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Inter-American System

Parliamentary Diplomacy

ParlAmericas is the institution that promotes parliamentary engagement and diplomacy in the inter-American system. Parliamentary diplomacy provides an alternative channel to executive-driven foreign relations to strengthen ties, foster trust, and promote collaboration including across political party lines, at a country-to-country and multilateral level. 

The practice of parliamentary diplomacy is aligned with the legislative branch’s functions. Parliamentary diplomacy provides legislators with insight and opportunities for influence on how international decisions impact their constituents’ wellbeing. It can also uphold checks and balances of power by supporting national parliaments in their scrutiny and oversight of the executive branch’s compliance with, and delivery on, international commitments. Parliamentary diplomacy, and in particular parliamentary engagement in multilateral fora, further promotes a global mindset suitable for effective law making to address common and increasingly transnational issues, and contributes to institutional and democratic strengthening.

Parliamentary Engagement in the Inter-American System

ParlAmericas was created by the National Parliaments in response to the 1999 resolution (1673/9) of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), to serve as the parliamentary forum dedicated to parliamentary participation in the inter-American system. Originally known as the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA), we held our inaugural meeting in March 2001 in Ottawa, Canada.

ParlAmericas works with different actors and bodies in the Inter-American system to integrate the perspectives of parliamentarians, and support appropriate follow-up by national parliaments to initiatives and regional agreements aimed at promoting democracy, human rights, security, and development.

ParlAmericas has working level partnerships set out in cooperation agreements with the Organization of American States (OAS) and its entities, and has committed to enhancing this engagement to address issues of relevance to the agenda of the Inter-American system.

In fulfillment of our mandate, ParlAmericas facilitates participation by parliamentarians in the Summit of the Americas process. In collaboration with host country institutions, we convene parliamentary delegations to debate the themes of each Summit agenda. ParlAmericas also raises awareness about political commitments adopted by the Heads of State and Government in Summits’ Declarations and Plans of Actions, through our convening of inter-parliamentary meetings and production of resources on related issues of concern to parliaments.

Through ParlAmericas’ Annual Plenary Assembly and the hemispheric gatherings of ParlAmericas’ parliamentary networks, parliamentarians from across the Americas and the Caribbean additionally adopt declarations that set the agenda for parliamentary engagement in the Inter-American system.

Readings of Interest