somewhere. Unfortunately, we have a culture of littering, polluting, and throwing away which is wasteful, irresponsible, and counter productive. The circular economy model- which encourages reuse and recycling- offers a proactive approach to stop littering and take greater responsibility for our environment. It recognizes that waste is only waste if we waste it. We need a national strategy, and related regulatory frameworks, geared towards a circular economy. The Parliament has a key role in supporting the advancement and integration of a circular economic model through legislative, oversight, and budgetary functions to prevent litter, reduce landfill pollution, keep our waters clean, and generally save the environment for the benefit and well being of all.”

The meeting concluded with closing remarks by the Honourable Christine Kangaloo (Trinidad and Tobago), President of the Senate, in which she reflected on the value of the meeting: "Today’s workshop presented us with a two-fold opportunity: to listen to the learning from the experts on this subject and to hear first-hand about their experiences, and then, to collectively discuss with them and amongst ourselves how, together as Parliamentarians, we can integrate circular economic models in Trinidad and Tobago"

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


March 30, 2022

ParlAmericas participated in a Conference on Environmental Democracy hosted by Westminster Foundation for Democracy

On March 30, 2022, ParlAmericas participated in the Conference on Environmental Democracy hosted by Westminster Foundation for Democracy.  Ms. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, moderated a panel session on “Participation in Decision-Making: Trends and Challenges”,  which featured Member of the National Assembly Edison Broce (Panama); Ms. Birgitta Ohlsson, Director of Political Parties, National Democratic Institute (NDI); Ms. Hannah Mowat Campaigns Coordinator, Forest and Environment Resources Network (FERN); and Augustine B. Njamnshi, Executive Secretary of Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme Cameroon (BDCPC), Member of the Access Initiative and Member of the Board of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).

The session explored how access to decision-making on environment and sustainability is working in the face of the climate crises, identifying trends and opportunities for innovation to facilitate the inclusion of environmental and democracy support organisations, movements, academics and interested citizens within decision-making processes. In addition, presentations were made showcasing the diverse cases on how this process works in different regions and frameworks (such as parliaments, political parties, regional institutions and civil society alliances) and the different challenges that still remain.

In her opening remarks for the session Ms. Alisha Todd offered her insights on the importance of promoting inclusive decision making processes: “If the pandemic and current world affairs have taught us anything, it is how interconnected our economic, social and environmental systems are and how we rely on each other to make effective decisions, and to ensure that decision making is inclusive and holistically works towards improving social welfare, building resilience, and ensuring that we meet our responsibility as current stewards of the planet to leave a clean and healthy world for future generations.”

During his intervention, Member of the National Assembly Edison Broce (Panama) reaffirmed the role of parliamentarians in strengthening democracy stating: "As parliamentarians we are the representatives of our communities, and therefore have the obligation to meaningfully consider the needs of our constituencies and ensure that their demands are rightly heard. One of the best ways to ensure that the needs and perspectives of all individuals are equitably considered is by putting participation at the heart of democratic strengthening, making certain that individuals are invited to meaningfully participate in the decision-making process."


March 23, 2022 

ParlAmericas held the 6th Gathering of the Open Parliament Network titled “Integrity Matters: Building Stronger Democracies”


With the support of the Chamber of Senators of Paraguay as host parliament, ParlAmericas held the 6th Gathering of the Open Parliament Network (OPN) on March 9, 15 and 22 with a series of virtual activities designed to address the issue of public integrity.

The gathering brought together parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and representatives of youth and civil society organizations from the Americas and the Caribbean to discuss public integrity, recognizing its importance not only in preventing and fighting corruption, but as one of the fundamental pillars of democratic governance.

The event opened with a parliamentary dialogue session with youth and civil society representatives held on March 9. The session featured a keynote address by Daniel Ortega Nieto, Senior Governance Specialist at the World Bank. The event also included a dialogue titled “Leading with Integrity: Joint Actions in the Public Interest,” which was moderated by the Honourable René Cormier (Canada), Senator and Vice-President for North America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, with the participation of Senator Jorge Querey Rojas (Paraguay), rapporteur of the Special Committee for Open Parliament; the Honourable Juan Edghill (Guyana), Minister of Public Works; Karina Kalpschtrej, Director of Institutional Strengthening at Poder Ciudadano; Svenja Bonnecke, member of Chile Transparente and Coordinator of the SANCUS project; Elvis Radamés Acosta, youth representative of the Leading with Integrity Program of Espacio Cívico, Panama; and David Salmon, member of the Jamaican Youth Parliament.

In addition, the inter-parliamentary dialogue session took place on March 15. It included the keynote panel “New Challenges and Trends in Advancing Public Integrity,” with the participation of René Fernández Bobadilla, Minister Executive Secretary of the National Anticorruption Secretariat of Paraguay; Julio Bacio Terracino, Head of the OECD Public Sector Integrity Division; and Radivoje Grujic, Democratic Governance Officer at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The session was moderated by the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas. Two working groups were also organized: one dedicated to conflicts of interest and another to public integrity systems.

The final activity, the plenary session was held on March 22, featuring a keynote address titled “Strengthening Public Integrity for Democratic Governance” by Delia Ferreira, Chair of Transparency International. The session was moderated by the Honourable Joseph Isaac (Dominica), Speaker of the House of Assembly and ParlAmericas Board Member. During the session, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, officially launched the Road Map towards Legislative Openness 2.0, and Lotte Geunis, Open Parliament Consultant at the Open Government Partnership, presented the Memorandum on Parliamentary Engagement of that organization.

The plenary session also included a presentation of the results of the open parliament commitments adopted at the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, as well as progress reports on actions to promote legislative openness.  The Honourable Reginald Farley (Barbados), President of the Senate, moderated the presentations of the participating parliamentary delegations.

Thereafter, Senator Hermelinda Alvarenga de Ortega (Paraguay), Second Vice-President of the Chamber of Senators of the Republic of Paraguay, read the declaration of the 6th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network. Afterwards, Senator Javier Macaya (Chile), President of the OPN, shared his final thoughts, highlighting the importance of integrity in the context of the institutional efforts made by the region’s parliaments to strengthen legislative openness. In her closing remarks, Director General of ParlAmericas Alisha Todd announced the election by acclamation of the Honourable Reginald Farley (Barbados), President of the Senate, to fill the vacant seat for the Caribbean on the OPN Executive Committee.

In reference to the importance of creating a culture of integrity, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, noted that “it is an essential condition, not only for fighting corruption—a complex phenomenon that is unfortunately prevalent and has profound effects—but also for strengthening good governance, creating more productive economies and promoting more inclusive societies.”

With regard to the event, Senator Javier Macaya (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas OPN, stated that “we dedicated the 6th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network to addressing the importance of integrity, recognizing its close relationship with the principles of legislative openness and its relevance as a fundamental pillar of democratic governance.”

For her part, Senator Hermelinda Alvarenga de Ortega (Paraguay) mentioned that “we have had the opportunity to learn about new perspectives and good practices for strengthening codes of conduct in parliament, particularly with regard to conflicts of interest. It is important to recognize the significant progress made in areas such as accountability, transparency and access to information.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


 

March 22, 2022

Parallel Event “Youth Advocacy for Effective Climate Action with a Gender Perspective in Parliaments,” in the framework of the NGO CSW66 Forum

Today, ParlAmericas organized a parallel event as part of the Forum of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) of the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) titled “Youth Advocacy for Effective Climate Action with a Gender Perspective in Parliaments.” The objective of this session was to explore the strategies that can be used by young people in Latin America to promote feminist climate action in legislatures.

The opening address was delivered by Senator Verónica Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, who also participated in a roundtable during the event, along with Ms. Andrea Chacón (Costa Rica), Ms. Martina Gómez (Argentina), and Ms. Marinés Tapiero (Panama); all of whom exchanged perspectives and experiences on collaborations among civil society, youth, and decision makers.

The session highlighted different mechanisms for elevating the voices of young people in legislative processes and the inclusion of their perspectives in the establishment of climate agendas that have a gender equality perspective.

In this regard, Senator Camino stated that “Promoting the strengthening of citizen participation, and especially intergenerational representation, in legislative decision-making is key to continuing to build more solid and inclusive democracies.”

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


March 18, 2022


ParlAmericas participated in a seminar hosted by the University of British Columbia on the Inter-American Democratic Charter


In preparation for the upcoming IX Summit of the Americas, ParlAmericas contributed to the Round table on the Inter-American Democratic Charter: Learning through dialogue with academics, civil society, and democratic leaders, hosted by the Department of Political Science & School of Public Policy and Global Affairs of the University of British Columbia.

Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), 2nd Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Board and President of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC), participated in the panel alongside academics from the University of Pennsylvania (USA), Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico), Universidade de Sao Paulo (Brazil), and the University of British Columbia (Canada), who presented case studies on relevant democracy issues from the hemisphere. Moreover, Andrew Stevenson, Special Advisor at the Summits of the Americas Secretariat, addressed the linkages between the IX Summit and the Democratic Charter.

During her presentation, Senator Galvez expressed her perspective on the role parliaments have in building strong and inclusive democracies, and the manner in which parliamentarians are integrating an intersectional perspective to achieve an equitable and sustainable future: “In order to restore political confidence it is clear that we need to make sure that all decisions are transparent, evidence-based, and we need to improve mechanisms for citizen participation on public issues, update social protection systems, transform production and consumption models under sustainable paradigms, and curb the negative effects of climate change. As we start to consider the perspectives of others, especially from those populations that have been traditionally marginalized, we can start making systemic changes that get at the root of the problems that our societies face”.

This presentation was part of the pre-Summit of the Americas activities that ParlAmericas is undertaking to engage parliamentarians in discussions with stakeholders, including civil society and academia, on the themes of the Ninth Summit of the Americas centring on Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future. Hosted by the United States of America, the IX Summit will take place this year in Los Angeles from June 6-10, and ParlAmericas, as part of its institutional mandate, will support parliamentary engagement with the process.

 


 

February 24, 2022

ParlAmericas participated in the Launching of the Shared Vision of the Latin America and the Caribbean Circular Economy Coalition

On February 24, 2022, ParlAmericas, represented by Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, participated in the event “A circular economy in Latin America and the Caribbean: a shared vision” hosted by the Latin American and the Caribbean Circular Economy Coalition. The event launched the publication, authored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) and the other strategic partners within the Coalition, which unveils a shared vision of what a circular economy should look like in Latin America and the Caribbean, and how the region can advance this agenda to become a leader in circularity.

During the event, key representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme, Inter-American Development Bank, and EMF presented the process of developing the publication, and the possibilities this new direction will offer in terms of encouraging innovative economic growth and inclusive job creation, improving social welfare, and advancing environmental conservation so that future generations may also benefit from the region's rich biodiversity and natural resources. High level government officials, including the Colombian Minister of Environment, highlighted their country’s support of the common vision and the progress they have made on this front. Moreover, allies of the Coalition, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Industrial Association of Colombia (ANDI in Spanish), the European Commission, and ParlAmericas, were invited to share their commitment to advancing the circular agenda and their support to the important role this new framework will play in the economic transformation.

In Senator Galvez’s intervention she remarked on the importance of continuing to include the parliament in these endeavours: “We understand that regional cooperation is essential to effectively address climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification and even the inequality gaps in our societies. Recognizing that these environmental problems do not respect borders, we welcome the initiative of the Coalition and the launch of this common vision developed by and for the region, gathering diverse perspectives from the different stakeholders. Legislators are instrumental in supporting the implementation of strategies designed to favor the transition to more sustainable economic models that promote the efficient use of resources.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


February 3, 2022

CARICOM and UN Women Caribbean, in collaboration with ParlAmericas, organized a multi-stakeholder sensitization meeting ahead of CSW66

Today, the CARICOM Secretariat and the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean, in collaboration with ParlAmericas, offered a sensitization meeting in preparation for the 66th session of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW66), which will take place virtually and at United Nations Headquarters in March 2022. The priority theme for this year is “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.”

This virtual meeting highlighted Caribbean priorities in light of the CSW66 theme and a grounding in why climate change and disaster risk resilience are gender issues, with multi-stakeholder participation that included ministers with responsibility for gender affairs, parliamentarians, UN representatives, heads of the National Gender Machineries, and representatives of civil society organizations and academia.

Following a series of technical presentations about the CSW negotiation process, a keynote was delivered by Dr. Asha Kambon, renowned specialist on disaster risk management and gender equality. A panel then featured commentary by the Honourable Carolyn Trench-Sandiford, President of the Senate (Belize) and ParlAmericas Board member; Ms. Elizabeth Riley, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA); Ms. Joanna Edghill, Co-Founder and Director of Megapower Limited; and Ms. Sarah Bailey, Head of Programme at the UN World Food Programme - Caribbean Multi-Country Office.

In her participation, the Honourable Carolyn Trench-Sandiford spoke about the different manners in which parliaments can be involved in strategies to enhance adaptive capacity for inclusive, gender-responsive disaster risk management in the Caribbean Small Island Developing States. In addition to contributions related to lawmaking, for which she drew on examples from the Belizean legal landscape, she noted the importance of parliamentarians’ work with their constituents and at the community level in the context of disaster preparation and recovery efforts.

Moving forward, the inputs from the sensitization meeting will inform the crafting of the CARICOM statement for CSW66, which will reinforce region-specific priorities for centering gender-sensitive solutions for climate change and disaster risk issues. The CARICOM Statement for CSW 66 will be negotiated by Ministers with responsibility for gender/women’s affairs on February 17.

To learn more about ParlAmericas work, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


February 3, 2022

ParlAmericas attended the regular session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States held on February 2, 2022.

Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, and the Honorable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice President of ParlAmericas, joined the Regular Session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on February 2, 2022, convened by its Chair, His Excellency Ambassador Everson Hull, Permanent Representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The purpose of President Ovelar and Vice President Annisette-George’s attendance was to present to the diplomatic delegations the work that ParlAmericas has developed in the hemisphere during these first 20 years of the institution, as well as to share with them the  perspectives for the future.

In her address, President Ovelar referred to the role of ParlAmericas in the Inter-American System, noting that "our active and diverse membership, represented by the legislatures of the hemisphere, recognizes that strengthening cooperation between the executive and legislative branches of the countries of the Americas and the Caribbean is an essential condition for the advancement of democracy, human rights, multidimensional security, and sustainable development, pillars of the OAS and causes that we also support in ParlAmericas.”

Vice President Annisette-George, in turn, stated that “given the uncertainties and polarizations that characterize our world today, it is more urgent than ever that our steps are well coordinated, that our political ties are strong. Our channels of communication must be open and regular. An ongoing exchange between our branches of Government – in such high-level spaces as this – represents an essential opportunity to strengthen democratic dialogue and to transform it into meaningful action.”

ParlAmericas' participation in the most recent session of the OAS Permanent Council is a result of the close relationship between the two organizations and is a true reflection of the importance of promoting multilateralism to address issues of hemispheric importance.

To watch President Ovelar's and Vice President Annisette-George's remarks, please visit the following link.


To learn more about ParlAmericas work, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


February 1, 2022

ParlAmericas held the Fourth Meeting of its Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament

ParlAmericas and the National Assembly of Ecuador held the Fourth Meeting of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament online on January 28, 2022. The meeting included a working session of thematic groups and a discussion panel featuring representatives of social and youth organizations.

The meeting convened parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and representatives of civil society and youth organizations from Latin America to reflect on regional progress made in terms of legislative openness and to learn from citizen representatives about the results and impacts of the implementation of this agenda on society. The meeting was led by regional coordinators of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament who offered their contributions during the working group sessions.

In reference to the event, Member of the National Assembly Wilma Andrade (Ecuador), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for South America, highlighted that “it provides an opportunity to listen to reflections and analyses of the achievements reached and challenges that we still face in this sustained effort to incorporate the principles and actions of open parliament in our legislatures. This exchange of experiences and lessons learned will undoubtedly be useful for strengthening and enriching future undertakings towards legislative openness.”

Mr. Luis Rojas (Chile), Deputy Secretary General of the Chamber of Deputies, and General Coordinator of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, noted, “We are no longer discussing whether or not to open our parliaments, but the manner in which to do it that ensures  these practices can be sustained over time and institutionalized, and thus incorporate legislative openness, its processes and principles, in parliamentary work to include all voices of society and leave no one behind, in line with the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals.”

Mr. Bernardo Gutiérrez (Ecuador), Advisor to the Parliamentary Thematic Group on Open Parliament of the National Assembly, and Regional Coordinator for South America of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament pointed out that “the Network seeks to provide an opportunity for us to gather together in a space that is conducive to dialogue, collaboration, and the exchange of experiences and good practices  for achieving legislative openness, so that we can better support the initiatives taken by legislatures to advance this agenda.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.