December 13, 2019
A delegation of parliamentarians from the Executive Committee of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) participated in official sessions of the UN Climate Change Conference COP-25, in Madrid, Spain on December 2-13. The delegation was composed of Member of the National Assembly (Ecuador) Ana Belén Marín, President of the PNCC; Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), Vice President of the PNCC for North America; and Member of the Legislative Assembly Paola Vega (Costa Rica), Vice President of the PNCC for Central America.
This year the chief objective of the COP was to raise overall ambition of all parties in preparation for the updating of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2020. A common call from stakeholders, including the delegation’s parliamentarians, at the COP25 was to make NDCs more inclusive by creating them in consultation with diverse actors, and with consideration to human rights, gender equality and other social dimension of proposed climate solutions.
Senator Galvez contributed parliamentary perspectives through attendance of high-level side sessions and bilateral meetings. “We were able to engage on the most pressing issues humanity faces today and focus our attention on how to transform energy, transportation, food and agricultural systems.” Reflecting on the closing of the COP25, Senator Galvez concluded: “It is disappointing that countries could not come to an agreement on robust rules and financing mechanisms grounded in the respect for human rights and indigenous rights. The need to address the climate injustice suffered by island nations and many communities around the world already heavily impacted has never been more compelling. Still, this international set back only signals the need to engage deeper within our regions and communities. Legislators have unique responsibilities in helping raise the ambitions of their countries to foster the social dialogue necessary to address this urgent issue without furthering social divisions.”
ParlAmericas was represented by Member of the National Assembly (Ecuador) Ana Belén Marín in the Action Hub event, Voluntary Carbon Management Programs – A Contribution to Mitigation through the Carbon Markets, where she described the organization’s participation in the Climate Neutral Now initiative, and launched a new consultative Guide on Green Parliaments. Ms. Marin also provided a legislative perspective to the high-level panel, Just Transition towards an Inclusive Green Economy: A Driver for Ambitious Climate Action and SDGs. “We are here representing ParlAmericas, sharing our knowledge, but [also] learning about highly relevant topics such as a just transition […] how we can continue to build green economies, and [contribute] within our parliamentary spaces, policies that strengthen carbon neutrality”.
ParlAmericas was represented by Member of the Legislative Assembly Paola Vega (Costa Rica) during the official side session, Global Trends in Climate Legislation and Litigation: Enhancing Resilience and Adaptation, where she shared the Protocol on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation that ParlAmericas developed in collaboration with UNDRR. Ms. Vega also attended a Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of the COP, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, on December 10th that was held at the Congress of Deputies of Spain, where she showcased important work being advanced in the hemisphere on climate change and its linkages with gender equality and open parliament.
This delegation was made possible with support of the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. For further information on our climate change work, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow us on social media with the hashtag #ParlAmericasCC.
December 12, 2019
On the 5th and 6th of December, Member of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís Quirós (Costa Rica), member of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas represented ParlAmericas in the second meeting of the Community of Practice for the Reliability of the Budget, organized by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), in Washington DC, United States of America. This meeting was attended by government, civil society and international organization representatives, who shared their knowledge regarding the budget, some of the issues that arise from the deviation from it, and the role of different actors of the society in order to collaborate ensuring compliance to the approved budget.
One of the key factors of the credibility of the budget, is the trust of the citizens in the priorities set within the budget. One of the major problems identified by the IBP, especially in countries with limited means, is the lack of execution of budgeted projects of economic and social development, due to diversions from the budget. ParlAmericas provided a legislative perspective in the discussions, taking in consideration the important role of the parliaments in the planning, implementation and control of the budgets.
Member of the Legislative Assembly Solís Quirós participated in the panel The Role of the Oversight Actors of the Budget and discussed about the role of the parliaments in different phases of the national budget, from its elaboration to its approval and the auditing phase of the expenses, emphasizing in the work of control conducted by the parliament demanding accountability.
Member of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís Quirós affirmed that “the lack of transparency in the accountability regarding the change of priorities generates skepticism and mistrust from the citizens in the undertaken commitments by the governments. For this reason, the parliaments have a significant role in the analysis, modification and control of the assignment of the budget in order to ensure that it is reliable and implemented in an effective way”.
In the same manner, member of the Legislative Assembly Solís Quirós presented the publication Strengthening the Accountability Through Fiscal Openness: A Tool Kit for Members of Parliament of the Americas and the Caribbean, elaborated by ParlAmericas in collaboration with the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy (IFSD) and the Global Institute of Fiscal Transparency (GIFT). This publication presents opportunities to improve transparency, accountability and citizen participation in the different phases of the budget that passes through the parliament, and highlights the constant collaboration with governmental institutions, civil society and other relevant actors.
The meeting concluded with a discussion about the following steps, which emphasized the importance of finding a better collaboration with different governmental acts of budget control, such as parliaments, which will be the strategical entities that will demand transparency and accountability from the government regarding the expenses of the budget.
December 2, 2019
Latin American parliamentary staff meet in Panama to exchange experiences and best practices of open parliament
Parliamentary staff of several Latin American countries will meet in Panama City, Panama, on December 4 and 5, for the 1st Meeting of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament.
The Open Parliament Network (OPN) is a space where parliamentarians promote legislative openness by strengthening transparency and access to public information, accountability, citizen participation, and ethics and probity. It encourages the adoption of action plans, commitments and initiatives developed in close collaboration with civil society and citizens through co-creation processes that address these issues. Parliamentary staff play an important role in the implementation of these measures, in addition to supporting their sustainability and institutionalization. For this reason, a Network of parliamentary staff who are implementing open parliament initiatives was established within the OPN.
During this meeting, parliamentary staff will exchange experiences in the implementation of measures that promote legislative openness, including strategies to strengthen parliamentary services offered to citizens, improve parliamentary accountability, facilitate citizen participation in the legislative process and contribute to a toolkit on legislative transparency.
“I am honored to welcome parliamentary staff from Latin American parliaments to Panama on this remarkable occasion, to foster an exchange of experiences on the implementation of initiatives that promote legislative openness," said Member of the National Assembly Fernando Arce (Panama), member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors.
Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, further emphasized that "Advancing legislative openness is crucial, since it contributes to the legitimacy of the political system and confidence in democratic institutions. This agenda is very important for ParlAmericas as it also provides tools to fight corruption and it is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.”
Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network (OPN) elaborated on the importance of this meeting: "Parliamentary staff play a fundamental role in the effective implementation and sustainability of action plans, commitments and initiatives to ensure greater transparency, accountability, citizen participation and ethics in parliaments. The ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network agreed to establish a space where they could also share their experiences and learn about good practices in order to continue the great work they do.”
On Thursday, December 5 at 3:30 pm, an international panel on the progress of legislative openness in the Americas will take place in the Carlos "Titi" Alvarado Auditorium of the National Assembly of Panama. This activity is open to the public and will also be used as an opportunity to officially launch the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament. To attend, please write to Ms. María Gabriela Grael, Director of the International Relations Unit at Mgraell@asamblea.gob.pa.
For more information, as well as updates on this activity we invite you to consult the agenda (in Spanish) and follow us on social media with the hashtag #ParlAmericasOPN.
November 22, 2019
Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Embassies of the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Paraguay in Canada, in collaboration with the office of the Honourable Senator Rosa Gálvez (Canada), organized a First Reflection Seminar on the Elimination of Violence against Women. The seminar was held at the Senate of Canada and attended by dignitaries, parliamentarians, civil servants and representatives of civil society organizations.
The opening remarks were delivered by Ambassador Pedro Vergés Ciman (Dominican Republic), Ambassador Diego Stacey (Ecuador), Ambassador Inés Martínez Valinotti (Paraguay), and Senator Gálvez, who serves as Chair of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas and Vice-President for the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change.
In her remarks Senator Gálvez stated, “When we see injustice and violence happening, we need to talk and intervene. Otherwise, we are giving permission for this to happen.”
The seminar was moderated by Ms. Lisane Thirsk, Deputy Director for Gender Equality and Communications at the ParlAmericas Secretariat. The panellists were Senator Gálvez; Ms. Alejandra Mora Mora, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM); Ms. Julia Maciel González, Vice-Chair of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ); Ms. Monique Forster, community leader and educator on gender and social integration issues; and Ms. Anita Vandenbeld, Member of Parliament of Canada. Each of the panellists shared information and reflections on the shared problem of violence against women, as well as possible solutions informed by their unique areas of work.
For further information on ParlAmericas’ gender equality work, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow us on social media with the hashtag #ParlAmericasGEN.
October 28, 2019
More than 60 parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and experts from 20 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean will convene in Asuncion, Paraguay, from October 30th to November 1st, for the 16th ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly on theme of “Accelerating Progress on Agenda 2030: Good Practices for Parliamentary Action”.
Participants will exchange good practices and discuss effective legislative solutions to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. With the common goal of contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the hemisphere, participants will engage in a series of working sessions to explore integral and innovative solutions that respond to the various needs of our societies. These sessions will also explore the importance of gender equality as a central pillar for the achievement of each of the 17 SDGs. The Plenary Assembly will open with a keynote address by Achim Steiner, Administrator for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
“I am honoured to welcome colleague parliamentarians from across the region to Paraguay on this noteworthy occasion. As representatives of citizens, it’s is our duty to promote and contribute to the implementation of the SDGs, which aim to end poverty, build peaceful societies, and promote prosperity and wellbeing of all people, while protecting the environment for current and future generations” mentioned Senator Patrick Kemper (Paraguay), host of the meeting. Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network (OPN) elaborated on the importance of the Plenary Assembly: “Building partnerships and continuing to vigorously advancing progress towards a sustainable future is critical, and today -more than ever- it is necessary to engage in open dialogues and involve citizens, private stakeholders and civil society organizations in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda”.
Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), Vice President of ParlAmericas, further emphasized that “it is imperative that we redouble our commitment to advance progress towards the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals in the hemisphere. As parliamentarians we have a significant role to play in leading these efforts to promote, oversee and adopt people-centered policies and legislation aligned with these objectives to ensure that no one is left behind.”
The Plenary Assembly will also include a training session on Monitoring Progress towards the SDGs through Public Spending, which will explore the ways through which parliamentarians can analyze budget proposals, allocations and expenditures to ensure that spending is effectively aligned and contributing to national efforts to meet the SDGs.
For further information and updates on the 16th ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly, please visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media with the hashtags #ParlAmericas2019 #ParlAmericasSDG.
October 15, 2019
ParlAmericas in collaboration with the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Regional Center for Latin America and the Caribbean organized a side session in the margins of PreCOP25 which took place in San José, Costa Rica from October 8 to 10. The high-level side session “Strengthening Climate Governance as a Tool to Achieve a Just Transition towards Decarbonization” included the participation of Member of the Legislative Assembly Paola Vega (Costa Rica), Vice President for Central America of the Parliamentary Network for Climate Change; Senator Verónica Camino (Mexico), Vice President for North America of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Jorge Rathgeb (Chile), Vice Minister of Water and Seas of Costa Rica Haydée Rodríguez, Deputy Executive Secretary Ovais Sarmad, UNFCCC and President of the Centre for Urban Sustainability of Costa Rica Andrea San Gil León.
The side event fostered a dynamic dialogue and exchange of good practices among diverse actors in relation to how effective and inclusive climate governance, can contribute to achieving a just transition towards a decarbonized world. Panel discussions also emphasized the importance of having a gender perspective in the development of climate solutions that leave no one behind.
The importance of including parliamentarians in national and regional climate discussions related to the transition towards a green economy was also highlighted. Ms. Vega stated that “it is essential to promote the active and inclusive participation of national and local governments, parliaments, international agencies, private sector and citizens in climate discussions so we can all contribute to the promotion of a just transition towards decarbonization.”
For further information on ParlAmericas’ work in Climate Change, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow us on social media with the hashtag #ParlAmericasCC.
October 10, 2019
ParlAmericas participates in Open Parliament e-Network (OPeN) Coordination Meeting
On October 8 and 9, the Open Parliament e-Network (OPeN) held a coordination meeting in which representatives of ParlAmericas, National Democratic Institute, Directorio Legislativo, Latin American Legislative Openness Network and Westminster Foundation for Democracy, participated. They gathered in Brussels, Belgium to coordinate global efforts to promote and support the implementation of open parliament initiatives. During this meeting, OPeN Partner Organizations determined next steps to strengthen the network’s strategic direction, internal coordination, communications efforts, upcoming activities and projects, as well as collaboration with external partners. On October 9, OPeN dialogued with Paul Maassen, Chief of Country Support and Lotte Geunis, Open Parliament Consultant of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to reinforce its collaboration with OGP and explore further synergies. OPeN then exchanged strategic objectives with Jonathan Murphy, Head of Program and Ruth Beeckmans, Senior Programme Officer of Inter Pares at International IDEA to discuss opportunities for collaboration in support of open parliament initiatives within the framework of this new program. This meeting resulted in concrete steps to be undertaken by OPeN Partner Organizations to consolidate the consortium and support parliamentary openness across the world.
October 10, 2019
ParlAmericas expresses its concern about the latest events in Ecuador and urges all actors and institutions of the political system to engage in dialogue and cooperation in favor of democracy and the cessation of violence.
Open dialogue and collaboration among all actors is essential to reaching a peaceful solution to this political crisis with full respect for human rights. The national parliament is a crucial actor in these processes, given parliaments’ essential role in the balance of State powers.
With recognition of the universal principle of sovereignty, ParlAmericas calls for cooperative political dialogue among all actors to overcome the political crisis, continue strengthening democracy and its institutions and ensure a climate of peace for the political and social stability of the country.
October 3, 2019
Workshop held to move forward on a Toolkit on transparency and access to parliamentary information
On September 23 and 24, a workshop was organized to develop a Toolkit aimed at strengthening transparency and access to parliamentary information. The initiative was sponsored by EUROsociAL+, a program for cooperation between the European Union and Latin America, and was supported by the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica and ParlAmericas. Participants at the event included officials from the legislative branches of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Spain, institutional representatives of the Network on Transparency and Access to Information (Red de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información, RTA), as well as subject matter specialists, and Costa Rican parliamentary and civil society representatives.
Recognizing that transparency and access to information are a fundamental requirement for making progress towards legislative openness in the region, the RTA, EUROsociAL+, and ParlAmericas proposed working together on a joint project that would culminate with the publication of a Toolkit to be launched next year. The workshop represents a continuation of this project, based on what was previously discussed at a first meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in May of this year.
During the two-day workshop, participants discussed and exchanged views with the objective of building tools that address active transparency, access to information requests, open data, policies on document management, communication and accessibility, and a model for gender and transparency within the legislative branches of government.
September 24, 2019
This past Friday, September 13th, ParlAmericas had the pleasure of participating in the first ordinary session of the multi-party Green Caucus of the Congress of the Republic of Peru, held in Lima. Participants at the gathering included parliamentarians, members of the Green Caucus, representatives of the national government, including Ms. Lucía Ruiz Ostoic, Minister of the Environment, and representatives of international and civil society organizations.
During the session, led by Member of Congress Ana María Choquehuanca, coordinator of the Caucus and Vice President for South America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, participants adopted the formation of the Green Caucus document. They also established the foundation and commitments for work and coordinating actions with the Executive Power, who on behalf of the Minister committed to working collaboratively with the Caucus to advance legislation related to climate change, areas of ‘environmental compensation’, the recovery of degraded forested ecosystems, and safeguarding protected natural areas. In addition, the Executive committed to offering capacity building on priority environmental topics for advisors to the Congress.
The ParlAmericas climate change program, in collaboration with the office of Member of Congress Choquehuanca, offered technical support throughout the process of constituting this multi-party group, the only one of its kind in the hemisphere. ParlAmericas hopes to continue supporting the Caucus in defining and implementing concrete actions to consolidate this important space for dialogue among legislators as well as other actors involved in seeking out effective climate and environmental actions. ParlAmericas reiterates its commitment to and support of parliaments in the region interested in exploring the adoption of similar mechanisms.
For more information and updates on ParlAmericas’ Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, visit http://www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social networks using the hashtag #ParlAmericasCC.
September 11, 2019
ParlAmericas participates in the international workshop "Open Congresses for Active Democracies" in the National Congress of Argentina
ParlAmericas participated in the international workshop on good practices in legislative openness entitled “Open Congresses for Active Democracies”. This workshop, organized by the Congress of the Nation of Argentina and EurosociAL, addressed issues related to the transformation of the State and parliaments in the modern world, the role of transparency, accountability, citizen participation and access to public information, among others.
The first panel entitled “Challenges in assuming commitments and experiences in action plans” was moderated by Mercedes De Los Santos of Fundación Directorio Legislativo, and included presentations by Álvaro Herrero, Undersecretary of Strategic Management and Institutional Quality of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, Fernando Sánchez, Secretary of Institutional Strengthening of the Office of the Cabinet of Ministers, and Rudi Borrmann, Undersecretary of Public Innovation and Open Government in the Presidency of the Nation. The second panel focused on “Modernizing the State and opening public management” was moderated by Agustín Frizzera of the NGO Democracia en Red, and included presentations by Laura Montero, Deputy Governor of the province of Mendoza, Florencia Romano, Administrative Secretary of the Chamber of Deputies, Mariano Heller, Secretary of Planning of the Council of the Magistracy of the City of Buenos Aires, and Juan Pedro Tunessi, Parliamentary Secretary of the Senate.
In a third panel, Emilie Lemieux, Program Manager on Open Parliament at ParlAmericas, explained the process for building an Open Parliament Action Plan and the importance of its institutionalization, through the following steps: building political will, carrying out continuous consultations with the actors involved, identifying a parliamentary body to lead the process, designating a coordinator for the implementation of the action plan, integrating the participation of civil society in defining the process, and implementing the action plan. Following this presentation, EurosociAL + project consultant María José Méndez summoned the experts present to build the general guidelines to co-create an Open Parliament Action Plan for the National Congress of Argentina, through a “World Café” methodology.
On the second day of the workshop, the director of the Parliamentary Modernization Program of the Chamber of Deputies, Dolores Martínez, reflected on the discussions that took place on both days, and the next steps were presented: the systematized results of the workshop will be distributed, and a proposed process to develop an action plan will be developed, integrating the inputs obtained during the workshop and meeting international standards.
For more information about the workshop, consult the press release issued by the Chamber of Deputies of the Argentina.
September 3, 2019
ParlAmericas extends heartfelt sympathies and expresses solidarity with the people of the Bahamas and all others affected by the devastation of Hurricane Dorian.
The President of ParlAmericas, the Honourable Robert Nault, Member of Parliament of Canada, stated: “We feel tremendous concern and empathy for all peoples who are feeling the severe impacts of the storm and for those preparing for its passing. The parliamentarians of our hemisphere must stand with all those affected, and ParlAmericas reaffirms its commitment to help combat the effects of a changing climate.”
September 3, 2019
The ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change would like to call attention to the increasing intensity and number of fires affecting the Amazon region in 2019. These fires are devastating large portions of the Amazon, a region of high importance to the world for the many ecosystem services it provides. The Amazon is critical to the maintenance of the globe’s ecological diversity and in mitigating climate change. The region, known as the “planet’s lungs”, is key in capturing carbon dioxide; encompasses half of the world’s tropical forests and diverse fresh water systems; and provides a home to a third of the world’s known plants, animals and insects - many endemic to the region.
This environmental treasure needs to be protected, for this reason we call for parliamentarians and other stakeholders to take direct action to protect the integrity of the Amazon rainforest. We must ensure that this natural monument, home to rich biodiversity, and of utmost importance to the regulation and stability of the world’s climate remains standing for generations to come.
Ana Belén Marín, member of the Legislative Assembly of Ecuador and president of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, stated “On behalf of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, I call for parliamentarians of the hemisphere to encourage government action to help conserve the Amazon region as well as their forests and natural areas. We need to promote an immediate and inclusive dialogue within our countries on this topic and find adequate solutions that can address it.”
August 26, 2019
ParlAmericas actively participated in the Latin American and the Caribbean Climate Week 2019 (LACCW) which took place in Salvador, Brazil from August 19 to 23. Senator Verónica Camino (Mexico), Vice-President - North America of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality represented ParlAmericas as an expert panelist in the high-level ministerial segment of the LACCW “Towards COP 25 and Efforts to Achieve the Aims of the Paris Agreement” and the side event on “Progress and Ways Forward for Gender-Responsive National Climate Action in the Latin American and the Caribbean Region.”
The main objective of this year’s LACCW was to foster engagement between actors from across the region to increase ambition and exchange knowledge and good practices that can contribute to the implementation of national climate plans and the achievement of the Paris Agreement goals.
Throughout her participation, Senator Camino highlighted the importance of including parliamentarians in national and regional climate discussions, and in advancing an inclusive climate agenda. “It is essential that governments and international agencies involved in climate discussions see us as key partners in the promotion of ambitious climate actions. It is of vital importance that through the exercise of our function as representatives, we gather the needs and proposals of our communities to advance in the consolidation of a comprehensive climate agenda,” stated Senator Camino.
ParlAmericas has been promoting the importance of effectively integrating gender equality considerations across the climate change agenda, recognizing the differential risks and impacts of climate change and disasters on the population as a result of socioeconomic inequalities and other demographic factors. As part of her presentations, Senator Camino emphasized that “ParlAmericas will continue advocating for climate action to be participatory and inclusive, and for women to be considered as key agents in all public policy processes and climate-related decision making.”
For further information on ParlAmericas’ work in Climate Change, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow us on social media with the hashtag #ParlAmericasCC
August 26, 2019
ParlAmericas is now hiring a Program Manager – Gender Equality, M&E Specialist. Applications will be accepted until September 8, 2019. For more information, please read the job description.
August 7, 2019
Parliamentarians from 16 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean will convene in Paramaribo, Suriname, for the 4th Gathering of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change. Parliamentarians will exchange good practices and discuss effective legislative solutions to meet the urgency of climate change and contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
With a common goal of raising climate ambition in the hemisphere and advancing climate action through legislation and parliamentary oversight, parliamentarians, expert practitioners and civil society representatives, will engage in a series of working sessions from August 8 to 9 exploring integral and innovative solutions that respond to the vary needs of our societies.
“We are committed to fostering inclusive decision-making processes where women, youth, indigenous peoples and traditionally marginalised groups will have their voices heard” stated the Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament (Canada) and President of ParlAmericas. “This Gathering in a unique opportunity for parliamentarians to have an open and frank discussion in order to learn about effective climate governance structures that can be implemented in our respective countries.”
“As representatives of our communities, we have the responsibility to take action and play a key role in the upcoming renewal of our countries Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), contributing to set up ambitious targets to reduce carbon emission and prevent further environmental degradation,” explained the host of the Gathering, the Honourable Jennifer Simons, Speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname and Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change.
Parliamentarians are expected to adopt an official declaration, calling for governments, fellow parliamentarians, multilateral institutions, private sector, academia and civil society stakeholders to join forces to surpass the current Nationally Determined Contributions and meet the goals agreed to in the Paris Agreement. This declaration will be shared at the next COP25 and the upcoming UN Climate Summit.
For further information and updates on this meeting, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media with the hashtags #ParlAmericasCC
June 17, 2019
ParlAmericas, in collaboration with the Senate of the Republic of Mexico, will hold the 11th Gathering of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, titled Achieving Balance in the World of Work, from June 18 to 20 in Mexico City, Mexico. This gathering will bring together legislators from more than 20 countries of the hemisphere to explore strategies to advance women’s labour rights and empowerment, thereby contributing to national economic growth, development, and the realization of human rights.
During the gathering, delegates from across the Americas and the Caribbean will exchange good legislative practices through a series of panel sessions and workshops on that will analyze the cultural and legal barriers to women’s entry and full contribution to the workforce. Civil society and multilateral stakeholders, including actors part of the Inter-American Task Force for Women’s Leadership and Empowerment, will join parliamentarian delegates in conversations on collective actions to forge more inclusive economies that promote autonomy and dignity in the working lives of all members of society in the region.
“I am honoured to welcome our colleagues from across the region to Mexico on this noteworthy occasion: ParlAmericas' 11th annual gathering dedicated to gender equality. I look forward to taking part in the conversations over the next three days on how we can work together to achieve true equality of opportunity in the labour force, a requirement for women's full economic empowerment in the Americas and Caribbean,” stated Senator Antares Vázquez Alatorre (Mexico), host of the gathering and member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors.
The Honourable Member of Parliament Robert Nault (Canada), President of ParlAmericas, further emphasized that, “As our countries continue to undertake new partnerships and innovative resourcing mechanisms to achieve women’s economic and labour rights, it is crucial that we share our learning to accelerate progress. ParlAmericas is committed to creating spaces for this sharing of experiences, and this gathering is a wonderful opportunity to dedicate our attention to the shared priority of guaranteeing the labour rights of all women and men.”
The gathering will be preceded by a workshop on frameworks to prevent and address workplace sexual harassment, facilitated by colleagues from the Latin American Team for Gender Justice and the Equal Opportunities Commission of Trinidad and Tobago.
For the most recent updates on the gathering, consult the agenda and follow @ParlAmericas on social media using the hashtag #ParlAmericasGEN.
On Monday, May 13 and Tuesday, May 14 of this year, a delegation of parliamentary staff from the national legislatures making up ParlAmericas’ Open Parliament Network exchanged experiences and ideas on how to strengthen transparency and access to public information in collaboration with access to information commissions that are members of the RTA. The objective was to begin to define a Toolkit on this topic. The initiative received support from the EuroSocial+ program, with meetings held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in connection with the XVII Meeting of the RTA.
On Monday, May 13, presentations were given on the progress made on transparency by participating parliaments, which included the experiences of Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Spain. Representatives of the Institute for Access to Public Information (IAIP) from Honduras and the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and the Protection of Personal Data from Mexico also shared their perspectives on the topic and actions put in place to guarantee that parliamentary information is available. This meeting was also attended by Members of Congress Gerardo Martínez and Eli Santos from Honduras and representatives of the National Directorate on Community Relations and Citizen Participation from the Ministry of the Interior, Public Works and Housing of Argentina; the Council for Transparency from Chile; the Institute for Access to Public Information of El Salvador; the Council on Transparency and Good Governance from Spain; the Department of Governmental Transparency of the Ministry of the Presidency of the Dominican Republic; and the Agency for Electronic Government and Information and Knowledge Society (AGESIC) from Uruguay; as well as the Open Government Partnership and the EuroSocial+ program.
On Tuesday, May 14, a workshop was conducted with only the participating parliamentary representatives, in which challenges, areas of work, and tools that could be included in the toolkit were identified in order to facilitate the toolkit’s effective implementation in the parliaments of the region. There was also a panel held as part of the XVII Meeting of the RTA where the achievements made in the RTA-ParlAmericas project were presented and a discussion about the challenges relating to the consolidation of access to information and parliamentary transparency took place.
“Guaranteeing transparency is the first step that needs to be built up in order to move on to the other pillars of open parliament, and, as such, enable national legislatures to succeed in strengthening their role in representation, legislation, and oversight for the benefit of citizens,” highlighted María Liz Sosa, Director General of Legislative Strengthening of the Chamber of Senators of Paraguay. The results of these meetings will be shared in the future with the other parliaments in the region to allow them to contribute to the development and validation process of the parliamentary transparency toolkit.
May 28, 2019
On Wednesday, May 29 and Thursday, May 30, ParlAmericas in collaboration with the Open Parliament e-Network (OPeN) will celebrate Open Parliament Day and the Parliamentary Track of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Ottawa, Canada.
Hosted by the ParlAmericas Canadian Section, Open Parliament Day will be held on May 29, and will bring together parliamentary delegates and civil society representatives from more than 30 countries to exchange on their experiences regarding collaboration with civil society to develop and implement open parliament action plans or initiatives. They will explore how this collaboration can be leveraged to strengthen parliament’s representation and oversight roles to build stronger and more inclusive democracies that deliver better services and public policies, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda.
On May 30, parliamentary delegations will participate in OGP Global Summit sessions where they will exchange with peers, government officials, academia, civil society, and other open government stakeholders. They will debate strategies to enable citizens, civil society and business to participate in government decision-making; empower under-represented people to engage actively with governments; and help citizens understand how open government affects their day-to-day lives. They will discuss important issues, such as disinformation, beneficial ownership registries, gender equality, participatory and inclusive policy making, public sector innovation, anti-corruption, artificial intelligence and access to justice, among others.
The Honourable Robert Nault, President of ParlAmericas and Chair of the ParlAmericas Canadian Section stated that “open, participatory, and inclusive governments are fundamental to building citizens’ trust, improving results, and strengthening our countries. Canada is honoured to host such an important meeting for parliamentarians who have an essential role to play to support greater transparency and accountability in governance, especially as the world faces challenges like disinformation and a rising sense of disenfranchisement.”
"Open government means including all voices, empowering people, and making public policies that improves the lives of citizens while restoring their trust in public institutions,” added Member of Parliament Randy Boissonnault, Vice-president of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network and Vice-Chair of the ParlAmericas Canadian Section. “Parliaments play a fundamental role by providing the legislative frameworks needed to successfully implement these initiatives. Parliamentary oversight ensures that open government policies lead to results that strengthen our democracies.”
"The ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network offers spaces for parliamentary peer exchanges and collaboration with civil society to advance transparency, accountability, citizen participation and ethics in parliaments and all public institutions. This global summit is an opportunity to bring together perspectives and experiences from around the globe to develop innovative policy solutions and achieve more ambitious reforms that result in better societies for all our people,” said Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the Network.
For more information, as well as updates on Open Parliament Day and the Parliamentary Track of the Open Government Partnership Global Summit, we invite you to consult the linked agendas and follow us on social media with the hashtag #ParlAmericasOPN and #OGPCanada.
For Media Inquiries Please Contact:
ParlAmericas International Secretariat at +1-613-594-5222
May 13, 2019
From May 6 to 8, 2019, ParlAmericas participated in a series of meetings in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on the occasion of the XXXVIII Assembly of Delegates of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM, in Spanish). This Assembly, on the theme of “Equality and Autonomy in the Exercise of Women's Political Rights,” was attended by Ministers of Women from across the hemisphere, authorities from the OAS, and international experts on gender equality and human rights.
Ahead of the CIM Assembly, the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Empowerment and Leadership held an internal work-planning meeting which was informed by a series of consultations, as well as by preliminary assessments of the state of women’s leadership and current programming interventions in the region. A critical outcome of this meeting was the identification of three priority areas for collective action through the Task Force: 1) an analysis of availability and quality of data on women’s leadership; 2) a regional communications campaign for advocacy across different sectors; and 3) an expansion of mentorship initiatives.
With the support of the Government of Canada, on the last day of the Assembly, the Task Force held a breakfast meeting with the Ministers of Women – or their designated representative. Participating institutions presented to the Ministers the three priority areas for action the Task Force will be pursuing. In this dialogue, ParlAmericas emphasized the enhanced institutional coordination and impact that has already been achieved by the Task Force since its launch at the VIII Summit of the Americas. This mechanism has better positioned member institutions to evaluate the most strategic ways to scale up effective interventions, whether individually or jointly, and to meet shared goals of ensuring that no one is disadvantaged by their gender or left behind in national development efforts. In the case of ParlAmericas, these efforts will be focused on legislative actions to reduce the barriers to women’s leadership in coordination with its member parliaments.
May 9, 2019
This past March 14th, the Parliamentary Protocol for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation was presented during the 4th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network. The protocol seeks to guide parliamentary work to meet national disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation needs. This publication is the product of collaboration between ParlAmericas and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – UNDRR – Regional Office for the Americas.
Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador Ana Belén Marín, Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change and promoter of her country’s Law on Risk Management, highlighted that the “purpose of this publication is to provide parliaments of the hemisphere with a tool aligned with the principles of the Sendai Framework that contributes to legislative dialogue and the exchange of good practices on the creation and modification of legislation related to disaster risk reduction, mitigation, and management.”
This protocol is structured under two chapters. The first presents a series of suggested parliamentary actions for managing disaster risk, linked with the parliamentary functions of legislation, political oversight, and debate and approval of the national budget. The second chapter provides a detailed explanation of each of the priorities for action in the Sendai Framework and its usefulness for parliamentarians.
For Raúl Salazar, Head of the Regional Office of UNDRR – Americas, “important progress has been seen in a great number of countries that have developed regulatory frameworks with a comprehensive approach to managing disaster risk, as the Sendai Framework recommends. It is important for countries in our region to continue with efforts to integrate disaster risk reduction in their national and local regulatory and legislative frameworks, as these help the public and private sectors to advance risk governance, strengthening their institutions and mechanisms to adequately guide, coordinate, and provide oversight for disaster risk reduction and public policies related to this topic.”
“Disasters push millions of people into poverty each year, threatening progress, peace and security, and costing billions of dollars -- and we have the science that tells us that Climate Change is going to increase the frequency and intensity of these disaster events of natural origin,” stated the Honourable Robert Nault, Member of Parliament of Canada and President of ParlAmericas. “This is why tools like this Protocol are so valuable for parliamentarians. It gives us the information we need to more effectively design and approve laws - and hold our governments accountable to implementing those laws - to ensure we are taking measures for comprehensive disaster risk reduction. Now is the time to take action. Our citizens expect this of us and we need to deliver. ”
May 1, 2019
ParlAmericas is now hiring a Program Officer. Applications will be accepted until May 13, 2019. For more information, please read the job description.
April 18, 2019
ParlAmericas is now hiring a Program Officer - Finance and Logistics. Applications will be accepted until April 30, 2019. For more information, please read the job description.
April 3, 2019
ParlAmericas and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to reaffirm collaboration efforts to advance the climate agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean.
ParlAmericas was recognized as an official observer organization to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process by the Conference of the Parties (COP), at its twenty-fourth session held in December 2018. This status and the recently signed Memorandum will allow ParlAmericas to formally participate and incorporate parliamentary perspectives in international climate change conferences and deliberations, and to strengthen its collaboration with the UNFCCC and other partners in the Americas and the Caribbean.
“This is an important recognition of prominent parliamentary efforts to combat climate change across the hemisphere. As President of ParlAmericas and Chair of its Canadian Section, we remain committed to advance legislative work related to climate change mitigation and adaptation through inter-parliamentary cooperation in the hemisphere, as well as to facilitate the development of innovative policies to combat climate change,” stated the Hon. Bob Nault, Member of Parliament from Canada.
ParlAmericas and its Parliamentary Network on Climate Change promote parliamentary climate action through dynamic programming and resources that are tailored to the work of parliamentarians and the specific ways in which their countries and constituents are being impacted by climate change.
“This Memorandum opens new opportunities to collaborate and present the critical work of parliamentarians in raising political ambition and accelerating measures to combat climate change through law making, oversight, budgeting and awareness raising,” stated Javier Ortega, Member of the National Assembly of Panama and President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change. “ParlAmericas welcomes this opportunity to continue providing valuable inputs to the most pressing climate debates from a parliamentary perspective.”
For further information on ParlAmericas work in Climate Change click here. Follow the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) on Twitter using the hashtag #ParlAmericasCC.
March 29, 2019
On March 27-29, ParlAmericas participated in the 2nd Bi-Annual Regional Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals, titled Agenda 2030: Prioritizing Investment in Health and Gender Mainstreaming – Advancing Health and Gender Balance in the OECS. The forum was organized by the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Youth, Sports, Community Development and Telecommunications and Information of the Nevis Island Administration, respectively led by the Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams and the Hon. Eric Evelyn, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The forum brought together representatives from OECS countries to coordinate actions on issues related to gender equality and health to support collective achievement of the corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each day centred on key actors that play a role in this work, including the executive and legislative branches of government, technical staff, and civil society, and on the need for partnership among these groups.
Parliamentarians’ role in advancing the 2030 agenda was a topic of focus on the first day of the forum. A parliamentary panel highlighted efforts currently underway in OECS countries to address priority concerns like gender-based violence, national healthcare, and poverty alleviation, among others. Throughout the presentations, emphasis was placed on the ways in which inter-island cooperation with other OECS members has served as a strategy to build on individual strengths and ensure the continued success and sustainability of development efforts. Panellists also discussed parliamentarians’ specific roles in furthering progress to achieve the SDGs more broadly through their representative, legislative, and oversight functions.
The forum concluded with the launch of a new online portal by the Ministry of Social Development that seeks to raise citizen awareness on the SDGs and allow for monitoring of government action and progress to achieve this agenda. The website can be accessed at this link: http://www.niasdu.com.
March 26, 2019
On March 13, a ParlAmericas delegation participated in a Regional Workshop on Biodiversity and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The workshop was co-organized by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Honduras and convened Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Holders, including Indigenous Peoples, civil society, parliamentarians and government stakeholders from across Central America to exchange good practices and lessons learned for collaboration on biodiversity conservation.
Member of Congress and former Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations Ana María Choquehuanca (Peru), represented ParlAmericas as a panellist in two sessions on the lessons learned by working with TEK holders to conserve forest biodiversity and on how parliamentarians can help TEK holders to better participate in decision-making. Ms. Choquehuanca shared Peru’s experience on community based co-management of protected areas, and reflected on how parliamentarians can work with TEK holders to create inclusive and holistic legislation. “Indigenous peoples possess knowledge that can positively contribute to the management of forests, thereby making it necessary to empower indigenous peoples and give greater value to their skills and ancestral knowledge during the development of forest management policies and legislation,” stated Ms. Choquehuanca.
ParlAmericas was also represented by Member of Congress Teresa Cálix (Honduras) who contributed as a moderator during the workshop’s break out session on opportunities and challenges for achieving collaborative working relationships between governments, professional experts and TEK holders to conserve and protect biodiversity.
Follow the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) on Twitter using the hashtag #ParlAmericasCC.
March 13, 2019
On March 13, ParlAmericas participated in a series of meetings organized by the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Empowerment and Leadership, with the support of the Governments of Canada, Peru, and the Dominican Republic. The meetings took place at the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the principal global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. CSW is held each year at UN Headquarters in New York City.
The Task Force convened a high-level ministerial dialogue under the title of “Women’s Leadership in the National Agendas of the Americas and the Caribbean.” Ministers responsible for gender equality from across the Americas and the Caribbean gave remarks on the priorities of their countries for closing the gaps on women’s leadership. The dialogue session additionally featured remarks from representatives of Task Force member institutions including UN Women, UNDP, CIM, IACHR, and ECLAC.
The Task Force also held a technical session attended by government and parliamentary representatives who exchanged experiences in relation to key themes aimed at advancing women’s leadership and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality. ParlAmericas supported discussions at a working table on the theme of Political Participation.
The outcomes and knowledge shared at the ministerial and technical sessions will be used to shape future initiatives and actions of the Task Force.
March 8, 2019
On March 12-14, ParlAmericas will host the 4th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, titled Beyond the Walls of Parliament: Strengthening Parliamentary Oversight, in Quito in collaboration with the National Assembly of Ecuador.
During this meeting, which will be held in the National Assembly, legislators from more than 27 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean will discuss the importance of developing and implementing innovative measures that strengthen the parliament’s oversight role in order to promote openness and counter corruption. In addition, they will exchange openness strategies and practices that support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Honourable Elizabeth Cabezas, President of the National Assembly of Ecuador and Vice-President of ParlAmericas, affirmed that, “this gathering provides parliamentarians of the hemisphere with a unique opportunity to share with their peers and representatives from local civil society organizations good legislative practices that have shown to be effective in strengthening political oversight and combating corruption. On behalf of the National Assembly, it is a pleasure to welcome the participating parliamentary delegations and to promote dialogue on a topic of such high importance in our region.”
“The ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network continues to promote hemispheric discussions on legislative openness and the importance of strengthening – through the exercise of the parliamentary oversight function – the transparency and accountability of the different governmental institutions, as well as the effective implementation of adopted legislation and relevant public policies,” declared Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the Network.
The Honourable Member of Parliament Robert Nault (Canada), President of ParlAmericas, stated that “this meeting will allow participating legislators to advance in the consolidation of an ambitious regional agenda to confront corruption with a systemic approach, and, through this, support our countries’ advances towards fulfilling the Lima Commitment, strengthening collaboration with civil society and other branches of government, and consolidating democratic governance, rule of law and the fight against corruption.”
For more information or updates on the gathering, we invite you to consult the agenda and follow us on our social media outlets with the hashtag #ParlAmericasOPN.
February 4, 2019
On January 24-25, a ParlAmericas delegation participated in meetings and a panel session hosted by the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica in San José, to share good practices from parliaments in the hemisphere that are implementing an open parliament agenda and promote reflection on next steps to consolidate this agenda in Costa Rica.
On January 24, the delegation met with the leaders and deputy leaders of political parties, directors of the administrative departments of the Legislative Assembly, and representatives of civil society organizations. These meetings created an opportunity for an exchange of experiences from Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Costa Rica on the development and implementation of Open Parliament Action Plans as well as legislation and practices that contribute to legislative openness. These meetings culminated with a panel discussion on the progress of open parliament in Latin America attended by various stakeholders.
These exchanges laid the foundation for a national workshop held on January 25, where Costa Rican parliamentarians, parliamentary clerks and civil society representatives established proposed next steps to continue strengthening and advancing the open parliament agenda in their country.
The president of the National Assembly of Ecuador, Elizabeth Cabezas emphasized that “Following the principles of an open parliament guarantees that the information on the work that we do is not misrepresented. More transparency will improve the relationship we have with citizens.” Similarly, the vice president of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, María Inés Solís, signaled that “the President of the Board of Directors of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica is committed to promoting open parliament initiatives so that the parliament and its members can strengthen this agenda.”
The ParlAmericas delegation was led by Elizabeth Cabezas President of the National Assembly of Ecuador and Vice-President of ParlAmericas and included Rodrigo Lara, Senator of Colombia; Eduardo Cáceres, Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina; Patricio Vallespín, former parliamentarian of Chile; María Liz Sosa, Director General of the Legislative Strengthening Office of the Senate of Paraguay; Rocío Noriega, Advisor to the Bicameral Group on Transparency of the Congress of Chile; María Baron, Global Executive Director of the Foundation Directorio Legislativo; Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director of ParlAmericas; and Emilie Lemieux, Program Manager – Open Parliament of ParlAmericas.
For more information about ParlAmericas’ open parliament work, click here. Follow ParlAmericas’ Open Parliament Network on Twitter by using the hashtag #ParlAmericasOPN
January 16, 2019
ParlAmericas is seeking to expand our network of professional translators interested in working for the organization on a regular basis, in one or more combinations of English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. For more information, please read the job description.
January 9, 2019
The Caribbean Institute for Women in Leadership (CIWiL) is hiring a coordinator for a project being carried out in partnership with ParlAmericas, "Promoting Women's Political Leadership in the Caribbean." Applications will be accepted until February 3, 2019. For more information, please read the job description.
January 9, 2019
The National Forum of Women in Political Parties of Panama (FONAMUPP) is hiring a coordinator for a project being carried out in partnership with ParlAmericas, "Promoting Women's Political Leadership in Panama." Applications will be accepted until January 22, 2019. For more information, please read the job description (in Spanish).