An updated Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures aims to support the delivery of effective parliaments against the background of the changing landscape in which democracies operate.
More than a decade after the original CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures was issued, the updated version, launched at an event in London held by the CPA and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), includes measurements for parliaments to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the recommendations contained in the Commonwealth Charter.
Guest speakers at the event included the Speaker of the House of Keys and chairman of the Isle of Man branch of the CPA the Hon Juan Watterson SHK, who contributed from the Legislative Buildings via video and took the opportunity to outline Tynwald’s parliamentary strengthening initiatives following self-assessment against CPA benchmarks.
Initiatives have included study visits arranged by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office in association with the WFD and the CPA for delegations from the Parliament of Sierra Leone, the National Assembly of The Gambia and the National Assembly of Laos, also the provision of a long-term capacity-building training programme for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly of Pakistan. There is further work planned in developing public finance scrutiny in Armenia.
Mr Speaker said: ‘Tynwald is proud to be a key player in supporting the pioneering outreach work of the CPA and WFD. Strengthening parliaments and legislatures, notably in matters of accountability and transparency, is fundamental to advancing democracy and ensuring that the founding principles of the Commonwealth are not only upheld but also reflect the changing demands and aspirations of its citizens.
‘In this the CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures have a vital role to play at a time when democracy and the values the Commonwealth family holds dear are at peril worldwide. I would add that, with the focus very much on democracy, the launch event assumed a heightened significance given that it took place just days before the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War Armistice.’
‘We should be really proud that the World’s Oldest Continuous Parliament is still being held up as a model of best practice within the Commonwealth and wider world.’