Ottawa, February 8, 2021
On February 8 and 12, 2021, the CARICOM Secretariat’s Gender and Development Programme and the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean, along with ParlAmericas, Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL), and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of West Indies are organizing a preparatory meeting ahead of the 65th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), in recognition of the importance of the Caribbean region convening in a multi-stakeholder setting to establish its priorities and develop a concrete position in advance of the global proceedings.
CSW65 will take place at UN Headquarters on March 15-26, with opportunities for virtual participation; the priority theme is “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
This preparatory meeting, titled Building a Coordinated Caribbean Position for CSW65, will convene ministers with responsibility for gender affairs, parliamentarians, heads of the national gender machinery, representatives of civil society, and academia. These actors will hold a focused dialogues on the CSW process, this year’s priority theme, and a CARICOM position.
The meeting will offer a variety of sessions that include a parliamentary panel on “The Impact of Women’s Leadership.” This panel will be moderated by Senator the Honourable Ranard Henfield (The Bahamas), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament, and it will include presentations by the Honourable Pennelope Beckles (Trinidad and Tobago), MP and Minister of Housing and Urban Development; and by the Honourable Dr. Vindhya Persaud (Guyana), MP and Minister of Human Services and Social Security.
In the words of the Honorable Bridgid Annisette-George, Vice-President of ParlAmericas, “Supporting women's leadership is a critical goal in itself, and it is also an objective that has myriad positive impacts for the inclusiveness and quality of our decision-making processes and their outputs. Collaborating with our partners in all sectors is essential to ensuring that we continue to advance women's representation in the region, and intergovernmental processes like CSW provide an excellent opportunity for focused dialogue, reflection, and then further action.”
The outcome of this meeting will be the adoption of a CARICOM statement for CSW65 that will reinforce regional alignment and support initiatives addressing goals related to women’s political leadership, the elimination of gender violence, and the empowerment of all women and girls.
For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas and to participate in this meeting virtually, please use #ParlAmericasGEN.
January 29, 2021
On January 22, 2021, parliamentary staff from 15 countries in Latin America participated in a virtual meeting to reflect on the progress of legislative openness in the hemisphere and contribute to the current process of reviewing and updating the ParlAmericas Road Map towards Legislative Openness. The meeting also featured a presentation of the renewed methodology of the Latin American Legislative Transparency Index, developed since 2011 by the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency.
Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, opened the meeting by highlighting that “parliamentary staff are key actors to anchor all the essential ideas that our mission promotes and to guarantee the institutionalization of all efforts towards opening parliaments.”
The first part of this activity was dedicated to advancing the process of updating the Road Map towards Legislative Openness. It was introduced by Ms. Rocío Noriega, Advisor to the Bicameral Transparency Group of the National Congress of Chile, who highlighted the usefulness of the Road Map to "facilitate the understanding of the concept of an open parliament and its pillars," in addition to its value "during the preparation and implementation of action plans and commitments in the region."
After a presentation on the results of a survey developed to guide the review of the Road Map by Ms. Emilie Lemieux, Deputy Director of Open Parliament and Sustainable Development at ParlAmericas, participants were divided into five working groups to further share experiences and explore ideas and good practices to strengthen this publication. These working groups were led by officials from the hemisphere's parliaments: Mr. Waldir Bezerra Miranda, Deputy Secretary General of the Board of Directors of the Federal Senate of Brazil, led the working group on transparency and access to public information; Mrs. María Liz Sosa, Director General of Legislative Strengthening and External Cooperation of the Senate of Paraguay, led the working group on accountability; Mr. Juan Carlos Chavarría, Director of the Department of Citizen Participation of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, led the working group on citizen participation; Ms. Rocío Noriega led the working group on ethics and probity; and Mr. Mauricio Sarabia, General Coordinator of Planning of the National Assembly of Ecuador, was in charge of the working group on strategic planning.
The second part of the meeting focused on the presentation of the new methodology of the Latin American Legislative Transparency Index by the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency and EUROsociAL+ and saw representatives of civil society organizations and international organizations join the conversation. Ms. Analina Montes, General Manager of the National Congress of Honduras, welcomed this segment of the meeting on behalf of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament and highlighted the value of the index and the importance of collaboration with civil society during the co-creation of open parliament action plans and commitments: “ParlAmericas established a Memorandum of Understanding with the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency that includes civil society organizations in the region in order to continue consolidating closer collaborations between parliaments and civil society.” These were accompanied by welcoming remarks from Mr. Marcelo Espinel, Project Director of the Citizenship and Development Foundation, and Mr. Borja Diaz Rivillas, Good Governance Official of the Democratic Governance Area at EUROsociAL+.
Mr. Roger Celi, Coordinator of the Legislative Area of the Citizenship and Development Foundation, the coordinating organization of the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency, and Mr. Raúl Ferrada, EUROsociAL+ Consultant for the project to renew the Latin American Legislative Transparency Index, presented on the updates to the index and answered questions from participants.
Closing the meeting, Ms. María Gabriela Graell, Director of International Relations of the National Assembly of Panama, highlighted the importance of complementary tools such as the ParlAmericas Road Map towards Legislative Openness and the Legislative Transparency Index, and the relevance of spaces such as the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament for the exchange of ideas: “It is a joy to know that this network continues to strengthen and has been well received, allowing more parliaments and a broader range of internal departments to get involved and further engage in supporting open parliament initiatives.”
To learn more about ParlAmericas' work, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.
January 19, 2021
On Tuesday, January 19, ParlAmericas and the International Relations Unit of the National Assembly of Panama held the parliamentary meeting "Accelerating implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the Assembly of Panama," aimed at supporting the Assembly’s efforts to establish new mechanisms or practices to promote and monitor the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting provided a space in which the Members of Panama’s National Assembly were able to learn about the experiences of other parliaments in the region to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The meeting was opened by the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Fernando Arce (Panama), President of the Foreign Relations Committee and ParlAmericas Board Member. Member of the National Assembly Arce stressed that “it is the right time to increase our action; the world calls upon us to rebuild better following the pandemic, and we have the opportunity to ensure that our efforts are linked to a sustainable and equitable future. In the Assembly of Panama, we have made progress and we have worked on different elements of the 2030 Agenda, but there are many opportunities to expand and strengthen these efforts to better integrate our parliamentary activities with the goals of the Agenda.”
The meeting was moderated by the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Ana Giselle Rosas (Panama), who noted that “today's dialogue will allow us to address the efforts and the obstacles we face in our countries with a view to advancing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, in the spirit of a collective search for solutions in the understanding that complex challenges demand innovative responses.” There was also a presentation by Member of the National Assembly Pabel Muñoz (Ecuador), Coordinator of the Parliamentary Group for the Eradication of Poverty and SDG Compliance of the National Assembly of Ecuador, who shared the experiences of Ecuador’s National Assembly in terms of its progress, achievements and challenges in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.
The gathering counted on the participation of the Association of Alternate parliamentarians of the National Assembly who are becoming increasingly involved in the efforts for the development of the 2030 Agenda. Furthermore, the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Melchor Herrera (Panama) stressed the importance of the parliamentary role in addressing the Agenda and the challenges they face as a result of COVID-19 and the global debate that has been generated around the effects of the pandemic.
Following the presentation, a space for dialogue was opened among the participants. The meeting concluded with the reflections of the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Edison Broce (Panama) and Maria Gabriela Graell, Director of International Relations of the National Assembly of Panama. In Member of the National Assembly Broce’s closing remarks, he stated: “I urge you to continue working as a team, because only as a team can we successfully complete several of these projects, which are not isolated, and perhaps they will not change everything from one day to the next, but taking them all together and thinking towards collective action can help us get closer to achieving the SDGs.
Finally, the Director of the International Relations Unit highlighted the participants’ willingness to make space in their day to address the issues of the Sustainable Development Goals, and invited them to continue making alliances to achieve progress in the 2030 Agenda.
For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.