December 20, 2013
December 10, 2013
ParlAmericas Commemorates Human Rights Day
Today, December 10, ParlAmericas is commemorating International Human Rights Day.
This year, the world is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which established the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Office of the High Commissioner is calling for emphasis on the future and the identification of challenges that will lie ahead over the next 20 years. Use the hashtag #UNRightsAt20 to take part in the online conversations today.
For a regional perspective on the situation of human rights, you can tune into a Policy Roundtable, “Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Americas,” held by the Organization of American States (OAS). Watch the live webcast at www.oas.org, 9:00-10:30 am (US Eastern Time).
One of the objectives of ParlAmericas is to help strengthen the role of the legislative branch in the promotion and defence of human rights. ParlAmericas members believe that inter-parliamentary dialogue is essential for strengthening the rights of citizens of the hemisphere.
For more information on the specific issues that have been discussed to date through ParlAmericas’ activities, visit our Issues page.
November 29, 2013
ParlAmericas Welcomes New Board of Directors Members
Elections for seats on ParlAmericas’ Board of Directors took place during the 10th Plenary Assembly in San Jose, Costa Rica, held from August 22 to 24, 2013. Two seats were open in each sub-region (North America, Central America, Caribbean, and South America). The national legislatures elected are: Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Argentina, and Brazil. One seat remains vacant.
The following parliamentarians were then designated by their respective national legislatures to serve on the Board:
- Marcela Guerra Castillo, Senator (Mexico)
- María Jeannette Ruiz Delgado, Member of the Legislative Assembly (Costa Rica)
- Mirma Figueroa de Coro, Member of the Chamber of Deputies (Guatemala)
- Guadalupe Valdez San Pedro, Member of the Chamber of Deputies (Dominican Republic)
- Cheryl Bazard, Senator (The Bahamas)
- Alicia Marcela Comelli, Member of the Chamber of Deputies (Argentina)
- Humberto Costa, Senator (Brazil).
These new Board members will serve for a term of two years. In addition, Ignacio Urrutia Bonilla, Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, will sit on the Board as the representative of the Host of the 11th Plenary Assembly in 2014.
More information about this election is available in the 10th Plenary Assembly Report.
ParlAmericas looks forward to working with the newly elected representatives to the Board of Directors.
Today ParlAmericas is observing International Day of the Girl Child. The recognition of this day is particularly relevant to ParlAmericas’ permanent working group, The Group of Women Parliamentarians, which is committed to creating conditions for equal opportunities in the Americas. The Group’s work seeks to include a gender perspective on the legislative agenda of parliamentarians, who set the stage for girls to access the resources and education necessary to become fully participating citizens and leaders in national legislatures and other political spaces in the hemisphere.
September 23, 2013ParlAmericas Expresses its Condolences to Mexico After Devastation of Hurricane Manuel
Following the widespread devastation and flooding caused by Hurricane Manuel, ParlAmericas sends its condolences to the government of Mexico for the tragic loss of life of dozens of individuals. ParlAmericas expresses its solidarity with the people of Mexico who have lost loved ones and continue to suffer due to damages in the aftermath of the hurricane.
September 9, 2013
Learn more about ParlAmericas in this discussion paper from International IDEA: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
Excerpt: “This paper analyses the mandates and functions, as well as the strengths of and challenges faced by ParlAmericas, both from an institutional point of view, as well as from the perspective of fostering political participation and representation. The paper argues that more should be done to evaluate the real impact of this forum, particularly to understand how debates, activities and recommendations issued by ParlAmericas take shape in national parliaments.”
August 28, 2013
Elections for the Group of Women Parliamentarians Executive Committee
Elections were held for positions on the Executive Committee of the Group of Women Parliamentarians last week during the 10th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Dr. Jennifer Simons, Speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname, was elected as President of the Group by participating parliamentarians during the final session of the plenary. Martha González Dávila, Member of the National Assembly of Nicaragua, was elected Vice-President within the Group’s sessions.
The Group of Women Parliamentarians brought a gender perspective to the plenary by organizing a meeting on the topic of connecting women’s rights to food security.
The recommendations developed in the working group sessions focused on encouraging legislative agendas and regulatory frameworks that promote a human rights approach in the struggle for food and nutrition security, with a special focus on women’s roles in the fight against hunger. They also encouraged greater harmony between the three branches of government in order to ensure non-discrimination against women in the administration of justice.
Dr. Jennifer Simons, newly elected President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, explained, “We discussed the subject of food security, which is not guaranteed for many sections of our populations. In the meeting of the Group of Women Parliamentarians we focused on the challenges that women face, and recommended several strategies to the governments of the region in order to ensure women's access to all that is necessary to produce food and provide for their families. Once again we learned from one another and that is what ParlAmericas is about.”
Under this new leadership, the Group of Women Parliamentarians, the only permanent working group of ParlAmericas, will continue to increase its influence in mainstreaming gender in the legislative agendas of the parliaments in the hemisphere. The Group will begin to organize the next Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians to be held in mid-2014.
August 24, 2013
Closing of the 10th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas
The 10th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas, which convened more than 80 parliamentarians from 24 countries of North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, ended this morning after the recommendations developed during a series of working group sessions were presented to the plenary as a whole.
Among the recommendations are the promotion of food and nutrition security as a high priority for states, and the development of land management plans that include a regulatory framework on mining operations which are consistent with environmental protection practices and standards.
“The most valuable outcome of this meeting was discovering that in all of these countries we have exactly the same problems that seem to be a consequence of the models we’ve implemented. And when we hear parliamentarians from all the Latin American countries – including the Caribbean and North America – we can practically hear one another’s speeches. This raises awareness among ourselves, allowing us to find new mechanisms and new models to move processes forward, especially on the topics covered," stated Ms. María Jeannette Ruiz Delgado, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, host of this year’s Plenary Assembly.
The Plenary Assembly was also attended by expert presenters and observers from organizations including the World Bank, the Organization of American States, the Pan American Health Organization, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
During the final plenary session, elections were held and seats filled on the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas, for representatives from Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Mexico.
In the closing session of Plenary Assembly 10, it was furthermore established that Chile will host next year’s Plenary Assembly.
August 7, 2013
The invited speakers are a diverse group of subject experts. They are distinguished professionals in their fields whose presentations will inform and enrich the discussions and recommendations developed at the Plenary Assembly.
July 24, 2013
Germán Blanco, the Secretary-Treasurer of ParlAmericas, was elected to this new position with 131 votes.
Read the full article. (in Spanish)
June 10, 2013
Gina Hill, ParlAmericas’ Director General, along with representatives of the Organization of American States, met with the President of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, Luis Fernando Mendoza Jiménez, on June 4 in San Jose, Costa Rica, to discuss possible collaboration. As a result, the Legislative Assembly will host the 10th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas, to be held in San Jose from August 22 to 24, 2013.
June 3, 2013
From May 22 to 24, Randy Hoback, President of ParlAmericas, joined Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a visit to Peru and Colombia to reinforce trade talks between Canada and Latin American countries.
May 17, 2013
Closing of the Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians
The Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, Women in Power: Recent Changes in the Political Arena, which gathered together more than 50 parliamentarians from 21 countries of North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, ended this afternoon.
The meeting included working sessions with Jennifer Simons, Speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname, and Gisele Isaac-Arrindell, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Antigua and Barbuda (Session 1: Women presidents of national legislatures); Beatriz Ramírez Abella, Director of the National Women's Institute of Uruguay – INMUJERES (Session 2: Leadership and political participation of women of African descent); Cynthia Barrow Giles, senior lecturer in politics at the University of the West Indies, from Saint Lucia (Session 3: The effects of women’s participation in politics); and keynote speaker Maureen Clarke Clarke, Minister of the Status of Women of Costa Rica.
Jennifer Simons, host of the Gathering and Acting President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, stated, “The discussions are important but when we return to our countries, we have to translate the ideas into action plans and implement the actions we have marked as important for each of our countries.” During her closing remarks she also highlighted that the 10th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas will take place in Costa Rica (August 22-24, 2013) and urged participants to join the meeting, which, under the overarching theme of Economic Development will address natural resources development and food secuirty. “I would like to see all of your countries there, because the way we will go about our economic development will prove to be important for the well-being of every group in our societies and in fact ultimately for the very survival of our societies and peoples.”
May 16, 2013
Opening of the Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians
The Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians began this morning, with the theme of Women in Power: Recent Changes in the Political Arena. The parliamentary meeting was inaugurated by the Speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname and Acting President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, Jennifer Simons, who thanked the participating parliamentarians for coming together to reflect on the role and current situation of women in political life in the countries of the Americas.
Participants were also greeted, via video, by Ecuadorian Member of the National Assembly Linda Machuca, elected President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, who highlighted that "discussions will surely include the progress made since we [women] became more deeply involved in the political arena, as well as an assessment of women's role as presidents in the various Parliaments, all of which will undoubtedly lead us to identify our major challenges as key political players in our individual countries."
Female and male parliamentarians participating in the event represent countries including Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
May 15, 2013
Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians
Tomorrow the Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians begins. This year's event is taking place in Paramaribo, Suriname, and its main theme is Women in Power: Recent Changes in the Political Arena. Three working sessions will shape the discussions: Women presidents of national legislatures, Leadership and political participation of women of African descent, and The effects of women’s participation in politics.
May 14, 2013
31st Meeting of the Board of Directors
The 31st meeting of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas is taking place today and tomorrow in Paramaribo, Suriname. Parliamentarians from Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, and Suriname are attending the meeting. They are discussing regular governance items and considering preparations for the 10th Plenary Assembly of the organization (August 2013).
April 15, 2013
The number of women representatives in the National Assembly of Ecuador will increase in the next legislative period, to begin on May 14, from 41 to 53 women legislators.
Read the full article. (in Spanish)
March 28, 2013
ParlAmericas Granted Observer Status at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
ParlAmericas was formally granted observer status at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) during the IPU Executive Committee meeting held March 20-21, 2013, at the 128th IPU Assembly, held in Quito, Ecuador. A delegation from ParlAmericas, composed of members of the Board of Directors, attended the meeting.
The IPU is an international organization of world parliaments that works for worldwide parliamentary dialogue, peace and cooperation among peoples, and for the establishment of representative democracy across the globe.
This partnership is a step forward on the shared common agenda of both organizations towards the strengthening of democracy and democratic governance.
International Women's Day 2013: Message from UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet
March 6, 2013
ParlAmericas Sends Condolences to the Government and People of Venezuela
ParlAmericas expresses its condolences to the government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on the occasion of the passing of President Hugo Chávez Frías.
February 27, 2013
ParlAmericas' Parliaments and Extractive Industries: How to Improve Oversight and Increase Collaboration Workshop Concludes
ParlAmericas' Parliaments and Extractive Industries: How to Improve Oversight and Increase Collaboration workshop in Bogota, Colombia, concluded yesterday after two days of discussions, panel sessions, and smaller working groups.
Parliamentarians were very positive about the exchanges they had had over the course of the meeting. They made a number of recommendations ranging from parliaments must play a more active role in ensuring transparency at all levels of the extractive industry, to parliaments should seek to strengthen regional and sub-regional integration in order to promote alternative models of economic development.
There was general agreement that the event was enriched through the collaboration of Revenue Watch Institute and the experts from organizations such as the World Bank and CEPAL.
View the workshop’s photo gallery here.
Read the workshop's recommendations here (in Spanish).
February 25, 2013
Dynamic Participation at ParlAmericas' Parliaments and Extractive Industries: How to Improve Oversight and Increase Collaboration Workshop
Parliamentarians from seven Spanish-speaking countries in South America attend ParlAmericas' latest workshop.
Today’s session of ParlAmericas' Parliaments and Extractive Industries: How to Improve Oversight and Increase Collaboration workshop in Bogota, Colombia, gathered parliamentarians from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
The panels sessions considered parliamentary roles, the right to consultation, and regulations and transparency on existing contracts and future tax regimes.
Tomorrow’s sessions will focus on income distribution from revenues generated through extractive activities, improvements on the current development model, and alternative models of development.
February 24, 2013
ParlAmericas Holds Parliaments and Extractive Industries: How to Improve Oversight and Increase Collaboration Workshop in Bogota, Colombia
ParlAmericas is holding a workshop to provide a forum for parliamentarians and experts in the subject matter to discuss the roles and actions of national legislatures with respect to extractive activities. The workshop also aims to increase regional knowledge and best practices with regards to the extractive sector in South America, as well as to consider possibilities of parliamentary cooperation. The event starts tomorrow, Monday February 25, 2013, at 8:30 (14:00 GMT).
Please consult the meeting agenda here (in Spanish).
February 21, 2013
30th Board of Directors Meeting
The 30th meeting of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas is taking place today and tomorrow in Medellin, Colombia. Parliamentarians from Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, and Suriname are attending the meeting. They are discussing regular governance items and considering preparations for the Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians (Suriname, May 2013) and the 10th Plenary Assembly of the organization (August 2013).
February 1, 2013
January 29, 2013
ParlAmericas Expresses Condolences to Brazil for Deaths in Nightclub Blaze
ParlAmericas expresses its condolences for the loss of life that took place in a nightclub in Santa Maria, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, on Saturday, January 26.
January 25, 2013
Registration: Workshop (South America)