January 2, 2020

Statement on Venezuela

ParlAmericas expresses its deep concern over the recent events in Venezuela related to the election of the executive body of the National Assembly.

Parliaments are fundamental institutions for democracy that guarantee the balance of State powers. Respecting the universal principle of popular sovereignty and the right to self-determination, ParlAmericas raises a respectful call for dialogue that incorporates the political pluralism of the country.

Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, stated, “We advocate for the recovery of dialogue between Venezuela’s political forces in a framework of full respect for freedoms and institutional mechanisms in search of a democratic and peaceful solution to the current situation in Venezuela.” She added that, "The rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be guaranteed." ParlAmericas reaffirms its strong commitment to democracy and its will to support the strengthening of parliamentary institutions throughout the region.

December 13, 2019

Parliamentary Delegates from the Executive committee of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change attend COP25 and call for strong climate action

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

ParlAmericas participates in the 2nd Meeting of the Community of Practice for the Reliability of the Budget

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.