March 28, 2023

ParlAmericas participates in the Legislative Track of the II Summit for Democracy in Washington DC

Beginning today and continuing through March 30, ParlAmericas is participating in the Legislative Track organized by the House Democracy Partnership of the House of Representatives of the United States of America as part of the II Summit for Democracy in Washington DC.

The Legislative Track of the II Summit for Democracy is convening more than 60 parliamentarians and representatives of governments and civil society organizations from various countries to attend a series of in-person sessions that will address issues such as the role of legislatures in supporting national democracy commitments, the importance of engaging the citizenry to strengthen informed legislative action, and advancing cross-party cooperation to strengthen democratic resilience.

The high-level sessions in the Legislative Track will offer parliamentarians the opportunity to share experiences and best legislative practices with peers from more than 30 countries. Among the sessions is a fireside chat on March 30 on “Holistic Approaches to Good Governance” moderated by Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, and featuring Damon Wilson, President of the National Endowment for Democracy and Clinton White, Counselor for the United States Agency for International Development.

ParlAmericas' participation in the Legislative Track of the II Summit for Democracy is aligned with the organization’s mission of offering legislative perspectives in dialogues on issues of hemispheric importance and elevating parliamentary diplomacy as a tool to strengthen cooperative political dialogue, regional integration, and consensus building.

On the Summit for Democracy

The Summit for Democracy is an initiative of the United States government launched in 2021 to bring together world leaders to set an agenda to strengthen democracy around the world and address common objectives such as fighting corruption and protecting human rights. In this second edition, world leaders will share progress on their commitments to build more resilient democracies and commit to actions around five thematic pillars: supporting a free and independent media, fighting corruption, bolstering democratic reformers, advancing technology for democracy, and defending free and fair elections and political processes.

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

March 9, 2023

Women parliamentarians of Jamaica plan for the mobilization of the newly established Bicameral Caucus of Women Parliamentarians

On March 4-5, 2023, women parliamentarians from both chambers and Parties, with technical support from ParlAmericas, UN Women Multi-Country Office - Caribbean, the Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and the Houses of Parliament, gathered for a second training retreat to support the implementation of the Bicameral Caucus of Women Parliamentarians in Jamaica.

On February 1, 2023, the Jamaican Houses of Parliament officially created the Bicameral Caucus of Women Parliamentarians following approval by the Senate of an amendment of the Standing Orders of the Senate to establish the group as a Sessional Select Committee in that chamber. The House of Representatives passed a similar motion on December 14, 2022, and the two committees will sit jointly.

The hosting of the follow-up meeting, which focused on the mobilization of the caucus, was a commitment made during the first training retreat, held on December 3-4, 2022, and built on the prior dialogues through a focus on multi-partisan collaboration to undertake transformative action in support of gender equality goals and the practical next steps needed to enable the caucus to begin to meet.

The meeting opened with welcoming remarks by Ms. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, Ms. Tonni Brodber, Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean, Dr. Angela Brown Burke, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the People’s National Party, and The Honourable Olivia Grange, OJ, CD, MP, OJ, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport and Deputy Leader of the House, whose intervention was delivered by Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques.

The virtual feature address was delivered by Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D) and Congresswoman Connie Morella (R), former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and former chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues in the United States. The presentation, and the dialogue that followed, which was facilitated by gender and development specialist Dr. Rosina Wiltshire, explored the benefits of women’s parliamentary caucuses and strategies to work within and across party lines Dialogue also focused on legislative actions to promote gender equality through the caucus, supported by a presentation by Ms. Tonni Brodber on new research by UN Women Caribbean on the economic cost of violence against women and girls in Jamaica. Remarks were also offered during the retreat by Mrs. Sharon Coburn Robinson, Principal Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Minister Fayval Williams, and Senator Donna Scott-Mottley.

The meeting concluded with the decision makers in attendance agreeing on the next steps for the Bicameral Caucus of Women Parliamentarians in Jamaica, facilitated by ParlAmericas representatives.

For more information about the work of the organizing partners, see our respective websites and social media: ParlAmericas (website and Twitter) and UN Women - Caribbean (website and Twitter); and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport (website and Twitter).

March 1, 2023

ParlAmericas held a virtual learning lab on ‘Mobilizing parliaments to address climate migration’ within the framework of VIII Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean

Today, ParlAmericas carried out the virtual session ‘Mobilizing parliaments to address climate migration,’ a learning lab held within the framework of the VIII Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP23), under this year’s theme of “Science and Technology for Integrated Disaster Risk Management.” The session explored strategies for parliaments to support resilience-building to prevent forced climate migration as well as how to integrate gender-responsive relocation plans into disaster risk management.

In her welcoming remarks, Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, stated, “Today we have gathered to prioritize the protection of people. As parliamentarians, we need to examine what strategies we can support in order to build resilience and prevent forced climate migration. We know the facts: as a consequence of the changing climate, we can expect an increase in frequency and intensity of natural hazards. This is a timely conversation for the countries most vulnerable to extreme natural hazards, as well as the neighbouring countries that may become hosts for climate migrants.”

The session included a multi-stakeholder dialogue that included legislative, gender, and science and technology perspectives on climate migration and disaster resilience-building. Moderated by the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Juan Diego Vásquez (Panama), it featured the participation of the Honourable Member of the Chamber of Representatives Julia Miranda Londoño (Colombia); Pablo Escribano, Regional Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change of the International Organization for Migration; and Vanya David, President of the Dominica National Council of Women. Key elements of the dialogue included a presentation on Colombia’s bill to address the displacement of persons due to climatic causes, an overview of the patterns of climate migration in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and evidence in support of inclusive relocation strategies recognizing that natural hazards exacerbate socio-economic disparities, such as gender inequality, which persist even after relocation.  

To conclude the session, Senator Anthony Vieira (Trinidad and Tobago), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, offered final reflections on the importance of parliamentary action to support disaster risk management: "As responsible parliamentarians, we cannot sit on the sidelines or remain silent. We have a duty to inform, and to confront the emerging crisis by ensuring that our respective governments take all necessary and appropriate action.”

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

February 22, 2023

ParlAmericas participated in the regular session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States

Today, on behalf of ParlAmericas, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, and the Honourable Claudius J. Francis (Saint Lucia), Speaker of the House of Assembly and member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, participated in the regular session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) convened by its Chair, His Excellency Ambassador Anthony Phillips-Spencer, Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago.

On this occasion, ParlAmericas' participation had the aim of providing the Permanent Council a summary of the work carried out by ParlAmericas since the organization’s previous participation in the regular session of the Council in February 2022. Senator Ovelar and the Honourable Francis additionally reported on actions undertaken in response to the mandates adopted both at the IX Summit of the Americas and at the 52nd OAS General Assembly to promote parliamentary engagement in the Inter-American System through ParlAmericas. Finally, ParlAmericas’ representatives reflected on the role of inter-parliamentary diplomacy and how ParlAmericas' activities in 2023 align with OAS efforts and priorities.

In her remarks, President Ovelar stated, “Today we reaffirm before you ParlAmericas' unwavering willingness to comply with the mandates it was assigned and to contribute, at a particularly sensitive time for our hemisphere, to the search for solutions to the pressing problems facing our fellow citizens; we will do so in a concerted manner and under the democratic convictions that unite us.”

In turn, the Honourable Claudius J. Francis expressed that “This year, ParlAmericas will dedicate our efforts to working on issues including migration, the fight against disinformation and computational propaganda, food sovereignty and food insecurity, and the compounding effect of the climate crises,  All of these are pressing challenges within our hemisphere that form part of the political discussions and technical work here at the OAS, and which have likewise been identified as top priorities by our parliamentary membership.”

ParlAmericas' participation in the most recent session of the OAS Permanent Council exemplifies the spirit of collaboration between the two organizations and reflects the importance of promoting multilateralism and cooperation at the highest level in the Inter-American System to address issues of hemispheric importance.

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

February 22, 2023

Young Women of Jamaica Take Their Seats in Parliament

On February 21, 2023, young women from across Jamaica took part in a historic, all women parliamentary debate in the Houses of Parliament of Jamaica. This simulated parliamentary sitting marks the culmination of the Young Women in Leadership (YWiL) – Jamaica program organized by ParlAmericas and Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) in partnership with the Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Houses of Parliament.

The YWiL program seeks to support young women in preparing for current and future leadership roles by providing training and education on political leadership, encouraging consideration of leadership and service from a transformational perspective, and creating a space to foster supportive communities of women and other allies. Participants in the Jamaica program were nominated to take part due to their interests in gender equality and public leadership.

In preparation for the parliamentary sitting, and in line with program objectives, during the period of December 2022 to February 2023, the YWiLJA programme consisted of virtual and in-person training sessions focused on the program’s core components: transformational leadership, gender equality and inclusive decision-making, parliamentary procedure, and strategies for effective leadership. All of the program’s sessions were led by distinguished facilitators, including parliamentarians, civil society leaders, practitioners from various fields, and other leaders from Jamaica and across the region. Following the program’s conclusion, participants are encouraged to share the learning and skills gained within their communities.

The YWiL Parliamentary Sitting was the first-ever all-women sitting in the Houses of Parliament of Jamaica and was being held in the framework of celebrations for International Women’s Day 2023. Each participant served as a parliamentarian or officer of the parliament for a debate on a fictional motion that proposes the implementation of a national action plan to prioritize gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, with focused attention on the education sector, care sector and digital transformation. Participants’ contributions during the Sitting shared responses to the motion drawing on their expertise and research, and in line with their assigned role.

This initiative is one in a series of such activities organised in countries across the region, forming a core component of the ParlAmericas-CIWiL joint project to advance women’s political participation in the Caribbean, supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. Prior YWiL initiatives have been hosted in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Lucia.

Follow the meeting using #YWiLJA, or by visiting the @ParlAmericas and @_CIWiL social media pages.

February 6, 2023

ParlAmericas meets with representatives of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction on the margins of the regional launch of the Early Warning for All initiative

On February 6, 2023, His Honour Reginald Farley (Barbados), President of the Senate, met with Mami Mizutori, Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and Raúl Salazar, Chief of the UNDRR Latin America and Caribbean regional office, as well as with other high level UNDRR representatives at the Parliament of Barbados. This meeting was held in the margins of the world’s first regional launch of the Early Warning for All initiative, hosted by Barbados.

During the meeting, Senator Farley, who also serves as Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, and Assistant Secretary-General Mizutori discussed the newly released Executive Action Plan 2023-2027 launched by UNDRR at COP27 for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; national work being conducted in Barbados on disaster risk reduction and the accompanying successes and challenges; areas for collaboration on integrative policy for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation; and the advancement of the Making Cities Resilient initiative and the Multi-Hazard Early Warning System.

The meeting exemplifies the collaborative working relationship between ParlAmericas and UNDRR formalized through a letter of cooperation with the UNDRR Regional Office; a joint publication, “Parliamentary Protocol for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation,” which aligns with the principles of the Sendai Framework; among other publications and high level participation in  relevant meetings and events.

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


January 9, 2023

ParlAmericas condemns acts of violence against democracy in Brazil

ParlAmericas strongly condemns the attacks on the Congress, the Presidential Palace, and the Supreme Court of Brazil that took place on Sunday, January 8, 2023.

ParlAmericas respectfully calls on all social and political actors in Brazil to employ dialogue to resume the peaceful transition of power, defend the democratic order, respect the rule of law, and restore peace and coexistence.