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2024


May 10, 2024

Parliamentarians of the Americas and the Caribbean adopt a declaration to safeguard democracy and promote human rights

More than 50 parliamentarians from 20 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean adopted a declaration in defense of democracy and human rights during the 20th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas and the 8th Gathering of the Open Parliament Network. The joint meeting, organized by ParlAmericas and the Senate of the Congress of the Republic of Paraguay, took place from May 8-10, 2024, in Asunción, under the theme Building Partnerships to Strengthen Democracy and Promote Human Rights.

The declaration reflects the outcomes from the dialogues and working sessions held during the meeting. It highlights the commitment of parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean to democracy, human rights, gender equality, and the rule of law. Additionally, the declaration includes a series of commitments for parliamentary action in response to the growing challenges faced by democracy and human rights and underscores the role of parliaments in safeguarding democratic principles, promoting cooperative political dialogue, consensus-building, peaceful resolution of differences, and the maintenance of peace and security.

During the Plenary Assembly, elections were held for vacant subregional seats on the ParlAmericas Board of Directors. Chile and Peru were elected as representatives for South America; Panama, Guatemala and Belize as representatives for Central America; and Saint Lucia and Dominica as representatives for the Caribbean. In addition, for the Executive Committee of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, Member of the National Assembly Luzmila Abad (Ecuador) was elected Second Vice-President for South America, and the Honorable Leo Cato (Grenada), Speaker of the House of Representatives, was elected Vice-President for the Caribbean.

Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas and Host of the Gathering:

“As our dialogues over the past few days have demonstrated, substantive participation by legislators in hemispheric decision-making spaces is essential for strengthening our democracies, defending and promoting human rights, contributing to peacekeeping efforts, and building consensus—central principles of the Inter-American System.”


May 9, 2024

Launch of the children’s book Yerutí and the Superheroes of the Planet in the National Congress of the Republic of Paraguay

This morning, the storybook Yerutí and the Superheroes of the Planet was launched as part of the 20th ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly and the 8th Gathering of the Open Parliament Network. The children’s book was produced by ParlAmericas and the Senate of Paraguay, with the support of Paraguayan civil society organizations, to promote values such as respect, teamwork, responsibility, and listening to others, while reinforcing the importance of caring for the environment.

Yerutí and the Superheroes of the Planet introduces children to concepts about climate change in an accessible format, not only promoting learning, but also inspiring readers to take action while fostering key values such as respect, collaboration, social leadership, and environmental awareness. It is also a story of growth and empowerment in which the protagonists discover that leadership can take many forms that are all valuable and needed, and that teamwork and family and multigenerational support are key to turning their ideas into action.

The book launch, held in the National Congress of the Republic of Paraguay, included remarks by Senator Blanca Ovelar, President of ParlAmericas, and Norma Marecos, Advisor to Senator Blanca Ovelar and expert on education.

Yerutí and the Superheroes of the Planet was illustrated by Paraguayan artist Sofi Amarilla Heyn, with design by Eynar Becerra. This is the fourth children’s book produced by ParlAmericas in partnership with member parliaments and allied civil society organizations and was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

As with the previous storybooks, it includes a learning guide with reflections and questions to complement its reading. 


May 7, 2024

Parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean to meet in Asunción, Paraguay, to discuss democracy and human rights

More than 50 parliamentarians from 21 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean will convene for the 20th ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly and 8th Gathering of the Open Parliament Network. The joint meeting, organized by ParlAmericas and the Chamber of Senators of the Congress of the Republic of Paraguay, will be held on May 8, 9, and 10, 2024, in Asunción, and will be focused on the theme Building Partnerships to Strengthen Democracy and Promote Human Rights.

During the gathering, parliamentarians will discuss the state of democracy along with representatives of international organizations, civil society, academia, and youth leaders. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss the critical role parliaments play in fostering active democracies, promoting human rights, maintaining peace, building consensus, promoting inclusive policies, and pursuing social justice.

The meeting will open with welcoming remarks from Senator Silvio Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the National Congress; Senator Javier Macaya Danús (Chile), ParlAmericas Second Vice-President and President of the Open Parliament Network; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Raúl Luis Latorre (Paraguay), President of the Chamber of Deputies; and Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas.

The main session will focus on “Human Rights and Democracy: Challenges for the Future” and feature the participation of Marta Lagos, Director and Founder of the Latinobarometer Corporation, and Dr. Rosina Wiltshire, international development and human rights specialist. This session will cover approaches to the main challenges related to democracy and human rights, considering the role of parliaments and their opportunities for action that facilitates democratic consolidation. It will set the context for the rest of the sessions that will take place over the course of the gathering.

Quotes

Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas

“ParlAmericas has convened parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean to respond to the call of history that requires us, in the midst of a particularly complex and sensitive juncture, to assert the critical role that parliaments play in the unceasing construction of active democracies, in the defence of human rights, in the maintenance of peace, in consensus building, in the promotion of inclusive policies, and in the pursuit of social justice.”

Senator Javier Macaya Danús (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network

“It is crucial to strengthen the role of the democratic system, especially in its respect for human rights. This not only contributes to public legitimacy but also strengthens the foundations on which individual and collective freedoms are built. In this respect, parliaments have a fundamental role to play as defenders of democratic principles and fundamental rights.”


April 17, 2024

ParlAmericas participated in ‘Global Innovations in Democracy: Parliamentary Exchange’ event in Washington, D.C.

This week Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, participated in the Global Innovations in Democracy (GID): Parliamentary Exchange series of events which took place on April 15-17, 2024, in Washington, D.C. She served as moderator for one of the parliamentary exchange sessions held at the U.S. Congress.

Established in 2022, GID is led by the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA) at The Ohio State University, the Center for Democracy Innovation at the National Civic League, and the Centre for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. The event was organized to serve as a global platform for legislators to explore innovative methods and tools for gathering input, overcoming divisions, building trust, and gaining public support for public policy.

Accompanied by discussant Sanna Lepola, Director-General for Parliamentary Democracy Partnerships, European Parliament, Ms. Todd led the session titled “Why Do We Need to Innovate and Expand Our Definitions of Constituent Engagement?” This session examined the need to modernize how legislators around the world engage with citizens and the benefits of doing so, identified some of the shared challenges and limitations of traditional constituent outreach and participation, and explored global trends that could lead to more effective and inclusive engagement strategies.

This year’s GID featured an array of interactive sessions and panel discussions designed to foster direct interaction between parliamentarians from around the world. It facilitated the sharing of best practices for engaging constituents and connected parliamentarians with innovative practitioners and scholars in the democracy-strengthening community.


March 22, 2024

ParlAmericas Digital Caucus holds second dialogue session on artificial intelligence

Parliamentarians from across the Americas and the Caribbean met virtually today for a dialogue focused on The Future of Work and Labour Rights: Challenges and Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence. Today’s session marked the second meeting in a series of dialogue sessions related to artificial intelligence organized by the ParlAmericas Digital Caucus, a working group connected to the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network. 

Senator Kenneth Pugh (Chile), Co-Chair of the Digital Caucus of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, chaired the meeting and moderated a panel with subject-matter experts from the International Labour Union (ILO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Their presentations addressed the impacts of A.I. on job quantity and quality and the importance of analysing these effects from an intersectional perspective during this time of accelerated digital transformation. This was followed by an open exchange among parliamentarians with interventions that highlighted the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence for the labour market across various national contexts. 

Participants were welcomed to today’s meeting by Senator Javier Macaya (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network and Senator Lisa Jawahir (Saint Lucia), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality. Both speakers stressed the role of parliamentary work in artificial intelligence governance and the value of collaborative spaces, such as those organized by the ParlAmericas Digital Caucus, to advance good practices in the region. 

Quote
Senator Kenneth Pugh (Chile), Co-Chair of the Digital Caucus of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network
As we witness more national parliaments placing the issue of artificial intelligence onto their legislative agendas, the work of the ParlAmericas Digital Caucus will continue to facilitate the exchange of good parliamentary practices so that we can learn from one another and coordinate regional action that responds to the needs and priorities of our citizens.”

Quote
Senator Javier Macaya Danús (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network
“The implementation of artificial intelligence has many advantages, but it also raises important ethical and legal issues. As parliamentarians, it is essential that we work to ensure that the adoption of artificial intelligence is carried out in a fair and transparent manner, protecting the rights of workers and promoting equal opportunities for all people.”

Quote
S
enator Lisa Jawahir (Saint Lucia), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality
“If we are not consciously considering diverse realities as we navigate the complexities of artificial intelligence – particularly as these advances relate to gender – we risk further entrenching inequality. However, if we focus on inclusion and equality within our decision-making, we can harness the positive, transformative benefits of these technologies for all.”


March 14, 2024

ParlAmericas proposal for enhanced engagement with the OAS welcomed by Member States

Today, at the headquarters of the Organization of American States, a ParlAmericas parliamentary delegation participated in the Joint Special Meeting with the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs and the Committee on Inter-American Summits Management and Civil Society Participation in OAS Activities (CISC) on the topic of Legislative Cooperation. During the Joint Special Meeting, ParlAmericas put forth a proposal to serve as a roadmap for continued enhanced parliamentary engagement with the OAS that was embraced by all Member States.

Twenty-two parliamentarians representing 17 national legislatures from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada participated in the three-day delegation to Washington, D.C., which concluded with the Special Joint Meeting. It included speakers of parliaments from the region and various members of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors and Network Executive Committees. The delegation was led by Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas.

In advance of the Special Joint Meeting, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, submitted a letter welcoming ParlAmericas’ proposal as a foundation for advancing parliamentary participation in the OAS in the immediate future, recognizing the ideas outlined in the proposal as starting points for realizing their vision articulated in the OAS Legislative Engagement Act.

Earlier in the week, the ParlAmericas delegation had a productive meeting with the senators about ways to build upon ParlAmericas’ institutional integration with the OAS.

The program for the delegation also included an exchange with OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro on the state of democracy in the region. The Secretary General reaffirmed ParlAmericas’ role as the permanent inter-parliamentary organization in the Inter-American System.

During their time in Washington, D.C., the delegation also held dialogues with officials from different OAS Executive Secretariats, bilateral meetings with representatives from the United States Congress, and a panel with Washington-based partners: the United States Congress House Democracy Partnership (HDP), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the International Republican Institute (IRI).

The program provided parliamentarians with an opportunity to learn more about the work of the OAS and discuss issues of shared interest being prioritized by regional stakeholders, namely security and transnational crime, democracy and the rule of law, gender equality and human rights, migration, climate change, and economic development. The delegation was further an opportunity to optimize parliamentary participation at the OAS through ParlAmericas, and to action ParlAmericas’ reaffirmed mandate to foster the participation of parliamentarians as an integral part of the Summits of the Americas process. A resounding conclusion of the delegation was the affirmation that parliamentary diplomacy serves as an important safeguard for democracy in the hemisphere.

Members of the delegation

Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas
The Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas
Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), Second Vice-President of ParlAmericas
Senator Javier Macaya Danús (Chile), Second Vice-President of ParlAmericas
Member of the Chamber of Deputies Margarita Stolbizer (Argentina)
His Honour Arthur E. Holder (Barbados), Speaker of the House of Assembly
The Honourable Carolyn Trench Sandiford (Belize), President of the Senate
Senator Peter Boehm (Canada)
Member of Parliament Anthony Rota (Canada)
Senator Germán Blanco Álvarez (Colombia)
Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado Ramírez (Costa Rica)
The Honourable Joseph T. Isaac (Dominica), Speaker of the House of Assembly
Ricardo de los Santos Polancos (Dominican Republic), President of the Senate
Member of the Chamber of Deputies Nelsa Shoraya Suárez Ariza (Dominican Republic)
Senator Carlos Manuel Gómez Ureña (Dominican Republic)
Senator José del Castillo Saviñon (Dominican Republic)
Henry Kronfle (Ecuador), Speaker of the National Assembly
Member of Congress Andrea Villagrán Antón (Guatemala)
Member of Congress Yessica Rosselli Amuruz Dulanto (Peru)
The Honourable Alvina Reynolds (Saint Lucia), President of the Senate
The Honourable Marinus Bee (Suriname), Speaker of the National Assembly


March 13, 2024

Meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Climate Change and Sustainability focused on research strategies to inform evidence-based climate action

Parliamentary staff from across the Americas and the Caribbean met virtually for a working meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Climate Change and Sustainability (PNCCS-Staff). The meeting, which had additional participation from international climate experts, facilitated peer-to-peer exchange on how to effectively integrate complex environmental information within legislative spaces. 

Opening remarks were provided by Frédéric Forge (Canada), Senior Director of the International Affairs and Integrated Reference Services Division of the Library of Parliament and General Coordinator of the PNCC-Staff. This was followed by an expert-led panel discussing the key findings from the Sixth Assessment Cycle of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and recommendations for how to use scientific data in the creation of climate policies and laws, including how to incorporate a gender and human rights lens. Moderated by Brian B. Caesar (Trinidad and Tobago), Clerk of the House of Representatives and Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean of the PNCCS-Staff, the panel included presentations from the following individuals:

Following this, participants engaged in an open dialogue moderated by Jatziri Pando Medina (Mexico), Technical Secretary of the Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee, Senate of the Republic and Regional Coordinator for North America of the PNCCS-Staff. This dialogue allowed parliamentary staffers to exchange on their own experiences accessing, analyzing, and sharing comparative data related to environmental topics, as well as gain exposure to new practices and tools used in other parliaments. 

The meeting also marked the official launch of the updated ParlAmericas publication, “Navigating Online Information: Tips & Tricks for Parliamentary Research.”This resource, along with ParlAmericas’ recently updated environmental repository, “Mapping Environmental Strategies and Sustainability Initiatives,” were shared as additional reference tools to ensure gender disaggregated data and other social variables are considered in research to support parliamentary work on climate and sustainability.  

Quote

Frédéric Forge (Canada), Senior Director of the International Affairs and Integrated Reference Services Division of the Library of Parliament and General Coordinator of the PNCC-Staff 

“The ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Climate Change and Sustainability is committed to supporting parliamentary staff in their efforts to remain up-to-date on the various complex environmental issues afflicting the region, as well as exploring the innovative solutions to address them through evidence-based legislative initiatives.”


March 7, 2024

ParlAmericas statement on the situation in Haiti

ParlAmericas expresses grave concern with the ongoing deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in Haiti.

ParlAmericas strongly condemns the ongoing violence that is being perpetrated by criminal gangs against the Haitian people. These include killings, abductions and sexual violence that have been continuously documented by the United Nations and by the Haitian press and civil society. The breakout of two prisons in Port-au-Prince earlier this week by criminal gangs, and their attempts to seize the capital’s airport, add to a list of attacks on other state institutions and infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, police stations and court buildings. These affronts to human dignity and the country’s rule of law subvert conditions for the country to respond to the population’s basic needs and restore constitutional order.

Haiti has been without an elected parliament since January 9, 2023 following the expiration of the mandates of its ten remaining senators at that time.

In the face of this humanitarian crisis, ParlAmericas continues to encourage efforts by the international community to work alongside the Haitian people for the pursuit of peace, stability and democratic solutions.


March 5, 2024

Forums of Women in Political Parties meet to discuss women’s political participation and leadership

Within the framework of activities to commemorate International Women’s Day and as a follow-up to the First Regional Gathering of Forums of Women in Political Parties held in August 2023 in San José, Costa Rica, more than 80 representatives from six Forums of Women in Political Parties from five countries in the region gathered today for a virtual dialogue on the challenges and opportunities related to women’s political participation and leadership.

The session began with opening remarks by Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality. This was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Member of Congress Andrea Villagrán (Guatemala), Second Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality. The panel featured Luz Patricia Mejía, Technical Secretary of the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI) of the Inter-American Commission of Women of the Organization of American States, and Marcela Durrieu, former parliamentarian and founder of the collective Ojo Paritario, who discussed challenges and opportunities related to implementing regional standards to address gender-based political violence and promoting the principle of parity.

Afterwards, participants representing the Forums of Women in Political Parties were invited to share strategies and best practices on eliminating gender-based political violence and promoting women’s political participation in electoral and decision-making processes through an open dialogue moderated by Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado (Costa Rica), President of the Special Standing Committee on Women, President of the Front of Women in Political Parties of Costa Rica, and Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors. The meeting concluded with closing remarks by Members of the National Assembly Karla Núñez (Nicaragua) and Shaira Downs (Nicaragua), as well as Member of the National Assembly Arling Alonso (Nicaragua), Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors.

Quote
Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality
“These initiatives are founded on the value of sisterhood among women politicians as a necessary quality to build on what has already been built in order to make progress on the road to equality based on the achievements of the many activists who, with great effort, have carved a path towards gender equality and the recognition of women’s political rights.”

Quote
Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado (Costa Rica), President of the Front of Women in Political Parties of Costa Rica and Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors
“Forums and Fronts of Women in Political Parties should be seen as safe spaces for sharing experiences and good practices at the party level, institutionalizing mechanisms to promote equality and respect for women’s political rights in order to achieve significant changes within parties.”


January 25, 2024

ParlAmericas participated in the 2024 Caribbean Clerks Programme organized by The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch

Today marked the close of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch (CPA UK)’s 2024 Caribbean Clerks Programme, a virtual two-day programme for clerks and parliamentary staff in the Caribbean region to share experiences and exchange good practices.

The first day of the programme focused on the role parliamentary officials play in the effective operation of committees, as well as the importance of fostering opportunities for their professional development. ParlAmericas representatives Beverly Gibbons (Barbados), Deputy Clerk, Parliament of Barbados and Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, as well as Chrisette Benjamin, ParlAmericas Program Officer – Gender Equality, provided closing remarks and reiterated the foundational work of parliamentary staff and the value of intra-regional cooperation. Ms. Gibbons also spoke to the work of the ParlAmericas Staff Networks on Open Parliament, Gender Equality, and Climate Change and Sustainability in facilitating additional peer-to-peer exchanges on these specific themes.

On the second day of the programme, Eilish Elliott, ParlAmericas Project Manager – Gender Equality, participated as a panellist during a discussion on public outreach and youth engagement practices in parliament. Ms. Elliott provided an overview of ParlAmericas’ programming with parliaments to engage young people in parliamentary processes and the importance of incorporating equality and inclusion considerations within these outreach initiatives. Other panellists in this session included the Honourable Alincia Williams Grant (Antigua and Barbuda), President of the Senate, and Billy Helm (United Kingdom), Senior Engagement Officer, UK House of Commons.


December 14, 2023

Parliamentarians exchange experiences on current legislative practices in the governance of artificial intelligence

The ParlAmericas Digital Caucus, launched in June 2023 as a working group linked to the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, met for a virtual dialogue on Current Legislative Experiences in the Governance of Artificial Intelligence. Today’s meeting was the first in a planned series of dialogue sessions to facilitate exchanges between parliamentarians from across the Americas and the Caribbean on topics related to artificial intelligence.

The session began with opening remarks provided by the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament and Vice-President of ParlAmericas. This was followed by a panel discussion highlighting specific cases of regulatory frameworks related to the governance of artificial intelligence, their legislative scope and implementation. Panelists included Senator Kenneth Pugh (Chile), Co-chair of the Digital Caucus of ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network; Member of Parliament Francesco Sorbara (Canada); and Member of the European Parliament Brando Benifei (Italy), Co-rapporteur of the Artificial Intelligence Act. The panel was moderated by the Honourable Representative Catherine Juvinao (Colombia), Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, and Natalí Casanova-Burkholder, Project Manager for Open Parliament at the ParlAmericas International Secretariat, and focused on ways in which regulatory measures can promote ethical applications of AI that minimize gender and other biases without stifling innovation.

Parliamentarians in attendance were also invited to share their own national experiences and questions related to the governance of artificial intelligence, which included interventions from Member of the Chamber of Deputies Pedro Campos (Brazil), Member of the Chamber of Deputies María Eugenia Hernández (Mexico), Congresswoman Karol Paredes (Peru), Member of the Chamber of Representatives Rodrigo Goñi (Uruguay), and Member of the European Parliament Ibán García del Blanco (Spain). Closing remarks were then provided by His Honour Reginald Farley (Barbados), President of the Senate and Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network.

Quote
Senator Kenneth Pugh (Chile), Co-chair of the Digital Caucus of ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network

Through the establishment of the Digital Caucus, we now have a dedicated space to discuss how our region is being affected by digital transformations, including the increased use of artificial intelligence. Today’s session reaffirmed the value of this space as a community of practice where we can exchange legislative good practices and identify how to address common challenges to digital governance.”

Quote
The Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas

“The future of artificial intelligence, its implications on society and the subsequent need for regulatory development and careful management remains a topic of concern for parliamentarians and the citizens we represent. Consequently, it is important that we take a proactive approach towards reducing established and emerging security risks while also maximizing the developmental opportunities for our countries.”


December 13, 2023

Meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality highlighted strategies to address care policies in national parliaments

Parliamentary staff and representatives of national gender machineries from the Americas and the Caribbean met virtually today for the 7th Meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality. Today’s meeting, which focused on care policies in national parliaments, featured presentations on the key considerations of care-related parliamentary work and created space for peer-to-peer dialogue on current and future initiatives. 

Highlights of the session included an expert panel with Ana Güezmes, Gender Division director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Alejandra Mora Mora, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), which was moderated by Chantal La Roche (Trinidad and Tobago), Parliamentary Legal Services Director. Ms. Güezmes and Ms. Mora Mora presented on care-related concepts and data used to advance the care agenda at the regional level, reflecting on the interconnections between regional developments and the work specifically within national parliaments.

The panel that followed began with an overview of ParlAmericas’ Briefing Document on Lactation and Daycare Facilities in Parliament, which references existing good practices in the region and provided context for panellists to speak in greater detail about the work being implemented in their respective parliaments. It was moderated by Haydeé Hernández Pérez (Costa Rica), head of the Technical Unit for Gender Equality and Equity of the Legislative Assembly and included presentations from the following parliamentary staff:

  • Claudia Fuenzalida Cereceda (Chile), head of the Planning and Management Control Unit and head of Gender Affairs, Senate of the Republic and Regional Coordinator – South America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality
  • Gracielle Fernanda do Nascimento Azeredo (Brazil), Legislative Analyst, member of the Permanent Committee for the Promotion of Gender and Race Equality and of the Working Group on Racial Affinity, Federal Senate 
  • Annie Carpentier (Canada), Deputy Director, Members’ HR Services, Human Resources Services, House of Commons

Participants were welcomed to today’s session by Senator Carmen Gloria Aravena (Chile), First Vice-President – South America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality and Sulma Campos Mata (Mexico), head of the Technical Unit for Gender Equality, Senate of the Republic, the latter of whom also provided concluding remarks.


December 11, 2023

ParlAmericas participated in the meeting of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Community of Practice on Voluntary National Reviews

ParlAmericas participated in the meeting of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Community of Practice on Voluntary National Reviews to address the role of parliaments in the implementation, review, and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, inaugurated the meeting, which brought together the ECLAC Community of Practice on Voluntary National Reviews—a forum for exchanging good practices and lessons learned with regard to the general implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the specific reporting process—comprised of government officials, professionals, representatives of academia, and specialists, as well as representatives of the United Nations system, youth, civil society, the private sector, and other stakeholders.

The meeting included a panel entitled “Setting the Stage: The Role of Parliamentarians in the Implementation, Review, and Monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in which Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director General of ParlAmericas, presented on parliamentary work related to the eradication of poverty and progress towards sustainable development.

During the discussion, Ms. Zavagno addressed the strategic role of national parliaments in ensuring that governments effectively implement the SDGs, emphasizing the work of ParlAmericas in convening parliamentarians from across the hemisphere to discuss issues that are intrinsically linked to poverty, such as food security and migration.


December 7, 2023

ParlAmericas’ Statement on the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela

Ottawa (Canada), December 7, 2023 — ParlAmericas, closely following the most recent developments in the border controversy between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and in view of the consultative referendum held on December 3 in Venezuela on the Essequibo,

Calls upon the parties to settle their differences through the appropriate courts and tribunals of the International Justice system;

Recalls that international instruments such as the Charter of the United Nations and the Charter of the Organization of American States enshrine the sovereignty and independence of States, establish the faithful fulfillment of obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law, and affirm that the territory of a State is inviolable, and may not be subject to military occupation or other measures of force taken by another State, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatsoever, even temporarily;

And urges that, honouring the tradition of peaceful resolution of differences in the Americas and the Caribbean, any international controversies arising between states be resolved through peaceful channels.


December 6, 2023

ParlAmericas participated in COP28 and held events at the first ever parliamentary pavilion

ParlAmericas participated in this year’s 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from Nov 30, 2023 to Dec 12, 2023. Representing ParlAmericas as well as their respective countries at COP28 were Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change and Sustainability; the Honourable Dessima Williams (Grenada), President of the Senate and ParlAmericas Board Member; and the Honourable Carolyn Trench-Sandiford (Belize), President of the Senate and ParlAmericas Board Member. Alongside Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, their participation in COP28  included an agenda of meetings and discussions with diverse stakeholders including fellow parliamentarians, international organizations, academics and youth.

COP28 marked a major milestone for the UNFCCC parliamentary group of which ParlAmericas is a founding member, as this was the first Conference to feature a parliamentary pavilion. Recognizing that national legislatures are key in advancing climate action globally as well as in the Americas and the Caribbean, ParlAmericas hosted spaces for parliamentary exchanges within the pavilion.

On December 4, ParlAmericas held an official side event that convened parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean and subject matter experts to examine the important role parliaments can play to strengthen gender-transformative environmental democracy through the Escazú Agreement and Action for Climate Empowerment. The session’s panel was moderated by Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, and featured the Honourable Dessima Williams (Grenada), President of the Senate and ParlAmericas Board Member; the Honourable Carolyn Trench-Sandiford (Belize), President of the Senate and ParlAmericas Board Member; Honourable Representative Juan Carlos Losada (Colombia); and Carlos de Miguel, Head of the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change and Sustainability, inaugurated the session and delivered final reflections highlighting discussion outcomes on promising parliamentary efforts to align national laws, budgets, and plans with the Escazú Agreement and on how the citizenry can be empowered on environmental matters.

On December 5, ParlAmericas and GLOBE Legislators hosted an inter-parliamentary dialogue for Latin American parliamentarians. The session facilitated the exchange of national legislative practices and aimed to strengthen regional collaboration on climate action for the fulfillment of the climate commitments made by governments. On this day, ParlAmericas delegates also participated in panels hosted by GLOBE Legislators to address the role of women parliamentarians in advancing climate action and the potential of different political parties coming together to address the climate challenge.

On December 6, ParlAmericas delegates attended the meeting hosted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Federal National Council of UAE which brought together parliamentary representatives from across the globe to examine the current climate landscape and recent scientific advancements, as well as address the gaps in climate adaptation and mitigation efforts and exchange good practices. The discussions and learnings of the session aim to support urgent parliamentary climate action both nationally and internationally to translate COP commitments into actionable realities.

Quotes

Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change and Sustainability

“We as parliamentarians can be key actors in steering the region toward comprehensive and transformative environmental governance that ensures all members of our society are not only aware of their rights but are also empowered to exercise them.” 

Senator the Honourable Carolyn Trench-Sandiford (Belize), President of the Senate and ParlAmericas Board Member

Parliament, in addition to its oversight and scrutiny functions, can also champion the diverse Multilateral Agreements, including the Paris Agreement. For example we signed the Declaration of Intent with the UN country office in Belize to have the parliament partner on building awareness and knowledge of all the agreements that Belize has signed. Parliaments have a unique ability to contribute to the development and implementation of the country’s national climate commitments through our diverse functions.


December 5, 2023

ParlAmericas co-organized a virtual seminar on the Defence, Peace, and Security agenda for women parliamentarians across the Americas and the Caribbean

The virtual seminar, “With All That’s Going on Right Now…”: The Challenge of Political Leadership During Crisis,” was organized by ParlAmericas in coordination with the Global Centre for Pluralism and the Parliamentary Centre, the latter of which serves as the Secretariat for the Women Legislators in Defence, Security and Peace global network (WLID). Occuring during a time of heightened and converging global security crises, today’s seminar provided a safe space for women parliamentarians across the region to engage in constructive dialogue with their peers on related issues. 

The session began with opening remarks provided by Member of Parliament Anita Vandenbeld (Canada) and Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality. This was followed by a panel exchange on promoting dialogue for peace and security, featuring presentations by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Margarita Stolbizer (Argentina), Rapporteur to the 148th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Committee on Peace and International Security and Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General, Global Centre of Pluralism. Moderated by former parliamentarian Guadalupe Valdez (Dominican Republic), both presenters and participants reflected on navigating responsible leadership and political messaging and advancing gender-responsive approaches to the Defence, Security and Peace agendas.

After the panel exchange, the seminar fostered continued dialogue among parliamentarians, focusing on perspectives and concerns from their constituents, high-impact actions to combat xenophobia and religious intolerance, and lessons to advance unity and peacebuilding. Closing remarks were then made by Member of Parliament Stephanie Kusie (Canada), Vice-President for North America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality.


November 30, 2023

ParlAmericas, the Congress of the Republic of Colombia and the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency organized a working meeting on Open Parliament

BOGOTA (COLOMBIA), November 30, 2023 – Participants from 12 Latin American countries attended a working meeting of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network entitled Legislative Transparency Measurements and Tools: Opportunities for Parliamentary Openness organized by ParlAmericas, the Congress of the Republic of Colombia, and the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency. Parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and representatives of civil society organizations exchanged experiences and knowledge in support of more open, honest, and inclusive parliaments. The event concluded today following two days of sessions in Bogota.

Opening remarks were delivered by high-ranking members of the Congress of the Republic of Colombia: the Honourable Senator Iván Name, President of the Senate; the Honourable Representative Andrés Calle, President of the Chamber of Representatives; the Honourable Representative Catherine Juvinao, Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network; and the Honourable Senator Germán Blanco, ParlAmericas Board Member. 

During the first day of sessions, participants shared progress, opportunities, and lessons learned with regard to legislative openness; windows of opportunity to advancing the open parliament agenda; and relevant measurement tools, including the Latin American Legislative Transparency Index (ILTL, by its Spanish acronym), which highlights relevant achievements made by parliaments in the region. The first session was aimed at gaining perspectives on how the open parliament agenda has been promoted in the region and on various strategies to leverage the opportunities presented by tools such as the ILTL. In addition, another session focused on the ILTL as a measurement tool and included working groups on the dimensions of this index, using the ParlAmericas Road Map towards Legislative Openness 2.0 as a reference.

On the second day, participants exchanged ideas on good practices related to open parliament, with special emphasis on ethics and probity, as well as accessibility and inclusion. These discussions focused on lessons learned and addressed how to continue collaborating at both regional and national levels to broaden reach and involve more parliaments, parliamentary departments or areas, and civil society organizations, such as women’s organizations, organizations of Indigenous peoples’, and organizations for persons with disabilities, among others.

Quotes

Honourable Representative Catherine Juvinao (Colombia), Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network 

The open parliament model is an essential tool for promoting gender equality in legislatures, both at the regulatory and institutional levels. Multi-stakeholder dialogue and multilateral cooperation guided these sessions and are key to achieving this goal.”

Honourable Senator Germán Blanco (Colombia), ParlAmericas Board Member

“Legislative openness is a fundamental pillar in our work as parliamentarians in that it allows us to not only continue strengthening the legislature’s role as a guarantor of democracy, but also contributes to the initiatives and actions we carry out in favour of integrity and inclusion.”


November 20, 2023

ParlAmericas statement on the situation in Guatemala

ParlAmericas, which is closely following the situation in Guatemala, and acknowledging resolution CP/RES.1236 of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States entitled “Recent Developments Impacting the Rule of Law and Democratic Presidential Transition in Guatemala” adopted on November 15, 2023,

Respectfully calls on Guatemalan democratic institutions to ensure an orderly, transparent, effective and peaceful transition of power and to uphold the rule of law and the constitutional order;

Reiterates the importance of respecting the will of the people of Guatemala expressed freely in the elections held on June 25 and August 20, 2023;

Expresses its strong condemnation of the intimidatory actions against members of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala;

And reaffirms the importance of the role of the Legislative Branch, as representative of the will of the people, in the peaceful transition of power, a cornerstone of democratic societies.

November 20, 2023


November 9, 2023

ParlAmericas and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding

ParlAmericas and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their collaboration on sustainable development.

The meeting was held to institutionalize the historic relationship between both organizations and was attended by the signatories, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Vlado Mirosevic (Chile), Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, and José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary of ECLAC. 

During the discussion, the signatories reaffirmed their commitment to establishing a general framework for inter-institutional collaboration on issues related to the management, promotion, and dissemination of actions to support policies for sustainable development, promoting a transformative and inclusive socioeconomic recovery, fostering actions aimed at climate change adaptation and mitigation, and promoting policies to increase gender equality.

Activities rooted in this collaboration include, among others, convening experts for regional parliamentary meetings, organizing technical seminars and/or workshops with a regional perspective, and including the participation of parliamentarians in conferences and forums organized/co-organized by ECLAC. The aim of parliamentary participation is to incorporate legislative perspectives in different public policy discussions, such as the Forums of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development and Regional Follow-ups of the 2030 Agenda, Regional Conferences on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean and Meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Escazú Agreement, among others.

The meeting concluded by highlighting the potential for collaboration with the newly established ParlAmericas caucuses —created with the approval of parliamentarians from the hemisphere that sit on the ParlAmericas Board of Directors— on urgent issues like digital transformation and the green economy, to continue promoting regional dialogue and cooperation to address common challenges. The framework provided by these parliamentary groups also creates an opportunity to work with ECLAC to perform diagnoses and promote legislative solutions.


November 2, 2023

Representatives of Caribbean women’s caucuses met for parliamentary exchange in Saint Lucia

Today, members of women’s parliamentary caucuses from the Caribbean gathered in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, for an exchange focused on current priorities and good practices for caucus functioning. The meeting was co-organized by ParlAmericas, the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean, and the Parliament of Saint Lucia, with the aim of strengthening networks among the women’s caucuses in the Caribbean. 

Opening remarks were provided by Senator the Honourable Alvina Reynolds (Saint Lucia), President of the Senate and Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, and the meeting was facilitated by Letitia Nicholas, Monitoring and Reporting Analyst of UN Women Caribbean.

The agenda included an interactive roundtable session, whereby representatives of parliamentary caucuses shared their existing priorities and projects.  Participants also exchanged on the opportunities for the current caucuses to provide guidance and support to other parliaments interested in establishing women’s caucuses, and explored areas in which technical assistance from ParlAmericas and UN Women MCO-Caribbean can further support the ongoing work of women’s caucuses across the region. 

The meeting was made possible in part with support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. 

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The Honourable Dessima Williams (Grenada), President of the Senate and Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors

“It is crucial that we continue to amplify the voices of women parliamentarians in our Caribbean region. We have seen that establishing and strengthening women’s parliamentary caucuses can be an effective way to ensure that women’s leadership emerges and is supportive of our countries’ development. It is my hope that with opportunities to learn from one another, this leadership work will continue to make a positive impact on the parliamentary system and for our people.”


November 1, 2023

Multi-stakeholder dialogue on gender equality and sustainable development held by ParlAmericas, UN Women MCO-Caribbean, and Parliament of Saint Lucia

Today, ParlAmericas concluded a two-day multi-stakeholder dialogue session, jointly organized with the UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean and the Parliament of Saint Lucia, in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia. The event, which focused on exploring sustainable development issues from a gender equality lens, brought together parliamentarians from the Caribbean and representatives of Caribbean national gender machineries, as well as representatives of various civil society and international organizations working on these themes. 

Over the course of two days, participants discussed the challenges and opportunities related to gender equality and sustainable development in the region, recognizing that neither of these objectives can be achieved without addressing the important linkages between them. Closing the event, a regional joint statement was issued, which reaffirmed that any work towards ending gender inequality and violence against women and girls is also work towards sustainable development, and in which participants committed themselves to address these inequalities in an inclusive, comprehensive, and collaborative manner. The meeting also provided a space to support participants in national preparations for international fora on sustainable development issues, including the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States, which will be held in Antigua and Barbuda in May 2024. 

On the first day of the event, opening remarks were provided by Tonni Brodber, Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office-Caribbean; Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas; The Honourable Claudius Francis (Saint Lucia), Speaker of the House of Assembly and Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors; and Senator the Honourable Alvina Reynolds (Saint Lucia), President of the Senate. Subsequent panel discussions highlighted the cost of violence against women and girls (VAWG), innovative initiatives to end VAWG, and good practices for building partnerships to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

The second day of the event allowed for continued exchange among participants, focusing on the gender dimensions of development issues within Small Island Developing States (SIDS), avenues to promote gender equality within and through parliament, and interactive learning to apply a gender lens in legislative and advocacy work. 

The meeting was made possible in part with support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. 

Quote

The Honourable Claudius Francis (Saint Lucia), Speaker of the House of Assembly and Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors 

When we speak of sustainable development, we mean a future where economic growth, social well-being, and environmental protection are all in balance. Gender equality is one of the cornerstones of this vision.


October 25, 2023

Parliamentarians from Latin America and the Caribbean attended meeting on renewable energies

Legislators from 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries attended the interparliamentary meeting Upscaling Renewable Energy Deployment for the Good of All: The Role of Legislators organized by ParlAmericas, IRENA, and the Global Renewables Congress.

The event, held in the framework of Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2023, also brought together specialists, representatives of multilateral institutions and civil society organizations to discuss methods and opportunities to accelerate the deployment of renewable energies in different national contexts in the region.

The session was inaugurated by the Honourable Member of the House of Representatives Fernando Arce (Panama), member of the ParlAmericas Board, and Bärbel Höhn (Germany), president of the GRC and acting ambassador for energy reform in Africa. It included a keynote address by Juan Carlos Villalonga, president of GLOBE Legislators. The meeting also included the panel “Multi-stakeholder perspectives for inclusive renewable energy deployment,” moderated by Senator Anthony Vieira (Trinidad and Tobago), Vice President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change and Sustainability, which featured the Honourable Oscar Mira (Belize), Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security and Defense; Paola Vega (Costa Rica), member of the Global Renewables Congress; Charlin Bodley, Manager of RMI’s Energy Transition Academy and member of the Clinton Climate Initiative Women in Renewable Energy (WIRE) Network; and Joice Méndez, member of the United Nations Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change and IRENA Youth Leader.

In the dialogues, participants highlighted mechanisms for parliaments to advance actions towards a just and inclusive energy transition, engaging civil society, including women, and particularly those living in rural settings, to ensure that the transition responds to their needs, promotes their empowerment, and fosters income-generating activities.

Dr. Guadalupe González (Panama), Director of Electricity, National Secretariat of Energy, offered closing remarks.

Quote

Senator Anthony Vieira (Trinidad and Tobago), Vice President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change and Sustainability
“It is clear that we must promote policies that favour a just transition to low-emission energy systems through measures that strengthen clean energy generation and encourage energy efficiency. The transition can play a vital role not only because it proposes to decarbonize our energy matrices but also because it offers opportunities to expand and make electricity more accessible to rural communities and historically marginalized groups. Intergenerational discussions are vital in this. This generation is trying to build a bridge to the future”.


October 24, 2023

Parliamentarians from Latin America and the Caribbean attend hemispheric meeting on migration

Legislators from 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean will take part in the interparliamentary meeting Parliamentary perspectives for safe, orderly, and regular migration in Latin America and the Caribbean, organized by ParlAmericas and the National Assembly of Panama, to be held on October 24 and 25, 2023.

The event, held within the framework of Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2023, also convenes experts, representatives of multilateral agencies, and civil society organizations to analyze recent trends in migration in the region and to explore the role of parliaments in adopting comprehensive human rights-based approaches to address the challenges and opportunities presented by migration.

The meeting, which will be opened by Jaime Vargas (Panama), President of the National Assembly, and Member of the National Assembly Kayra Harding Bart (Panama), Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality and host of the meeting, will include working sessions on key topics such as international instruments for migration governance, the rights of migrant children and youth, and the socioeconomic contributions of migrants.

Participants will share national migration policies and good legislative practices to coordinate actions to promote comprehensive, inclusive and human rights-based migration governance.

Quote

Member of the National Assembly Kayra Harding Bart (Panama), Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, and host of the meeting

“In our region, the challenges presented by migration are numerous, but we have the opportunity to work in a coordinated manner to protect and promote the rights of migrants. Only through international cooperation can we achieve people-centered migration governance based on the highest human rights standards, with a gender, intersectional and intercultural perspective that promotes sustainable development.”


September 29, 2023

Parliamentarians of the Americas and the Caribbean adopt declaration on building a food-secure future

 Today, ParlAmericas concluded its joint 7th Gathering of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) and 15th Gathering of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE). The event, titled “A food secure future: Building people and planet-centred strategies,” was organized with the Senate of the Republic of Mexico and brought together in Mexico City more than 50 parliamentarians from 18 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean.

The delegations in attendance adopted a declaration through which they commit to use principles of food sovereignty to promote legislative measures that address the crisis of food insecurity; create spaces for traditionally marginalized and underrepresented groups in decision-making processes; and encourage the use of gender analysis as a tool for legislation related to food security, among other commitments. 

The Gathering began on Thursday, September 28 and took place over the course of two days at the Senate of Mexico. Parliamentarians, alongside specialists and representatives of regional and international organizations, participated in working sessions focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation for agri-food systems, national efforts to end food insecurity and poverty, and the role of women’s leadership in these initiatives. During the Gathering, ParlAmericas also launched its new “Primer on Gender-Responsive Parliamentary Work on Food Security.”

Among the highlights of the final day of the Gathering, the new Executive Committees of both the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) and ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE) were announced. 

The PNCC Committee will be formed by:

  • President: Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada)
  • Vice-President for North America: Senator Raúl Bolaños-Cacho Cué (Mexico)
  • Vice-President for Central America: Member of the Legislative Assembly Óscar Izquierdo Sandí (Costa Rica)
  • First Vice-President for the Caribbean: Senator Anthony Vieira (Trinidad and Tobago) 
  • Second Vice-President for the Caribbean: Member of the Chamber of Deputies Nelsa Shoraya Suárez Ariza (Dominican Republic)
  • First Vice-President for South America: Member of the Chamber of Deputies Margarita Stolbizer (Argentina)
  • Second Vice-President for South America: Member of the National Assembly Radjendrekoemar Debie (Suriname)

The PNGE Committee will be formed by:

  • President: Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico)
  • Vice-President for North America: Member of Parliament Stephanie Kusie (Canada)
  • First Vice-President for Central America: Member of the National Assembly Kayra Harding Bart (Panama)
  • Second Vice-President for Central America: Member of Congress Andrea Villagrán Ánton (Guatemala)
  • Vice-President for the Caribbean: Senator Lisa Jawahir (Saint Lucia)
  • First Vice-President for South America: Senator Carmen Gloria Aravena (Chile)
  • Second Vice-President for South America: Senator Daniella Velloso Borges Ribeiro (Brazil)

September 27, 2023

Parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean will convene in Mexico City, Mexico to discuss food security in the hemisphere

More than 50 parliamentarians from 18 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean will attend the 7th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change and the 15th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality. The joint Gathering, organized by ParlAmericas and the Senate of the Republic of Mexico, will take place from September 28 to September 29 in Mexico City and will be focused on the theme “A food secure future: Building people and planet-centred strategies.”

During the Gathering, parliamentarians, along with representatives from multilateral agencies, women’s organizations, civil society organizations, and community youth leaders will discuss food security issues through a gender-inclusive and intersectional lens. Participants will explore multisectoral and innovative practices that are sustainable, inclusive and resilient, with a particular focus on the role of women’s leadership in these initiatives. 

The Gathering will open with welcoming remarks from Senator Sergio Pérez (Mexico), Vice-President of the Senate of the Republic; Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas; and Senator Eduardo Ramírez (Mexico), President of the Political Coordination Board. As representatives of their networks, Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality and Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, will provide additional remarks to welcome participants. The keynote address will be delivered by Guadalupe Valdez, FAO Special Ambassador Zero Hunger for Latin America and the Caribbean and former Member of the Chamber of Deputies (Dominican Republic).

Quotes

Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality

“Addressing the food security crisis requires us to overcome the gender inequalities that are embedded in agricultural systems in our region. We are guided by the will to empower women and close gender gaps in these systems, and that is precisely why ParlAmericas and the Senate of Mexico have convened parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean: to exchange strategies focused on people and the planet to build a food-secure future.”

The Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change

It is imperative that we acknowledge the growing linkages between a changing climate and the crisis of food insecurity in our region. As parliaments, it is our responsibility to uphold legislative action that takes the principles of both food sovereignty and gender equality into account, so that we can help build more climate-resilient, sustainable systems for all.


September 27, 2023

ParlAmericas participated in the Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future 2023 organized by the Parliament of Uruguay and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

Member of the Chamber of Deputies Vlado Mirosevic (Chile), ParlAmericas Board Member, and Michelle Volpin, Project Manager for Gender Equality and Climate Change of the International Secretariat of ParlAmericas, participated in the Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future 2023, jointly organized by the Parliament of Uruguay and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and held in Montevideo, Uruguay, on September 25, 26, and 27.

The Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future 2023 brought together parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, international organizations, private sector representatives, and experts to explore the role of parliaments in addressing the challenges posed to democracy by artificial intelligence (AI) and other forms of emerging technology. Member of the Chamber of Deputies Vlado Mirosevic introduced the Digital Caucus of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network during the round table “Challenges in parliamentary work in an era of change”. During his presentation, he highlighted the mandate of this new ParlAmericas parliamentary working group to develop legislative proposals on digital governance, including with respect to regulating artificial intelligence using inclusive and multidimensional approaches. In this regard, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Mirosevic noted: “This Caucus is a legislative community of practice where we can exchange best practices and coordinate various hemispheric actors to build proposals for actions that promote transparent, accountable, and inclusive digital governance. One of its objectives is to offer specialized legislative materials and tools to parliamentarians of the Americas and the Caribbean to support their work in the areas of data protection, transparency, and multilateral governance, among others.”

The participation of the Digital Caucus in the Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future 2023 stems from strategic actions to ensure that parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean, particularly those from the Global South, can meaningfully participate in the discussion on the scope of artificial intelligence and digital rights to ensure that artificial intelligence governance models reflect shared principles around democracy and the rule of law, peace, human rights, the eradication of poverty, justice, transparency, and equality.

In addition, within the framework of the Summit, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Mirosevic met with the President of the Chamber of Representatives of Uruguay, Representative Sebastián Andújar, to discuss the importance of parliamentary diplomacy in the hemisphere for strengthening democracy and the work that ParlAmericas carries out in the inter-American system.


September 11, 2023

Children’s book Isis and her friends, an adventure through the reefs! launched in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica

This morning saw the launch of the children’s book Isis and her friends, an adventure through the reefs!—a story that promotes values of cooperation, equality, environmental protection, and girls’ leadership. The book tells the story of Isis and her four friends who embark on an adventure to uncover the mystery of why the reefs are deteriorating. Through their conversations with various animals, they learn about the concept of ecosystems and the importance of ecological balance, the value of listening to the opinions of others, and the features of democratic systems, such as voting.

Composed by Costa Rican writers Gina Sibaja Quesada and Jeannette Soto Segura, illustrated by Fiorella Artadi, and designed by Eynar Becerra, the book is a joint effort by ParlAmericas and the Department of Citizen Participation of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, with the support of the Government of Canada. It includes an accompanying teaching guide with reflections and questions, and will be distributed free of charge by the Department of Citizen Participation to various educational institutions, libraries, and social organizations, while also being available electronically.

The book launch was held at the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica and was led by Member of the Legislative Assembly María Marta Carballo, First Secretary of the Legislative Assembly; Cindy Quesada, Minister for the Status of Women; Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado, President of the Special Standing Committee on Women and ParlAmericas Board Member; Juan Carlos Chavarria, Director of Citizen Participation of the Legislative Assembly and Coordinator for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament; Dana Cryderman, representative of the political section of the Embassy of Canada in Costa Rica;  Rodrigo Arias Camacho, Rector of Universidad Estatal a Distancia; and Marianela Rojas Garbanzo, Deputy Rector of Universidad Nacional.

The launch event included a performance by the Castella Conservatory Choir and two panel discussions that addressed the importance of innovative strategies to build inclusive citizenship and promote participatory leadership from an early age. Both sessions included the participation of children from various educational institutions and featured prominent panellists representing civil society organizations and academia.

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Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado, ParlAmericas Board Member

“Considering the experience of ParlAmericas in launching a children’s book with a similar purpose in Panama, I am pleased that we have been able to develop this project in Costa Rica, and I am convinced that it will lead to fruitful reflections and conversations for girls, boys, adolescents, and adults who have the pleasure of reading it in our country, promoting leadership and participation from an early age, which are central to our democracy.”


September 7, 2023

ParlAmericas participated in the 8th Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Estonia

ParlAmericas Board members Vlado Mirosevic, Member of the Chamber of Deputies (Chile) and Carolina Delgado, Member of the Legislative Assembly (Costa Rica); along with ParlAmericas delegates Andrea Villagrán Antón, Member of Congress (Guatemala) and the Honourable Faris Al-Rawi, Minister of Rural Development and Local Government (Trinidad and Tobago); and Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director General of the ParlAmericas International Secretariat, participated in the Open Parliament Day and the 8th Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit held in Tallinn, Estonia on September 5, 6 and 7. 

The 8th OGP Global Summit brought together Heads of State and Government, civil society representatives, and policy makers from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities of open government and democratic governance in the digital age. Featuring high-level dialogues, workshops, and networking opportunities that reflected OGP’s new 2023-2028 strategy, ParlAmericas’ attendance at the Summit emphasized the importance of parliamentary engagement in open government work. 

The agenda included a session on September 6, “Examining Leadership, Roles, and Relationships in Advancing Open Government,” during which Mr. Mirosevic presented on some of his own contributions to open government work as a member of the legislative branch and his perspective on how to advance this work in a leadership capacity. On September 6 and 7 respectively, the ParlAmericas delegation also participated in two high-level roundtable discussions. Ms. Villagrán participated in the session “Sustaining Leadership and Catalyzing Global Action on Anti-corruption,” in which she discussed anti-corruption implementation efforts in the Americas and Caribbean and how to turn existing commitments into action. Mr. Mirosevic also spoke in the session “Realizing the Ambition of Open Government,” which focused specifically on OGP’s 2023-2028 strategy and advancing transformative reforms.


August 24, 2023

The first regional gathering of the Forums of Women in Political Parties in Costa Rica concluded with the adoption of a declaration on women’s political leadership

The first regional gathering of the Forums of Women in Political Parties, Building Networks of Sisterhood to Promote Gender Equality, came to a successful conclusion today following two days of sessions in the city of San José, Costa Rica. The gathering, organized by ParlAmericas and the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, brought together women parliamentarians and leaders representing women’s forums and political party groups from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. At the event’s closing they signed a declaration on women’s political rights and gender parity under conditions of equality and freedom from violence in all areas and functions of political and public life.

The gathering began with remarks from Member of the Legislative Assembly Rodrigo Arias (Costa Rica), President of the Legislative Assembly; the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Kayra Harding-Bart (Panama), Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality; Marlene Mora, President of the Forum of Women Politicians for Costa Rica; and Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado (Costa Rica), President of the Special Standing Committee on Women, President of the Costa Rican Front of Women in Political Parties, and ParlAmericas Board Member. Alejandra Mora Mora, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women of the Organization of American States (CIM-OAS), delivered a keynote address presenting the Model Protocol for Political Parties—a tool that incorporates key international standards for addressing gender-based political violence.

A discussion on the role of the Forums of Women in Political Parties in advancing gender equality was also held during the first day of the gathering. Under the moderation of Member of the Legislative Assembly Kattia Rivera Soto (Costa Rica), representatives from women’s forums and political party groups shared achievements and lessons learned from implementing initiatives, projects, and programs dedicated to promoting gender equality in the region. Following this discussion, the agenda for August 23, featured a panel on strengthening equal political representation moderated by Adilia Caravaca, Executive President of the National Institute of Women of Costa Rica, with the participation of Eugenia Zamora, President of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Costa Rica; Member of the Legislative Assembly Daniela Rojas (Costa Rica); former Member of the Legislative Assembly María de los Ángeles Alfaro Murillo (Costa Rica); and Allegra Baiocchi, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Costa Rica.

The second day of sessions began with an interview of former senator and political leader Máxima Apaza (Bolivia) by Delmy Ordóñez of the Forum of Women Politicians of Honduras regarding her experiences in the struggle for gender equality. This was followed by thematic working groups that addressed central concerns for the groups and forums, such as political advocacy, social media use, financing, and parliamentary relations. Afterwards, Member of the Legislative Assembly María Marta Carballo Arce (Costa Rica) moderated an open dialogue to exchange reflections on how to strengthen sisterhood and alliances among Forums of Women in Political Parties. The agenda of that day continued with a discussion on eliminating political violence against women which was moderated by former Member of the Legislative Assembly Paola Vega (Costa Rica), with the participation of Minister for the Status of Women Cindy Quesada (Costa Rica); Lourdes Araya, representative of the Costa Rican Network of Women in Municipal Government; and Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado (Costa Rica). The event concluded with closing remarks from Elizabeth Williams, Ambassador of Canada to Costa Rica, Minister Quesada, and Member of the Legislative Assembly Delgado.

Quotes

Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado, ParlAmericas Board Member
“Costa Rica opens its doors to the joint efforts of an entire region that is raising its voice against the political violence endured by women and in favour of equality, respect for our rights, and non-discrimination. Together with ParlAmericas, we have proposed strategic guidelines so that countries can collectively move forward in developing public policies that will contribute to achieving the desired goal: that women will no longer be victims of abuse, harassment, and violence in all its manifestations, including political violence.”

Member of the Legislative Assembly Rodrigo Arias (Costa Rica), President of the Legislative Assembly
“Political violence against women undermines the very essence of democracy. No society can truly claim to be free and just as long as these discriminatory attitudes and practices persist. It is essential to recognize that harassment, intimidation, and attacks directed toward women in the political sphere—simply because they are women—are attacks on the diversity of voices and ideas that underpin the democratic system.”

Honourable Member of the National Assembly Kayra Harding-Bart (Panama), Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality
“With the aim of promoting the empowerment of women, encouraging their participation in politics, and contributing to the emergence of a new generation of women leaders, the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality is developing a series of initiatives based on the value of sisterhood among women politicians as a necessary quality for building on what has already been built and advancing on the road to equality based on the achievements of many women leaders, parliamentarians, and activists who have contributed to paving the way toward gender equality and the recognition of women’s rights.”

Marlene Mora, President of the Forum of Women Politicians for Costa Rica
“Our expectation is that the women gathered here will lead a regional agenda in favour of women’s human rights and democratic values, and that these two days of sessions will provide continuity to processes and agendas that will strengthen our work based on each of the valuable experiences shared. Let us promote spaces of sisterhood, let us lead the progress toward the rights of all women, and let us orient our efforts in favour of an intersectional agenda that exposes discrimination and proposes solutions in favour of equality.”


August 17, 2023

ParlAmericas, the National Forum of Youth in Political Parties, the International Republican Institute and the Espacio Cívico Foundation Co-Organized a Gathering to Promote the Political Participation of Youth in Panama

On this day, the event The role of youth in strengthening democracy: Building a just and inclusive future, co-organized by ParlAmericas, the National Forum of Youth in Political Parties(FNJPP), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the Espacio Cívico Foundation, was held in Panama City. The event brought together leaders from different political spaces with the aim of sharing ideas, good practices, and strategies from an intersectional perspective to promote the political participation of Panamanian youth.

Opening remarks were delivered by Lohanniz Gaitán Montenegro, president of the FNJPP; Barry Bristman, first secretary and chargé d’affaires of the Canadian Embassy in Panama; and Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director General at ParlAmericas. Afterwards, the Gender Director of the National Assembly of Panama, Ms. Kathy Ramos, Regional Coordinator for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality, carried out an interview with the youngest Member of the National Assembly to ever be elected in Panama, the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Juan Diego Vasquez Gutiérrez, an independent. In this session, the legislator shared his experience as a member of parliament, his beginnings in politics, the issues in which he is interested, and the importance of youth participation in legislative affairs.

The next activity on the agenda was a workshop for co-creating proposals aimed at strengthening democracy from a fair and inclusive perspective. The challenges and opportunities related to youth political participation were discussed using the world café methodology, a process for establishing round table dialogues on specific questions in order to generate ideas, consensus, and innovative strategies. The workshop highlighted the different mechanisms for youth involvement in politics, the agendas prioritized by young people, and the role of political parties as vehicles for representing their interests. The workshop was facilitated by Leah Cedeño de Boersner, vice-president of the Espacio Cívico Foundation.

The round tables within the workshop were moderated by the FNJPP representatives who then presented the collaboratively prepared proposals during the debriefing session to conclude the co-creation workshop. The following participants acted as moderators: Lohanniz Gaitán Montenegro, Panameñista Party; Derick Chavarría, Democratic Change Party; Javier Ábrego, Molirena Party; Hussein Pitty, Democratic Revolutionary Party; Gustavo Ruíz Díaz, Independent Social Alternative Party; José Gil, People’s Party; Jaime Díaz, Realizing Goals; Adolfo Batista, Alliance Party; and Natanael García, Another Way Movement Party.

Lastly, Beatriz de Anta, director of the IRI Resident Program, delivered the closing remarks, highlighting the importance of the role of young people in strengthening democracy. 

Quotes

Lohanniz Gaitán Montenegro, president of the National Forum of Political Party Youth

Since its establishment in 1990, it is the first time that a woman has been president of the Forum of Youth Political Parties of Panama. For Panama’s 2024 elections, 700 thousand young people will vote, including more than 300 thousand who will vote for the first time. Political parties should not be exclusive: women have the right not only to elect, but also to be elected.

Barry Bristman, first secretary and chargé d’affaires of the Canadian Embassy in Panama

Being agents of change as politically active citizens requires work to promote one’s interests and those of their communities, and thus guarantee a fair and inclusive political, social, and economic future.

Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director General at ParlAmericas

Intersectionality means recognizing that systemic inequalities are shaped by the overlap of different social factors, such as gender, ethnicity, and social class. That is why it is essential that it be considered when taking action.

The Honourable Member of the National Assembly Juan Diego Vasquez Gutiérrez (Panama)

Let us occupy spaces and promote solidarity among the youth: let us reach out, be a bridge, and engage more people.

Leah Cedeño de Boersner, vice-president of the Espacio Cívico Foundation

These spaces for multi-party co-creation with young people are inspiring and necessary in order to reach a consensus on inclusive and truly representative proposals. They are significant steps for strengthening democracy.

Beatriz de Anta, director of the International Republican Institute Resident Program

Young people have the ability to restore trust in political parties, a fundamental pillar of democracy. We are facing very significant challenges in the region and democracy needs them more than ever.


August 16, 2023

ParlAmericas organized the second meeting of its Parliamentary Staff Network on Climate Change

Parliamentary staff representatives from legislatures in the Americas and the Caribbean participated in the 2nd Meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Climate Change (PNCC-Staff) to discuss ways in which technical parliamentary work can contribute to ensuring compliance with environmental and climate change agreements at the national and international levels. The event was held virtually with over 50 participants.

The meeting began with opening remarks by Frédéric Forge (Canada), Senior Director of the International Affairs and Integrated Reference Services Division of the Library of Parliament and General Coordinator of the PNCC-Staff. Next, Laura Prado Chacón (Costa Rica), Advisor of the Executive Directorate of the Legislative Assembly, moderated a panel featuring Juan Carlos Villalonga, President of GLOBE Legislators, and Nadia Manning-Thomas, UN Women Planning and Coordination Specialist for Barbados and the OECS with responsibility for the EnGenDER project. Presentations by the panellists emphasized the relevance of incorporating gender and human rights perspectives into legal frameworks and policies linked to environmental issues and disaster risk reduction and highlighted the role of parliamentary staff and their technical expertise in advancing the alignment of national legislative efforts with key multilateral environmental treaties, including the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement, and the 2030 Agenda. 

Afterwards, Brian B. Caesar (Trinidad and Tobago), Clerk of the Senate; Juan Manuel Moreira (Argentina), Director General for Environment and Sustainable Development of the Chamber of Deputies and contact person for the PNCC-Staff; and María Victoria Lumaca (Uruguay), Technical Secretary of the Senate Committee on the Environment and focal point for the PNCC-Staff, shared their national progress on environmental and climate commitments from a parliamentary staff perspective. The presentations covered lessons learned from consultations by the Senate Committee on Land and Physical Infrastructure of Trinidad and Tobago on the country’s measures to address climate change related challenges; the implementation process and the progress and impact of Argentina’s Yolanda Law; and strategies for promoting citizen participation in the work of the Senate Committee on the Environment of Uruguay. 

To conclude the meeting, Alisha Todd, Director General of the International Secretariat of ParlAmericas, presented Mapping Strategies and Plans of the Americas and the Caribbean, a repository developed by ParlAmericas that compiles and synthesizes environment and sustainability related plans and strategies that have been adopted by countries of the hemisphere.


August 16, 2023

ParlAmericas and the Ministry of Women of the Republic of Panama Organized an Event on Women’s Political Participation and Leadership

On this day, the event Towards equality: More women shaping politics, organized by ParlAmericas and the Ministry of Women of the Republic of Panama, was held in Panama City. The event, which was aimed at strengthening women’s participation and leadership in politics, featured opening remarks by H.E. Juana Herrera Araúz, Minister of Women and president of the Inter-American Commission of Women; H.E. Kim Ursu, Canadian ambassador to Panama; and the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Kayra Harding-Bart (Panama), president of the Commission on Women, Children, Youth and Family of the National Assembly and Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality.

The agenda provided multiple perspectives and strategies for the strengthening of inclusive, egalitarian, and transparent electoral and decision-making processes. The discussion moderated by Lohanniz Gaitán Montenegro, president of the National Forum of Youth Political Parties, brought together former Honourable Member of the National Assembly Mariela Vega, president of the Association of Women Parliamentarians and Former Parliamentarians of the Republic of Panama (APARLEXPA) and Professor Dalila Mosquera, president of the National Forum of Women in Political Parties (FONAMUPP), who shared tools to promote women’s political leadership based on their own experiences and backgrounds.

Additionally, in the panel moderated by substitute judge Yara I. Campo, institutional executive director of the Electoral Court, representatives of women’s fronts and secretariats of political parties exchanged information on their experiences, lessons learned, and good practices for promoting women’s participation and leadership in political parties. The following participated as panellists: Arelys González, president of the Women’s Front of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD); Katherine Guerra, secretary of Minutes and Correspondence of the Women’s Board of the Panameñista Party; Berta García de Guerrero, vice-president of the Women’s Secretariat of the People’s Party (PP); the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Ana Giselle Rosas, national secretary of Women of the Democratic Change Party; Judy Meana, vice-president of the MOLIRENA Party; Amarilis Khadine Smith Saldaña, head of the Women’s Secretariat of the Another Way Movement (MOCA), Niurka Palacios, president of the Women’s Secretariat of the Realizing Goals Party (RM); Rudelda Guzmán, president of the National Women’s Secretariat of the Independent Social Alternative Party (PAIS); Mariela González, national secretary of Women of the Alliance Party (PA); and Beisy Broce, an independent member in the VAMOS Coalition.

At the end of the meeting, a declaration was read, establishing the women leaders’ commitment to continue their work to address the challenges and opportunities for political participation, strengthen spaces for the exchange of information, and join forces to actively promote gender equality at all levels of politics, including equal representation in electoral processes, access to leadership positions, and decision-making in political roles.

Quotes

Her Excellency Juana Herrera Araúz, Minister of Women and President of the Inter-American Commission of Women

We are here today, defending women’s political participation as a democratic right and a necessary condition for good governance. The inclusion of women in public policy discussions has renewed debates, providing transformative perspectives with a commitment to equality.

Her Excellency Kim Ursu, Canadian ambassador to Panama

There are persistent barriers to equitable political participation. This is why it is necessary to continue

to address the gender gap from all angles, including electoral processes, and prioritize

the elimination of discrimination and political violence.

The Honourable Member of the National Assembly Kayra Harding-Bart (Panama), president of the Commission on Women, Children, Youth and Family of the National Assembly and Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality.

My message to women is always: participate in politics. And for those of us who are already involved in politics, let’s not stop working until we get more women to participate… We ought to have the courage to take that step, because we are prepared and qualified to do it.

Substitute Judge Yara I. Campo, institutional executive director of the Electoral Court

Women in political parties manage to reach, if not half, a percentage close to half of total registrants, and in some political groups, more than half. Women are ready to be members of voting tables and political party representatives.


August 11, 2023

ParlAmericas and the Federal Senate of Brazil organized a meeting on open parliament and gender equality for parliamentary staff in Latin America

Participants from 14 countries attended a joint meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament (OPN-Parliamentary Staff) and the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network for Gender Equality (PNGE-Parliamentary Staff), “Open and Inclusive Parliaments: Experiences and Strategies in Latin America.” The event, which was co-organized by ParlAmericas and the Federal Senate of Brazil, concluded today following two days of sessions in Brasilia. 

Welcoming remarks were delivered by Ilana Trombka (Brazil), Director General of the Federal Senate; Luis Rojas (Chile), Secretary General of the Constitutional Process and General Coordinator of the OPN-Parliamentary Staff; and Kathy Ramos (Panama), Director of the Gender Equality Unit of the National Assembly and Regional Coordinator for Central America of the PNGE-Parliamentary Staff. In her opening remarks, Honourable Representative Catherine Juvinao (Colombia), Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, highlighted the role of legislative openness and inclusiveness within parliaments as means of strengthening democracy in the region. 

Held as part of the commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the Maria da Penha law, the first day of the meeting included a keynote address by Dr. Lívia Maria Sant’Anna Vaz, Attorney General of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the State of Bahia, Brazil, on the importance of regulatory frameworks in preventing and criminalizing gender-based violence. Parliamentary staff also held dialogues on good practices to connect open parliament and gender equality work, sharing initiatives on citizen participation, care policies, and strategies to address gender-based violence, among other topics. Afterwards, Stella Maria Vaz Santos Valadares (Brazil), General Coordinator of the Standing Committee for the Promotion of Gender and Racial Equality of the Federal Senate, shared insights on the Senate’s experience in this area. To conclude the day, Tarcila Rivera Zea, Founder and President of CHIRAPAQ, the Centre for Indigenous Cultures of Peru, and Founder of the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas (ECMIA, by its Spanish acronym), reflected on the challenges to political participation faced by Indigenous women. This was followed by a short film screening on the subject.

On the second day, parliamentary staff joined representatives from civil society organizations in a co-creation session outlining actions and strategies for open parliament with a gender perspective. Moderated by Rocío Noriega (Chile), Advisor to the Bicameral Group on Transparency of the National Congress, the results of this session will be integral to a forthcoming ParlAmericas tool aimed at providing technical support to parliaments across Latin America to promote more inclusive legislative openness mechanisms.


August 10, 2023

Statement on the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio, candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Ecuador

ParlAmericas strongly condemns the assassination of the presidential candidate for the Republic of Ecuador, Fernando Villavicencio, which occurred while he was campaigning in Quito.

Political violence is an affront to the people of Ecuador and gravely undermines peace and democracy. The safety and security of electoral candidates is paramount for a free democratic electoral process.

ParlAmericas extends its deepest condolences to Mr. Villavicencio’s family, colleagues and supporters and stands in solidarity with the Ecuadorian people at this difficult time.


July 11, 2023

ParlAmericas and Parliamentarians for Global Action hosted “Towards effective environmental governance: Access to information, participation, and justice”

The virtual meeting “Towards effective environmental governance: Access to information, participation, and justice” jointly organized by ParlAmericas and Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) was held on July 11, 2023,  to examine the challenges and opportunities related to advancing environmental governance in the region.

As the regional agreement that recognizes, protects, and promotes the rights of access to information, participation, and justice in environmental matters, the Escazú Agreement is crucial in guiding inclusive and effective environmental governance in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this vein, the welcoming remarks by the Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, and the Honourable Valerie Woods, MP (Belize), Speaker of the House of Representatives and PGA Board Member highlighted the importance of parliamentary participation in the regional and global forums in which such agreements are negotiated.

The meeting featured a presentation on the current state of the Escazú Agreement in the region by David Barrio Lamarche, Environmental Affairs Officer for the Escazú Agreement Secretariat of ECLAC, and a vibrant panel discussion including Senator Sophia Frazer-Binns (Jamaica), Shadow Minister of Land, Environment and Climate Change; Senator Emilio Álvarez Icaza (Mexico), PGA Board Member; and Tyrell Gittens, young geographer, environmentalist, conservationist and journalist from Trinidad and Tobago, which was moderated by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Margarita Stolbizer (Argentina), PGA Board Member and founding President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality.

The discussions held during the session addressed strategies parliaments can use to promote public awareness and inform national debates on ratifying and implementing the Escazú Agreement. To conclude the meeting, Mónica Adame, Secretary-General of PGA and Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas offered brief words of appreciation and underscored the relevance of spaces such as this for inter-regional knowledge exchange towards improved environmental governance.

Quote

The Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change

In efforts to achieve more inclusive and democratic societies amidst a changing climate, it is our responsibility as parliaments to promote civic engagement. In order to do so we have to ensure all members of society are not only aware of their right to access information but are also empowered to exercise it.


July 4, 2023

ParlAmericas Delegation Attended the 30th Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly

Today marked the close of the 30th Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), which began on June 30 and took place in Vancouver, Canada, under the theme “Strengthening Regional Security by Fostering Democratic and Inclusive Societies.”

ParlAmericas was represented by a delegation of Board members Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, Senator Germán Blanco (Colombia), and the Honourable Claudius Francis (Saint Lucia), Speaker of the House of Assembly, and by its International Secretariat through Alisha Todd, ParlAmericas Director General.

The delegation’s attendance at the Annual Session of the OSCE PA was instrumental in strengthening high-level collaborations between ParlAmericas and inter-parliamentary organizations. During its visit, the ParlAmericas delegation held bilateral meetings with delegates from Canada and the United States, and with OSCE PA member parliamentarians, outgoing President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden); Secretary General Roberto Montella; and Deputy Secretary General Gustavo Pallares. In addition, the delegation had the opportunity to greet Member of Parliament Pia Kauma (Finland), incoming President of the Assembly.

The 30th Annual Session of the OSCE PA convened more than 225 parliamentarians from 50 countries across North America, Europe, and Central Asia, who adopted the Vancouver Declaration after several days of work in committees. The Declaration addresses a wide range of themes, including artificial intelligence; energy security; migration; economic security and post-COVID recovery; good governance and anti-corruption strategies; plastic pollution; and civil society participation in parliamentary decision-making processes. It also makes specific reference to the Russia–Ukraine conflict and stresses that any peaceful resolution must follow international laws and protocols, the Helsinki Final Act principles, and the Charter of Paris.


June 19, 2023

ParlAmericas participated in parliamentary forums in Chile on food security organized by the FAO and the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean

Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, and Member of the Chamber of Deputies Vlado Mirosevic (Chile), President of the Chamber of Deputies and ParlAmericas Board Member, participated in the X Forum of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean (PFH) and the II Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition, held in Chile on June 14, 15, and 16, respectively.

In his opening remarks at both events, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Mirosevic highlighted the role of inter-parliamentary dialogue and cooperation in advancing shared goals in the fight against hunger. Senator Ovelar highlighted the critical role of women in building sustainable agrifood systems during her interventions on panels related to strengthening parliamentary work on food and nutrition security issues with a gender perspective.

The President of ParlAmericas also had the opportunity to announce the development of a guide created in collaboration with the PFH that will provide tools to help mainstream gender approaches in legislative work related to the struggle against hunger and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 5.

In December 2022, ParlAmericas and the PFH signed a Memorandum of Understanding that underscores the shared objective of both parties and the essential role of parliaments  in promoting informed debates on food security and recognizing the intrinsic link between the food security, climate change, and gender inequality agendas. 

Quote
Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas

“Women play a critical role in achieving food and nutrition security. They are producers of food, stewards of natural resources, income generators, and those responsible for food and nutritional security in their households and communities.”


June 15, 2023

ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network launches new inter-parliamentary working group focused on artificial intelligence and digital rights

The “Virtual Parliamentary Exchange on Artificial Intelligence and Digital Rights,” organized by the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, took place this morning and had the objective of bringing together parliamentarians from across the Americas and the Caribbean to discuss the effects on social well-being of the accelerated development of artificial intelligence (AI).

The meeting included round table discussions and a dialogue with interventions emphasizing the need for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Global South in general, to become more prominent participants in international dialogues on artificial intelligence so that AI regulatory frameworks and governance models are developed with democratic and inclusive principles and reflect the contexts, needs, and cultural and linguistic diversity of the hemisphere.

During the event, the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network (OPN) presented its Digital Caucus, a new parliamentary working group committed to developing legislative proposals on AI regulation using multidimensional approaches. Through a statement published today, ParlAmericas invites legislators from Latin America and the Caribbean to endorse this initiative, which responds to the growing global debates on the transformative potential of artificial intelligence and calls from different sectors for the development of regulatory proposals.

The Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas, gave the meeting’s welcoming remarks. Member of the Chamber of Representatives Catherine Juvinao (Colombia), Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas OPN, and Member of the Chamber of Deputies Margarita Stolbizer (Argentina) moderated the discussion among participants on the priorities for legislative work on inclusive governance of artificial intelligence. The panellists were Ambassador Washington Abdala, Uruguay’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) and Chair of the OAS Permanent Council; Senator Kenneth Pugh (Chile), chair of the committees on Ethics and Transparency and National Defense of the Senate; and Cecilia Danesi, researcher at the Institute for European Studies and Human Rights.

Quotes

Member of the Legislative Assembly Luz Mary Alpízar (Costa Rica), Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network

“As seen today, there are fellow parliamentarians and parliaments in our hemisphere that have been working dedicatedly on issues related to technology and digital rights. Their knowledge and experiences deserve to be acknowledged and shared as they constitute a set of good practices that can enrich the initiatives that are beginning to take shape in relation to the governance of artificial intelligence.”

Member of the Chamber of Representatives Catherine Juvinao (Colombia), Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network

“Today the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network presents its Digital Caucus, a parliamentary working group in which we can generate legislative initiatives that echo not only global regulatory frameworks on artificial intelligence governance but also our own needs, realities and contexts related to this matter.”

Senator Kenneth Pugh (Chile)

“It is important for us legislators to understand the challenge of devising regulatory frameworks for the governance of artificial intelligence that protect people, safeguard our democracies, and promote responsible and ethical use [of A.I.], to which we should aspire. Artificial intelligence is a disruptive technology that, like all technologies, is neither good nor bad in and of itself; its effects will depend on how it is used.”


May 30, 2023

Meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality highlighted the importance of an intersectional approach to eradicating gender-based violence

The 5th Virtual Meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality was held today, May 30, providing a forum for exchange and dialogue on the prevention of discrimination and gender-based violence in the parliamentary setting.

The agenda for the meeting, “Addressing gender-based violence in parliaments from an intersectional perspective,” underscored the importance of initiatives that seek to prevent, address, and sanction gender-based violence through interventions by parliamentary staff. It included a presentation by Stella Maria Vaz, General Coordinator of the Standing Committee for the Promotion of Gender and Racial Equality of the Federal Senate of Brazil. Event participants also benefited from the contributions of guest experts Ana Elena Obando (Equality Now) and Rosario Galarza Meza (International Disability Alliance) to explore how consideration of the intersectional identities of persons affected by gender-based violence can strengthen local protocols and programs.

Highlights of the meeting included discussions on the key aspects of addressing gender-based violence from the perspective of human rights of persons with disabilities and initiatives aimed at eradicating racism and preventing gender-based violence. Sulma Campos Mata, director of the Technical Unit for Gender Equality of the Senate of Mexico and General Coordinator of the Network, gave the welcoming remarks at the meeting, and the moderators included:

●    Maryan Henriquez, Coordinator of Gender Policies of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile;
●    Kathy Ramos, Director of the Gender Equality Unit of the National Assembly of Panama and Regional Coordinator for Central America of the Network; and
●    María Cristina Rosado, Coordinator of the Legal Committee for Women’s Equity of the Congress of the Republic of Colombia and Regional Coordinator for South America of the Network.

To conclude the meeting, Ilana Trombka, Director General of the Federal Senate of Brazil, announced that the Senate will host the next ParlAmericas in-person meeting for parliamentary staff in Latin America, titled “Open and Inclusive Parliaments: Experiences and Strategies in Latin America,” on August 10 and 11, 2023.


May 24, 2023

Parliamentarians shared experiences and progress made in their countries’ legislative frameworks in a meeting with specialists on plastic pollution

The virtual meeting “Historic opportunity: The role of parliaments in ending plastic pollution” was held on May 24, 2023. This gathering was organized by ParlAmericas, in coordination with the Circular Economy Coalition of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The meeting aimed to build on the momentum generated in March of last year by the adoption of the United Nations resolution to end plastic pollution and create a legally binding international agreement by 2024. With over 100 people in attendance, the meeting agenda included presentations by parliamentarians and specialists from the hemisphere and allowed participants to explore the importance of promoting legislative initiatives and complementary collaborative actions to reduce the production and consumption of plastics and develop a circular economy with a gender and equity perspective.

Welcoming remarks were delivered by the Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the Parlamericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, and Piedad Martín, Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of UNEP.

Member of the Chamber of Deputies Graciela Camaño (Argentina) moderated the round table where parliamentarians shared experiences on developing laws and making progress in their countries’ legal frameworks to reduce the production and consumption of plastics. Senator Paulina Nuñez (Chile), Member of the Chamber of Representatives Juan Carlos Losada (Colombia), and the Honourable Orlando Habet (Belize), Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, made interventions in this discussion.

Additionally, the Honourable Senator Dessima Williams (Grenada), President of the Senate, moderated the panel of specialists who addressed the socio-economic benefits of eradicating plastic pollution and implementing a circular design around plastics.

Quote
Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the Parlamericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change

“Eradicating plastic pollution requires recognizing that the generation and proliferation of waste is a consequence of the unsustainable design, production, and consumption practices of the ‘buy-use-toss’ model. There is now an opportunity to remedy the negative impacts and inequalities that have resulted from this model. As parliaments, we have an important role to play in putting an end to plastic pollution: ensuring that local laws are aligned with international standards, holding comprehensive debates that include and keep public policy objectives in perspective, and providing oversight of national laws and budgets.”


May 19, 2023

ParlAmericas delegation visited Washington D.C. to attend the Special Meeting of the Organization of the American States Permanent Council

Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), Second Vice-President of ParlAmericas and President of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, together with Wilma Andrade Muñoz (Ecuador), former Member of the National Assembly and former Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network visited Washington D.C as part of the delegation of  ParlAmericas to attend the Special Meeting of the Organization of the American States (OAS) Permanent Council on Friday, May 19.

The session titled “Best practices and recommendations for improving inter-American parliamentary dialogue” was convened in response to resolution  AG/RES. 2989 (LII-O/22) Strengthening democracy, adopted by the OAS General Assembly which establishes, among its mandates, the holding of a special meeting with parliamentarians through ParlAmericas and other regional parliamentary organizations to share good practices and recommendations with member states, with a particular focus on gender perspective, to enhance inter-American parliamentary dialogue.

Yesterday, the agenda of the ParlAmericas delegation in Washington D.C. included a meeting hosted by the US Permanent Mission to the OAS at the United States Senate with U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Roger Wicker, and members of the OAS Permanent Council. In her remarks, the Director General of ParlAmericas, Alisha Todd, expressed her gratitude for the initiative to hold this meeting, highlighting the importance of parliamentary engagement in multilateral spaces and emphasized the opportunity to improve the involvement of national parliaments in the OAS through ParlAmericas.

Additionally, the delegation attended a meeting with Alejandra Mora Mora, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), to discuss the collaboration of ParlAmericas in the process of consultations for the development of the Inter-American model laws formulated by the CIM/OAS. Finally, the delegation also participated in bilateral meetings with Permanent Missions to the OAS.

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Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), Second Vice-President of ParlAmericas and President of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality

“The commitment of our membership to be proactive stakeholders in the Inter-American System and co-participants in the achievement of shared objectives is what gives meaning to our institutional vision, which is based on the recognition of the value of parliamentary diplomacy as an indispensable tool for strengthening regional integration and consensus building in the Americas and the Caribbean”


April 29, 2023

Participation of ParlAmericas in Regional Forums on Sustainable Development

The ParlAmericas International Secretariat, represented by Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director General, participated in the Sixth Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, held from April 25-28 in Santiago de Chile.

The event, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), brought together representatives of the Forum’s member states, the private sector and civil society, development banks, and other United Nations agencies, in the aim of providing those responsible for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with good practices. This knowledge exchange would allow the Forum’s member countries to make recommendations to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, as part of regional contributions to the global follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda.

On the other hand, Michelle Volpin, ParlAmericas’ Project Manager for Gender Equality, participated in the workshop Building Bridges between Escazú and Open Government, organized by the Open Government Alliance, ECLAC and the Universidad Hemisferios (Ecuador) within the framework of the Conference of the Parties to the Escazú Agreement.

The workshop, held on April 21 in Buenos Aires, brought together representatives of governments, civil society, academia, parliaments, and other stakeholders to share experiences, discuss challenges and opportunities in the implementation of the Escazú Agreement, and identify lines of action that strengthen environmental democracy and bring the environmental and open government communities closer together.

Participation in both events reflects ParlAmericas’ institutional commitment to engage with initiatives in favour of sustainable development and support the implementation of the most recognized international environmental instruments.

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Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director General of ParlAmericas

“The pluralistic nature of parliament as an arena for public deliberation is key to building the social consensus necessary to make progress in achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda and to ensure its sustainability.”


April 22, 2023

Parliaments of the Americas and the Caribbean adopt a declaration on inclusive, transparent, and responsible access to the digital world

The 7th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, an event organized by ParlAmericas and the National Congress of Chile as host parliament, convened more than 50 parliamentarians from 18 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean to dialogue on “The future of democracy in the digital era.”

The delegations in attendance adopted the Declaration of the Gathering, through which they commit to advocating for people-centred and inclusive digitalization in observance of human rights and to promoting a reliable, secure, responsible, and sustainable use of emerging digital technologies and artificial intelligence, among other actions.

The Gathering began on Thursday, April 20 and took place over the course of three days at the building of the National Congress of Chile, in Santiago. Parliamentarians, alongside specialists and representatives of regional and international organizations, participated in working sessions in which the synergies between the open parliament and gender equality agendas were highlighted. Presentations included topics such as international standards for reliable and inclusive internet use; the challenges for parliament of addressing disinformation; legislative actions for inclusive digital governance; and diverse dimensions of digital inclusion.

The announcement of the new Executive Committee of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network was among the highlights of the final day of the Gathering. The Committee will be formed by:

  • President: Senator Javier Macaya Danús (Chile)
  • First Vice-President for North America: Senator Bertha Caraveo (Mexico)
  • Second Vice-President for North America: Senator the Honourable René Cormier (Canada)
  • First Vice-President for Central America: Member of the Legislative Assembly Luz Mary Alpízar (Costa Rica)
  • Second Vice-President for Central America: Member of the National Assembly Corina Cano (Panama)
  • First Vice-President for South America: Member of the National Assembly Wilma Andrade (Ecuador)
  • Second Vice-President for South America: Member of the House of Representatives Catherine Juvinao (Colombia)
  • Vice-President for the Caribbean: His Honour Reginald Farley, President of the Senate (Barbados)

 

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Senator Javier Macaya Danús (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network

“Digital changes will continue to evolve rapidly. The ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network will continue to promote spaces in the democracies of our hemisphere to discuss the benefits and challenges of digital transformation, as well as the integrative legislative actions to address them.”


April 19, 2023

Parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean will convene in Santiago, Chile to dialogue on the impact of digitalization on democracies

More than 50 parliamentarians from 18 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean will attend the 7th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network “The Future of Democracy in the Digital Era,” taking place from April 20 to April 22, and organized by ParlAmericas and the National Congress of Chile as the host parliament.

During the Gathering, parliamentarians, along with specialists from local, regional and international organizations will analyze the opportunities and challenges posed by digital transformation processes in democratic systems, using the lens of open parliament. Participants will also explore initiatives that can help to guarantee inclusive, transparent and responsible governance. The agenda will emphasize the empowerment and participation of women in the digital world as a key condition for building more solid and stronger democracies.

The Gathering will open with welcoming remarks from Senator Juan Antonio Coloma, President of the Senate of Chile; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Vlado Mirosevic, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile and ParlAmericas’ Board Member; and Senator Javier Macaya Danús (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network and host of the event. The keynote address will be delivered by Executive Secretary of the Presidential Committee on Public Integrity and Transparency, Valeria Lübbert (Chile).

Download the agenda of the 7th ParlAmericas Open Parliament Gathering.

Follow the 7th ParlAmericas Open Parliament Gathering livestream beginning at 9:00 AM (Santiago, Chile) on Thursday, April 20.


March 28, 2023

ParlAmericas held the fifth meeting of its Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament

On March 24, 2023, the fifth meeting of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament was held virtually, bringing together parliamentary staff from the national parliaments of 11 Latin American countries, as well as representatives of international organizations and academia, to share experiences and achievements related to the importance of using inclusive and accessible language in legislative work to promote informed and empowered citizen participation in parliamentary processes.

The event was inaugurated by Luis Rojas Gallardo (Chile), Secretary General of Constitutional Process and General Coordinator of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, who noted that “listening to reflections and analysis on the importance of the use of inclusive and accessible language in legislative work will allow us to identify improved ways to generate legislative information with a new perspective, taking into account the relationship of our parliaments with citizens and promoting greater transparency in the parliamentary process.”

Afterward, Rocio Noriega (Chile), Advisor to the Bicameral Group on Transparency, presented on behalf of Senator Paulina Núñez (Chile) the work being performed on legislative openness standards, which can be applied to parliamentary committees. These standards will be presented at the 7th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network to be held April 20-22, 2023 in Chile.

The first panel of this session entitled “Inclusive and accessible language in legislative work for the public,” was moderated by Sulma Campos Mata (Mexico), head of the Technical Unit for Gender Equality of the Senate and General Coordinator of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality. Specialists and representatives from academia also participated, including Cristiane Brum Bernardes, representative of the International Parliament Engagement Network (IPEN) and professor and researcher for the master’s program on legislative affairs at the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil; Betsy Perafán Liévano, Academic Director of Law at Universidad de los Andes (Colombia); and Andrea González Somellera, Advisor to the General Secretariat of the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico.

In the second panel of the meeting, parliamentary staff shared various good practices they have developed and exchanged experiences on the use of inclusive and accessible language in legislative work. This space was moderated by Henrique Porath, Coordinator of the Innovation Support Center (Nainova) of the Federal Senate of Brazil and included presentations from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Paraguay.

To conclude the meeting, Nelly González (Panama), Legal Advisor to the presidency of the National Assembly and Regional Coordinator for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, emphasized that “addressing different theoretical and technical aspects on the use of clear, accessible, and inclusive language has allowed us to understand the vital importance and impact it can have on reshaping the relationship between parliaments and citizens.”


March 28, 2023

ParlAmericas participates in the Legislative Track of the II Summit for Democracy in Washington DC

Beginning today and continuing through March 30, ParlAmericas is participating in the Legislative Track organized by the House Democracy Partnership of the House of Representatives of the United States of America as part of the II Summit for Democracy in Washington DC.

The Legislative Track of the II Summit for Democracy is convening more than 60 parliamentarians and representatives of governments and civil society organizations from various countries to attend a series of in-person sessions that will address issues such as the role of legislatures in supporting national democracy commitments, the importance of engaging the citizenry to strengthen informed legislative action, and advancing cross-party cooperation to strengthen democratic resilience.

The high-level sessions in the Legislative Track will offer parliamentarians the opportunity to share experiences and best legislative practices with peers from more than 30 countries. Among the sessions is a fireside chat on March 30 on “Holistic Approaches to Good Governance” moderated by Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, and featuring Damon Wilson, President of the National Endowment for Democracy and Clinton White, Counselor for the United States Agency for International Development.

ParlAmericas’ participation in the Legislative Track of the II Summit for Democracy is aligned with the organization’s mission of offering legislative perspectives in dialogues on issues of hemispheric importance and elevating parliamentary diplomacy as a tool to strengthen cooperative political dialogue, regional integration, and consensus building.

On the Summit for Democracy
The Summit for Democracy is an initiative of the United States government launched in 2021 to bring together world leaders to set an agenda to strengthen democracy around the world and address common objectives such as fighting corruption and protecting human rights. In this second edition, world leaders will share progress on their commitments to build more resilient democracies and commit to actions around five thematic pillars: supporting a free and independent media, fighting corruption, bolstering democratic reformers, advancing technology for democracy, and defending free and fair elections and political processes.


March 9, 2023

Women parliamentarians of Jamaica plan for the mobilization of the newly established Bicameral Caucus of Women Parliamentarians

On March 4-5, 2023, women parliamentarians from both chambers and Parties, with technical support from ParlAmericas, UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean, the Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and the Houses of Parliament, gathered for a second training retreat to support the implementation of the Bicameral Caucus of Women Parliamentarians in Jamaica.

On February 1, 2023, the Jamaican Houses of Parliament officially created the Bicameral Caucus of Women Parliamentarians following approval by the Senate of an amendment of the Standing Orders of the Senate to establish the group as a Sessional Select Committee in that chamber. The House of Representatives passed a similar motion on December 14, 2022, and the two committees will sit jointly.

The hosting of the follow-up meeting, which focused on the mobilization of the caucus, was a commitment made during the first training retreat, held on December 3-4, 2022, and built on the prior dialogues through a focus on multi-partisan collaboration to undertake transformative action in support of gender equality goals and the practical next steps needed to enable the caucus to begin to meet.

The meeting opened with welcoming remarks by Ms. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, Ms. Tonni Brodber, Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean, Dr. Angela Brown Burke, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the People’s National Party, and The Honourable Olivia Grange, OJ, CD, MP, OJ, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport and Deputy Leader of the House, whose intervention was delivered by Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques.

The virtual feature address was delivered by Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D) and Congresswoman Connie Morella (R), former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and former chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues in the United States. The presentation, and the dialogue that followed, which was facilitated by gender and development specialist Dr. Rosina Wiltshire, explored the benefits of women’s parliamentary caucuses and strategies to work within and across party lines Dialogue also focused on legislative actions to promote gender equality through the caucus, supported by a presentation by Ms. Tonni Brodber on new research by UN Women Caribbean on the economic cost of violence against women and girls in Jamaica. Remarks were also offered during the retreat by Mrs. Sharon Coburn Robinson, Principal Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Minister Fayval Williams, and Senator Donna Scott-Mottley.

The meeting concluded with the decision makers in attendance agreeing on the next steps for the Bicameral Caucus of Women Parliamentarians in Jamaica, facilitated by ParlAmericas representatives.


March 1, 2023

ParlAmericas held a virtual learning lab on ‘Mobilizing parliaments to address climate migration’ within the framework of VIII Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean

Today, ParlAmericas carried out the virtual session ‘Mobilizing parliaments to address climate migration,’ a learning lab held within the framework of the VIII Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP23), under this year’s theme of “Science and Technology for Integrated Disaster Risk Management.” The session explored strategies for parliaments to support resilience-building to prevent forced climate migration as well as how to integrate gender-responsive relocation plans into disaster risk management.

In her welcoming remarks, Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, stated, “Today we have gathered to prioritize the protection of people. As parliamentarians, we need to examine what strategies we can support in order to build resilience and prevent forced climate migration. We know the facts: as a consequence of the changing climate, we can expect an increase in frequency and intensity of natural hazards. This is a timely conversation for the countries most vulnerable to extreme natural hazards, as well as the neighbouring countries that may become hosts for climate migrants.”

The session included a multi-stakeholder dialogue that included legislative, gender, and science and technology perspectives on climate migration and disaster resilience-building. Moderated by the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Juan Diego Vásquez (Panama), it featured the participation of the Honourable Member of the Chamber of Representatives Julia Miranda Londoño (Colombia); Pablo Escribano, Regional Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change of the International Organization for Migration; and Vanya David, President of the Dominica National Council of Women. Key elements of the dialogue included a presentation on Colombia’s bill to address the displacement of persons due to climatic causes, an overview of the patterns of climate migration in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and evidence in support of inclusive relocation strategies recognizing that natural hazards exacerbate socio-economic disparities, such as gender inequality, which persist even after relocation.

To conclude the session, Senator Anthony Vieira (Trinidad and Tobago), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, offered final reflections on the importance of parliamentary action to support disaster risk management: “As responsible parliamentarians, we cannot sit on the sidelines or remain silent. We have a duty to inform, and to confront the emerging crisis by ensuring that our respective governments take all necessary and appropriate action.”


February 24, 2023

ParlAmericas held the training session “Strengthening the legislative advocacy of feminist organizations in Latin America: processes, tools and experiences”

The session “Strengthening legislative advocacy of feminist organizations in Latin America: processes, tools and experiences” brought together more than 170 participants – feminist organizations representatives, parliamentarians, parliamentary officials and activists – to share good practices and strategies in legislative advocacy processes for the advancement of gender equality.

Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), president of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, inaugurated the session by emphasizing that “the demands of the feminist movement in the search for justice and equality have been the basis of the regional gender agenda and many parliaments are now debating issues with the support of feminist organizations, reflecting the importance of citizen participation in the parliamentary gender agenda.”

Michelle Volpin, Project Manager – Gender Equality at ParlAmericas, presented the report “What we heard: Survey of Latin American feminist organizations on their relationship with parliaments“, based on a survey of more than 150 activists working on the gender agenda in the region, which addresses both challenges and opportunities during the legislative advocacy process.

The session featured a presentation by former parliamentarian Guadalupe Valdez (Dominican Republic), who echoed the relevance of effective and creative articulation between citizens and parliaments for the advancement of gender equality, based on honesty, transparency, efficiency and accountability. In turn, Valentina Enciso (Colombia), Political Action Coordinator of Fundación Artemisas shared her work in the creation of the platform En Colectiva, a feminist open parliament strategy.

Following a series of questions from the organizations, a collective interview was conducted with the participation of former parliamentarians, sharing their experiences of working with feminist organizations. Moderated by former senator Marcela Sabat (Chile), the interview was conducted by former Member of the National Assembly Gina Godoy (Ecuador), former parliamentarian Ana Matilde Gómez (Panama) and former Member of the Legislative Assembly Nielsen Pérez (Costa Rica). They provided strategies and recommendations for consensus-building on different issues on the legislative gender agenda and stressed the importance of inclusive participation mechanisms with an intersectional perspective.

An interactive activity was held in break out rooms, moderated by Friné Salguero (Mexico), Executive Director, Simone de Beauvoir Leadership InstituteAna Lima (Uruguay), National Coordinator, CLADEM and Justina Lee (Argentina), Management Director, Ecofeminita, who shared their experiences in legislative advocacy. In these spaces for dialogue, participants collectively reflected on effective strategies to advocate causes and propose legislative reforms, consolidate networks and alliances and place issues on the public and legislative agenda, taking into consideration the political contexts.


February 22, 2023

Young Women of Jamaica Take Their Seats in Parliament

On February 21, 2023, young women from across Jamaica took part in a historic, all women parliamentary debate in the Houses of Parliament of Jamaica. This simulated parliamentary sitting marks the culmination of the Young Women in Leadership (YWiL) – Jamaica program organized by ParlAmericas and Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) in partnership with the Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Houses of Parliament.

The YWiL program seeks to support young women in preparing for current and future leadership roles by providing training and education on political leadership, encouraging consideration of leadership and service from a transformational perspective, and creating a space to foster supportive communities of women and other allies. Participants in the Jamaica program were nominated to take part due to their interests in gender equality and public leadership.

In preparation for the parliamentary sitting, and in line with program objectives, during the period of December 2022 to February 2023, the YWiLJA programme consisted of virtual and in-person training sessions focused on the program’s core components: transformational leadership, gender equality and inclusive decision-making, parliamentary procedure, and strategies for effective leadership. All of the program’s sessions were led by distinguished facilitators, including parliamentarians, civil society leaders, practitioners from various fields, and other leaders from Jamaica and across the region. Following the program’s conclusion, participants are encouraged to share the learning and skills gained within their communities.

The YWiL Parliamentary Sitting was the first-ever all-women sitting in the Houses of Parliament of Jamaica and was being held in the framework of celebrations for International Women’s Day 2023. Each participant served as a parliamentarian or officer of the parliament for a debate on a fictional motion that proposes the implementation of a national action plan to prioritize gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, with focused attention on the education sector, care sector and digital transformation. Participants’ contributions during the Sitting shared responses to the motion drawing on their expertise and research, and in line with their assigned role.

This initiative is one in a series of such activities organised in countries across the region, forming a core component of the ParlAmericas-CIWiL joint project to advance women’s political participation in the Caribbean, supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. Prior YWiL initiatives have been hosted in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Lucia.


February 22, 2023

ParlAmericas participated in the regular session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States

Today, on behalf of ParlAmericas, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, and the Honourable Claudius J. Francis (Saint Lucia), Speaker of the House of Assembly and member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, participated in the regular session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) convened by its Chair, His Excellency Ambassador Anthony Phillips-Spencer, Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago.

On this occasion, ParlAmericas’ participation had the aim of providing the Permanent Council a summary of the work carried out by ParlAmericas since the organization’s previous participation in the regular session of the Council in February 2022. Senator Ovelar and the Honourable Francis additionally reported on actions undertaken in response to the mandates adopted both at the IX Summit of the Americas and at the 52nd OAS General Assembly to promote parliamentary engagement in the Inter-American System through ParlAmericas. Finally, ParlAmericas’ representatives reflected on the role of inter-parliamentary diplomacy and how ParlAmericas’ activities in 2023 align with OAS efforts and priorities.

In her remarks, President Ovelar stated, “Today we reaffirm before you ParlAmericas’ unwavering willingness to comply with the mandates it was assigned and to contribute, at a particularly sensitive time for our hemisphere, to the search for solutions to the pressing problems facing our fellow citizens; we will do so in a concerted manner and under the democratic convictions that unite us.”

In turn, the Honourable Claudius J. Francis expressed that “This year, ParlAmericas will dedicate our efforts to working on issues including migration, the fight against disinformation and computational propaganda, food sovereignty and food insecurity, and the compounding effect of the climate crises,  All of these are pressing challenges within our hemisphere that form part of the political discussions and technical work here at the OAS, and which have likewise been identified as top priorities by our parliamentary membership.”

ParlAmericas’ participation in the most recent session of the OAS Permanent Council exemplifies the spirit of collaboration between the two organizations and reflects the importance of promoting multilateralism and cooperation at the highest level in the Inter-American System to address issues of hemispheric importance.


February 6, 2023

ParlAmericas meets with representatives of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction on the margins of the regional launch of the Early Warning for All initiative

On February 6, 2023, His Honour Reginald Farley (Barbados), President of the Senate, met with Mami Mizutori, Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and Raúl Salazar, Chief of the UNDRR Latin America and Caribbean regional office, as well as with other high level UNDRR representatives at the Parliament of Barbados. This meeting was held in the margins of the world’s first regional launch of the Early Warning for All initiative, hosted by Barbados.

During the meeting, Senator Farley, who also serves as Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, and Assistant Secretary-General Mizutori discussed the newly released Executive Action Plan 2023-2027 launched by UNDRR at COP27 for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; national work being conducted in Barbados on disaster risk reduction and the accompanying successes and challenges; areas for collaboration on integrative policy for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation; and the advancement of the Making Cities Resilient initiative and the Multi-Hazard Early Warning System.

The meeting exemplifies the collaborative working relationship between ParlAmericas and UNDRR formalized through a letter of cooperation with the UNDRR Regional Office; a joint publication, “Parliamentary Protocol for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation,” which aligns with the principles of the Sendai Framework; among other publications and high level participation in  relevant meetings and events.


January 9, 2023

ParlAmericas condemns acts of violence against democracy in Brazil

ParlAmericas strongly condemns the attacks on the Congress, the Presidential Palace, and the Supreme Court of Brazil that took place on Sunday, January 8, 2023.

ParlAmericas respectfully calls on all social and political actors in Brazil to employ dialogue to resume the peaceful transition of power, defend the democratic order, respect the rule of law, and restore peace and coexistence.


December 14, 2022

ParlAmericas launches the Parliamentary Staff Network on Climate Change (PNCC – Staff)

On December 14, the Parliamentary Staff Network on Climate Change (PNCC – Staff) was officially launched during its first virtual meeting. The objective of the Staff Network is to facilitate exchanges between parliamentary staff from different parliaments, and relevant subject matter experts to help promote the uptake of good practices from diverse legislatures and understand the technical requirements and processes to successfully implement these initiatives. It also works to build understanding on the interlinkages between gender and climate change, as well as the social and economic considerations that should be included to ensure equitable environmental action that leaves no one behind, builds prosperity, and embraces climate governance principles. As structured, the PNCC-Staff is composed of a general coordinator and regional coordinators representing each of the countries in the executive committee of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC).

During the welcoming remarks Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change underscored the great value the climate change Staff Network will bring: “Recognizing the critical role of parliamentary staff in advancing legislative initiatives through their dedication and invaluable technical expertise, the PNCC-Staff network was conceived. As the driving force behind various legislative efforts and helping to ensure the sustainability of these efforts throughout election cycles, I speak on behalf of the Executive committee in welcoming this opportunity to further strengthen regional collaboration and promote parliamentary climate action.”

Similarly, the General Coordinator of PNCC – Staff, Frédéric Forge (Canada), Acting Senior Director of the Economics, Resources and International Affairs Division, highlighted the opportunity this new Staff Network will bring: “Climate change impacts our countries in similar yet different ways and I call on us to use this opportunity to maximize our efforts and foster successful collaborations. I hope knowing that these undertaking have been successful in supporting the promotion of open parliament and gender equality staff networks in the region, inspires us to take full potential of this momentum and use ParlAmericas as a platform to gain knowledge, exchange ideas, and create resources collaboratively.”

The meeting also gathered the regional coordinators of the Climate Staff Network: Regional Coordinator for North America, Jatziri Pando Medina (Mexico), Technical Secretary, Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee of the Senate; Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean,Jacqueline Sampson Meiguel (Trinidad and Tobago), Clerk of the House; Regional Coordinator for Central America, Laura Prado Chacón (Costa Rica), Responsible for the Institutional Committee on Environmental Sustainability; Regional Coordinator for South America, Nuravni Sallons(Suriname), Scientific and Professional Support; and Regional Coordinator for South America, Gerónimo Casimiro Yantalema Cain (Ecuador), Level II Advisor.


December 9, 2022

ParlAmericas statement on the situation in Peru

ParlAmericas, as an institution that promotes the strengthening of democracy and parliamentary diplomacy in the inter-American system, and that ensures cooperative political dialogue and multi-party consensus, expresses its deep concern over the events that occurred on December 7, 2022 regarding the attempt by former President Pedro Castillo to dissolve the Congress of the Republic of Peru and establish a state of exception.

ParlAmericas, recognizing the importance of the principle of sovereignty, encourages the institutions of the Republic of Peru to continue to re-establish democratic order, guarantee political stability and preserve the rule of law through peaceful dialogue and concerted action.


December 7, 2022

Women parliamentarians of Jamaica commit to collaborative actions to promote gender equality in legislative work

On December 3 and 4, 2022, women parliamentarians from both chambers and Parties, as well as local government representatives, with technical support from ParlAmericas, UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean, the Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and the Houses of Parliament, convened for a historic weekend training retreat.

The event was organised in response to a request for training by women parliamentarians in order to support their work to achieve inclusive and effective outcomes for their constituents and the continued implementation of the National Policy for Gender Equality (2011). The event also builds on efforts underway in the Parliament of Jamaica to establish a bi-cameral women’s caucus.

The meeting opened with statements by the Honourable Olivia Grange, OJ, CD, MP, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport and Deputy Leader of the House and Ms. Tonni Brodber, Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office-Caribbean. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Rosina Wiltshire, Gender and Development Specialist, to provide grounding for the discussions and inspiration on the crucial role of women parliamentarians in advancing gender equality.

Throughout the retreat, discussions were held on promoting women’s political participation, gender equality concepts in relation to legislative work, and ongoing gender equality initiatives in Jamaica supported by presentations by Mrs. Alicia Bowen-McCulskie, Programme Coordinator, Spotlight Initiative Jamaica and Mrs. Sharon Coburn Robinson, Principal Director, Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport. Dialogue also focused on opportunities for collaboration among women parliamentarians on priority issues that transcend politics such as gender-based violence including family violence and capacity building on applying a gender perspective in legislative work. The retreat ended with a presentation on gender-sensitive approaches to legislative review led by UN Women MCO-Caribbean with support from ParlAmericas.

The decision-makers in attendance reached consensus on the importance of trust and a commitment to honest communication and collaborative advocacy on issues specific to women and children in the legislative space; learning more about and prioritizing people-centred approaches in legislative work; and to hosting a follow-up meeting by March 2023.

This activity was made possible with the support of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative and the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

December 2, 2022

Parliamentarians of the Americas and the Caribbean participated in the 19th ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly held in Bogota, Colombia with the support of the Congress of the Republic of Colombia

ParlAmericas commemorated its 19th Plenary Assembly, convening parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean to exchange perspectives and reflections on parliamentary diplomacy.

Throughout the meeting, participants analyzed the relevance of parliamentary diplomacy as an instrument in the context of current global issues and the role of ParlAmericas as the hemispheric entity with a mandate to promote parliamentary participation in the inter-American system. These discussions were prefaced by the keynote address, “Strengthening multilateralism in the Americas and the Caribbean,” delivered by former Vice-President of the Republic of Costa Rica Epsy Campbell.

Parliamentarians reasserted the importance of continuing to work collaboratively, as well as from an intersectional and intercultural perspective, on issues of regional importance, such as gender equality, sustainable development, migration, social justice, transparency and integrity, and the promotion and protection of human rights.

Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, emphasized that “by practicing parliamentary diplomacy through ParlAmericas, we reaffirm the value of parliamentary work and endorse the democratic convictions that unite us and upon which the inter-American system has been built.” In turn, Member of the National Assembly Wilma Andrade (Ecuador), Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network and moderator of the dialogue session, noted that “multilateralism, regional integration, and globalization demand an increasingly active participation of parliaments in international affairs as trustees of the people’s will.”

During the Plenary Assembly, certain positions on the ParlAmericas Board of Directors were re-elected, with Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay) resuming the presidency and the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives, resuming the vice-presidency. Sub-regional representatives were also elected: Canada and Mexico for North America; Costa Rica and Nicaragua for Central America; Colombia, Guyana, and Suriname for South America; and Barbados and Jamaica for the Caribbean. In addition, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Daniela Cicardini (Chile) announced that the National Congress of Chile will host the 7 thGathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network in 2023.

The 19th Plenary Assembly concluded with closing remarks from the host, Honourable Representative Jezmi Barraza (Colombia), Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, who noted, “we have satisfactorily concluded these demanding days.” She also referred to the important debates that had taken place on the care economy: “The gathering was an exercise in participatory governance and a seed was planted in each of us to work on the restructuring of the regulatory public policy frameworks in each of our countries.”


November 30, 2022

Parliamentarians and subject-matter experts discuss investments in the care economy at ParlAmericas 14th Gathering of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, hosted by the Congress of Colombia

Today and tomorrow, in collaboration with the Congress of the Republic of Colombia, ParlAmericas is hosting the 14th Gathering of its Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE). The event, titled Legislative Perspectives for Inclusive Economic Growth: Investing in the Care Economy, takes place from November 30 to December 1, in Bogota, Colombia, and it marks the first in-person, hemispheric-wide convening of ParlAmericas’ membership since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This PNGE gathering brings together parliamentarians and subject matter experts from over 20 countries of the Americas and Caribbean to exchange experiences and good practices for legislative action related to care work and the economy, underscoring connections to national economic growth and development, and the realization of human rights.

The programme includes high-level speakers from U.N. and inter-American bodies including CARICOM, the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) of the OAS, ECLAC, FAO, and UN Women, in addition to representatives from national institutions and offices that are innovating on the provision of comprehensive services and statistical measurements of care.

In the gathering’s sessions, parliamentarian delegates and the invited specialists are delivering presentations and engaging in panel dialogues that explore themes such as the economic and social value of care, methods to promote the collection of high-quality data to quantify unpaid care work, and laws and programs that support a holistic approach to meeting the varied needs and rights of caregivers and care recipients throughout their life cycles.

The host of the gathering, Honourable Representative Jezmi Barraza (Colombia), Vice-President for South America of the PNGE, stated “I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to our colleagues from across the hemisphere on this noteworthy occasion, in which we are examining legislative actions that can advance women’s rights. As parliamentarians, we have important roles to play in building new paradigms and legal frameworks that value care work as essential to advancing human capabilities and more equitable economic prosperity.”

The President of the PNGE, Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), emphasized that, “It is time to take bold action: the gendered distribution of care work is one of the strongest determining factors of inequality and poverty in the Americas and Caribbean. I am proud that through ParlAmericas we are dedicating our attention to this priority agenda that implicates each and every one of us – men and women alike.”

Upon the conclusion of the two days of the PNGE gathering, the parliamentarian delegates will participate in the 19 th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas on December 2. The Plenary Assembly will focus on multilateralism and parliamentary engagements in the inter-American system.


November 29, 2022

ParlAmericas organized a meeting between parliamentary committees on transparency, anti-corruption, and ethics in Latin America to explore possible standards for legislative openness within committee work

On November 22, 2022, a virtual inter-parliamentary meeting convened parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from 11 Latin American countries, as well as representatives from international organizations and civil society to share experiences and achievements on possible legislative openness standards that could be applied to the work of parliamentary committees, following an initiative proposed by Senator Paulina Núñez (Chile).

The activity opened with remarks by Senator Javier Macaya (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, who highlighted “the importance of continuing to advance the open parliament agenda through standards that legislatures and their associated entities, such as committees, can reference to ensure more open and inclusive legislative processes that leave no one behind.”

Luis Rojas, Deputy Secretary of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile and General Coordinator of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, then presented the working document for the meeting, which is based on the ParlAmericas Road Map Towards Legislative Openness 2.0, the Legislative Transparency Toolkit, the Legislative Transparency Index of the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency, and the Indicators for Democratic Parliaments of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. These standards will be presented at the 7th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network to be held next year in Chile.

Parliamentary committees on transparency, anti-corruption, and ethics presented reports during the meeting, with committee chairs exchanging experiences to further strengthen legislative openness and ensure a gender perspective. This dialogue was moderated by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Shoraya Suárez (Dominican Republic), Secretary of the Permanent Committee on Internal Administration and of the Board of Directors, and included presentations from Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay.

The second part of the session entitled “Dialogue on legislative openness standards in committees,” was moderated by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Dolores Martínez (Argentina) and included the participation of specialists and representatives of civil society in Latin America, including Roger Celi, representative of the coordination of the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency, and Ms. María Barón, Global Executive Director of Directorio Legislativo.

To conclude the meeting, Member of the National Assembly Corina Cano (Panama), Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, emphasized that “betting on open parliaments is betting on a better quality of our democracies. It has been made clear that these efforts push us to continue advancing legislative actions in favour of transparency, accountability, citizen participation, and ethics and, therefore, it is crucial that we continue advancing this agenda together.”


November 21, 2022

Women parliamentarians of The Bahamas take part in a caucus formation retreat hosted by ParlAmericas, CIWiL Bahamas, UN Women Caribbean, and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

On November 18 and 19, 2022, a meeting to formulate a women’s parliamentary caucus in The Bahamas was hosted by ParlAmericas, CIWiL Bahamas (the national chapter of Caribbean Women in Leadership), UN Women Caribbean, and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Nassau, The Bahamas. This caucus formation retreat brought together current and former women parliamentarians from both political parties and chambers for two days of training and deliberations.

The caucus formation retreat, facilitated by representatives from CIWiL Bahamas, opened with remarks from parliamentarians from both chambers and parties: the Hon. Patricia Deveaux, Speaker of the House of Assembly; Senator the Hon. LaShell Adderley, President of the Senate; the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training; and Senator the Hon. Michela Barnett-Ellis. A keynote panel comprising distinguished former parliamentarians then focused on the importance of women’s full participation in parliamentary spaces, including impacting legislative agendas and processes. Speakers on this panel included the Rt. Hon. Dame Janet Bostwick; Cynthia “Mother” Pratt; Italia Johnson; Allyson Maynard Gibson; and Agatha Marcelle.

Other training sessions during the two-day meeting covered national issues related to gender equality and women’s rights, with presentations by UN Women Caribbean and the Department of Family and Gender Affairs, and applying a gender lens in legislative work and advancing gender equality themes in parliament, led by UN Women Caribbean, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and ParlAmericas.

The training sessions also contributed important inspiration and background information to the planning for the formation of a women’s parliamentary caucus in The Bahamas, which was the meeting’s core purpose. Further insights were contributed through a presentation on the structure, objectives, and impact of women’s parliamentary caucuses delivered by ParlAmericas, as well as a case study on Belize’s experience thus far forming such a caucus shared by the Hon. Valerie Woods, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Belize. These sessions then led directly into guided dialogues among the current and former women parliamentarians of The Bahamas on the objectives and structure for their own women’s caucus. The meeting concluded with consensus around the next steps for the caucus’ formation.


November 18, 2022

ParlAmericas participated at the UNFCCC COP27, GLOBE summit, and IPU Parliamentary Meeting

This year’s 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from November 6-18, 2022, with the overarching theme of implementing climate solutions. Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) and Senator Raúl Bolaños-Cacho Cué (Mexico), Vice-President for North America of the PNCC both represented ParlAmericas, as well as their respective countries, at COP27, the GLOBE COP27 Legislators Summit, and the Interparliamentary Union (IPU) COP27 Parliamentary Meeting.

As part of the work to support parliamentarians at COP27, ParlAmericas shared relevant information on how to participate virtually and in-person at COP27, as well as organized alongside GLOBE legislators, Clima de Eleição, and POLEA an in-person meeting for Latin American parliamentarians at COP27. The meeting brought together diverse perspectives as parliamentarians from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay exchanged experiences and strategies, and discussed how they can support the implementation of the commitments made at COP27, and past COPs. In the meeting, Senator Rosa Galvez highlighted the manner in which “ParlAmericas is committed to articulating spaces that make it possible to create synergies and ensure that what is debated and agreed upon in spaces such as the COP are accessible to all parliamentarians. Taking into account these international agreements and the way in which they connect with each other can be a fundamental tool, not only for dialogue and regional cooperation, but also for taking action at the national level and promoting bills that integrate climate action through a gender-responsive approach.”

Moreover, on the margins of COP27, on November 8th, Senator Galvez and Senator Bolaños participated as panellists at the GLOBE summit. They presented Canada’s and Mexico’s strategies to not only help achieve national climate commitments, but also their links to advancing the biodiversity agenda, and overcoming the challenges of desertification. The session highlighted the importance of ensuring all three Rio Conventions are implemented in a holistic manner. The panellists also underlined the value of considering a gender perspective within these solutions, such as ensuring women have access to land tenure and are properly supported to be decision makers and financially secure enough to invest in land restoration. Senator Bolaños affirmed that “Mexico recognizes the importance of moving from conservation to the restoration of degraded land and that increased biological productivity consciously managed can lead to effective ecosystem conservation and to foster political and economic stability. It also acknowledges that securing land tenure and the direct involvement of its owners in natural resources management is essential for these programs to be successful. Decisions should de decentralized and the rights of Indigenous communities and their traditional practices, women and other vulnerable groups should be considered, making it necessary to guarantee their participation in decision-making.”

Similarly, Senator Galvez moderated a session titled, “climate action and sustainable development: How can parliaments address the interlinkages for a more resilient world” at the IPU COP27 Parliamentary meeting, which took place on November 13. The session focused on the relationship between climate change and the development challenges of food security, displacement, conflict, and energy.

For more information on how parliaments can support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and other similar multilateral environmental agreements, consult the full publication, “Parliaments and the Paris Agreement” or the executive summary.


November 11, 2022

ParlAmericas participated in the XV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, organized by ECLAC with the support of UN Women

ParlAmericas participated in the XV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, organized by ECLAC with the support of UN Women on November 7-11, 2022 in Buenos Aires, whose central theme was “The Care Society: horizon for a sustainable recovery with gender equality”. For the first time, the Conference included a Parliamentary Forum, co-organized by the Congress of the Argentine Nation, which was attended by two members of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors: Senator María Eugenia Catalfamo (Argentina), President of the Senate’s Women Caucus Committee and Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado (Costa Rica), regional representative for Central America of the Board of Directors. The objective of the Parliamentary Forum was to share experiences and advance the regional gender agenda in the legislative sphere, through the development of regulatory frameworks that integrate the right to care, the promotion of public financing, comprehensive care policies and systems, as well as maternity, paternity and parental leave and measures towards social and gender co-responsibility and the recognition of unpaid care work. Within the framework of the Parliamentary Forum, the document “Advances in care regulations in Latin America and the Caribbean: towards a care society with gender equality” was presented.

In addition, within the framework of this XV Regional Conference, a Feminist Forum was held, were more than one thousand participants -feminist organizations, civil society entities working for gender equality, representatives of the LGTBIQ2 collective, academic experts, opinion leaders, among others- convened by the topic of discussion and presented a political declaration prior to the Conference.

The XV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean culminated with the reading of the Buenos Aires Commitment, which recognizes “care as a right to provide and receive care and to exercise self-care based on the principles of equality, universality and social and gender co-responsibility and, therefore, as a responsibility that must be shared by people of all sectors of society, families, communities, business and the State.”

The care agenda is a topic that will also be addressed at the 14th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE), entitled “Legislative Perspectives for Inclusive Economic Growth: Investing in the Care Economy,” to be held from November 30 to December 1 in Bogota, Colombia. Ana Güezmes, Director of ECLAC’s Gender Division, will participate in this meeting as an expert panelist.


October 20, 2022

ParlAmericas and the Parliamentary Centre organized the global inter-parliamentary exchange “Women parliamentarians on the agendas of defence, security, and peace”

With the aim of exploring the experience of women legislators working on issues related to national defence, security, and peace building, particularly in situations of insecurity and ongoing threats, ParlAmericas and the Parliamentary Center co-hosted a virtual meeting with the participation of women parliamentarians from various parts of the world.

The initiative was proposed by Member of Parliament Anita Vandenbeld (Canada), who delivered welcoming remarks, emphasizing the importance of consolidating networks among women parliamentarians who participate in public policy debates related to defence, security, and peace. She noted that collaborative spaces provide a channel for active communication among women legislators, contribute to knowledge exchange, promote the implementation of best practices and, notably, encourage peer support for efforts to promote women’s leadership on this agenda.

In addition, Senator Verónica Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE), offered reflections on the global and regional context and the obstacles that women politicians face to position themselves on these agendas. She highlighted the importance of “raising awareness on the need for women to participate on an equal footing and fully contribute to decision-making processes on these issues at the national, regional, and global levels.”

During the meeting, emphasis was placed on the differential impact of armed conflicts on women and girls—especially considering that gender discrimination is heightened in contexts of insecurity—and, as a result, on the urgent need to incorporate a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations. The value of bringing transformative and inclusive perspectives that represent a broader diversity of voices to the parliamentary debate on defence, peace, and security was also highlighted.

Among their overall conclusions, the participating women parliamentarians stressed the importance of continuing to promote and strengthen their participation in national defence, security, and peacebuilding agendas, and providing the decision-making process with a holistic and intersectional approach to addressing the root causes of sustainable development challenges.


October 13, 2022

Political Statement for International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

Today, October 13, during International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction we join the United Nations in highlighting the important need for countries to continue working toward preventing and reducing disaster risk and loss of lives, livelihoods, economies and basic infrastructure in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

Considering the extreme weather events that the Americas and the Caribbean have faced this year, and that climate change is causing more frequent, extreme, and unpredictable climate-related hazards, ParlAmericas continues to be committed to supporting legislatures in their response to the Sendai Framework’s explicit call for parliamentarians to support the implementation of disaster risk reduction by developing new or amending legislation, setting budget allocations, holding governments accountable, and as representatives of the people, voice their needs and mobilize the participation of all sectors of society in resilience building.

This year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction calls for an “increase in the availability and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people”, as focused on in Target G of the Sendai Framework. As countries work to achieve this objective, it is important that these vulnerability assessments use gender disaggregated data, ensuring consideration of the differentiated impacts on women, men, girls, and boys and intersecting factors such as age, gender identity, disabilities, source of livelihood, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity, among others. Parliamentarians can not only hold the government accountable to ensure these initiatives are implemented but also use these physical and social analyses in their formulation of legislation and budget allocation for disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation.

For more information on the parliamentary role to support climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction read our joint publication with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, “Parliamentary Protocol for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation”.


October 6, 2022

The Congress of the Republic of Peru and ParlAmericas organized a high-level parliamentary dialogue on achieving women’s full political participation within the framework of the 52nd General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS)

The event, “Consolidating the full political participation of women: building consensus,” co-organized by ParlAmericas and the Congress of the Republic of Peru—on the occasion of its bicentennial—was held in Lima, Peru on October 6, 2022, on the margins of the OAS General Assembly, which took place October 5–7, 2022, and was focused on addressing inequality and discrimination in the countries of the region.

The President of the Congress of the Republic of Peru, José Williams Zapata, delivered the welcoming remarks, highlighting the role of women in Peruvian politics: “The law of quotas and, afterwards, the law on gender parity and alternation have enabled a greater presence and representation of women in government through the popular vote.A clear example is that in the current legislative period we have the largest female presence in the parliament’s history.” In addition, he affirmed that the parliament is not only witnessing a greater presence and prominence of women, but also that the legislative agenda has been enriched by the establishment of the Group of Peruvian Women Parliamentarians (Mesa de Mujeres Parlamentarias Peruanas) for the 2021–2026 period, which contributes to the legislative debate.

In turn, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, emphasized “the importance of women’s political participation for the advancement towards building fairer and more equitable societies,” indicating that ParlAmericas promotes laws and good practices on gender equality, complementing the initiatives of the inter-American system and encouraging the construction of a solid and secure democratic institutional framework, which safeguards the public’s objectives. “At ParlAmericas, we are convinced that we will reach our goals by sharing our experiences, demonstrating mutual support and solidarity, and promoting an increasingly authentic representation of society that respects diversity and is a genuine expression of the people.”

Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality moderated the panel “Women’s political participation: facing persistent barriers,” which included presentations by the executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women of the OAS, Alejandra Mora Mora, and Member of Congress María del Carmen Alva Prieto (Peru), Chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations. They discussed various strategies for generating conditions that enable women’s political leadership at all levels, taking into account the importance of political consensus and collaboration with other societal actors to promote women’s full political participation.

Afterwards, Peruvian parliamentarians shared their reflections: Member of Congress Rosangela Barbarán Reyes, Chairwoman of the Committee on Economy, Banking, Finance, and Financial Intelligence; Member of Congress Nieves Limachi, Member of the Board of Directors and Vice-President of the Group of Peruvian Women Parliamentarians; Member of Congress Lady Camones, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Constitution and Regulation; Member of Congress Flor Pablo, Member of the Board of Directors; Member of Congress Hilda Portero, Chair of the Special Multi-Party Committee for the Monitoring, Oversight, and Supervision of the Zero Hunger Program; Member of Congress Ruth Luque, Member of the Board of Directors; Member of Congress Susel Paredes; Member of Congress Isabel Cortez; and Member of Congress Mery Infantes.

Lastly, Member of Congress Nieves Limachi (Peru) delivered the closing remarks of the session, highlighting the importance of consensus-building. In conclusion, the session provided an opportunity for parliamentarians to exchange considerations, experiences, and best practices on actions and strategies to promote women’s participation in the political sphere in the Americas and the Caribbean, taking into account the current challenges and emphasizing that parliaments are a fundamental part of democratic systems.


October 5, 2022

ParlAmericas and the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic organized the inter-parliamentary meeting: “Promoting Legislative Openness in the Region”, within the framework of the Open Americas Regional Conference

On September 28, 2022, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, an inter-parliamentary meeting was held, bringing together legislators and staff from the national parliaments of 10 countries as well as representatives of international organizations and civil society with the objective of working towards the strengthening of the region’s parliaments through legislative openness.

This meeting was attended by Senator Eduardo Estrella (Dominican Republic), President of the Senate and Senator Santiago Zorrilla (Dominican Republic), Vice-President of the Senate and featured welcoming remarks by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Alfredo Pacheco Osoria (Dominican Republic), President of the Chamber of Deputies; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Nelsa Shoraya Suárez Ariza (Dominican Republic), Secretary of the Board of Directors and host of the inter-parliamentary meeting; and Senator Bertha Caraveo (Mexico), Vice-President for North America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network. Among these interventions, Senator Caraveo emphasized that “strengthening transparency and access to information, accountability, citizen participation, and ethics and probity is an urgent need and a commitment of those who recognize that legislative openness is an integral principle for good governance.” Mr. Pacheco Osoria also noted that “exchanging experiences on strengthening transparency improves the region’s legislative work.”

The first panel explored the progress and good practices of open parliament in the region. Spanning key aspects of co-creation processes to commitments and initiatives on transparency, accountability, citizen participation, and ethics, the panel was moderated by Guadalupe Valdez, former Member of Parliament of the Dominican Republic and former ParlAmericas Board member. It also included the participation of Member of the Legislative Assembly Carolina Delgado (Costa Rica), ParlAmericas Board member; Ms. María Baron, Global Executive Director of the Fundación Directorio Legislativo; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Vlado Mirosevic (Chile), ParlAmericas Board member, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Elías Baez de los Santos (Dominican Republic); Member of the National Assembly Nathalie Arias (Ecuador); María Liz Sosa, Director General, Directorate of Institutional Development and External Cooperation of the Chamber of Senators of Paraguay; and Ms. Rosario Pavese, Regional Leader for South America, Country Support Section and Senior Parliamentary Advisorat the Global level of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

This activity also included working groups where participants discussed key aspects to further strengthen parliamentary work with a particular focus on legislative openness. Ms. Rocio Noriega, advisor to the Bicameral Group on Transparency of the National Congress of Chile, guided this session and moderated the final reflections of the working group discussions which addressed citizen participation and public integrity in greater depth and were led by Senator Caraveo and Member of Congress Karina Paz (Guatemala), respectively. Within these working groups, representatives of the parliaments and civil society exchanged their experiences and lessons learned regarding initiatives to involve citizens, especially young people, as well as measures to promote ethics and probity within parliaments, taking into consideration a gender perspective and initiatives to increase the participation of women in these processes.

To conclude the meeting, Ms. Suárez Ariza reiterated that “strengthening public integrity must be an objective that involves not only the powers of the State, but society as a whole to build a culture of integrity under which interactions between the public and private sectors, civil society, and individuals are mediated by the highest legal and ethical standards.” In her intervention, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Corina Cano (Panama), Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, mentioned that “expanding and strengthening spaces for citizens to participate substantively in the discussion of public affairs and in the decision-making processes in parliament calls for strengthening the supply of virtual mechanisms for participation.”


October 4, 2022

ParlAmericas participates in the Roundtable discussion with Parliamentarians on the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

On October 4th, members of the Executive Committee of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC), which included the Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the PNCC; Senator Anthony Vieira (Trinidad and Tobago), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the PNCC; and Member of the National Assembly Radjendrekoemar Debie (Suriname) participated in the Roundtable discussion with Parliamentarians on the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The meeting was organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and supported by the Climate Vulnerable Forum Global Parliamentary Group and GLOBE International.

The Midterm Review aims to take stock of existing implementation initiatives over the last seven years of the Sendai Framework by assessing progress made, examining challenges experienced in preventing new and reducing existing disaster risk, and exploring new and emerging issues. Considering the Sendai Framework explicitly calls on parliamentarians to reduce disaster risks, this meeting’s objective was to gain a greater understanding of the perspective of parliamentarians. To this end, the discussion explored the parliamentary contributions needed to support the priorities of the Sendai Framework, in relation to their legislative, oversight, budget-making, and representational functions, as well as their reflections on how to strengthen the Framework and risk governance structure.

The President of the PNCC, Senator Galvez, highlighted ParlAmericas contribution to supporting the implementation of the Sendai Framework as well as other related international agreements: “Through our Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, which I have the honour to lead, and through our climate programming, ParlAmericas promotes and supports parliamentary work to align national climate action with Nationally Determined Contributions, the Sendai Framework, and the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as advocate for increased climate ambition and strengthening the role of parliaments in these efforts, as recently highlighted in ParlAmericas’ Guide on Supporting a Post-COVID-19 Green Economic Recovery.”


September 19, 2022

ParlAmericas participates in the Youth Assembly Program organized by the National Assembly of Panama

On September 14, the National Assembly of Panama and ParlAmericas jointly held one of the sessions of the Youth Assembly Program, with support from Fundación Espacio Cívico [the Civic Space Foundation] and the National Forum of Women in Political Parties (FONAMUPP). This activity brought together more than 100 members of the Youth Assembly from different parts of Panama for an in-person session that aimed to explore strategies to empower young people and examine how their experiences are key to promoting transparent and inclusive legislative processes that leave no one behind.

The session was attended by Mr. Juan Carlos Chavarría, Director of the Department of Citizen Participation of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, who shared insights on the Costa Rican experience in open parliament, as well as lessons learned to ensure the effective participation of youth in parliamentary processes, while considering equity and inclusion. Representing FONAMUPP, Ms. Karla Sánchez highlighted how the organization has sought to promote values of teamwork, leadership, equality, and responsibility with children in Panama through the storybook “Elena and the Ants: The River Rescue Team.” Finally, representing the Youth Legislative Impact Program, Mr. Eloy Morales emphasized the importance of ensuring a gender perspective in the program’s legislative initiatives to adequately respond to the public’s needs and the country’s commitments on an international level. This event was moderated by Mrs. Leah Cedeño de Boersner, Director of Fundación Espacio Cívico.

The session concluded with a dialogue among the participants on the different ways to contribute to politics and on the work of the National Assembly of Panama, referring to principles of transparency, broadening citizen participation, and inclusion.


September 15, 2022

The ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament hosts a virtual Working Meeting on Digital Transformation with the support of Bússola Tech within the margins of the Legistech Forum 2022 and in commemoration of the International Day of Democracy

Carried out virtually with the support of Bússola Tech and within the margins of the Legistech Forum in commemoration of the International Day of Democracy on September 15, 2022, the Working Meeting on Digital Transformation convened parliamentary staff from across the Americas and the Caribbean to discuss strategies and opportunities to advance the digital transformation agenda.

The meeting opened with remarks from Mr. Luis Rojas, Deputy Secretary General of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile and General Coordinator of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament and Mr. Luís Kimaid, Executive Director of Bússola Tech. The remarks of Mr. Rojas noted this meeting as “an excellent opportunity to share with colleagues from the hemisphere some of the experiences and lessons learned from digital transformations in terms of innovation as well as how these were leveraged by parliaments in their institutional responses to the restrictions imposed by COVID.”

To further contextualize the importance of the meeting, a high-level dialogue was held to explore the main impacts of digital transformation and provide parliaments with recommendations to help ensure their parliamentary modernization processes leave no one behind. The panel, which was moderated by Ms. Martha Carrillo, Technical Secretary of the Transparency and Anticorruption Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico, featured Dr. Chris Beall, Policy Lead for Platform Governance with the Digital Economy research team at the Centre for International Governance Innovation; and Ms. María Barón, Executive Global Director of Directorio Legislativo.

The meeting also included a space for parliamentary staff to deliver a succinct presentation on the experience of their national parliament. Guided by the skillful moderation of Mr. Soufiane Ben Moussa, Chief Technology Officer of the House of Commons of Canada and Regional Coordinator for North America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, parliamentary staff exchanged their experiences and lessons learned regarding the implementation of parliamentary modernization processes, taking into consideration the current challenges facing legislative branches.

To close the meeting, Ms. Beverly Gibbons, Deputy Clerk of the Parliament of Barbados and Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, offered final reflections where she reiterated that “parliaments are becoming increasingly more aware of how central the digital transformation agenda is in making parliament a more in-tune institution that is receptive to the needs of an empowered citizenry, recognizing the importance of building closer relationships between parliament and citizens, strengthening their trust in their representatives, and providing tools that enables parliaments to take part in global discussions.”


September 12, 2022

ParlAmericas held the 3rd Meeting of the Parliamentary Staff Network for Gender Equality: “Allies inside and outside parliament: weaving networks to promote gender equality”

Members of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality (PSNGE) participated today in a virtual meeting that brought together, for the first time, parliamentary staff from the Americas and the Caribbean. Focusing on technical work, the objective of the meeting was to examine strategies for mainstreaming the gender perspective into parliamentary work through partnerships with women’s organizations, experts, and activists for gender equality, and to learn about various experiences of successful collaboration in different countries.

The President of ParlAmericas’ Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE),  Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), inaugurated the meeting and shared key insights, emphasizing: “Latin America and the Caribbean is the region of the world with the highest levels of inequality, discrimination and violence. This situation affects millions of women and girls. In order to eradicate inequalities and inequities, evaluate the gaps and their causes and think of innovative ways to reduce them, inter-parliamentary dialogue, coordination among women parliamentarians and parliamentary staff as well as spaces for exchange and networking at the regional level are essential.”

Lisane Thirsk, Deputy Director, Gender Equality and Communications of ParlAmericas, introduced the new project that structures the work the institution will carry out in support of parliaments in the Americas and the Caribbean, with the objective of strengthening political capacities for gender-responsive governance. She also shared the document What We Heard, which compiles the main lessons learned and will serve as a baseline for developing more and improved programming to virtuously link parliaments with women’s organizations.

The meeting included interventions by two special guests, who presented their experiences in working collaboratively with their national parliaments. On one hand was Natalia Gherardi, Executive Director of the Latin American Team for Justice and Gender (ELA), an Argentine women’s organization that works on various issues related to gender equality, such as the promotion of women’s political participation, gender budgeting, and the legislative agenda of care. On the other hand, Gabrielle Elie, Representative of the Young Women in Leadership – Saint Lucia (YWiL) program, an intensive training program on transformational leadership, inclusive decision-making, and parliamentary procedures organized by ParlAmericas, Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL), and the Parliament of Saint Lucia.

Lastly, the meeting included a working space to facilitate the exchange of ideas that contribute to the care agenda, a topic that will be addressed by the parliamentarians of the Hemisphere on the occasion of the 19th Plenary Assembly and the 14th Gathering of the ParlAmericas’ Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, to be held this November in Colombia.


September 9, 2022

Launch of virtual training series on ‘Effective Engagement in Parliamentary Processes’ for women’s organisations in the Caribbean, hosted by ParlAmericas, UN Women Caribbean, and Equality Fund

On September 9, 2022, ‘Workshop 1: Parliamentary Advocacy’ took place as the first session of a virtual training series on ‘Effective Engagement in Parliamentary Processes’ for women’s organisations in the Caribbean, hosted by ParlAmericas, the UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean, and the WVL-Caribbean project of the Equality Fund and Astraea.

The session opened with remarks from Ms. Tonni Ann Brodber, Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean, Ms.Tamara Huggins, Director of Women’s Voice and Leadership – Caribbean at Equality Fund, and Ms. Lisane Thirsk, Deputy Director of Gender Equality & Communications at ParlAmericas. In her remarks, Ms. Thirsk presented the new ParlAmericas report, “What We Heard,” which shares the results of a study undertaken on the current status of parliamentary engagement efforts by women’s organisations in the Caribbean region and the challenges they face.

The survey findings underscored the value seen by women’s organisations in advancing their policy objectives through engagement with their national parliament, but also revealed various barriers that women’s organisations experience that hinder effective engagement. These included a lack of information on parliamentary processes and agendas or specific technical skills for advocacy in the legislative sphere within their organisations, and a sense of distrust and dissatisfaction among many respondents regarding the accessibility of parliamentary processes, which it was felt required more flexibility and accommodations in order to benefit from a greater diversity of voices. The training series was designed in response to our learning from this survey.

In the session on parliamentary advocacy, presentations by Ms. Thirsk, Ms. Chantal La Roche, Senior Legal Officer at the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, and feature speaker Ms. Marsha Caddle, M.P. (Barbados), which were followed by question and answer periods, provided participants with an overview of the importance of parliamentary engagement and recommendations on strategic moments and communication techniques for advocacy in the legislative process and with parliamentarians, among other topics.

The “Effective Engagement in Parliamentary Processes” workshop series as a whole seeks to provide women’s organisations with enhanced knowledge, networking opportunities, and practical guidance to support strengthened public participation and enable greater representation of their voices in legislative decision making spaces and processes, recognising the immense value of such engagement for democratic institutions. Future sessions will focus on advocacy strategies and partnership building.


July 20, 2022

ParlAmericas held two side-events on sustainable agriculture and circular economy as part of Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2022

ParlAmericas took part in the events of Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2022, held from July 18 to 22 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2022, organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Government of the Dominican Republic, was established to engage and empower stakeholders to promote climate action across all Latin American and Caribbean countries, communities, and economies. Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director General of ParlAmericas, and Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, participated in various working groups designed to advance multiple goals such as promoting climate action, addressing social inequalities, investing in the adequate development of people and nature, exploring resilience to climate risks, supporting the transition toward a low-carbon economy and building alliances to address the most urgent challenges.

Within the context of these events, and together with the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, an inter-parliamentary network supported by FAO and Spanish Cooperation, ParlAmericas was co-organizer of a parallel event held on July 19 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, titled ‘Towards a Sustainable and Equitable Agri-Food System: The Role of Parliaments.’ The gathering brought together parliamentarians and parliamentary staff as well as representatives from farmers’ and women’s organizations of the Americas and the Caribbean with the aim of exchanging various legislative strategies that could be used to ensure women’s empowerment and participation in building sustainable food systems.

The discussion was moderated by Guadalupe Valdez, FAO Special Goodwill Ambassador for Zero Hunger for the Region of Latin America and the Caribbean, and included the participation of Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Soraya Suarez (Dominican Republic), Country Coordinator of the Parliamentary Front against Hunger, Elsa Sánchez, member of the Dominican Republic’s Articulación Nacional Campesina-ANC (National Peasant Articulation) and Sara Cognuck González, rural woman and co-founder of the Youth and Climate Change Network of Costa Rica, in addition to working as a consultant for UNICEF.

Member of the Chamber of Deputies Soraya Suarez (Dominican Republic) noted, “It is a real tragedy that in today’s Latin America and Caribbean, 268 million people, most of whom are women, suffer from food insecurity. We must urgently mobilize parliamentary action to eradicate this affliction from our nations.” In this regard, the parliamentarian shared the experience of the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic regarding bills to address school meals and family farming.

In reference to the importance of the topics addressed during the gathering, and after sharing the experience of the Senate of the Republic of Mexico with the inclusion of rural women in parliamentary work, Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (México) stated, “This discussion reflects the transformational potential of parliamentary work that lends an ear to the citizenry, and outlines the work we’ve been doing at ParlAmericas to promote gender equality, open parliament, and climate action. If we want to succeed in promoting sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, we need to create forums such as these in which parliamentarians can share legislative practices while listening to and learning from the views of rural women, whose experiences and knowledge enrich our parliamentary work.”

Additionally, on July 20, there was an event titled ‘Unleashing opportunities of circular economy towards 1.5 degrees temperature goal,’ which was jointly organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Circular Economy Coalition for Latin America and the Caribbean, ParlAmericas, the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Deuman.

The gathering presented best practices in public policy and action taken by various sectors to promote  circular economy with a cross-disciplinary approach towards climate action, particularly from Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and included the participation of Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality; Jimy Ferrer Carbonell, Economic Affairs Officer at the Climate Change Economy Unit of the ECLAC’s Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division; Luisa Santiago, of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Racquel Moses, CEO at The Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator; Diana Ramos Perez, Climate Technology Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean at the CTCN; Cristhian Abanto, Business Manager at Deuman; Julissa Baez, Executive Director of the Dominican Republic’s Association of Portland Cement Producers (ADOCEM); and María Alicia Urbaneja, Executive Director of ECORED.

On the subject of this event, Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico) stated, “An essential part of achieving an effective and inclusive circular economy is the mainstreaming of a gender perspective. When making political decisions to promote new green sectors, there should be a conscious and deliberate consideration of gender dimensions, for example, in order to ensure equality between professional viewpoints and in representation at every level of the value chain.”


July 5, 2022

ParlAmericas held the 6th Gathering of its Parliamentary Network on Climate Change titled “Realizing Our Green Future: The Road to Low Emissions”

With the support of the House of Assembly of Dominica and the Congress of Guatemala as host parliaments, ParlAmericas held the 6th Gathering of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC), titled “Realizing Our Green Future: The Road to Low Emissions,” on June 23 and July 5, 2022.

The gathering brought together parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and representatives of academia and youth and civil society organizations from the Americas and the Caribbean to explore legislative initiatives in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in high-emitting sectors: energy, transportation, agriculture, forestry and other land uses.

The event began with an inter-parliamentary dialogue held on June 23, with the participation of specialists and representatives of youth and civil society organizations. The session, which focused on addressing the transition to clean energy within the transportation and energy sectors, featured presentations by Andrea Palma, the GIZ’s technical adviser for the EUROCLIMA+ Urban Mobility Component, and Dr. Devon Gardner, head of Technical Programs at the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

The gathering also included the round table dialogue “Intersecting Sectors, perspectives and the role of parliament,” held among representatives of various stakeholders. The round table was moderated by Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, and featured the participation of the Honourable Kerrie D. Symmonds (Barbados), Minister of Energy and Business Development; Member of the Legislative Assembly Óscar Izquierdo Sandí (Costa Rica); Denell Florius, youth entrepreneur and co-founder and COO of EcoCarib and Caribbean Regional Coordinator for Youth Climate Lab; Laura Serna, champion of Escazú for Colombia and lawyer at the Legal Clinic of Public Actions of the University of Rosario; and Dr. Lake Sagaris, researcher and adjunct associate professor at the Institute for Sustainable Development of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

During the plenary session of the Gathering, held on July 5, the participants analyzed strategies to improve land use practices in order to reduce emissions associated with the agricultural sector. The plenary session included the panel “Supporting sustainable and inclusive agriculture and land use practices to reduce emissions,” moderated by the Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas PNCC and featuring presentations by Dr. Mercedes Bustamente, Professor at the Department of Ecology at the University of Brasilia and lead author of the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report; Dr. Osana Bonilla-Findji, Science Officer for Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, and Climate Smart Agricultural Practices; and the Honourable Matthew Samuda (Jamaica), Minister without Portfolio of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and Co-Chair of the NDC Partnership.

With the objective of strengthening institutional synergies between ParlAmericas and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) for the promotion of climate action in the region, the plenary session also provided a space for the presentation of the main conclusions of the IPU’s regional seminar on climate change for parliaments of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Montevideo from June 28 to 30. Senator Raúl Lozano Bonet (Uruguay), a Bureau member of the IPU Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, shared the key messages and lessons learned from the seminar held in the Parliament of Uruguay and emphasized the value of these useful spaces for exchanges between parliamentarians of the region, and the need for coordinated efforts to combat the effects of climate change.

During a subsequent discussion moderated by Member of Congress Fátima Mena Baide (Honduras), the parliamentarians shared experiences and good practices related to the electrification of transportation and the improvement of public transit, the increased use of renewable energy, and the reduction of deforestation and improved land use.

Finally, Member of the National Assembly Bruno Segovia Mejía (Ecuador), First Vice-President for South America of the ParlAmericas PNCC, read the Gathering declaration. The meeting concluded with the announcement of the election by acclamation of Member of the Legislative Assembly Óscar Izquierdo Sandí (Costa Rica) to occupy the vacant position for Central America on the Executive Committee of the PNCC.

Referring to the importance of the issues addressed during the Gathering, the Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), stated that “The decision to dedicate this meeting to addressing the pressing need to accelerate the energy transition is no coincidence: as highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, despite the significant progress made on climate action, current levels of climate ambition will be insufficient to limit the global average temperature to well below 2 °C, which is one of the key targets of the Paris Agreement.”


July 1, 2022

ParlAmericas participates in the EUROsociAL+ meeting on new social contracts and partnerships for more resilient and inclusive societies

On June 29 and 30, EUROsociAL+ organized a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, with the aim of continuing to strengthen regional integration and consolidating sustainable and inclusive public policies. This event brought together representatives and authorities from different Latin American countries who held high-level dialogues in relation to lessons learned in light of EUROsociAL+ programme results, and shared reflections on new social contracts that facilitate a just, green and inclusive transition. Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, participated in these dialogues offering a parliamentary perspective within these spaces.

During her speech, Senator Ovelar highlighted the important role of parliamentary diplomacy for hemispheric collaboration on issues relevant to the convergence of actions in favor of democratic principles shared by the legislators who participate in activities and governance of ParlAmericas. Along these lines, she stressed that it is essential to reduce the prevailing inequality gaps in Latin America and that the “construction of new social pacts also requires that parliaments address the challenges we currently face from a more comprehensive and systemic perspective.”

ParlAmericas and EUROsociAL+ have collaborated on different activities and projects, such as the Legislative Transparency Toolkit, a key aspect for more resilient and inclusive societies.


June 30, 2022

ParlAmericas statement on the situation in Ecuador

In response to the mobilizations and demonstrations that have taken place in Ecuador and spread to several cities in the country, ParlAmericas expresses its support for democratic dialogue and peaceful, consensus-based resolution of conflicts, with observance for the Rule of Law.

Open dialogue and collaboration among all actors is essential to reaching a peaceful solution to this political crisis with full respect for human rights. National parliaments are crucial actors in these processes, given their 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.


June 29, 2022

ParlAmericas participated in the launch of the UNFCCC Academy for Global Youth Leadership Empowerment in Latin America

On June 29, 2022, ParlAmericas participated in the event “Strengthening Youth Leadership for Climate Action: Launch of AGYLE Latin America“, organized by the Regional Collaboration Centre in Panama of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The main objective of the meeting was to launch the Academy for Global Youth Leadership Empowerment (AGYLE), an initiative that seeks to build capacity, empower and interconnect youth, defenders, and entrepreneurs who want to promote a sustainable future. In this framework, Michelle Volpin, Project manager of the ParlAmericas Climate Change and Sustainability Program, moderated a panel of young women leaders from various sectors who presented on the initiatives they are implementing to promote the participation of youth in climate negotiations and processes, with a focus on the empowerment of girls and women.

The panel included the participation of Carol Simon (Panama), Climate Change analyst at the Ministry of the Environment, Carolina Guerra (Panama), founder of Jóvenes y Cambio Climático (Youth and Climate Change organization in English), and Maria Aguilar (Colombia), resilience fellow and climate champion for UNFCCC as a representative of YOUNGO, the non-governmental youth advocacy group for the UNFCCC. The meeting concluded with a presentation by UNICEF and the official launch of the Knowledge Exchange Platform that AGYLE Latin America is developing to promote capacity building for the substantive participation of youth in decision-making processes.


June 28, 2022

ParlAmericas participates in the Inter-Parliamentary Union Regional Seminar on climate change for parliaments of Latin America and the Caribbean

On June 28th, in representation of ParlAmericas, the Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC), along with the Honourable Manzoor Nadir (Guyana), Speaker of the National Assembly, participated in the panel “Accelerating a clean energy transition and enhancing climate finance to implement the Paris Agreement” during the Regional Seminar on climate change for parliaments of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Seminar was jointly organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Parliament of Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay from June 28-30.

Senator Galvez’s presentation highlighted some of the practices that ParlAmericas and the IPU share in supporting parliaments in their endeavors to advance climate action, as well as the key outcomes from the Interparliamentary Dialogue of the 6th Gathering of the ParlAmericas PNCC, which took place June 23, 2022. The Interparliamentary Dialogue focused on legislative strategies to decarbonize the energy and transportation sectors in a gender responsive and socially inclusive manner. She noted that the Dialogue demonstrated the importance of ensuring that a just and inclusive energy transition considers intersectional approaches to foster women’s participation in the green economy which is often a male-dominated field.

In Senator Galvez’s remarks she also expressed that “with a sound body of international instruments and a regional political agenda to guide climate action, it falls upon decision makers to advance comprehensive and ambitious climate policies that incorporate scientific evidence to strengthen this momentum as we move forward in the road to low emissions. To this end, the PNCC is hosting its 6th gathering. This is the first ParlAmericas parliamentary gathering since the 9th Summit of the Americas, which provides an excellent opportunity to implement its mandate and transform these regional political commitments into legislative action.”

In his presentation, Speaker Nadir spoke about Guyana’s experience in the energy transition, as well as the work of ParlAmericas to support parliaments in their financial and budgetary role to ensure national budgets align with national climate commitments. He highlighted that “ParlAmericas today has the highest number of seats of Caribbean parliamentarians on its Board of Directors, in the Institution’s history. It is the presiding officers of Caribbean parliaments, such as myself, that occupy these seats on the Board – testimony to ParlAmericas’ work both in value and relevance to our reality. As the region work towards a clean energy transition, accelerating the development, deployment, and dissemination of green technologies in accordance with the Glasgow Climate Pact, spaces for parliamentarians to exchange on regional good practices, such as the inter-parliamentary spaces created by ParlAmericas and IPU, are beneficial in ensuring we achieve our targets.” Moreover, he shared resources developed by ParlAmericas, such as the “Primer on Climate Financing” and the recently published “Primer on Development Financing” which describes financial opportunities available in the region and innovative ways to fund sustainable development, considering the implications of development finance for the capital flows and debt levels of a country.


June 27, 2022

Young Women of Saint Lucia Take Their Seats in Parliament

On June 27, 2022, young women from across Saint Lucia served as parliamentarians and parliamentary officials in historic, all-women simulated parliamentary debates of the House of Assembly and the Senate of the Parliament of Saint Lucia. These Sittings marked the culmination of the Young Women in Leadership – Saint Lucia (YWiL SLU) programme organized by ParlAmericas, the Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) Regional Secretariat and Saint Lucia Chapter, and the Parliament of Saint Lucia, in which more than 35 young women leaders between the ages of 18-25 from across the country participated.

The YWiL program supports young women in preparing for future leadership by providing training and education on political leadership, encouraging consideration of leadership and service from a transformational perspective, and creating a space to foster supportive communities of women and other allies. In line with these goals, YWiL SLU participants completed virtual and in-person training sessions throughout May and June that focused on the programme’s core components: transformational leadership, gender equality and inclusive decision-making, parliamentary procedure, and strategies for effective leadership. The sessions were guided by distinguished facilitators and presenters, including parliamentarians, civil society leaders, practitioners from various fields, and other leaders from Saint Lucia and across the region.

During the YWiL SLU Parliamentary Sittings, participants applied their learning as they debated a motion that called for the government to develop an action plan to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in preparing for a changing economy. The motion was considered by both chambers, with participants debating the best strategies to achieve the goal of addressing gender inequality in the economy, drawing on their expertise and research and in alignment with their specific role in the session. Following the program’s conclusion, participants are also encouraged to share the learning and skills gained within their communities.

YWiL SLU is the latest in a series of such activities being organised in the Caribbean, forming a core component of the ParlAmericas-CIWiL joint project to advance women’s political participation in the Caribbean, supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. Two YWiL initiatives have been hosted previously under the project: in Trinidad and Tobago in February-March 2020 and in Antigua and Barbuda in October-November 2020.


June 17, 2022

Government of Canada Announces Support to ParlAmericas Projects in Latin America and in the Caribbean

ParlAmericas is pleased to share that on June 10, 2022 the Government of Canada announced contributions to a pair of complementary projects to strengthen inclusive and gender responsive governance through work with parliaments and civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Strengthening Political Capacities for Gender Responsive Governance in Latin America ($4.9 million contribution) is a four-year project to promote a gender-responsive governance in 19 Latin American countries through knowledge sharing activities and technical support directed to parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, women’s advocates, and civil society.

Strengthening Political Capacities for Gender Responsive Governance in the Caribbean ($2.4 million contribution) is a four-year project that will similarly address political, structural and legislative barriers to gender equality and women’s empowerment through programming with parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, women’s advocates, and civil society in 14 Caribbean Community countries.

“These projects are an opportunity to build on important progress and promote exchange between parliaments on advancing climate action, open parliament, and the sustainable development of our societies using practices that are responsive to the needs of all our citizens, in particular those traditionally left out of decision making processes, such as women and girls. We must work collectively to empower women’s voices in our democracies,” stated Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas.

This announcement reflects commitments outlined in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), which recognizes that reducing poverty and inequalities requires a transformation of social norms and power relations that disadvantage women and girls. This aligns with the guiding principles and activities of ParlAmericas to promote women’s political participation and partnerships for inclusive governance.

“Proactive dialogue and relationship-building with women’s civil society is important to ensure that our work as parliamentarians is informed by experience of women from diverse backgrounds. The projects will provide a continued space, through ParlAmericas, for our parliaments to work together and alongside women advocates in confronting barriers to gender equality,” stated the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas.

For over 20 years, ParlAmericas has facilitated inter-parliamentary activities and collective efforts to advance women’s political leadership and gender mainstreaming in legislative work in the Americas and the Caribbean. These efforts are supported by a permanent working group of parliamentarians, the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality.


June 7, 2022

The Parliamentary Gathering on the occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas in the city of Los Angeles comes to a close

The Parliamentary Gathering on the occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas, organized by the House Democracy Partnership (HDP) of the United States House of Representatives, came to a close today, June 7, 2022, in the city of Los Angeles, USA.

A ParlAmericas parliamentary delegation of legislators from the Americas and the Caribbean, participated in dialogue sessions with fellow legislators from the host country and from the different parliaments of the hemisphere where they addressed relevant issues related to the five thematic areas of the IX Summit of the Americas: democratic governance, health and resilience, a green future, energy transition, and digital transformation. The event’s agenda also featured a discussion with Mr. Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States.

Tomorrow, thanks to an invitation extended to ParlAmericas by the Young American Business Trust, the members of the parliamentary delegation will have the opportunity to participate in the VI Youth Forum in the Americas to be held on June 8 and 9.

The Parliamentary Gathering on the occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas offered participants a space to promote parliamentary participation in the inter-American system and contribute to valuable inter-parliamentary dialogue on issues of hemispheric importance.


June 6, 2022

ParlAmericas participates in the Parliamentary Gathering on the Occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas that begins today in Los Angeles

A ParlAmericas parliamentary delegation, composed of legislators from the Americas and the Caribbean, is attending the Parliamentary Gathering on the Occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas, organized by the House Democracy Partnership (HDP) of the U.S. House of Representatives, which begins today, June 6, 2022, in the city of Los Angeles, United States.

During the next two days, the participating parliamentarians, together with fellow legislators from the host country and from different parliaments across the hemisphere, will have the opportunity to share experiences and good legislative practices on the topics that will be addressed during the IX Summit of the Americas “Building a sustainable, resilient and equitable future”, which will have five thematic areas: democratic governance, health and resilience, green future, energy transition, and digital transformation.

In addition, and thanks to an invitation extended to ParlAmericas by the Young American Business Trust, parliamentarians will be able to attend the VI Young Americas Forum to be held on June 8 and 9. The Forum, which will be held in person and virtually, will provide a space for youth representatives to present recommendations to the Summit based on the 5 C’s of Youth Development: climate change, COVID-19, collaborating with youth, combating corruption, and connectivity and digital transformation.

This series of activities are part of ParlAmericas’ mission objectives, which seek to promote parliamentary participation in the inter-American system and contribute to inter-parliamentary dialogue on issues of hemispheric importance. Thus, since its creation prior to the III Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City, Canada, in 2001, ParlAmericas has led the participation of parliaments in the Summits of the Americas.

For more information on ParlAmericas’ participation in the Parliamentary Gathering on the Occasion of the IX Summit of the Americas, please visit www.parlamericas.org and follow us on our social networks through @ParlAmericas.


June 1, 2022

ParlAmericas organized the high-level dialogue “Promoting Multilateralism through Parliamentary Diplomacy” ahead of the 9th Summit of the Americas

Parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean participated today in a high-level dialogue titled “Promoting Multilateralism through Parliamentary Diplomacy” organized in advance of the 9th Summit of the Americas to be held from June 6 to 10, 2022 in the city of Los Angeles, United States.

Keeping in mind that the Summit is the hemispheric body for the coordination of regional actions to address ongoing and new challenges in the hemisphere, and in view of the role played by the legislative branch in implementing the resulting agreements and commitments, ParlAmericas considered it appropriate to provide its members with a high-level space, prior to the 9th Summit of the Americas, for a dialogue on the importance of multilateralism and parliamentary diplomacy in confronting some of the challenges faced by our region.

Highlighting the importance of parliamentary involvement in international affairs, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, stated that “it is an issue that is becoming increasingly relevant, not only because of the necessary collaboration and coordination between government branches to ensure the achievement of the state’s goals and the performance of its duties, but also in view of today’s complex political, social, and economic context, which requires international cooperation at the highest level.”

The Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas, subsequently asserted that “parliaments play a critical role in the successful fulfilment of the political commitments made at the Summit of the Americas; most of the mandates adopted by governments have legislative implications.”

The meeting also included the panel “Multi-stakeholder perspectives in the Summit of the Americas Process” and a presentation by Senator Javier Macaya (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, of the document Contributions to the Implementation of the Lima Commitment. This publication reviews the work carried out through ParlAmericas to advance the implementation of the Lima Commitment: Democratic Governance against Corruption, adopted at the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru.


May 31, 2022

Virtual Caribbean exchange on establishing parliamentary women’s caucuses hosted by ParlAmericas, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and UN Women Caribbean

On May 30, 2022, ParlAmericas, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), and UN Women Caribbean hosted a virtual exchange on establishing parliamentary women’s caucuses, which gathered parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from across the Caribbean region. Parliamentary women’s caucuses bring together parliamentarians committed to advancing women’s rights and gender equality to coordinate their efforts and accelerate progress. There is no set format for these groups. Rather, they can be designed to accomplish the specific goals of the individuals seeking to form the caucus, taking into consideration the national socio-political context. The meeting was organized to provide support to the many parliaments of the region who are currently in the process, or are exploring the possibility of, establishing these bodies.

The activity opened with remarks by the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), President of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas, and Ms. Tonni Brodber, Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean. Afterwards, a panel of representatives from three established women’s caucuses shared their experiences establishing and maintaining their respective groups: the Honourable Alincia Williams Grant (Antigua and Barbuda), President of the Senate; the Right Honourable Maria Miller, Member of Parliament and representative of the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in Parliament; and the Honourable Justine Mukobwa, Member of the Chamber of Deputies and Secretary General of the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum.

Following the presentations, panellists and participants engaged in a productive dialogue where they discussed challenges encountered and good practices learned thus far from their experiences creating parliamentary women’s caucuses. Representatives from the partner organisations also highlighted resources, tools, and opportunities for assistance that could serve as ongoing supports to the parliaments of the region in these efforts. The Honourable Valerie Woods (Belize), Speaker of the House of Representatives, provided remarks to close the meeting.


May 24, 2022

ParlAmericas organizes meeting with parliamentary staff from Latin America to discuss induction processes with a gender perspective and new work dynamics in parliaments, caused by the pandemic

On Tuesday, May 24, representatives of parliaments from several Latin American countries participated in the second virtual meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Gender Equality (PSNGE).

During the meeting, participants had the opportunity to learn more about induction processes with a gender perspective for parliamentarians in new legislative periods in Costa Rica and Colombia. In addition, a fruitful exchange of experiences was carried out on initiatives that promote gender equality within the operations of the parliament, intentionally or as a collateral result, which were implemented during the pandemic, and which remain in place to improve the dynamics of parliamentary work within legislative institutions.

Magister Sulma Campos Mata (Mexico), head of the Technical Unit for Gender Equality of the Senate and general coordinator of the ParlAmericas PSNGE, was in charge of the opening remarks for the working session. Additionally, official representatives of the Honourable Chamber of Senators of Paraguay shared institutional advances for gender equality after the presentation of the results of a survey carried out with ParlAmericas on harassment and violence in the workplace.


May 23, 2022

ParlAmericas participates in the Legistech: The Americas conference, on institutional modernization and digital transformation

On Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20, Bússola Tech, a Brazilian organization that promotes the exchange of technology-supported experiences and initiatives, held the conference Legistech: The Americas, which included thematic discussion panels, presentations, and dialogues with parliamentary representatives and guest specialists from the region. These activities provided a space for sharing information on experiences in institutional modernization and digital transformation processes in the different legislatures of the Americas and the Caribbean.

The opening of the conference featured speeches by Mr. Hernán Larraín, former president of the Senate of Chile and of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, and Member of the Chamber of Deputies Marcelo Ramos, Vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, who discussed the importance of leadership at the institutional level for the modernization of parliaments. Ms. Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director General of ParlAmericas, also participated in this dialogue, facilitating an exchange on the key considerations for advancing these processes.

In addition, Mr. Luis Rojas, Deputy Secretary of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, and Mr. Bernardo Andrés Gutiérrez Hidalgo, adviser to the Parliamentary Thematic Group on Open Parliament of the National Assembly of Ecuador, participated on behalf of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament and presented the progress made in modernizing their respective parliaments, as well as the crucial aspects of focus for the region related to legislative openness. Mrs. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, gave a presentation on how inter-parliamentary dialogue has been a tool for driving innovation and processes related to digital transformation in the parliaments of the region. Finally, Mrs. Natalí Casanova-Burkholder, Open Parliament Project Manager at ParlAmericas, shared recommendations included in the Road Map towards Legislative Openness 2.0 related to innovation and digital transformation.


May 20, 2022

ParlAmericas gets briefed by the OAS in advance of the IX Summit of the Americas

On 17 May, members of ParlAmericas’ governing bodies, its board of directors and thematic network executive committees, convening parliamentarians designated by the national parliaments from the Americas and the Caribbean, received a briefing from senior OAS officials in advance of the IX Summit of the Americas to be held from June 6-10 in Los Angeles, United States of America, under the central theme of Building a Sustainable, Resilient and Equitable Future.

The meeting included interventions by ParlAmericas President Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay) and Vice-President Bridgid Annisette-George, Speaker of the House of Representatives (Trinidad and Tobago), and presentations by Francisco Guerrero, OAS Secretary for Strengthening Democracy and OAS representative to the Board of ParlAmericas, and María Celina Conte, Director of the Summits of the Americas Secretariat, followed by an interactive dialogue.

In their presentations, Mr. Francisco Guerrero gave an overview of the political climate in the region, and Ms. Maria Celina Conte shared a summary of the Summits of the Americas process, and the different official forums and stakeholders involved.

Recognizing that the Summit is the hemispheric instance for the coordination of regional actions to address the ongoing and new challenges in the hemisphere and given the relevance of the issues it addresses, ParlAmericas has been taking steps to strengthen the substantive participation of parliamentarians of the hemisphere in the Summits of the Americas process.

With this in mind and considering the need to reaffirm the importance of parliamentary participation in multilateral spaces, the meeting included the announcement that a hemispheric inter-parliamentary meeting will be held ahead of the IX Summit of the Americas.

This virtual meeting, scheduled for the first of June, will bring together parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean to discuss the importance of parliamentary diplomacy for multilateralism and regional integration.

In addition, a ParlAmericas parliamentary delegation composed of members of the Board and the executive committees of the ParlAmericas networks, will participate in the parliamentary meeting organized within the framework of the IX Summit to be held in the city of Los Angeles on June 6 and 7, 2022.


April 27, 2022

ParlAmericas participated in the workshop “Leadership for Good Governance and Social Transformation in the Caribbean” hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Caribbean Women in Leadership, and UN Women Caribbean

ParlAmericas participated in the workshop “Leadership for Good Governance and Social Transformation in the Caribbean,” organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL), and the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean on April 25-27, 2022, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The workshop brought together parliamentarians, ministers, gender specialists, activists, and dignitaries from across the Caribbean to discuss women’s empowerment and transformational leadership.

Following the official inauguration on April 25, an opening panel set the stage for the workshop discussions. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, took part in the session and in her remarks affirmed the importance of transformational leadership and how ParlAmericas supports parliaments in fostering women’s political empowerment. She noted that: “Without a doubt, the crises that we face today globally – which are compounded in various ways as experienced in Caribbean countries – require bold, feminist, and transformational leadership, from women and from men alike. This is simply a foundation of good governance – and it looks like: leaders recognizing a society’s differentiated needs, championing policies with equity at their core, and actioning political commitments to leave no one behind.”

The workshop then featured a series of thematic sessions addressing topics such as gender equality, leadership and post COVID-19 recovery; good governance and transformational leadership; gender analyses in parliamentary functions; and successful approaches in challenging barriers to political leadership.

In a session titled “Utilizing Parliamentary Processes to ensure Gender Equality” held on April 26, Eilish Elliott, ParlAmericas Project Manager – Gender Equality, presented strategies to apply a gender lens in parliamentary processes. She stated that, “By applying a gender lens in the drafting or review of any legislation, motion, budget, or other matter that comes before you – because every topic has a gender angle and will differently impact your constituents – every intervention you make and question you pose presents an opportunity to put gender equality on the agenda, contribute to more inclusive outcomes, and strengthen your representation of constituents.”

On April 27, the final day of the workshop, Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques (Jamaica), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, moderated the session “Successful Approaches in Challenging Barriers to Political Leadership.” This session also included a presentation by Senator Gregory Nicholls (Barbados) on the role of male parliamentarians as champions for women’s leadership and gender equality. Parliamentarians interested in further guidance on this topic may wish to consult the “Men as Allies for Gender Equality” toolkit available on the ParlAmericas and UN Women Caribbean portal ParlGenderTools, an online resource hub designed to support parliamentarians in applying a gender lens to parliamentary initiatives.

For ParlAmericas, this multi-stakeholder meeting was an important opportunity to reconvene with partners in-person on crucial issues related to promoting women’s political empowerment in the Caribbean since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work undertaken in this area by ParlAmericas is done in collaboration with women’s organizations like CIWiL, thanks to the generous support of the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and its commitment to the advancement of gender equality in the Caribbean and more widely across the hemisphere.


April 20, 2022

ParlAmericas took part in the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Escazú Agreement

On April 20, 2022, ParlAmericas, represented by Senator Raúl Bolaños Cacho-Cué (Mexico), vice-president of North America for the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, took part in the special session “Towards the effective implementation of the Escazú Agreement and greater cooperation” in the first Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Escazú Agreement, hosted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). A series of preliminary remarks on the progress made in the implementation of the Escazú Agreement, the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, were shared during this first COP held between April 20-22, 2022, in Santiago, Chile. The topics of articles 14, 15 and 18 of the Agreement were addressed, among other relevant matters.

This session was also attended by key representatives of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), among others. They shared their views on the progress made, the challenges to be tackled, and the opportunities ahead to achieve a full and effective implementation of the rights to access environmental information, public involvement in environmental decision-making processes, and access to justice regarding environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean. Public officers and experts agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation, foster dialogue among stakeholders and adopt a multilateral approach as strategies to enable further progress in the implementation of the Agreement. They also reaffirmed their commitment to advancing the agenda.

In his intervention, Senator Bolaños emphasized that it is key that parliaments continue to be included in these efforts: “Our role as parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean is instrumental for the success of the Escazú Agreement. Not only because the Parliament is charged with ratifying it, but also that the political and budgetary oversight we must perform favour its implementation. The involvement of parliamentarians in these areas is particularly relevant to the spirit of the Agreement, as the legislative branch is the forum for representation, deliberation and substantive participation of our fellow citizens in decision-making processes”.


April 6, 2022

ParlAmericas and the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago hosted a workshop for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff on circular economy

On April 6th ParlAmericas and the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago hosted a meeting titled “Towards a Circular Economy: A Workshop for Parliamentarians and Parliamentary Staff of Trinidad and Tobago” to explore strategies for parliament to inclusively support and promote the transition towards a circular economic model at a national level, and simultaneously contribute to a green and future focused economic recovery post-COVID-19.

The honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas offered welcoming remarks, highlighting the opportunities that a circular economy presents to advance a sustainable development: “A circular economy not only stimulates greener economic growth, but when implemented through an intersectional lens can promote gender equality, by namely providing financial support to community projects and ventures of the youth and women that promote circularity. In this way we also empower our citizens as agents of change in the transition towards circularity, as we all work together to support a societal shift away from wasteful consumption patterns and towards the sustainable consumption and production practices recommended in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The workshop featured a series of circular economy specialists who presented on the manner in which a circular lens can be applied to a variety of sectors, such as waste management, trade, energy, agriculture, tourism and transport, and encourage synergy between them; the importance of gathering data to monitor the implementation of circular economy policies; the progress made thus far and opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago to further their transition towards circularity; the benefits of regional collaboration; and how to better engage the community on these topics. The specialists included: Vanessa Esslinger, Circular Economy Specialist & Coordination of the Circular Economy Coalition for Latin America and the Caribbean; David Oswald, Founder and President, DE Design + Environment Inc., FRCGS (Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society), and Associate Faculty, Royal Roads University; Dr. Sherwyn Millette, Sustainability Consultant at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago; and Sian Cuffy-Young, Waste management Educator, Trainer and the founder and CEO of Siel Environment Services Limited.

Senator Anthony Vieira (Trinidad and Tobago), Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, moderated the workshop’s panel discussion. The panel was followed by an interactive section, “Words into Action”, which had participants discuss the opportunities and challenges of integrating a circular economy in Trinidad and Tobago, by using a SWOT analysis which also applied a legislative approach and intersectional lens. During the meeting, Senator Vieira noted the role of parliament in this undertaking: “It has been said, and I agree, that there’s no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw something away, it must go somewhere. Unfortunately, we have a culture of littering, polluting, and throwing away which is wasteful, irresponsible, and counter productive. The circular economy model- which encourages reuse and recycling- offers a proactive approach to stop littering and take greater responsibility for our environment. It recognizes that waste is only waste if we waste it. We need a national strategy, and related regulatory frameworks, geared towards a circular economy. The Parliament has a key role in supporting the advancement and integration of a circular economic model through legislative, oversight, and budgetary functions to prevent litter, reduce landfill pollution, keep our waters clean, and generally save the environment for the benefit and well being of all.”

The meeting concluded with closing remarks by the Honourable Christine Kangaloo (Trinidad and Tobago), President of the Senate, in which she reflected on the value of the meeting: “Today’s workshop presented us with a two-fold opportunity: to listen to the learning from the experts on this subject and to hear first-hand about their experiences, and then, to collectively discuss with them and amongst ourselves how, together as Parliamentarians, we can integrate circular economic models in Trinidad and Tobago”.


March 30, 2022

ParlAmericas participated in a Conference on Environmental Democracy hosted by Westminster Foundation for Democracy

On March 30, 2022, ParlAmericas participated in the Conference on Environmental Democracy hosted by Westminster Foundation for Democracy.  Ms. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, moderated a panel session on “Participation in Decision-Making: Trends and Challenges”,  which featured Member of the National Assembly Edison Broce (Panama); Ms. Birgitta Ohlsson, Director of Political Parties, National Democratic Institute (NDI); Ms. Hannah Mowat Campaigns Coordinator, Forest and Environment Resources Network (FERN); and Augustine B. Njamnshi, Executive Secretary of Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme Cameroon (BDCPC), Member of the Access Initiative and Member of the Board of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).

The session explored how access to decision-making on environment and sustainability is working in the face of the climate crises, identifying trends and opportunities for innovation to facilitate the inclusion of environmental and democracy support organisations, movements, academics and interested citizens within decision-making processes. In addition, presentations were made showcasing the diverse cases on how this process works in different regions and frameworks (such as parliaments, political parties, regional institutions and civil society alliances) and the different challenges that still remain.

In her opening remarks for the session Ms. Alisha Todd offered her insights on the importance of promoting inclusive decision making processes: “If the pandemic and current world affairs have taught us anything, it is how interconnected our economic, social and environmental systems are and how we rely on each other to make effective decisions, and to ensure that decision making is inclusive and holistically works towards improving social welfare, building resilience, and ensuring that we meet our responsibility as current stewards of the planet to leave a clean and healthy world for future generations.”

During his intervention, Member of the National Assembly Edison Broce (Panama) reaffirmed the role of parliamentarians in strengthening democracy stating: “As parliamentarians we are the representatives of our communities, and therefore have the obligation to meaningfully consider the needs of our constituencies and ensure that their demands are rightly heard. One of the best ways to ensure that the needs and perspectives of all individuals are equitably considered is by putting participation at the heart of democratic strengthening, making certain that individuals are invited to meaningfully participate in the decision-making process.”


March 23, 2022

ParlAmericas held the 6th Gathering of the Open Parliament Network titled “Integrity Matters: Building Stronger Democracies”

With the support of the Chamber of Senators of Paraguay as host parliament, ParlAmericas held the 6th Gathering of the Open Parliament Network (OPN) on March 9, 15 and 22 with a series of virtual activities designed to address the issue of public integrity.

The gathering brought together parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and representatives of youth and civil society organizations from the Americas and the Caribbean to discuss public integrity, recognizing its importance not only in preventing and fighting corruption, but as one of the fundamental pillars of democratic governance.

The event opened with a parliamentary dialogue session with youth and civil society representatives held on March 9. The session featured a keynote address by Daniel Ortega Nieto, Senior Governance Specialist at the World Bank. The event also included a dialogue titled “Leading with Integrity: Joint Actions in the Public Interest,” which was moderated by the Honourable René Cormier (Canada), Senator and Vice-President for North America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, with the participation of Senator Jorge Querey Rojas (Paraguay), rapporteur of the Special Committee for Open Parliament; the Honourable Juan Edghill (Guyana), Minister of Public Works; Karina Kalpschtrej, Director of Institutional Strengthening at Poder Ciudadano; Svenja Bonnecke, member of Chile Transparente and Coordinator of the SANCUS project; Elvis Radamés Acosta, youth representative of the Leading with Integrity Program of Espacio Cívico, Panama; and David Salmon, member of the Jamaican Youth Parliament.

In addition, the inter-parliamentary dialogue session took place on March 15. It included the keynote panel “New Challenges and Trends in Advancing Public Integrity,” with the participation of René Fernández Bobadilla, Minister Executive Secretary of the National Anticorruption Secretariat of Paraguay; Julio Bacio Terracino, Head of the OECD Public Sector Integrity Division; and Radivoje Grujic, Democratic Governance Officer at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The session was moderated by the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas. Two working groups were also organized: one dedicated to conflicts of interest and another to public integrity systems.

The final activity, the plenary session was held on March 22, featuring a keynote address titled “Strengthening Public Integrity for Democratic Governance” by Delia Ferreira, Chair of Transparency International. The session was moderated by the Honourable Joseph Isaac (Dominica), Speaker of the House of Assembly and ParlAmericas Board Member. During the session, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, officially launched the Road Map towards Legislative Openness 2.0, and Lotte Geunis, Open Parliament Consultant at the Open Government Partnership, presented the Memorandum on Parliamentary Engagement of that organization.

The plenary session also included a presentation of the results of the open parliament commitments adopted at the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, as well as progress reports on actions to promote legislative openness.  The Honourable Reginald Farley (Barbados), President of the Senate, moderated the presentations of the participating parliamentary delegations.

Thereafter, Senator Hermelinda Alvarenga de Ortega (Paraguay), Second Vice-President of the Chamber of Senators of the Republic of Paraguay, read the declaration of the 6th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network. Afterwards, Senator Javier Macaya (Chile), President of the OPN, shared his final thoughts, highlighting the importance of integrity in the context of the institutional efforts made by the region’s parliaments to strengthen legislative openness. In her closing remarks, Director General of ParlAmericas Alisha Todd announced the election by acclamation of the Honourable Reginald Farley (Barbados), President of the Senate, to fill the vacant seat for the Caribbean on the OPN Executive Committee.

In reference to the importance of creating a culture of integrity, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, noted that “it is an essential condition, not only for fighting corruption—a complex phenomenon that is unfortunately prevalent and has profound effects—but also for strengthening good governance, creating more productive economies and promoting more inclusive societies.”

With regard to the event, Senator Javier Macaya (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas OPN, stated that “we dedicated the 6th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network to addressing the importance of integrity, recognizing its close relationship with the principles of legislative openness and its relevance as a fundamental pillar of democratic governance.”

For her part, Senator Hermelinda Alvarenga de Ortega (Paraguay) mentioned that “we have had the opportunity to learn about new perspectives and good practices for strengthening codes of conduct in parliament, particularly with regard to conflicts of interest. It is important to recognize the significant progress made in areas such as accountability, transparency and access to information.”


March 22, 2022

Parallel Event “Youth Advocacy for Effective Climate Action with a Gender Perspective in Parliaments,” in the framework of the NGO CSW66 Forum

Today, ParlAmericas organized a parallel event as part of the Forum of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) of the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) titled “Youth Advocacy for Effective Climate Action with a Gender Perspective in Parliaments.” The objective of this session was to explore the strategies that can be used by young people in Latin America to promote feminist climate action in legislatures.

The opening address was delivered by Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, who also participated in a roundtable during the event, along with Ms. Andrea Chacón (Costa Rica), Ms. Martina Gómez (Argentina), and Ms. Marinés Tapiero (Panama); all of whom exchanged perspectives and experiences on collaborations among civil society, youth, and decision makers.

The session highlighted different mechanisms for elevating the voices of young people in legislative processes and the inclusion of their perspectives in the establishment of climate agendas that have a gender equality perspective.

In this regard, Senator Camino stated that “Promoting the strengthening of citizen participation, and especially intergenerational representation, in legislative decision-making is key to continuing to build more solid and inclusive democracies.”


March 18, 2022

ParlAmericas participated in a seminar hosted by the University of British Columbia on the Inter-American Democratic Charter

In preparation for the upcoming IX Summit of the Americas, ParlAmericas contributed to the Round table on the Inter-American Democratic Charter: Learning through dialogue with academics, civil society, and democratic leaders, hosted by the Department of Political Science & School of Public Policy and Global Affairs of the University of British Columbia.

Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), 2nd Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Board and President of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC), participated in the panel alongside academics from the University of Pennsylvania (USA), Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico), Universidade de Sao Paulo (Brazil), and the University of British Columbia (Canada), who presented case studies on relevant democracy issues from the hemisphere. Moreover, Andrew Stevenson, Special Advisor at the Summits of the Americas Secretariat, addressed the linkages between the IX Summit and the Democratic Charter.

During her presentation, Senator Galvez expressed her perspective on the role parliaments have in building strong and inclusive democracies, and the manner in which parliamentarians are integrating an intersectional perspective to achieve an equitable and sustainable future: “In order to restore political confidence it is clear that we need to make sure that all decisions are transparent, evidence-based, and we need to improve mechanisms for citizen participation on public issues, update social protection systems, transform production and consumption models under sustainable paradigms, and curb the negative effects of climate change. As we start to consider the perspectives of others, especially from those populations that have been traditionally marginalized, we can start making systemic changes that get at the root of the problems that our societies face”.

This presentation was part of the pre-Summit of the Americas activities that ParlAmericas is undertaking to engage parliamentarians in discussions with stakeholders, including civil society and academia, on the themes of the Ninth Summit of the Americas centring on Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future. Hosted by the United States of America, the IX Summit will take place this year in Los Angeles from June 6-10, and ParlAmericas, as part of its institutional mandate, will support parliamentary engagement with the process.


February 24, 2022

ParlAmericas participated in the Launching of the Shared Vision of the Latin America and the Caribbean Circular Economy Coalition

On February 24, 2022, ParlAmericas, represented by Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, participated in the event “A circular economy in Latin America and the Caribbean: a shared vision” hosted by the Latin American and the Caribbean Circular Economy Coalition. The event launched the publication, authored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) and the other strategic partners within the Coalition, which unveils a shared vision of what a circular economy should look like in Latin America and the Caribbean, and how the region can advance this agenda to become a leader in circularity.

During the event, key representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme, Inter-American Development Bank, and EMF presented the process of developing the publication, and the possibilities this new direction will offer in terms of encouraging innovative economic growth and inclusive job creation, improving social welfare, and advancing environmental conservation so that future generations may also benefit from the region’s rich biodiversity and natural resources. High level government officials, including the Colombian Minister of Environment, highlighted their country’s support of the common vision and the progress they have made on this front. Moreover, allies of the Coalition, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Industrial Association of Colombia (ANDI in Spanish), the European Commission, and ParlAmericas, were invited to share their commitment to advancing the circular agenda and their support to the important role this new framework will play in the economic transformation.

In Senator Galvez’s intervention she remarked on the importance of continuing to include the parliament in these endeavours: “We understand that regional cooperation is essential to effectively address climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification and even the inequality gaps in our societies. Recognizing that these environmental problems do not respect borders, we welcome the initiative of the Coalition and the launch of this common vision developed by and for the region, gathering diverse perspectives from the different stakeholders. Legislators are instrumental in supporting the implementation of strategies designed to favor the transition to more sustainable economic models that promote the efficient use of resources.”


February 3, 2022

ParlAmericas attended the regular session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States held on February 2, 2022

Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, and the Honorable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice President of ParlAmericas, joined the Regular Session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on February 2, 2022, convened by its Chair, His Excellency Ambassador Everson Hull, Permanent Representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The purpose of President Ovelar and Vice President Annisette-George’s attendance was to present to the diplomatic delegations the work that ParlAmericas has developed in the hemisphere during these first 20 years of the institution, as well as to share with them the  perspectives for the future.

In her address, President Ovelar referred to the role of ParlAmericas in the Inter-American System, noting that “our active and diverse membership, represented by the legislatures of the hemisphere, recognizes that strengthening cooperation between the executive and legislative branches of the countries of the Americas and the Caribbean is an essential condition for the advancement of democracy, human rights, multidimensional security, and sustainable development, pillars of the OAS and causes that we also support in ParlAmericas.”

Vice President Annisette-George, in turn, stated that “given the uncertainties and polarizations that characterize our world today, it is more urgent than ever that our steps are well coordinated, that our political ties are strong. Our channels of communication must be open and regular. An ongoing exchange between our branches of Government – in such high-level spaces as this – represents an essential opportunity to strengthen democratic dialogue and to transform it into meaningful action.”

ParlAmericas’ participation in the most recent session of the OAS Permanent Council is a result of the close relationship between the two organizations and is a true reflection of the importance of promoting multilateralism to address issues of hemispheric importance.

To watch President Ovelar’s and Vice President Annisette-George’s remarks, please visit the following link.


February 3, 2022

CARICOM and UN Women Caribbean, in collaboration with ParlAmericas, organized a multi-stakeholder sensitization meeting ahead of CSW66

Today, the CARICOM Secretariat and the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean, in collaboration with ParlAmericas, offered a sensitization meeting in preparation for the 66th session of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW66), which will take place virtually and at United Nations Headquarters in March 2022. The priority theme for this year is “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.”

This virtual meeting highlighted Caribbean priorities in light of the CSW66 theme and a grounding in why climate change and disaster risk resilience are gender issues, with multi-stakeholder participation that included ministers with responsibility for gender affairs, parliamentarians, UN representatives, heads of the National Gender Machineries, and representatives of civil society organizations and academia.

Following a series of technical presentations about the CSW negotiation process, a keynote was delivered by Dr. Asha Kambon, renowned specialist on disaster risk management and gender equality. A panel then featured commentary by the Honourable Carolyn Trench-Sandiford, President of the Senate (Belize) and ParlAmericas Board member; Ms. Elizabeth Riley, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA); Ms. Joanna Edghill, Co-Founder and Director of Megapower Limited; and Ms. Sarah Bailey, Head of Programme at the UN World Food Programme – Caribbean Multi-Country Office.

In her participation, the Honourable Carolyn Trench-Sandiford spoke about the different manners in which parliaments can be involved in strategies to enhance adaptive capacity for inclusive, gender-responsive disaster risk management in the Caribbean Small Island Developing States. In addition to contributions related to lawmaking, for which she drew on examples from the Belizean legal landscape, she noted the importance of parliamentarians’ work with their constituents and at the community level in the context of disaster preparation and recovery efforts.

Moving forward, the inputs from the sensitization meeting will inform the crafting of the CARICOM statement for CSW66, which will reinforce region-specific priorities for centering gender-sensitive solutions for climate change and disaster risk issues. The CARICOM Statement for CSW 66 will be negotiated by Ministers with responsibility for gender/women’s affairs on February 17.


February 1, 2022

ParlAmericas held the Fourth Meeting of its Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament

ParlAmericas and the National Assembly of Ecuador held the Fourth Meeting of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament online on January 28, 2022. The meeting included a working session of thematic groups and a discussion panel featuring representatives of social and youth organizations.

The meeting convened parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and representatives of civil society and youth organizations from Latin America to reflect on regional progress made in terms of legislative openness and to learn from citizen representatives about the results and impacts of the implementation of this agenda on society. The meeting was led by regional coordinators of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament who offered their contributions during the working group sessions.

In reference to the event, Member of the National Assembly Wilma Andrade (Ecuador), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for South America, highlighted that “it provides an opportunity to listen to reflections and analyses of the achievements reached and challenges that we still face in this sustained effort to incorporate the principles and actions of open parliament in our legislatures. This exchange of experiences and lessons learned will undoubtedly be useful for strengthening and enriching future undertakings towards legislative openness.”

Mr. Luis Rojas (Chile), Deputy Secretary General of the Chamber of Deputies, and General Coordinator of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, noted, “We are no longer discussing whether or not to open our parliaments, but the manner in which to do it that ensures  these practices can be sustained over time and institutionalized, and thus incorporate legislative openness, its processes and principles, in parliamentary work to include all voices of society and leave no one behind, in line with the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals.”

Mr. Bernardo Gutiérrez (Ecuador), Advisor to the Parliamentary Thematic Group on Open Parliament of the National Assembly, and Regional Coordinator for South America of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament pointed out that “the Network seeks to provide an opportunity for us to gather together in a space that is conducive to dialogue, collaboration, and the exchange of experiences and good practices  for achieving legislative openness, so that we can better support the initiatives taken by legislatures to advance this agenda.”


December 15, 2021

Legislators, parliamentary staff, and civil society representatives from around the world participated in the Parliamentary Day at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit organized by OPeN

On Tuesday, December 14, 2021, Parliamentary Day was held virtually within the framework of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit, with the objective of bringing together the open parliament community to reflect on the role that legislatures have played as partners for open government reforms. It was attended by legislators, parliamentary staff, and civil society representatives from around the world, who exchanged initiatives, actions, and challenges regarding the progress of this agenda, centring the two themes: strengthening civic space and innovative measures against corruption.

The first part of the meeting highlighted the current challenges in safeguarding civic space and its implications for democracy. Likewise, initiatives that are being developed to guarantee citizen participation in the legislative work were shared. One of the cases presented was that of Costa Rica by Member of the Legislative Assembly Ana Lucia Delgado (Costa Rica), First Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, who spoke about the Open Parliament Institutional Committee that includes three representatives of civil society in its composition. To this end, a regulation was approved to establish the institutional processes for the integration of civil society organizations in this committee whose purpose is to lead the efforts in favour of legislative openness. To this end, a resolution was approved to establish the institutional processes needed for the integration of civil society organizations in this committee, whose purpose is to lead the efforts in support of legislative openness. This panel also included the Honourable Cornelius Mweetwa, Member of the National Assembly of Zambia; Mr. Damar Juniarto, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet); Mr. José Marinero Cortés, President of the Fundación Democracia, Transparencia y Justicia in El Salvador; and was moderated by Ms. Julia Keutgen, Senior Advisor on Transparency at the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.

In the second part of the meeting, the participants discussed innovative strategies to address corruption, considering the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Along these lines, initiatives, mechanisms, and tools that both parliaments and civil society organizations have used to monitor and promote public integrity in government actions were shared. Representing Canada, the Honourable Senator René Cormier, Second Vice-President for North America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, highlighted the recommendations made by the Senate to the Canadian Government to ensure that all measures against COVID are effective and produce the expected results. The recommendations highlighted the importance of improving data collection and reporting practices through the inclusion of additional details on region, race, ethnicity and gender, taking into consideration the economic impact of the pandemic on historically marginalized groups. This panel included interventions by Member of Parliament Givi Mikanadze from Georgia; Dr. Shiow-Duan Hawang, Professor at Soochow University in Taiwan; Ms. Caroline Gaita, Executive Director of Mzalendo Trust in Kenya; Ms. Etilda Gjonaj, former Minister of Justice of Albania; and was moderated by Ms. Corina Rebegea, Advisor to the National Democratic Institute.

The event was also attended by Senator Javier Macaya (Chile), President of ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, who emphasized that “legislative openness does not advance on its own: it requires the will of both legislators and civil servants, active citizenry, organizations with proposals, and a spirit of collaboration.” In this regard, he also highlighted the approval of OGP’s memorandum on parliamentary engagement, which is the result of a participatory process and is intended to guide parliaments in the necessary processes to establish action plans for legislative openness. Other notable interventions were made by the Honourable Dr. Paran Umar Tarawally, Secretary General of the Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Secretary of the OGP Parliamentary Working Group; Ms. Maria Baron, OGP Co-Chair and Global Executive Director of Directorio Legislativo; Mr. Luis Rojas, Deputy Secretary of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile and General Coordinator of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament; and Ms. Vita Dumanska, Executive Director of CHESNO in Ukraine.

Parliamentary Day was a joint effort by leading parliamentary organizations and founding members of the Open Parliament Global Network (OpeN): Directorio Legislativo, Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency, National Democratic Institute, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ParlAmericas, and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.


December 14, 2021

ParlAmericas participates in the CIM parliamentary consultation “Legal Frameworks, Economic Autonomy and Economic Empowerment of Women: Proposal for a Model Law on Care Services”

Today, the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM-OAS), with the support of the European Union through its EUROsociAL+ program, hosted a parliamentary dialogue with the objective of receiving inputs, knowledge, and experiences from parliamentarians to strengthen the base document of the Inter-American Model Law on Care Services.

This consultation took place in the context of a series of meetings with civil society organizations and other stakeholders. The discussion centred on analysis of existing legal frameworks to inform the design of practical recommendations for laws to guarantee the economic rights of women, with a focus on visibilizing and protecting those who carry out care work.

Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, participated in the event and provided a summary of the process of designing and proposing a bill in the Senate of Mexico on a national system of care services. This proposal’s aim is to guarantee access to high-quality care for all, based on the principle of co-responsibility between men and women, families, communities, the private sector, and the government.

Ms. Kathy Ramos, Director of the Gender Unit of the National Assembly of Panama, also participated in the event in representation of the Honourable Member of the National Assembly Kayra Harding (Panama), Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality. Ms. Ramos shared an overview of relevant good practices that have been implemented in Panama to promote equality between women and men in the labour market.


December 10, 2021

ParlAmericas held its 18th Plenary Assembly titled “Rebuilding the Social Contract”

With the support of the Chilean Senate as host parliament, ParlAmericas held its 18th Plenary Assembly on November 26 and 29 and December 10 with a series of virtual activities focused on exploring the rebuilding of the social contract.

The Plenary Assembly brought together parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and representatives of youth and civil society organizations from the Americas and the Caribbean to discuss the need to rebuild the social contract in the context of post-pandemic recovery efforts and in response to civil society’s demands to reinvent and transform governance and development models based on inclusive, sustainable and democratic principles that leave no one behind.

The event, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of the creation of ParlAmericas and the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), began with an inter-parliamentary dialogue session held on November 26. The session included a keynote address by the Secretary General of the OAS, Mr. Luis Almagro, and speeches by Senator Rosa Gálvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, and Member of Parliament Manzoor Nadir (Guyana), Speaker of the National Assembly and member of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas.

A high-level dialogue was also held, which included a discussion, prospective analysis, and exchange of good legislative practices regarding the role of parliaments in rebuilding the social contract. The panel, which was moderated by Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE), included the participation of Senator Reginald Farley (Barbados), president of the Senate; Member of the Legislative Assembly Paola Vega (Costa Rica), Vice-President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change; and the Honourable Representative Juan Carlos Losada (Colombia).

In addition, on November 29, the parliamentary dialogue session was held with representatives of civil society and youth organizations from the Americas and the Caribbean. The session was inaugurated by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Javier Macaya (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, and Senator Alincia Williams Grant (Antigua and Barbuda), president of the Senate and member of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas. A dialogue was held during the session, which was moderated by Member of Parliament Marc Serré (Canada), member of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas, with the participation of Paulina Valenzuela, member of the Chilean Constitutional Convention, and former youth Member of the National Assembly of Panama Jorge Marín, representative of the Youth Legislative Impact project in Panama. During the discussion, the panellists and participants offered their perspectives on the role of civil society and youth organizations in the process of rebuilding the social contract, the priorities on their political agendas, and the importance of promoting youth political participation.

Finally, the plenary session was held on December 10, with opening remarks from  Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senator Marcela Sabat (Chile), representative of the host parliament of the 18th Plenary Assembly to the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas. As is customary, the accountability reports from the authorities of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas were presented. This year, the annual report from the President of ParlAmericas along with those of the three network Presidents were presented in video format, with subtitles in all of ParlAmericas’ official languages. Subsequently, a round of parliamentary interventions was held, featuring moderation by Member of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís (Costa Rica), member of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas. During this period, one legislator designated by each member parliament presented some of the legislative initiatives that are being carried out in different areas to rebuild the social contract with the collaboration of civil society and young people.

Afterwards, Member of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís (Costa Rica) read the declaration of the 18th ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly. Prior to closing the meeting, Director General of ParlAmericas Alisha Todd announced the results of the elections, in which the candidates were elected by acclamation.

In reference to the relevance of the theme of the plenary session, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, stated that “it is necessary to establish a new social contract that better meets the needs and demands of citizens to strengthen the democratic model, reinforce mechanisms for participating in public affairs, bolster social protection systems, transform production and consumption models under sustainable paradigms, and address the effects of climate change.”

Senator Marcela Sabat (Chile), representative of the host parliament of the 18th Plenary Assembly to the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas, pointed out that “the depth of our citizens’ demands requires effective and efficient action by the branches of government, to be attuned to them and channel the energy they generate through institutional and legal channels. This is where institutions that represent the people must—by definition—play a leading role.”


December 7, 2021

Senator Carlos Filizzola presented the results of a survey on workplace violence carried out with ParlAmericas before the Chamber of Senators of Paraguay

Senator Carlos Filizzola Pallarés, chair of the Equity and Gender Committee of the Honourable Chamber of Senators of Paraguay, presented the results of the First survey on workplace violence, gender-based violence and sexual harassment in the Honourable Chamber of Senators of Paraguay during the Senate’s sitting on December 2. The survey was carried out by the Senate of Paraguay and ParlAmericas as part of a technical support project on parliamentary gender mainstreaming undertaken through a Memorandum of Understanding between the organizations.

The online, anonymous survey was distributed by the Senate’s General Secretariat and the General Directorate on Human Resources to all parliamentary staff and senators in November 2020, and it had three main objectives: to provide an initial assessment of instances of violence experienced and/or witnesses by people working at the Senate; to learn about their perceptions of these situations; and to shed light on this unacceptable phenomenon as the first step in developing the institutional responses required to eradicate it.

Workplace and gender-based violence are problems that affect all kinds of workplaces, including parliaments. Addressing these problems should be prioritized to ensure the safety and integrity of all. The implementation of this survey in Paraguay represents a good practice at the regional and global levels, as it helps to illuminate instances of workplace and gender-based violence, and to facilitate the development of response measures based on gender-disaggregated data.

In his speech during the Senate’s plenary session, Senator Filizzola stated that “we trust that this essential initiative will contribute to addressing the issue of workplace violence, especially against women, and to making this Chamber an inclusive, respectful, friendly, and safe space for everyone.”

In addition, on Tuesday, November 30, Lisane Thirsk, Deputy Director for Gender Equality at ParlAmericas, presented the results of the survey in a session of the Senate’s Equity and Gender Committee, with the distinguished participation of Senator Filizzola, Senator Georgia Arrúa, Secretary General Mr. Antonio Sánchez, as well as representatives of different administrative departments. One of the main findings of the survey was that 86% of the people who report having experienced an incident of harassment or violence are women, demonstrating the need to apply a gender-lens to address this problem.


November 23, 2021

ParlAmericas participates in the event “Economic Empowerment of Women as a Tool Against Discrimination and Gender Violence”

On Tuesday, November 23, the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Permanent Observer Mission of Spain to the OAS organized the event “Economic Empowerment of Women as a Tool Against Discrimination and Gender Violence.”

The event, which sought to highlight the importance of empowering women and girls as a way to eradicate gender violence, also highlighted the role of alliances between governments, parliaments, civil society, the private sector, and the general population to achieve the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), from a perspective of inclusion and gender equality, to “leave no one behind.”

The first panel of the hybrid session, called “Public policies to promote the empowerment of women,” included the participation of Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality; Senator Faride Raful (Dominican Republic); Member of the Chamber of Deputies Carmen Calvo (Spain); Ms. Gina Watson, Head of the Equity, Gender, and Cultural Diversity Office of the Pan American Health Organization; and Ms. Raquel Coello, Head of Economic Empowerment of the UN Women regional office.

During her participation, Senator Raful highlighted that “as a country we have made progress on issues of women’s rights and empowerment, however, we still have imminent challenges to deal with. It is important to build alliances with international organizations, to be able to work together and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and thus improve the living conditions of women and girls in our countries, bridging any obstacles that arise, together.”

During her intervention, Senator Camino pointed out that “the pandemic deeply affected the informal sector, which is made up of women in significant percentages. It is therefore essential that governments offer innovative solutions and tools that allow micro and small entrepreneurs, who are mostly women, to develop their businesses with accessible financing and technologies.” The President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality also recognized the importance of “promoting regulations that grant informal workers the right tools and processes to move to formalization, consequently also provide governments of sources of relevant and disaggregated data, useful to design and implement legislative actions and initiatives that serve specific sectors.”


November 23, 2021

Parliamentary staff of the Mexican Senate and Chamber of Deputies participated in a virtual meeting on legislative openness with other countries of the region and around the world

A virtual meeting was held on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, for staff and advisers of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies and Senate, to share experiences and learn about the implementation of actions for advancing legislative openness, and thus continue to consolidate these efforts.

The virtual meeting was organized by the Open Parliament e-Network (OPeN), a consortium of international organizations that promote open parliament initiatives and measures around the world, which, on this occasion, was represented by ParlAmericas, the Directorio Legislativo Foundation and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of Mexico.

Senator Bertha Caraveo (Mexico), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, introduced the meeting by emphasizing that “from ensuring the sustainability and formalization of initiatives in favour of legislative openness to their effective implementation, parliamentary staff plays an essential role in open parliament processes. One of the cross-cutting aspects that we see in other experiences in the region is not only the multi-party nature of these efforts, but also the involvement of staff from different parliamentary offices and agencies that make it possible to meet open parliament commitments and achieve the expected results.”

Experiences and lessons learned on open parliament were shared during the virtual meeting, which included presentations from Mexico, Spain and Panama. Mr. Fredy Erazo, General Coordinator of the Mexican Senate’s Transparency Unit and Regional Coordinator of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, delivered a presentation on the progress made in Mexico in terms of transparency and collaboration with civil society through an agreement with the Legislative Observatory of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Mr. Miguel Ángel Gonzalo, Head of Project Coordination and Planning Unit pertaining to the Cabinet of the Secretary General of the Spanish Congress of Deputies, highlighted the tools used by the Spanish Parliament to facilitate access to information and citizen engagement, as well as the continuous training of deputies, collaboration and networking to strengthen the commitment to legislative innovation as key elements of the staff’s contribution to legislative openness. Finally, the presentations concluded with a speech by Ms. Marinés Tapiero, representative of the Youth Legislative Impact Program of Panama on the experience of young people in the development of a citizens’ initiative presented to the National Assembly of Panama with the support and contributions of Panamanian parliamentary staff.

There was an interesting dialogue between panellists and participants during the Q&A session, moderated by Keila González, Resident Director of NDI Mexico. The event ended with closing remarks by Noel Alonso Murray, Executive Director of the Directorio Legislativo Foundation.


November 9, 2021

ParlAmericas launches its interactive resource which maps the environment and climate change strategies and plans of the Americas and the Caribbean during COP26

In her capacity as President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC), Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada),  presents ParlAmericas interactive resource Environment and Sustainability: Mapping the Strategies and Plans of the Americas and the Caribbean during COP26 in the Parliamentary Webinar Series, hosted by GLOBE International, E3G, and the World Resources Institute. The resource systemizes and compiles the most recent strategies and plans developed by member countries of the region in a centralized location, to provide easy access to parliamentarians as they work to ensure national legislation and parliamentary initiatives reinforce the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), long-term climate strategies, the integration of gender dimensions, and citizen participation in climate decision-making, among others.

The negotiations that occur at COP26 are intended to generate commitments for more ambitious and inclusive climate action to achieve the Paris Agreement adopted at COP21. To promote the strengthening of parliamentary networks and the integration of parliamentarians in COP26 and UNFCCC meetings, the Parliamentary Group, of which ParlAmericas is a founding member, hosts briefings, coordination meetings, and webinars. As the representative of ParlAmericas at today’s 4th session of the webinar series, Senator Galvez presents the new resource, highlighting that “it is imperative that governments remain true to their targets and that they are held accountable through our parliamentary oversight function to the commitments made under the various international multilateral environmental agreements. This resource provides us, as legislators, a platform to help us easily identify if our country has a strategy in place to meet these commitments, and to help bring awareness on the endeavours of other countries in the region.”

As key actors in forwarding the climate action agenda, parliamentarians have a role to play in informing their country’s negotiation position on international agreements. This resource promotes the alignment of national climate legislation with these agreements and their country’s development priorities. Our recently published Parliaments and the Paris Agreement, also complements these efforts as it highlights global good parliamentary practices for the development and adoption of national climate commitments and offers guiding questions for parliamentarians.


November 3, 2021

Caribbean presiding officers participated in a working meeting on open parliament

On November 1, ParlAmericas hosted the Working Meeting of Caribbean Presiding Officers on Open Parliament which brought together presiding officers, parliamentarians, and clerks from 11 countries of the Caribbean to explore possible next actions to implement legislative openness in the region based on priorities and challenges identified at a previous working meeting that took place in April this year.

Participants highlighted the importance of continuing high-level exchanges among presiding officers of the Caribbean to facilitate greater cooperation. It was emphasized that transparency and sharing information regarding standing orders, legislation and decisions adopted by parliaments, would be welcomed to deepen that cooperation. Likewise, the need to continue strengthening codes of ethics, spaces for interaction with citizens, and accountability mechanisms was discussed, and it was emphasized that gender-considerations should inform this work.

The Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas, welcomed all participants emphasizing that “we need to be leaders in our parliaments to cultivate a culture of continuous learning and improvement to ensure that our parliaments are leading by example for more inclusive, responsive and effective governance, especially as we confront the many complex challenges and opportunities that our countries are facing.”

The meeting was chaired by Arthur E. Holder (Barbados), Speaker of the House of Assembly and ParlAmericas Board Member, who stressed that “advancing on Open Parliament initiatives needs to be understood as working to improve our institutions to serve all of our citizens, and to do so we need to be conscious of how aspects of our institutional processes have gendered dimensions so that we are deliberate in developing actions that make our parliaments more accessible for both women and men equally.” The Honourable Marinus Bee (Suriname), Speaker of the National Assembly and ParlAmericas Board Member, concluded the meeting by stating that investing in open parliament means investing in strengthened legislatures that are preparing to work through mounting challenges, including building back from COVID-19 with stronger, more resilient societies.


November 1, 2021

ParlAmericas participates in COP26, the GLOBE COP26 Legislators Summit, and the IPU COP26 Parliamentary Meeting

This year marks the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also known as COP26, which will convene negotiators, government representatives, parliamentarians, civil society, and the private sector as well as official observer organizations such as ParlAmericas in Glasgow, United Kingdom (UK), under the presidency of the UK and in partnership with Italy. ParlAmericas will be represented by Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) and Senator Raúl Bolaños-Cacho Cué (Mexico), Vice-President for North America of the PNCC who will also be participating in his capacity as member of the national delegation of Mexico. During the weeks of October 31, 2021, to November 12, 2021, there will be numerous sessions covering various climate change mitigation and adaptation themes in addition to the COP negotiations to generate commitments for more ambitious and inclusive climate action to achieve the Paris Agreement adopted at COP21.

“Parliamentarians have a crucial responsibility to oversee the executive branch to ensure the efficient and effective use of expenditures, laws, policies, and programmes for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and national climate commitments,” states Senator Bolaños, as he speaks to the importance of incorporating parliamentary perspectives in climate debates. “I am honoured to participate at COP26 as part of the national delegation of Mexico. The integration of parliamentarians at these negotiations provides an opportunity to build the consensus necessary to achieve ambitious climate action.”

On the margins of COP26, Senator Galvez will participate at the COP26 Legislators Summit hosted by GLOBE and the Scottish Parliament, a parliamentary gathering to facilitate the exchange of innovations and good practices among legislators from across the world, being held virtually and in-person November 5 – 6, 2021 in Edinburgh, UK. As part of her involvement, in a session featuring a keynote address by Dr. Marcelo Carvalho de Andrade, Founder of ProNatural and Co-Founder of Earth Capital (global), she will speak in the panel alongside Professor Dan Etsy from Yale University to address the financial realities of achieving national net zero decarbonisation, investing in climate change adaptation and reconciling loss and damage, in the face of COVID-19 and debt recovery. She will discuss the need to ensure that businesses and investors align themselves and support the achievement of climate commitments through legislative innovation in climate finance. Senator Galvez will likewise present at the Inter-Parliamentary Union COP26 Parliamentary Meeting to deliver her expert opinion on climate change and a clean recovery, including the key findings from her white paper on Building Forward Better: A Clean and Just Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Reflecting on her participation, Senator Galvez noted: “I am pleased to represent ParlAmericas at COP26 and these parliamentary gatherings to discuss how as parliamentarians we can ensure that the agreements decided in these negotiations are fulfilled and remain prioritized in the public agenda, public budget, and legislative proposals, as well as hold government accountable to the advice and warnings of the scientific and academic community. We cannot ignore the warnings made by the IPCC physical science report and the NDC synthesis report that current climate action is not sufficient to meet the Paris Agreement and that countries need to scale up their efforts to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, namely by rapidly phasing out fossil fuels.”


October 4, 2021

ParlAmericas, the National Assembly of Belize, and the Chamber of Senators of Bolivia hosted the 13th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network For Gender Equality, Bolstering Social Protection beyond COVID-19: What the Data Tells Us

Today, ParlAmericas concluded its final virtual session of the 13th Gathering of its Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE), titled Bolstering Social Protection beyond COVID-19: What the Data Tells Us, organized with the National Assembly of Belize and the Chamber of Senators of Bolivia. The gathering brought together parliamentarians from 21 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, as well as parliamentary staff, specialists in the field, and representatives of civil society and youth organizations from across the hemisphere.

The keynote addresses that launched the Gathering’s activities featured interviews on social protection between the Honourable Valerie Woods, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Belize, and co-host of the Gathering; and Ms. Isiuwa Iyahen, Programme Specialist for Economic Empowerment and Statistics at the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean (available in podcast format, in English). In addition, Senator Yolanda Condo Ponce of Bolivia interviewed Dr. Roxana Mauricio, Regional Specialist on Labour Economics at the International Labour Organization (ILO) (available in podcast format, in Spanish).

The first session of the gathering, held on September 13, was organized as an Inter-parliamentary Dialogue with UN-system specialists on the benefits of inclusive social protection. In it, a panel moderated by Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques (Jamaica) featured presentations by Dr. Carlos Maldonado, Social Affairs Officer from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); Dr. Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed, Gender and Development Research Manager from the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Office of Research – Innocenti; and Claudia Brito Bruno, Policy Officer for Gender and Social Systems from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

On September 22, a Parliamentary Dialogue with Civil Society and Youth Representatives took place. Moderated by Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat, Vice-President of the PNGE for North America, it provided an opportunity for exchange on the most pressing needs for pandemic response and sustainable recovery planning based on the emerging data and lived experiences during the pandemic.

The 13th Gathering concluded on October 4 with a Plenary Session, which included a panel on parliamentary experiences in promoting inclusive social protection moderated by the Honourable Representative Jezmi Barraza Arraut. In addition, the Gathering’s final declaration was adopted, and elections for all positions in the Executive Committee of the PNGE were held, with the following results:

  • President – Senator Verónica Noemí Camino Farjat (Mexico)
  • Vice-President, North America – The Honourable Mobina Jaffer, Senator (Canada)
  • Vice-President, Central America – Member of the National Assembly Kayra Harding (Panama)
  • Vice-President, South America – Honorable Representative Jezmi Barraza Arraut (Colombia)
  • Vice-President, The Caribbean – Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques (Jamaica)

In reference to the theme of the 13th Gathering, Senator Andrónico Rodríguez, President of the Chamber of Senators (Bolivia), and co-host of the Gathering, stated that “when they are based on quality data, and an intersectional gender analysis is applied, social protection systems can contribute to addressing the structural causes of social and gender inequalities.”

In the words of The Honourable Valerie Woods, Speaker of the House of Representatives and co-host of the Gathering, “It will fall to all of us to take our learning and apply it in our legislative work to contribute to strengthening our national social protection systems based on the principles of human rights, non-discrimination, and universal access. As we know, this is made even more pressing by the ongoing COVID-19 context, its direct health impacts, and the ripples that have been felt – unequally – in the socioeconomic realm by our populations.”

For her part, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Maya Fernández Allende (Chile), outgoing President of the PNGE, noted that “We have discerned that broad, multisectorial collaboration is important for the proper governance and promotion of available social protection services, and further helps to prevent obstacles to accessing these services.”


September 27, 2021

ParlAmericas participated in an online course on the co-creation of open parliament action plans hosted by the National Democratic Institute and the Senate of Mexico

On Friday, September 24, one of the modules of the “Co-creation of open parliament action plans” online course was delivered and hosted by the National Democratic Institute of Mexico and the Mexican Senate through the Centro de Capacitación y Formación Permanente (CECAFP) and the Belisario Domínguez Institute (IBD). Parliamentary staff from the National Congress, as well as from the subnational parliaments of Mexico participated in this activity. On this occasion, ParlAmericas was represented by Mr. Fredy Erazo, General Coordinator of the Transparency Unit of the Senate of Mexico, and Mr. Juan Carlos Chavarría, Director of the Department of Citizen Participation of the Costa Rica Legislative Assembly, in their capacity of regional coordinators of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament for North America and Central America, respectively. They were accompanied by Ms. Natalí Casanova, Open Parliament Projects Manager at the ParlAmericas International Secretariat.

This module focused on exploring the processes and coordination necessary for the co-creation of action plans, taking as a reference the steps included in the Guide to Develop Open Parliament Action Plans published by ParlAmericas. From a regional perspective, the presentations addressed how different parliaments have identified the most appropriate processes to carry out co-creation, as well as explored in depth the case of Costa Rica and the key considerations that guide a successful co-creation process.

Within this session, Mr. Erazo highlighted that “legislative openness is a fundamental issue not only because it strengthens the work of parliament, but also allows us to have better tools and build consensus for stronger democratic institutions leaving no one behind”.  For his part, Mr. Chavarría emphasized that “the co-creation processes in Costa Rica have resulted not only in active participation of civil society, but also organizations are now members of the Institutional Committee of Open Parliament, the parliamentary body that leads action plans within the Legislative Assembly”.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


September 24, 2021

The Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada) participated in the webinar on “Parliaments and the Paris Agreement”

On September 24, the Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Climate Change Network participated in the webinar titled “Parliaments and the Paris Agreement”. This webinar was organized to launch the publication, Parliaments and the Paris Agreement”,  a joint effort by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, ParlAmericas, GLOBE International, and INTER PARES International IDEA.

With regard to the publication, Senator Galvez provided the following insight: “This publication speaks to the important role that parliaments have in these spaces, as well as in the development of the countries’ negotiating position and NDC. Through our representative role we can help ensure that these plans and positions consider human rights obligations, especially the potential impact on Indigenous peoples, afro-descendants, migrants, children, people with disabilities, and people in vulnerable situations, that they conduct a gender-based analysis and apply an intersectionality lens”.

The webinar also featured a panel discussion which served as a space for reflection upon the role parliaments have played in advancing international climate commitments and identifying opportunities for strengthening parliamentary engagement in the development and implementation of future commitments. Mr. Rafael Jiménez-Aybar, Senior Environmental Adviser, Westminster Foundation for Democracy & GLOBE, provided welcoming remarks as well as moderated the presentations delivered by the speakers, where they highlighted ongoing initiatives by parliaments to respond to the challenge of the Paris Agreement, with efforts rooted in the principles of multilateral cooperation, common but differentiated responsibilities, and multi stakeholder engagement. The speakers included Mr. Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary General, INTER PARES / International IDEA; the Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada); Mr. Franklin De Vrieze, Senior Governance Adviser, WFD; and Ms. Malini Mehra, Chief Executive, GLOBE International.

In anticipation of this year’s COP26, the webinar was an engaging opportunity to understand how parliaments have organized their work to contribute to global commitments on climate action and collect good practices. For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


September 15, 2021

Young participants in the Impacto Legislativo Joven program submitted a citizens’ initiative for Ecotourism development from a gender-responsive and inclusive perspective to the National Assembly of Panama

The Impacto Legislativo Joven program was developed by ParlAmericas, in cooperation with the National Forum of Women in Political Parties of Panama (FONAMUPP) and in coordination with the National Directorate for the Promotion of Citizen Participation. The project was carried out from June to August 2021, with the participation of young former members of the Youth Assembly of Panama.

The program was aimed at promoting the political participation of young Panamanians and included two phases. The first phase consisted of a series of workshops and seminars, in which a significant number of future leaders learned more about political leadership, intersectionality and how to incorporate gender-responsive and inclusive perspectives in public policy analysis. During these meetings, the young people were also able to have discussions with important national and regional parliamentarians and hear about their experiences.

During the second phase of the program, the young people worked to co-create a citizens’ initiative focused on ecotourism development in Panama, incorporating a gender-responsive and inclusive perspective at all stages.

During extensive and productive work sessions, the young people had the opportunity to interact with specialists on issues that are relevant to the proposal, allowing them to develop innovative concepts for the initiative, such as the importance of education and training in environmental conservation, the inclusion of communities and community-based organizations and the prominent role played by women entrepreneurs in regions where tourism activities are carried out in Panama.

This initiative is part of the Women’s Political Leadership Project, supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. The Impacto Legislativo Joven program culminated in the submission of the citizens’ initiative by the young participants to the National Directorate for the Promotion of Citizen Participation of the National Assembly of Panama on Wednesday, September 15, in the context of the International Day of Democracy.


September 14, 2021

ParlAmericas participates in a conference on Strengthening the Legislative Digital Transformation in Favour of Democracy

From Monday, September 13, to Wednesday, September 15, Bússola Tech, a Brazilian organization that promotes the exchange of experiences and initiatives through the use of technology, will be holding the LegisTech for Democracy conference. The conference features 30 hours of panels, presentations, and dialogues with parliaments from around the world, as they reflect on technological innovation in parliaments and the opportunities it presents in the current context. Mr. Bernardo Andrés Gutiérrez Hidalgo (Ecuador), Regional Coordinator for South America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, will represent the institution and share his thoughts on the digital transformation of parliaments. For her part, Ms. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, will give a presentation on the development and modernization of parliamentary diplomacy. Lastly, Natalí Casanova, Open Parliament Project Manager at ParlAmericas, will moderate a dialogue on the experiences of the legislative branches in Ecuador and Suriname.

The event is aimed at examining the efforts made by parliaments to rethink their internal processes and promote innovation to strengthen their technical capacities and their political role, with the understanding that collaboration and cooperation between the different stakeholders is an essential part of this process. It also focuses on the development of parliamentary diplomacy strategies and the exchange of good practices to promote legislative transparency and citizen participation in parliamentary processes.

Ms. Todd will focus on the fact that “we need global answers more than ever, because there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Parliamentary diplomacy is a method for learning among peers and promoting comprehensive agreements to find collective solutions to difficult problems, such as disinformation and how it profoundly affects the quality of our democracies or how to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects.

Mr. Gutiérrez Hidalgo’s contribution will include a reflection on the dialogues that took place at the 3rd Meeting of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament in March 2021, which focused on technological innovation. He will emphasize the need to “invest in the digital transformation as a means to achieve stronger parliaments and to continue to strengthen their relationship with citizens. In this regard, different challenges such as disinformation, computer security and polarization, among others, can be addressed if this investment in digital transformation has a clear aim: to improve the standards of transparency and citizen participation.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


August 19, 2021

Senator Anthony Vieira of Trinidad and Tobago participated in the webinar on “Supporting the Development of Long-Term Climate Change Strategies in the Caribbean”

On August 19th, Senator Anthony Vieira (Trinidad and Tobago), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Climate Change Network for the Caribbean, participated in the webinar titled “Supporting the Development of Long-Term Climate Change Strategies in the Caribbean”. This meeting is the second session of the Caribbean NDC Support Virtual Exchange Series, organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Regional Collaboration Centre for the Caribbean and the NDC Partnership. The aim of this series is to enhance the technical capacity of national experts, identify regional needs and challenges, and strengthen institutional partnerships to facilitate the creation of long-term climate strategies mandated by the Paris Agreement.

The webinar brought together subject matter specialists, government officials, and parliamentarians, including Her Excellency, Fiona Clouder, COP26 Regional Ambassador for Latin America and the Caribbean. It explored the manners in which long-term climate strategies can provide direction for a country’s sustainable development, climate neutrality targets, and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) including through presentations on climate change strategies in Jamaica and Fiji and on projects being implemented to support the preparation of such strategies.

In his remarks, Senator Vieira addressed the contribution of legislatures in the development of long-term climate strategies and highlighted that parliamentarians “have a critical role in holding governments accountable for the efficient and effective delivery of expenditures, laws, policies, and programmes to ensure the implementation of the Paris Agreement and national climate commitments, including long-term climate strategies. Meetings like these can help deepen our own knowledge and therefore better our capacity to support the process and our government’s commitments.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


August 18, 2021

ParlAmericas hosts an inter-parliamentary dialogue to commemorate 60 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Central American countries

Today, the ParlAmericas International Secretariat and the ParlAmericas Canadian Section convened parliamentarians and ambassadors from Canada and Central America to reflect on the last 60 years of regional multilateralism and to identify opportunities for increased collaboration. The dialogue underscored the importance of parliamentary diplomacy as a mechanism to address common challenges and achieve key priorities.

Following the adoption of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Canada established diplomatic relations with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The Convention served as a reference point for the exchange and appropriate treatment of envoys between different states, setting a legal foundation for the strengthening of cooperation among countries. Along the same lines, parliaments contribute to strengthen relations between countries through high-level exchanges and dialogues and the adoption of concrete actions for further synergies in spaces such as ParlAmericas.

Mr. Marc Serré (Canada), Chair of the ParlAmericas Canadian Section, emphasized that “Canada has worked in partnership with the countries in Central America to encourage economic growth and sustainable development, to promote and defend human rights, to advance gender equality and women’s political empowerment, to strengthen democracy, to support climate change mitigation, to improve regional security, and to increase opportunities for marginalized groups.”

The Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors and Canadian Section of ParlAmericas, moderated the presentations delivered by the parliamentary delegations, which highlighted achievements reached through parliamentary cooperation. The speakers included Ms. Silvia Hernández (Costa Rica), President of the Legislative Assembly; Ms. Sofía Hernández (Guatemala), Vice-President of the Congress of the Republic; Mr. Felicito Ávila (Honduras), Vice-President of the National Congress; Ms. Maritza Espinales (Nicaragua), Vice-President of the National Assembly, member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors; Mr. Mariano López (Panama), Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the National Assembly; and The Honourable Senator Mobina Jaffer (Canada).

Member of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís Quirós (Costa Rica), Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, in her welcoming remarks stated that “Our leadership, good practices, and actions, which have been decisive in continuing to consolidate our democracies, will set the path for further cooperation governed by mutual respect and trust.”

The meeting concluded with closing remarks from Mr. Fernando Arce (Panama), member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, and H.E. Sofía Cerrato, Ambassador of Honduras to Canada and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Canada.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


August 16, 2021

ParlAmericas Statement on the Earthquake in Haiti

ParlAmericas expresses its solidarity with the people of Haiti for the loss of life, injuries and destruction caused by the earthquake that struck the Sud, Nippes, and Grand’Anse departments on August 14, 2021. We wish to convey our condolences to the people whose lives have been shattered by this earthquake and our hope that life-saving efforts that are still underway are spared from the brunt of Tropical Depression Grace.

ParlAmericas reaffirms its commitment to measures that favour management of disaster risk and calls for cooperation to provide assistance where this is possible and requested.


July 30, 2021

ParlAmericas participates in the First International Meeting on Comprehensive Parliamentary Administration and Management, as well as in the International Diploma in Parliamentary Diplomacy program

On Friday, July 30, Anabella Zavagno, Deputy Director General of ParlAmericas, participated in the International Parliamentary Institutions course, International Diploma in Parliamentary Diplomacy, organized by the School of Government of Argentina’s Austral University. The Deputy Director General presented the work carried out by ParlAmericas as a parliamentary institution of the inter-American system, which is composed of the national legislatures of the Americas and the Caribbean, and whose purpose is to facilitate co-operative political dialogue and the exchange of good legislative practices to continue strengthening the function of legislative branches  in the region. She also presented on the thematic areas prioritized by ParlAmericas, which include mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment in politics; the advancement of open parliaments that foster transparency, accountability, citizen participation, and ethics in legislative work; and the promotion of policies and legislative actions for mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals.

On the same day, Natalí Casanova, Senior Program Officer of Open Parliament at ParlAmericas, participated on a panel addressing the current context and future challenges parliaments face, during the First International Meeting on Comprehensive Parliamentary Administration and Management organized by the Association of Legislative Administration of the Argentine Republic (ASALRA), in the panel on the current context and future challenges for parliaments. The objective of this meeting was the exchange of experiences and knowledge between parliamentary staff and other specialists in parliamentary matters, to improve legislative functioning. In her presentation, Ms. Casanova highlighted the transition to virtual and hybrid sessions undertaken by parliaments in the region due to the pandemic, emphasizing the advancement of open parliament as an aspect that facilitated the transition. This session was moderated by Gabriel Duarte, Head of the Parliamentary Research and Documentation Department of the Congress of the Republic of Peru and also featured presentations by Karina Millán Bueno, President of the Academy of Public Administration of Universidad Autónoma de Occidente in Culiacán, Mexico; Patricia Rosset, President of the Association of Legislative Technical Advisers of the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo, Brazil; and Gustavo Sánchez Piñeiro, Secretary Rapporteur of the Chamber of Senators and the General Assembly of Uruguay.

For more information on our work, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


July 19, 2021

Parliamentarians across the world call for prioritization of public empowerment in the COP26 Agenda

In collaboration with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), ParlAmericas and parliamentarians from Canada, Indonesia, Georgia, Kenya and Pakistan have published a statement highlighting the urgent need for public empowerment to be a top priority at COP26 and underscoring its role in ensuring the overall success of the Paris Agreement.

The statement recognizes the six components of Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), a term adopted by the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to refer to work under Article 6 of the Convention (1992) and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, to empower all members of society to engage in climate action through education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information, and international cooperation on these issues. It suggests that a recommitment to the role all of society can play in climate action is perfectly suited for this moment following the threats to democracy presented by responses to COVID-19. It also outlines the need to strengthen climate governance and ensure greater participation of and engagement in action to address climate change, and recognizes the important role that parliaments play in these efforts, as recently explored in the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change.

The signatories to the statement are Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change; the Honourable Munaza Hassan (Pakistan), Chair of the Climate Change Committee of the National Assembly; the Honourable Fadli Zon (Indonesia), Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Committee of the House of Representatives; the Honourable Japhet Miriti Kareke Mbiuki (Kenya), Chair of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee of the National Assembly; the Honourable Maia Bitadze (Georgia), Chair of the Environmental Protection And Natural Resources Committee of the Parliament; Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, and Rafael Jimenez Aybar, Environmental Democracy Adviser of WFD.

In support of the statement, Senator Rosa Galvez commented that “the pandemic has curtailed the full exercise of democratic activities which have yet to return to full capacity, thus reducing adequate measures to hold governments accountable for their climate promises. This is why it is so important to prioritize public empowerment, and as parliamentarians, we have a critical role in ensuring adequate frameworks and programs are in place to guarantee access to information, education and public participation in the development and implementation of climate legislation and policies.”

Read the full statement here.


July 19, 2021

Parliamentarians across the world call for prioritization of public empowerment in the COP26 Agenda

In collaboration with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), ParlAmericas and parliamentarians from Canada, Indonesia, Georgia, Kenya and Pakistan have published a statement highlighting the urgent need for public empowerment to be a top priority at COP26 and underscoring its role in ensuring the overall success of the Paris Agreement.

The statement recognizes the six components of Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), a term adopted by the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to refer to work under Article 6 of the Convention (1992) and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, to empower all members of society to engage in climate action through education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information, and international cooperation on these issues. It suggests that a recommitment to the role all of society can play in climate action is perfectly suited for this moment following the threats to democracy presented by responses to COVID-19. It also outlines the need to strengthen climate governance and ensure greater participation of and engagement in action to address climate change, and recognizes the important role that parliaments play in these efforts, as recently explored in the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change.

The signatories to the statement are Senator the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change; the Honourable Munaza Hassan (Pakistan), Chair of the Climate Change Committee of the National Assembly; the Honourable Fadli Zon (Indonesia), Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Committee of the House of Representatives; the Honourable Japhet Miriti Kareke Mbiuki (Kenya), Chair of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee of the National Assembly; the Honourable Maia Bitadze (Georgia), Chair of the Environmental Protection And Natural Resources Committee of the Parliament; Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, and Rafael Jimenez Aybar, Environmental Democracy Adviser of WFD.

In support of the statement, Senator Rosa Galvez commented that “the pandemic has curtailed the full exercise of democratic activities which have yet to return to full capacity, thus reducing adequate measures to hold governments accountable for their climate promises. This is why it is so important to prioritize public empowerment, and as parliamentarians, we have a critical role in ensuring adequate frameworks and programs are in place to guarantee access to information, education and public participation in the development and implementation of climate legislation and policies.”

Read the full statement here.


July 19, 2021

Parliamentary Staff Network Meets to Establish Guidelines for the Exchange of Good Practices on Gender Equality in their Latin American Parliaments

Parliamentary staff from various Latin American countries met virtually on July 19, for the 1st Meeting of the Gender Equality Staff Network.

The objective of this parliamentary staff network is to accompany the work carried out by the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE), in which legislators from across the hemisphere exchange knowledge and good practices on important issues such as women’s economic empowerment, the eradication of gender-based political violence, electoral reforms to promote women’s candidacies, among others.

During this meeting, the participants committed to aligning agendas and promoting collaborative networking to identify and work on common priorities for the region. In addition, they agreed to develop a work plan in the upcoming months, which will consider the challenges and positive experiences in their parliamentary work.

In her welcoming remarks, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Maya Fernández Allende (Chile) stated that the staff network “is an adept space for exchanging experiences and learning among peers on efforts and initiatives in favor of gender equality in the parliaments of the hemisphere.” She invited the attendees to promote this “community of parliamentary staff members, committed to promoting equal opportunities for all our fellow citizens.”

To learn more about ParlAmericas work visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


July 8, 2021

ParlAmericas Statement on the Assassination of the President of Haiti

Following the assassination of the President of Haiti on July 7, 2021 ParlAmericas expresses its deepest sorrow and solidarity with the People of Haiti.

With recognition of the universal principle of sovereignty, ParlAmericas urges for the upholding of peaceful dialogue between democratic and civic actors and institutions at this distressing time. Violence has no place in democratic societies and must be condemned in all its forms.


June 24, 2021

ParlAmericas, the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Senate of Mexico host the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, Addressing Inequalities to Enable Climate Ambition: A Just Transition to Achieve the Paris Agreement.

ParlAmericas is holding the 5th Gathering of its Network on Climate Change titled “Addressing Inequalities to Enable Climate Ambition: A Just Transition to Achieve the Paris Agreement,” organized with the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Senate of Mexico. The gathering will bring together parliamentarians from more than 20 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, as well as parliamentary staff, specialists in the field and representatives of civil society and youth organizations from the entire hemisphere.

The first session of the gathering, held on June 4, was dedicated to an inter-parliamentary dialogue to analyze strategies to promote inclusive climate action, incorporating intersectional and gender-responsive approaches to promoting a just transition. The session was moderated by the Honourable Rosa Galvez (Canada), Senator and Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) for North America, and included the participation of specialists Enrico Botta, Coordinator of the Green Growth and Global Relations Committee at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Claudia de Windt, Founding Partner and CEO of the Inter-American Institute on Justice and Sustainability; Samantha Smith, Director of the Just Transition Centre of the International Trade Union Confederation; and Eduardo Uribe-Botero, Director of Grupo Energía Bogotá.

In addition, on June 15, a discussion was held with parliamentarians and representatives of civil society and youth organizations in collaboration with the regional offices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to exchange ideas on inclusive climate action incorporating intersectional approaches and social consultation processes, and on the importance of the Action for Climate Empowerment approach as a tool for strengthening citizens’ commitment to climate action. This session was moderated by Member of the Legislative Assembly Paola Vega (Costa Rica), Vice-President of the PNCC for Central America, and provided an opportunity for an interactive exchange with stakeholders to report on the work carried out by parliamentarians in relation to these issues.

The 5th Gathering will end on June 25 with a plenary session, which will include a keynote address by Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba (Mexico), special envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the 2019 Climate Change Summit, and a panel on parliamentary experiences in promoting inclusive climate action for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. In addition, elections for vacant positions in the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change will be held during the plenary session.

In reference to the theme of the 5th Gathering, the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas stated that “as political leaders, we have a duty to implement an ambitious, inclusive and democratic climate agenda that honours the spirit of the 2030 Agenda of leaving no one behind. It should be a moral and ethical commitment to our children and the legacy that we will leave for future generations.”

For his part, Senator Eduardo Ramírez (Mexico), President of the Senate, stated that “the urgent fight against the effects of climate change requires that legislators incorporate intersectional and gender-responsive approaches into our parliamentary work to take into account the complex universe of inequalities experienced by the most vulnerable populations, to ensure that climate plans and just transition processes toward resilient, zero-emission economies meet their needs and do not exacerbate existing inequalities.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


June 3, 2021

ParlAmericas participated in the House Democracy Partnership Global MP Exchange

On June 2 and 3, 2021, ParlAmericas participated in the House Democracy Partnership (HDP) Global MP Exchange organized by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) which brought together legislators from Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Peru, The Gambia, Tunisia and the United States to address the importance of legislative openness and transparency in legislative institutions to create inclusive processes that ensure governments and public officials are held accountable to citizen priorities.

As part of this exchange, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Javier Macaya (Chile), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network (OPN) participated as a panellist in the session Improved Methods to Curb Corruption through Openness where he discussed the importance of legislative openness efforts to establish high ethical standards in public institutions and thereby strengthen citizen’s  trust. He highlighted that “to promote integrity and combat corruption, we need to motivate that behavior through public policy, a policy that considers choice architecture and a sense of responsibility of the individual as well as social oversight, meaning that as a society, we reject corruption. Thanks to the co-creation of open parliament commitments by parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and civil society, important and innovative initiatives have been developed in the Congress of Chile which have been key to strengthening our oversight mechanisms, such as the establishment of the National Congressional Budget Office which provides essential technical support for financial scrutiny.”

Additionally, Emilie Lemieux, Deputy Director for Open Parliament and Sustainable Development at ParlAmericas participated as a panellist in the session Legislative Openness in the Ongoing Pandemic Environment and discussed key reflections from parliaments in the hemisphere on their transition to virtual or hybrid sittings, the important role that digital transparency and public participation platforms played during the pandemic, and ongoing efforts to develop and implement open parliament commitments and action plans in this context. She concluded by bringing attention to the challenges posed by disinformation in this context and the need for global parliamentary collaboration to develop solutions.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 17, 2021

Representatives of parliaments and civil society organizations in Latin America participate in a co-creation meeting to review and update the Road Map towards Legislative Openness

On this day, Monday, May 17, parliamentarians and parliamentary staff of Latin American legislatures and civil society organizations that are part of the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency participated in a co-creation meeting to review and update the Road Map towards Legislative Openness, which provides a framework and support for open parliament initiatives, commitments and action plans in the hemisphere.

The participants addressed topics related to the concept of open parliament and the pillars of legislative openness, namely: transparency and access to information, accountability, citizen participation and ethics and probity, and shared their thoughts on the most effective ways to implement the Road Map in the countries in the region. Among the contributions shared, they highlighted the importance of having regulatory frameworks in place for personal data protection and the fight against disinformation, ensuring accountability with disaggregated data from the national budget and actions carried out to strengthen oversight and the tracking of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, promoting inclusive participation, engaging not only civil society organizations, but also academia, the private sector and the general public, and measures to strengthen a culture of ethics and probity, such as integrity systems, sanctions against workplace and sexual harassment, as well as conflicts of interest and parliamentary floor-crossing.

Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile Javier Macaya and Mexican Senator Bertha Caraveo, President and Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network (OPN), respectively, made the opening remarks. Mr. Macaya stated that “updating the Road Map and keeping it in effect is very important, and even more so to do so with the spirit of open parliament processes in mind, that is to say, through co-creation spaces where civil society and parliamentarians can establish a dialogue and jointly determine the direction of future commitments and action plans in our countries”. This session was moderated by Member of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica Ana Lucía Delgado, First Vice-President of the OPN for Central America, who shared information about the experience of the Institutional Open Parliament Committee in Costa Rica as a strategy to ensure the sustainability of this agenda. Finally, the closing remarks were made by Member of the National Assembly of Panama Corina Cano, Second Vice-President of the OPN for Central America, who highlighted the importance of continuing to create synergies and strengthen ties between parliaments and citizens.

The process of reviewing and updating the Road Map will include the preparation of a summary of everything that was shared today, for the subsequent submission of final comments and contributions to be included in the new version of this document. Following its approval by the OPN Executive Committee, it will be released later this year.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 17, 2021

Women presiding officers of Caribbean parliaments exchange good practices for gender equality in the region

On May 17, ParlAmericas hosted a meeting of women presiding officers of Caribbean parliaments. More than half of the countries in the Anglophone Caribbean currently have a woman leading at least one of the chambers of their parliaments. The main objective of this meeting was to facilitate dialogue on the gender equality issues on national legislative agendas and strategies to advance collectively on issues of common concern. The presiding officers also explored how to further enhance the supportive ties among the community of parliamentary leaders.

The Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas, chaired the meeting and reflected that, “We must recognize and celebrate the positive contributions to our democracies made possible by advances in women’s political representation in CARICOM countries. Women have been positively impacting legislative agendas and decision-making, as exemplified by the women presiding officers gathered virtually today. We know that gender equality and women’s rights require not only our full attention as legislators and the active participation of our male colleagues; these objectives also require our solidarity and articulation across borders. Only with this wider support can we hope to fortify our efforts and spark greater momentum during the present challenging times.”

The Honourable Alincia Williams Grant (Antigua and Barbuda), President of the Senate and member of the ParlAmericas Board added, “The last year has not been easy. We have faced and overcome obstacles in the way we perform our jobs and in the way we reach out to our communities. Nevertheless, the critical importance of undertaking our functions in an inclusive way and with a focus on advancing women’s rights and gender equality has never been clearer. The pandemic has exacerbated and made visible existing inequalities, and we must do everything we can to eradicate these issues to the benefit of our entire populations.”

For more information on the work carried by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 14, 2021

ParlAmericas participates in a webinar on the digital transformation of the legislative process

On Thursday, May 6, Bússola Tech, a Brazilian organization that promotes the exchange of experiences and initiatives supported by technology, hosted the webinar “The Digital Transformation of the Legislative Process” to reflect on technological innovation and the modernization of parliaments. Ms. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas participated in this panel alongside Mr. Gustavo Sabóia Vieira, Secretary General of the Board of the Senate of Brazil; Mr. Juan Manuel Cheppi, Secretary General of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina; and Nicolás Robinson Andrade, Director of Government Relations at Zoom Video Communications. This panel was moderated by Mr. Luís Kimaid, CEO of Bússola Tech.

This panel addressed efforts undertaken by parliaments to adapt their processes to enable remote work, modify legal provisions where necessary, and adopt new ICTs to support parliamentary processes during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also focused on the development of digital transformation strategies to strengthen the effectiveness of parliamentary work as well as transparency and participatory processes. Panellists reflected on the possible continued value of these efforts in the future, even if they were adopted as a temporary solution to address the current crisis.

Reflecting on the discussions that took place at the 3rd Meeting of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament focused on technological innovation in March 2021, Ms. Todd noted that “modernization is broader than just digital transformation, as modernization efforts focus on improving the way that parliaments work to better serve citizens. This said, digital transformation plays a key role in modernization as many of our interactions these days happen in the digital sphere and therefore parliaments have an opportunity to use these tools to improve the effectiveness of parliament’s work and its accessibility to citizens.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 13, 2021

The virtual workshop “Parliament’s Role in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda” was held in Panama, with the support of ParlAmericas.

On May 5 and 6, the National Assembly of Panama, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) organized the virtual workshop “Parliament’s Role in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda,” in collaboration with ParlAmericas.

The purpose of the workshop, which was carried out with the participation of Members of the National Assembly and parliamentary staff, was to transfer knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the 2030 Agenda and socialize actions that can be promoted by parliaments for their achievement. In addition, Emilie Lemieux, Deputy Director of Open Parliament and Sustainable Development and Maria Boada, Climate Change Program Officer at ParlAmericas, gave a presentation on the role of parliaments in the implementation of the SDGs, which included good practices from parliaments in the hemisphere.

Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Panama Fernando Arce, who participated in the inauguration of the workshop on behalf of ParlAmericas, stated that “as legislators, we have a responsibility to contribute to the implementation of the SDGs through our role in legislation, supervision, budgetary allocation and representation. Parliamentary work is essential to advancing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals and to meeting citizens’ demands and building fairer and more inclusive societies in which no one is left behind.”

This activity is part of a broader program carried out by the Parliamentary Office for the Monitoring and Implementation of the SDGs of the National Assembly of Panama to support the exchange of knowledge and the development of new tools to promote parliamentary activities for advancing the 2030 Agenda. A parliamentary meeting had been previously organized on January 19, 2021, in collaboration with ParlAmericas, during which Members of the National Assembly of Panama discussed and shared their knowledge about mechanisms to better integrate parliamentary activities with the goals of the 2030 Agenda. Afterwards, a technical meeting for the staff of the National Assembly of Panama, organized by ParlAmericas, was held on February 24 to address a series of good practices that are being carried out in other parliaments in order to share lessons learned and ideas to lay the foundation for advancing the SDGs. Lastly, on April 20, the International Relations Unit of the National Assembly of Panama organized a meeting for Members of the National Assembly and parliamentary staff, in collaboration with ParlAmericas, to introduce a new tool developed to track the SDGs in legislative committees.

For more information on our work, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 12, 2021

ParlAmericas takes part in the panel Unifying climate risk data at national level to be held during the Latin America Climate Week 2021

On 13 May, the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas, and Member of the Legislative Assembly  Paola Vega (Costa Rica), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Climate Change Network for Central America, will represent ParlAmericas in the panel Unifying climate risk data at the national level to be held as part of Latin America Climate Week 2021.

The event, organised by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the United Nations University and the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative, will explore the value and challenges of unifying climate risk data, the development of climate risk profiles and the experiences and lessons from Latin American and Caribbean countries and cities, among other topics related to climate risk data.

Speaking on the importance of such data in the context of small island states, the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago) noted that “as we continue to face the climate emergency, Small Island Developing States will have to continue to battle many crises simultaneously. It is therefore of critical importance that we have data to better understand the scale of risk and allows us to better prepare for future hazards and adapt to the effects of our changing climate. As legislators we can support this endeavour by encouraging the use and collection of data on disaster risk.”

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament Paola Vega (Costa Rica), stated that “collecting gender-disaggregated data is a key element to ensure that legislation is not gender-neutral and, on the contrary, recognises the differential impacts that the effects of climate change have on girls and women”.

The event will contribute to the catalytic role of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) and the Technical Expert Group on Comprehensive Risk Management (TEG-CRM) in promoting comprehensive risk management to avoid, minimise or address the residual/unavoidable impacts of climate change.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 12, 2021

ParlAmericas participates in the Global Virtual Conference on Catalysing Parliamentary Action to Fight Climate Change

The ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change participated in the Global Virtual Conference on Catalysing Parliamentary Action to Fight Climate Change organized by the Inter Pares EU Global Project to Strengthen the Capacity of Parliaments which took place over the course of May 11 and 12, 2021.

This conference aimed to share good European and international practices and lessons learned on parliamentary action on climate change with practitioners and other parliaments around the world and exposed participants to a range of parliamentary innovations on climate change, highlighting the key areas of parliamentary responsibility, including legislation, oversight, representation, and the national budget.

Member of the Legislative Assembly Paola Vega (Costa Rica), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change for Central America participated in the session on Regional and Global Parliamentary Action, moderated by Emilie Lemieux, Deputy Director – Open Parliament and Sustainable Development at ParlAmericas. The session also brought together Malini Mehra, CEO of the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) and Michael Scoullos, Secretary-General of the Circle of Mediterranean Parliamentarians for Sustainable Development on the ways through which these networks foster enhanced parliamentary action on environmental issues.

On the challenges currently faced by parliamentarians in the region, Ms. Vega noted that “while the pandemic has taken hold, climate change will not be put on pause; on the contrary its effects can now be doubly catastrophic. In Latin America, we’ve seen a rise in a discourse that has introduced a false opposition between economic development and the environment that needs to be confronted. This is why it’s important that through these spaces and networks for the exchange of knowledge and experiences, we work to raise awareness and provide information to establish priorities and favour an informed evidence-based dialogue.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 7, 2021

ParlAmericas, the Transparency and Access to Information Network (RTA), the European Union’s EUROsociAL+ programme and the Organisation of American States (OAS) hold the webinar Model Inter-American Law 2.0 on Access to Public Information for Parliaments of the Americas and the Caribbean

In the context of this pandemic, transparency and access to information are crucial to building bridges between the government and citizens to address these challenges through a greater culture of accountability and citizen participation. These issues are especially relevant in the parliamentary sphere because of its proximity to the problems and needs of citizens, who also demand a greater role in decision-making and in the construction of their own future.

That is why, following the approval by the OAS Annual Assembly of the Inter-American Model Law 2.0 on Access to Public Information in October 2020, it is important to share its nature and scope with parliamentarians and parliamentary staff of the Americas and the Caribbean, international specialists, and transparency enforcement bodies, and to create new spaces for cooperation.

To contribute to this, the parliaments of the Americas and the Caribbean, ParlAmericas, the Transparency and Access to Information Network (RTA), the European Union’s EUROsociAL+ programme and the Organisation of American States (OAS) will hold the webinar “Inter-American Model Law 2.0 on Access to Public Information for the Parliaments of the Americas and the Caribbean.”

The event will include a presentation on the Inter-American Model Law 2.0 on Access to Public Information, which is intended to serve as a hemispheric reference to further advance in strengthening standards of transparency and access to information for the benefit of citizens in the region. The panel Reflections on national experiences will be moderated by the expert María José Méndez, EUROsociAL+ consultant, and will include the participation of Caroline Maynard, Information Commissioner of Canada; Gloria de la Fuente, President of the Council for Transparency of Chile; and Senator Ranard Eric Henfield of The Bahamas, Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for the Caribbean. The panel will promote the exchange of good legislative practices for transparency and access to information, aspects that are part of the Legislative Transparency Toolkit, developed by ParlAmericas, EUROsociAL+, and the RTA.

On this toolkit, Felice Zaccheo, Head of Unit for Mexico, Central America, Caribbean and Regional Operations, DG International Partnerships of the European Commission, pointed out that it is a tool that contains numerous contributions from European legislatures, including the European Parliament, the Parliaments of Estonia, the United Kingdom, Georgia, Italy, Spain, France and Norway, and “valuable contributions from legislatures in Latin America and other regions of the world, which makes it a truly global effort for knowledge management and the exchange of best practices.”

Senator Bertha Alicia Caraveo Camarena (Mexico), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for North America, stressed that “for ParlAmericas, transparency and access to information are central pillars of an open parliament, which is why these issues are at the heart of our institutional agenda. Offering this type of informed dialogue to parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean, in which they can familiarise themselves with the Model Law and strengthen the collaboration with the enforcement bodies on access to information issues, is fundamental.”

Gabriel Delpiazzo Antón, president of the RTA, said that “with more transparent parliaments, greater citizen participation is achieved and trust is restored for a more democratic society.”

Member of Parliament Ana Lucia Delgado (Costa Rica), Vice President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for Central America explained that “the adoption or updating of laws on access to public information is a task that cannot be postponed as it responds to our commitments to transparency and openness. Having first-hand knowledge of the proposals and standards developed by the OAS is an excellent opportunity for legislators in the Americas and the Caribbean to articulate our work on these issues.”

You can find the agenda of the webinar in this link.

For more information about our work, see our respective websites and social media: ParlAmericas (website and Twitter); RTA (website and Twitter) and EUROsociAL+ (website and Twitter).


April 28, 2021

The immediate past president of ParlAmericas participates in the Regional review meeting on the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean

On April 27, 2021, Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador Elizabeth Cabezas, immediate past president of ParlAmericas, participated as a panellist in the Regional review meeting on the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). She joined specialists, government officials, and representatives of international organizations to share her experiences at a round table on “Addressing irregular migration, including through managing borders and combating transnational crime.”

Certain key issues were discussed at the table regarding the way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the vulnerability of migrant population groups who already face discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation, and nationality, among other factors. In addition, participants discussed the importance of consular and international cooperation to improve access to protective services and justice for migrants, in order to reduce the number of human trafficking victims. Lastly, they discussed the need to strengthen mechanisms to ensure the dignified and safe return and re-admission of migrants, according to the principle of non-refoulement and the prohibition of collective expulsion under international human rights law.

Based on the panellists’ dialogue and contributions, recommendations were made for countries in the region highlighting the need to provide greater support to populations that are more vulnerable to human trafficking due to the increase in poverty and unemployment caused by COVID-19. Participants also underscored the importance of cooperation at the national level between the different levels of governance and civil society, as well as at the international level, to identify transnational crime networks and ensure access to justice and protective services for victims.

Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador Elizabeth Cabezas highlighted the representative role of parliaments in the continuous discussions between specialists and civil society groups working on the issue, regional government authorities, and migrants, to ensure that migrant safety and protection strategies are effective. The Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador added that another one of their commitments as parliamentarians is to adopt dynamic legislation focused on funding resources for migrant assistance and safety, according to local needs, and in line with the objectives of international strategies for combating transnational organized crime.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


April 21, 2021

The National Assembly of Panama and Smartly Social Entrepreneurship in SDGs organized a meeting, in collaboration with ParlAmericas, to present a support tool for tracking SDGs in legislative committees

On Tuesday, April 20, the International Relations Unit of the National Assembly of Panama and Smartly Social Entrepreneurship in SDGs organized a meeting, in collaboration with ParlAmericas, to introduce a new tool developed to track the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in legislative committees. This initiative is tailored towards the parliamentarians and parliamentary staff and is carried out as part of the efforts initiated by the National Assembly of Panama to advance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in their legislative activities.

On this occasion, Álvaro Terán, Parliamentary Relations Coordinator at ParlAmericas moderated the panel, which consisted of Evangelina Colli, Director of Localizing the SDGs and Coordinator of the Local Parliament Network on the SDGs, and Analía Pastran, Executive Director of Smartly Social Enterprise on the SDGs.  They provided a detailed presentation on the importance of using this technical tool for identifying and implementing the SDGs in the work carried out by legislative committees. In their presentation, they also highlighted the significant role played by the parliamentary staff of legislative committees and the importance of strengthening their capacity to effectively implement and monitor the SDGs in committee activities.

This activity is part of a broader program carried out by the Parliamentary Office for the Monitoring and Implementation of the SDGs of the National Assembly of Panama to support the exchange of knowledge and the development of new tools to promote parliamentary activities that advance the 2030 Agenda. The National Assembly of Panama held an earlier parliamentary meeting on January 19, 2021, in collaboration with ParlAmericas, during which Members of the National Assembly discussed and shared their knowledge about mechanisms to better integrate parliamentary activities with the goals of the 2030 Agenda. Afterwards, ParlAmericas organized a technical meeting for the parliamentary staff of the National Assembly of Panama, which was held on February 24  and sought to explore a series of good practices that are being implemented by  parliaments across the region. This event encouraged parliamentary staff to share lessons learned and ideas which would lay the foundation for advancing the SDGs in their parliaments.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


April 16, 2021

Caribbean presiding officers participate in a working meeting on open parliament

On April 19, ParlAmericas will host the Working Meeting of Caribbean Presiding Officers on Open Parliament which will bring together parliamentarians and clerks from 8 countries in the Caribbean to identify key priorities and corresponding challenges for openness reforms in accordance with the Road Map towards Legislative Openness, which is currently being updated through a collaborative process. It will aim to contribute to the development of a strategy to support the implementation of these legislative openness priorities by member parliaments in the Caribbean.

The Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas noted that “as parliamentarians, our institutions are at the core of democratic systems, and ensuring that we are open to our citizens is critical to building trust in public institutions and contributing to public policies and services that benefit all sectors of our populations. This is even more important in crisis situations like the pandemic we face today, and the increasing amount of disasters caused by natural hazards that affect our countries, which require swift and efficient government action that can only take place when the public has a certain level of trust in its institutions.”

“This is why it is so critical for our parliaments to prioritize initiatives that strengthen the openness of democratic institutions by implementing mechanisms (or reinforcing the mechanisms we have in place) to ensure transparency and access to public information, the accountability of democratic institutions, the participation of citizens in legislative decision-making, and a culture of ethical behaviour in our national legislatures. This meeting will allow us to identify common priorities, regional successes and concerns and then contribute to a joint work plan to advance the aforementioned initiatives across all of our parliaments,” added Senator, the Honourable Ranard Eric Henfield (The Bahamas), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for the Caribbean.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


April 9, 2021

ParlAmericas stands in solidarity with those affected by the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

ParlAmericas expresses its solidarity with the people and government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for the destruction caused by the recent eruption of the La Soufrière volcano, and especially with the surrounding communities affected by this event.

On behalf of ParlAmericas we wish to convey our deep regret concerning the situation that has transpired and our hope that the people who live in areas around the volcano can find refuge through the evacuation procedures adopted by the government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the regional support operations that are responding and helping to reduce the damages that this natural hazard may cause. ParlAmericas reaffirms its commitment to measures that favour the management of disaster risk and call for cooperation to address this situation.


March 31, 2021

ParlAmericas and the Parliament of Canada hosted the 5th Gathering of the Open Parliament Network: Countering Disinformation to Promote Responsible Public Discourse

ParlAmericas celebrated the 5th Gathering of its Open Parliament Network entitled “Countering Disinformation to Promote Responsible Public Discourse”, which was hosted by the Parliament of Canada. The gathering brought together parliamentarians from 26 countries, alongside parliamentary staff, subject-matter experts, and representatives of civil society organisations and youth organisations from across the hemisphere for a working session in English-French on March 15, and in Spanish-Portuguese on March 19, as well as a closing plenary session on March 26.

The Honourable Anthony Rota (Canada), Speaker of the House of Commons, in his opening remarks noted that “the topic of the 5th Gathering of ParlAmericas’ Open Parliament Network could not be more timely or relevant. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the public has relied on online resources to remain informed about the virus and the pandemic (…) Disinformation during a global pandemic can endanger public health and safety, especially if people believe false prevention measures or treatments, or if their trust in health services and public institutions is undermined.”

In addition, the Honourable Pierrette Ringuette (Canada), Speaker Pro Tempore of the Senate, stressed that “disinformation campaigns during an election can have a range of harmful impacts. For example, the disinformation spread through such concerted campaigns can obscure legitimate information for voters, polarize social discourse, and weaken confidence in the electoral process.”

From her perspective, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, contributed that “we decided to dedicate this 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network to analyse the phenomenon of disinformation and its different effects, recognising that the globalised and multifaceted nature of this problem requires a coordinated and collaborative approach.”

Through these sessions, participants engaged in dialogues around the harmful effects of disinformation and computational propaganda, including the proliferation of hate speech, undue interference in electoral processes, limits to political participation, delegitimization of government actions and campaigns, and the deterioration of democratic dialogue, which threatens peace and security. These dialogues were supported by experts including Professor Taylor Owen, Beaverbrook Chair in Media Ethics and Communications of the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University; Professor Marco Aurelio Ruediger, Director of Public Policy Analysis at Fundación Getúlio Vargas; Nazima Raghubir, First Vice-President of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers; Laura Zommer, Executive Director at Chequeado; Pedro Vaca Villarreal, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Sandra Pepera, Daniel Arnaudo and Victoria Welborn, of the National Democratic Institute; Micaela Mantegna, Professor at Universidad de San Andres and Research Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center in Harvard University; Amalia Toledo, Consultant on Gender and Technology; and Professor Elena Gil González, Professor at Instituto de Empresa Law School.

It also included a high-level panel moderated by Senator, the Honourable Ranard Henfield (The Bahamas) and featuring Catalina Botero Marino, Member of the Facebook Oversight Board; Lucina Di Meco, Gender Equality Expert and Co-founder of #ShePersisted Global; and Member of Parliament Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Canada), Member of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation, which fostered a proactive discussion around the most pernicious effects of disinformation, including gender-based violence, and presented  innovative initiatives to address this issue, such as Facebook’s Oversight Board and the International Grand Committee on Disinformation.

The Gathering concluded with reports from parliamentary delegations on the progress achieved to implement the commitments presented at the previous Gathering which have been published on ParlAmericas’ Open Parliament Commitment Tool, as well as present new commitments that they intend to implement over the next year. A final declaration stressing parliamentary commitments to address disinformation in the hemisphere was adopted and the results for the election of the OPN Executive committee were announced.

In conclusion, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Javier Macaya (Chile), President-elect of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, commented that “I am certain that we are leaving this meeting with a better understanding of a complex contemporary phenomena, with a renewed commitment to democratic principles of transparency, freedom and inclusion, and with better tools to support our ongoing efforts to strengthen governance and tackle this issue.”

All meeting materials, including panellist presentations can be accessed on the ParlAmericas website.  A final report outlining the discussions held within the various working sessions will be published in the coming weeks.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


March 31, 2021

ParlAmericas held the 3rd Meeting of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament within the framework of the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas’ Open Parliament Network

ParlAmericas celebrated the 3rd Meeting of the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament, which was hosted by the Parliament of Canada on March 22. It brought together parliamentary staff from 19 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean along with subject matter experts to exchange experiences and good practices on technological innovation.

Senator Silvia Giacoppo (Argentina), ParlAmericas Board Member, opened the meeting indicating that “in the path to legislative openness, it is imperative we strengthen the efforts to include innovative technological tools that improve our legislative work as well as our effort to better represent citizens.” In his welcome remarks, Mr. Blair Armitage (Canada), Clerk Assistant of the Senate Committees, added that “the Open Parliament Network and ParlAmericas are essential spaces for building mutual understanding and cooperation not only within the region itself, but between the Americas and the Caribbean and other countries around the world.”

The meeting provided opportunities for parliamentary staff to engage in a dialogue with peers and experts around a series of relevant topics through working groups focused on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, maximizing resources, and virtual parliamentary sessions. It also included a Panel on Technological Innovation in Parliaments with Dr. Tiago Peixoto, Senior Public Sector Specialist from the Governance Global Practice at the World Bank; Ms. María Paz Hermosilla, Director of the Public Innovation Lab (GobLab), from the School of Governance at the University Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile; Mr. Diego Subero, Consultant in the Cybersecurity Program from the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism at the Organization of American States; and Mr. Chris Beall, Policy Lead in the Governance Platform at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The panel explored strategies to promote technological innovation, for example through collective and artificial intelligence, and strengthen cybersecurity, while continuing to support openness and counter disinformation.

To conclude the meeting, Luis Rojas (Chile), Deputy Secretary General of the Chamber of Deputies, noted the importance and value of these exchanges to improve parliaments’ efficiency, recognizing that “our legislatures have been working exhaustively to incorporate technological tools in parliamentary work, and this is in great part thanks to the wonderful work that parliamentary staff like yourselves do everyday.”

All meeting materials, including panelist presentations can be accessed on the ParlAmericas website.  A final report outlining the discussions held within the various working groups will be published in the coming weeks.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


March 25, 2021

The Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Leadership launches Award for Good Practices in Women’s Leadership with an Event on the Margins of CSW65

On March 25, within the framework of the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Leadership and the Summits of the Americas Secretariat of the OAS, with the support of the Government of Canada, are organizing the virtual side-event “Accelerating efforts towards the achievement of SDG 5.5 from the Americas” to inspire commitments and concrete actions in support of women’s leadership throughout the region.

During this session, the Inter-American Award for Good Practices in Women’s Leadership will be launched, seeking to recognize, highlight, and amplify public policies as well as initiatives from the private sector and civil society that promote increased representation of women in leadership positions.

The event will include welcoming remarks from the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada), a keynote presentation by Vice-President Epsy Campbell (Costa Rica), and a dialogue among government officials, private sector representatives, and civil society organizations who will discuss their work to promote women’s leadership across different sectors and areas of power and decision-making.

This high-level discussion will also include the participation of the Honorable Valerie Woods (Belize),  Speaker of the House of Representatives; Senator Martha L. Micher (Mexico); and Member of Congress Sonia M. Gutierrez (Guatemala). The parliamentarians and other panellists will present on their countries’ advances in terms of women’s political leadership, and they will offer reflections on the challenges the region faces towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5.5 on ensuring women’s full and effective leadership in political, economic, and public decision-making.

ParlAmericas is a founding member of the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Leadership.

For more information about the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


March 25, 2021

ParlAmericas celebrates its 20th anniversary as the institution that promotes parliamentary diplomacy and participation in the inter-American system

ParlAmericas officially began the celebration of its 20th anniversary last week in the framework of the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network. Twenty years ago this month, in March 2001, the Parliament of Canada hosted the meeting at which the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA; as ParlAmericas was known until 2011) was formally created by parliamentarians from across the Americas and the Caribbean to serve as a space for inter-parliamentary exchange and cooperation on issues of hemispheric concern.

“It was always a concept of mine and colleagues of mine that [Canada] was not sufficiently active in the Americas and we were becoming more and more active in what we called parliamentary diplomacy … and from there it was natural that we should be active in trying to establish a forum in the Americas that Canada could participate in – and, as it would turn out, provide the leadership role in forming – an organization that would bring parliamentarians together and allow parliamentary diplomacy to take place with the Americas and with the Caribbean, thus enhancing our relationship in the Americas,” said the inaugural President of FIPA the Honourable Bill Graham, former Canadian parliamentarian and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Commons in 2001, on the impetus for Canada’s leading role in establishing FIPA.

In commemoration of this landmark occasion, and as a tribute to its role in ParlAmericas’ founding, the Parliament of Canada is hosting the OPN Gathering, which is taking place virtually throughout the month of March. The Honourable Anthony Rota (Canada), Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable George Furey (Canada), Speaker of the Senate, along with members of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas shared  video messages that commenced the anniversary celebrations and invited parliamentary participation in the Gathering. ParlAmericas also premiered a digital timeline at the opening sessions of the Gathering, which details significant milestones in the institution’s history.

Throughout its 20 years, ParlAmericas has significantly expanded its role in the region, its network of partnerships and collaborations, and the ways in which it continues to uphold its founding mission of facilitating inter-parliamentary exchange on hemispheric priorities. The institution develops tailored resources, provides technical assistance, and coordinates activities related to its three key program pillars: gender equalityopen parliament, and climate change. ParlAmericas’ work remains governed by and for parliamentarians, with members of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of each programmatic pillar elected in representation of each sub-region of the hemisphere.

Reflecting on the institution’s growth, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, shared the following message: “ParlAmericas has become one of the foremost spaces for parliamentary diplomacy in our hemisphere, allowing for rich dialogue and the sharing of parliamentary good practices on themes that are crucial to sustainable development, equal growth, and good governance in the Americas and the Caribbean. This dynamic working space provides access to expertise and resources that support all parliamentarians and legislatures in successfully carrying out our roles in achieving each of these objectives. It is an honour to be part of this organization and I extend my congratulations to all who have contributed to ParlAmericas’ past and future success.”

The celebration of ParlAmericas’ 20th anniversary will continue throughout this year, in alignment with each of the organization’s major hemispheric gatherings. This will include the launch of a series of video interviews with leaders and partners who have contributed to ParlAmericas’ work throughout the last two decades.

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, and to follow the rest of our 20th anniversary celebrations, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


March 17, 2021

The President of ParlAmericas participates in the high-level panel on health and the economy during the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development

On March 17, 2021, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas, participated as a panellist in the fourth meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). She joined specialists, government officials, and representatives of civil society to share their experiences in a round table discussion on the topic of “Health and the economy – a false dichotomy?”.

The objective of the panel was to reflect on the responses of the region’s countries to the COVID-19 pandemic, the strengthening of health systems and emergency social protection programs, and the sustainability of these measures in a context of limited fiscal space and rising debt in the region, as well as difficulties in procuring, distributing and administering vaccines.

The dialogue highlighted various perspectives including the importance of ensuring the health of society as the basis for a strong economy and the critical role that interregional cooperation plays in achieving a fair distribution of vaccines. The panellists also commented on the urgency of addressing climate change, loss of biodiversity, and environmental degradation to prevent the appearance or reappearance of zoonotic diseases and reduce their prevalence and intensity, in order to avert a major crisis through a green and inclusive economic recovery. Finally, participants commented on the need to build resilience and adequately prepare for a future pandemic, by installing anticipatory governance.

In her remarks, Senator Ovelar underscored that “the role of the legislative powers in this context of a health, economic and social crisis is fundamental to make public policy decisions that are based on evidence and that respond to the public’s needs. As parliamentarians, we have the crucial role of exercising political control over government responses to COVID-19, and evaluating and passing emergency legislation that allocates national funds to meet the needs of the populations we represent. We also have the responsibility to promote transparency around global and national measures related to COVID-19, a key aspect in maintaining the public’s trust in the government’s actions to address the pandemic, and in ensuring that citizens receive the information they need.”

To learn more about the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


March 8, 2021

Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador Karina Arteaga is organizing the event “The impact of COVID-19 on the roles of a woman leader” to commemorate International Women’s Day

On March 8, Karina Arteaga, Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador and South American Vice-president of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, will be organizing with the collaboration of ParlAmericas the event: “The impact of COVID-19 on the roles of a woman leader.” The event will address topics such as the impacts of COVID-19 on women specifically, the increase of domestic violence while social isolating, the threats for women’s economic autonomy in times of crisis, and the challenges female political leaders face during the pandemic.

The event will feature opening remarks by Ms. Arteaga and interventions by Member of Congress Arlette Contreras (Peru) and the Honorable Alternate Member of the National Assembly Ana Irene Delgado (Panama). The panel will be moderated by Ms. Nadia Ramos, Executive Director of the Centro de Liderazgo e Innovación para Mujeres de las Américas (Centre for Leadership and Innovation for Women in the Americas).

This event will take place within the International Women’s Day framework, to create a space for discussion and to encourage reflections about topics that are critical for all of society, while also integrating gender issues into public policies responding to the pandemic crisis.

For more information about the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


February 25, 2021

ParlAmericas and the National Assembly of Panama organized a parliamentary staff meeting on the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals in the National Assembly of Panama

On Wednesday, February 24, ParlAmericas and the International Relations Unit of the National Assembly of Panama held a parliamentary staff meeting entitled “Accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the Assembly of Panama.” The objective of the meeting was to explore a series of good practices being implemented by other parliaments to advance the 2030 Agenda from a technical perspective. The goal was to share experiences and ideas that would help support the development of similar initiatives in the National Assembly of Panama to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This event took place in follow-up to the parliamentary meeting held on January 19, during which members of the National Assembly of Panama discussed and deepened their knowledge of the mechanisms needed to better integrate parliamentary activities with the goals of the Agenda.

The Honourable Member of the National Assembly Fernando Arce (Panama), President of the Foreign Relations Committee and ParlAmericas Board Member, presented opening remarks and expressed his hope that, “within the National Assembly of Panama, as parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, we work together to build and strengthen the dynamics, principles, relations, and institutions that allow every person to participate in social, economic, cultural and political life based on equal rights, equality, and dignity.”

The meeting was moderated by Mr. Cristóbal Campos of the National Directorate for the Promotion of Citizen Participation of the National Assembly of Panama. Moreover, there were presentations from subject-matter specialists who lead the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in their respective parliaments, including 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; Ms. Isabel Zúñiga Quiros, Head of the Legislative Research Center of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica; Mr. René Villasboa, Director General of the Legislative Observatory of the Chamber of Senators of Paraguay; and Mr. José María Hernández Vallejo, Technical Secretary of the Working Group for the Continuation of the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda of the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico.

During the meeting, Ms. María Gabriela Graell, Director of the International Relations Unit of the National Assembly of Panama commented that “it is fundamental to implement a strategy among parliamentary staff and, above all, exchange good practices with countries of the region.”

The presentations were followed by a space for dialogue between participants. The meeting concluded with closing remarks by Mr. Quibián Panay, Secretary General of the National Assembly of Panama, who emphasized that “all these alliances aim to strengthen legislation and build capacity for all parliamentary actors to generate more sustainable initiatives. However, it is important to realize that none of this would be possible without the hard work of a committed team of parliamentary staff who, from their positions, make it possible for all these initiatives to come to fruition. Behind the political will of parliamentarians there is always a team of parliamentary staff supporting and advising them from their knowledge and experience.”

This meeting is part of a broader program being carried out by the Parliamentary Office for the Monitoring and Implementation of the SDGs of the National Assembly of Panama, which will continue to work with parliamentary actors and strategic partners to support the exchange of knowledge and the development of new tools for the promotion of parliamentary work aligned with achieving the 2030 Agenda.

For further information on ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


February 24, 2021

ParlAmericas participates in the regional launch of the initiative “Making Cities Resilient 2030” in the Americas and Caribbean

On February 24th, 2021 the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George (Trinidad and Tobago), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice-President of ParlAmericas provided welcoming remarks for the regional launch of the initiative “Making Cities Resilient 2030” (MCR2030) in the Americas and Caribbean, organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

This event brought together representatives of UNDRR, youth leaders, local government officials, academia, national governments, and MCR partners to discuss the importance of improving urban resilience and sustainability in the region, as well as the manner in which the newly launched initiative, MCR2030, could help achieve this. MCR2030 is a global partnership that aims to strengthen local resilience by improving cities’ understanding of risk and strengthening their capacity to develop and implement inclusive local strategies to manage disaster risk, all while promoting vertical and horizontal integration between different levels of government and strategic partners.

Speaker Annisette-George highlighted during her intervention the critical role that parliaments have within this endeavour, sharing that “as MCR2030 highlights, climate governance is essential. In order to build the overall resilience of our countries, our communities must have the proper tools and resources to understand disaster risk and create holistic disaster management plans. As parliamentarians, we are the elected representatives of our people, and we have the responsibility to ensure that our actions and decisions are reflective and responsive to the diverse needs of our constituents. This naturally calls on us to work with our local government institutions, legislatures and members of the community.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


February 11, 2021

Parliamentarians from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala participated in a series of sessions on Experiences of Legislative Modernization in Latin America organized by ParlAmericas and the National Democratic Institute in Central America

On November 13, 2020 and January 29, 2021, ParlAmericas and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) held two virtual sessions for members of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, members of the National Congress of Honduras, and members of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala as part of the series Experiences of Legislative Modernization in Latin America. The purpose of these activities was to provide parliamentarians from northern Central American countries with practical knowledge on legislative modernization, facilitate the exchange of experiences with parliamentarians from other Latin American countries, identify basic elements required to establish an inter-parliamentary agenda for legislative modernization, and promote collaboration between the parliaments of the three Central American countries.

The first meeting, held on November 13, 2020, was inaugurated by Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, who highlighted the importance of legislative modernization in the current situation: “The modernization and strengthening of parliamentary work is essential because it allows us to improve and continue fulfilling our legislative, representation, and oversight duties. In complicated contexts, such as those we are currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the role played by legislators is crucial to achieving an economic recovery that meets the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.”

Mr. Eduardo Núñez Vargas, Director of NDI’s Regional Program for Central America, also welcomed the participants and highlighted opportunities for parliaments to innovate and adapt: “The pandemic has made it necessary to innovate so that parliaments can continue to play their strategic roles. This situation should be seen as an opportunity to align the demands of our current context with medium- and long-term approaches to parliamentary reform and modernization as a tool for adapting to change and as a way to establish new foundations for the relationship between parliaments and citizens.” Mr. Núñez Vargas also moderated the session, which included presentations on reforms for strengthening institutions from a comparative perspective, as well as the cases of Ecuador and Argentina. Ms. Pamela Lozano, an invited panellist and legislative openness specialist, highlighted modernization processes in public administration carried out in Latin America and how related laws and policies have also contributed to recent efforts by parliaments to transition to remote sessions. Member of the National Assembly César Solórzano (Ecuador), Vice-President of the National Assembly and member of the Open Parliament Group, shared his thoughts on the opportunities and challenges related to implementing virtual plenary sessions in the National Assembly to adapt parliamentary work to the context of the pandemic. He also commented on the recent amendment of the Organic Law on Legislative Functions, highlighting its focus on strengthening the principles of ethics, accountability, and transparency. Member of the Chamber of Deputies Daniela Vilar (Argentina), President of the Special Committee for the Modernization of Parliamentary Work, presented on the progress that has been made to strengthen parliamentary functions in Argentina through the modernization program. This has included efforts to establish an open parliament, such as processes launched in November to co-create an action plan and measures to hold virtual parliamentary sessions through the approval of the Protocol for Remote Parliamentary Work of the Chamber of Deputies.

Following these presentations, Member of Congress Cornelio García (Guatemala), Member of the Legislative Assembly Anabel Belloso (El Salvador), and Member of Congress Enrique Yllescas (Honduras) shared reports on progress toward legislative modernization in their respective parliaments. They highlighted specific challenges in adopting the technologies needed to hold virtual plenary sessions and the importance of considering experiences and practices of different countries in the hemisphere in response to the pandemic as part of broader reforms. After these presentations, participating parliamentarians had the opportunity to ask the panellists questions and share additional thoughts on the topic. The session ended with closing remarks from Member of the National Assembly Cabezas and Mr. Alejandro Urizar, Director of NDI in Honduras.

The second session in this series focused on innovation and citizen participation. It was held on January 29, 2021 and included the participation of parliamentary staff from northern Central American parliaments, as well as Ambassador Rita Rudaitis-Renaud of the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala. The meeting began with welcoming remarks from Member of the Legislative Assembly Cristina Cornejo (El Salvador), a member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, who shared her thoughts on El Salvador’s progress in this area and highlighted that “parliaments’ ability to adapt in the context of changing political scenarios is essential to ensuring that citizen’s demands are taken into account and that effective conditions for political stability are established, especially in adverse times such as those we are currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition, Member of Congress Víctor Martínez (Honduras) shared information about the Open Parliament Committee of the National Congress of Honduras, which has provided training on openness and citizen participation tools both to members of Congress in the committee and to technical teams responsible for different parliamentary departments, with the goal of guiding the co-creation process for an open parliament action plan. Member of Congress Sofía Hernández (Guatemala), First Vice-President of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala, presented on the implementation of parliamentary initiatives using information and communication technologies to expand the means used to interact with the Guatemalan population, including through social media, a television channel, and a mobile application. She also emphasized the value of the Unit for Access to Public Information as an accountability mechanism for citizens.

During the presentation on regional experiences,  Member of the Legislative Assembly Ana Lucía Delgado (Costa Rica), First Secretary of the Legislative Board of the Assembly, explained the experiences and lessons learned in relation to efforts on legislative openness and more effective citizen participation in the Legislative Assembly over the years. These have included key milestones, such as the Institutional Policy on Open Parliament approved in 2019 and the forthcoming approval of the regulations governing the Institutional Committee on Open Parliament, which will include civil society representatives, members of the Legislative Assembly, and parliamentary staff. In addition, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Vlado Mirosevic (Chile), a member of the Bicameral Transparency Group of the National Congress, emphasized the importance of initiatives to address citizen demands in the context of growing democratic tensions in the region and around the world. He highlighted strategies and significant advances made in Chile, including the Citizen Participation Regulations and Virtual Congress—a digital tool used to facilitate and increase the visibility of citizen contributions to debates on bills.

Following these presentations, participating parliamentarians shared their thoughts during a dialogue about a potential inter-parliamentary agenda for legislative modernization in northern Central American countries, moderated by Mr. Núñez Vargas and Ms. Josseline Matute, NDI Senior Program Officer. The meeting ended with closing remarks from Mr. Urizar and Ms. Natalí Casanova, Senior Program Officer of Open Parliament at ParlAmericas.

For more information, we invite you to visit the websites of ParlAmericas and NDI in Central America and follow @ParlAmericas, @NDIcentroameric, and @NDI on social media.


February 8, 2021

CARICOM and UN Women MCO – Caribbean Organize a Multi-Stakeholders Meeting for a Coordinated Caribbean Position ahead of CSW65, with the support of ParlAmericas and Other Regional Partners

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

Latin American parliamentary staff participated virtually in the 2nd Meeting of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament

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

ParlAmericas and the National Assembly of Panama organize a parliamentary meeting to support the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the National Assembly of Panama

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.


December 9, 2020

Condolences for the passing of Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador Bairon Valle

In the wake of the passing of Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador Bairon Valle, former member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, ParlAmericas expresses its sincere condolences and sentiments of solidarity to the family of Member of the National Assembly Valle, the Members of the National Assembly of Ecuador, and the Ecuadorian people.

Member of the National Assembly Valle’s sense of responsibility and commitment to democratic principles will be part of his valued legacy. He will be remembered for his personal warmth, kindness, temperament, and commitment, especially throughout his time as a representative of Ecuador on the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, where he actively participated and made valuable contributions to the vision and strategy of our institution. He will also be remembered for his contributions to our various meetings, study visits, and high-level interparliamentary gatherings and for his work in favour of legislative openness in the National Assembly of Ecuador.

ParlAmericas and the parliamentarians who had the honour of sharing in work gatherings and exchanges with Member of the National Assembly Valle will be eternally grateful.


December 9, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in the International Seminar on Constitutional Justice and Open Parliament hosted by the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Personal Data Protection (INAI) of Mexico

The International Seminar on Constitutional Justice and Open Parliament was held on Monday, December 7 and Tuesday, December 8 by the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Personal Data Protection (INAI) of Mexico with the participation of Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), the immediate past president of ParlAmericas. The seminar assessed progress made in terms of justice and open parliament in Mexico and included the participation of national and international panelists representing judicial and legislative institutions, public institutions, civil society organizations, and academia.

Keynote addresses and panels held on December 7 included a panel on ‘The Institutionalization of Open Parliament in Latin America,’ moderated by Commissioner Blanca Lilia Ibarra Cadena of INAI, which focused on exploring various perspectives on open parliament and how related practices have been improved across the region, as well as the region’s long-standing challenges. On this topic, Member of the National Assembly Cabezas stated, “At ParlAmericas, we’ve been able to incorporate an open parliament policy in many countries (…) As former president of the National Assembly, I promoted significant changes in the Organic Law of the Legislative Function to ensure that our open parliament policy wouldn’t depend on personal or individual initiatives by legislative leaders, but constitute a mandatory framework and system for the way things are done.” Senator Mónica Fernández (Mexico), president of the Governance Committee and the Technical Committee of the Legislative Transparency and Open Parliament Observatory, highlighted recent efforts within the Senate to promote concrete action and proposals based on a diagnosis presented by the Autonomous University of Mexico as part of the Technical Committee’s work. In this regard, Ms. Mercedes de los Santos, Director of Citizenry & Government Institutions for Directorio Legislativo Foundation, noted that parliaments are capable of ensuring that a diversity of voices are represented in the elaboration of public policy—an especially important factor within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lastly, Professor Guillermo Cejudo Ramírez of the Centre for Economic Research and Teaching of Mexico stressed the importance of focusing on substantial open parliament initiatives addressing not only transparency, but also forums for public deliberation and legislators working toward these goals in a proactive search for stakeholders whose voices are not being heard.

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


December 4, 2020

ParlAmericas shares experiences in international seminar on the role of the legislative branch in the evaluation of public policies

From December 2 to 4, the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, in collaboration with its Association of Legislative Consultants and Budget and Financial Inspection Consultants (Aslegis), Association of Consultants and Attorneys of the Brazilian Federal Senate (Alesfe), and Union of the Servers of the Brazilian Congress and of the Federal Court of Accounts (Sindilegis), hosted the international seminar on the “Role of the Legislative Power in the Evaluation of Public Policies.”

On December 3, Ms. Emilie Lemieux, Deputy Director – Open Parliament and Sustainable Development, represented ParlAmericas in a Round Table on Public Policy Evaluation alongside Mr. Richard Kelly, House of Commons Library, United Kingdom; Dr. Helaina Gaspard, Director of Governance and Institutions at the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy; and Prof. Fabiana Soares, Legislab, Federal University of Minas Gerais. The panel discussion highlighted the importance of parliamentary oversight of governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic; the value of fiscal scrutiny, where money is used as a lens to evaluate the effectiveness of public policies; the usefulness of creating mechanisms to evaluate the implementation of adopted legislation; the relevance of designing methodologies for drafting legislation that foster access to information and accountability; and improving the curriculum in legal training programs for lawyers who draft legislation.

Ms. Lemieux shared the key challenges and strategies provided by member parliaments at the ParlAmericas Virtual Meeting on Strengthening Oversight of Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic and explained, “One of the mechanisms by which parliaments can strengthen their oversight capacity is through Open Parliament Action Plans or Legislative Commitments in Open Government Action Plans – through the Open Government Partnership. In previous years the Congress of Brazil has opted for the latter, which has led to a web portal with tools on openness, transparency and participation that have been used by many local legislatures, and the current development of tools to improve transparency of the progress of bills through the legislative process. Such plans, in which the commitments are co-created by parliaments and civil society representatives, are also an opportunity to work on strengthening accountability measures, which can reinforce parliaments’ oversight work. They aim to improve parliament’s functions to improve trust between citizens and public institutions; and this trust is crucial as nations recover and rebuild following this global pandemic.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


November 30, 2020

ParlAmericas held its 17th Plenary Assembly: Towards a Circular Economy

ParlAmericas held its 17th Plenary Assembly entitled Towards a Circular Economy, gathering parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean to analyze the implementation of circular economic models within the context of post-pandemic recovery processes in the hemisphere

With the support of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica as host parliament, ParlAmericas held its 17th Plenary Assembly on November 13, 16, 20, and 27, which involved a series of virtual activities devoted to the circular economy—a systemic approach to sustainable development designed to benefit society, the environment, and the economy.

The 17th Plenary Assembly gathered parliamentarians from 26 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean to assess, alongside subject-matter experts, the importance of the circular economy and its pertinence in the economic recovery processes needed to overcome the serious socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic across the region.

As is customary, the opening plenary session included the presentation of accountability reports from the ParlAmericas Board of Directors. This year, annual reports by the President of ParlAmericas, as well as the three network presidents, were presented via video, with subtitles in every official ParlAmericas language. These were shared with member parliaments and published on the ParlAmericas website and on social media on Friday, November 13.

The working session held in English and French on Monday, November 16, included welcoming remarks from Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, Member of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís (Costa Rica), also a member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George, member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors. In addition, Senator Rosa Gálvez (Canada), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change for North America, moderated the session, which included the participation of content experts Mr. David Oswald, Founder and President of Design + Environment, and Ms. Virginia Rose Losada, Specialist in Sustainable Enterprise Development and Job Creation for the International Labour Organization (ILO). A subsequent discussion was held between legislators, parliamentary staff, and other participants who exchanged ideas and projects on the circular economy and posed questions to the panelists. Lastly, Senator Ranard Henfield (The Bahamas), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for the Caribbean, closed the working session.

At the working session in Spanish and Portuguese held on November 20, Member of the Legislative Assembly Paola Vega (Costa Rica) welcomed the participants along with Member of the National Assembly Cabezas, who also participated as a panelist in her role as author of the Circular Economy bill of the National Assembly of Ecuador. Mr. Luis Yáñez of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean moderated the meeting, which included the participation of specialists Ms. Adriana Zacarías, Head and Global Coordinator of Global Opportunities for SDGs and Regional Coordinator of Resource Efficiency at the United Nations Environment Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Ms. Ana Belén Sánchez, Regional Green Jobs Specialist for the ILO. Parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and young representatives of civil society organizations then participated in an exchange on initiatives and projects related to the circular economy. Senator Silvia Giacoppo (Argentina), member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, concluded the working session.

The closing plenary session held on Friday, November 27, included welcoming remarks by Vice-President of the Legislative Assembly Jorge Luis Fonseca (Costa Rica) and host of the 17th ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly, and by Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas. There was a subsequent round of presentations by country moderated by Member of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís (Costa Rica); each parliament designated a legislator to share the progress made by their parliament in the transition towards a circular economy and a sustainable and equitable economic recovery. After the presentations, the Declaration of the Plenary Assembly was read and then adopted by the attending parliamentarians.

To conclude the plenary session, Ms. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, announced the results of the elections in which candidates were elected by acclamation. The outgoing President of ParlAmericas, Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador) made a closing speech that highlighted various achievements by the organization during her tenure as president over the past year and wished much success to the President-elect, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay). Senator Ovelar, in turn, praised the leadership shown by Member of the National Assembly Cabezas and expressed her commitment towards continuing the institution’s promotion of parliamentary diplomacy in the inter-American system.

Regarding the pertinence of assessing alternative economic models, Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), outgoing President of ParlAmericas, noted, “The circular economy benefits society, businesses, and the environment; it offers viable and sustainable alternatives for creating economic, social, and natural capital, and for reducing its impact on people and the environment.”

Vice-President of the Legislative Assembly José Luis Fonseca (Costa Rica), host of the meeting, stated, “We must understand that the traditional economy, based on the consumption of finite resources, needs to transition towards a sustainable model based on the well-being of society, on an economy that can allow us to regenerate the goods and services we produce; that’s the great challenge we’re facing.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George, Vice-President-elect of ParlAmericas, highlighted, “This year, due to the pandemic, humanity’s connection with nature is clearer than ever, making it crucial to repair this relationship. The circular economy provides a new model by which we can break the connection between economic growth and environmental damage.”

In her closing statement, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President-elect of ParlAmericas, noted, “The pandemic has brought to the forefront the pressing need for high-level political action from States, and especially from parliaments.”

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


November 25, 2020

ParlAmericas commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

On Wednesday, November 25, on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the I International Gathering for a Women Parliamentarian Agenda was held. The gathering was organized by Member of Congress Arlette Contreras (Peru), and its objective was to share experiences and key normative advances in Latin American parliaments towards ending violence against women. It featured a distinguished panel of parliamentarians that included: Member of the Provincial Legislature Mercedes Trimarchi (Argentina); Senator Rosa Gálvez (Canada), vice-chair of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Daniella Cicardini (Chile); Representative Irma Luz Herrera (Colombia); and Senator Antares Vázquez (Mexico), member of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas.

Member of the National Assembly Karina Arteaga (Ecuador), vice-president for South America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, also participated in this experts’ panel, giving remarks on the importance of a regional, joint agenda in which parliamentarians and civil society, including young people, work together and exchange experiences and strategies to counter the crisis of violence against women, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, as part of its commemoration of November 25, ParlAmericas launched a special interview with the activist and politician Minou Tavárez Mirabal, the daughter of Minerva Mirabal. The assassination of Minerva and her sisters, María Teresa and Patria, led to the declaration of November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The legacy of resistance of the Mirabal sisters during the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic continues to serve as a source of inspiration for women around the world working to end violence against women. In the interview, which took place at the Mirabal Sisters’ House-Museum, Ms. Mirabal underscores the importance of persevering in social and political efforts to eradicate violence against women, an essential aspect of realizing gender equality.

Throughout this year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (November 25 – December 10), ParlAmericas will be launching a series of interviews with parliamentarians from across the Americas and the Caribbean in which they share their perspectives on the theme of this year’s UNiTE 2020 campaign, “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” These interviews – available on YouTube – are a collaboration with UN Women, the National Forum of Women in Political Parties of Panama (FONAMUPP, in Spanish), and Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL).

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


November 23, 2020

Young Women of Antigua and Barbuda Take Their Seats in Parliament

On November 23, 2020, young women from across Antigua and Barbuda took part in a historic, all-women simulated parliamentary debates of the House of Representatives and the Senate within the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda. These Sittings marked the culmination of the Young Women in Leadership – Antigua and Barbuda (YWiLAB) programme organized by ParlAmericasCaribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL), and the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda, in which more than 40 young women leaders between the ages of 18-25 from across the country participated.

The YWiL programme seeks to support young women in preparing for future leadership by providing training and education on political leadership, encouraging consideration of leadership and service from a transformational perspective, and creating a space to foster supportive communities of women and other allies. In line with these goals, the YWiLAB programme consisted of virtual and in-person training sessions that ran throughout October and November and focused on the programme’s core components: transformational leadership, gender equality and inclusive decision-making, parliamentary procedure, and strategies for effective leadership. The sessions were led by distinguished facilitators, including parliamentarians, civil society leaders, practitioners from various fields, and other leaders from Antigua and Barbuda and across the region.

During the YWiLAB Parliamentary Sittings, participants in the programme had the opportunity to apply their learning while serving as a parliamentarian or officer of parliament in a debate on a budget amendment bill developed through a gender-responsive budgeting process. The Bill considered by both chambers proposed funding reallocations among various ministries in line with identified gender equality priorities, which participants reviewed and shared responses on, drawing on their expertise and research and in line with their assigned role. Following the programme’s conclusion, participants are also encouraged to share the learning and skills gained within their communities.

This initiative was one in a series of such activities that will be organised in countries across the region, forming a core component of the ParlAmericas-CIWiL joint project to advance women’s political participation in the Caribbean, supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. The first YWiL was held in Trinidad and Tobago in March 2020 in partnership with the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

Find more information on the initiative on social media using #YWiLAB, or by visiting the YWiL webpage on the CIWiL website.


November 20, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in the launch of Colombia’s 5th Open Parliament Action Plan

The official launch and start of the co-creation processes for the 5th Action Plan for an Open and Transparent Congress in Colombia, organized by the Chamber of Representatives, took place on Thursday, November 12, 2020. The purpose of this activity was to bring together Colombian authorities and international guests to announce the development of the Open Parliament Action Plan to be implemented by the Chamber of Representatives, which will focus on strengthening the inclusion and participation of Afro-descendant populations in the legislative process. ParlAmericas participated in this event through Member of the Chamber of Deputies Javier Macaya (Chile), Vice-President of the Open Parliament Network.

The activity began with a presentation by Representative Germán Blanco (Colombia), President of the Chamber of Representatives, who highlighted the work done by Colombia in terms of legislative openness, including action plans and laws to strengthen this process, as well as the importance of focusing the plan on transparency and clear language. Meanwhile, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Macaya stressed that “the action plans are based on co-creation processes aimed at prioritizing, developing, and subsequently implementing commitments between parliamentarians, officials, and representatives of civil society. These processes not only generate greater confidence, but also allow us to come together to achieve the same goal.” Representative Astrid Sánchez (Colombia), Vice-President of the Chamber of Representatives, also participated and highlighted the importance of implementing an action plan that overcomes social and technological inequalities in order to reach the most marginalized sectors of Colombia, especially Afro-Colombian communities. Along the same lines, Representative Jhon Murillo (Colombia), President of the Afro-Colombian Legal Committee, underscored the value of an initiative that contributes to actions in favour of these communities, given the under-representation of Afro-Colombians in parliament and their exclusion from public policies reflected in the country’s budget.

Representative Milton Angulo (Colombia); Mr. Jorge Humberto Mantilla, Secretary General of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia; Mr. Carlos Eduardo Venegas, head of Internal Control of the Colombian Parliament; Ms. Sandra Milena Alvarado, coordinator of the 5th Action Plan; Mr. Francisco Herrero, resident director of the National Democratic Institute in Colombia; Mr. Alberto Almonacid of the Domopaz Foundation; and Ms. Mercedes de los Santos of the Directorio Legislativo Foundation, also took part in the discussion. The event ended with the announcement of co-creation boards that would meet in the following weeks, with the support of the Domopaz Foundation, the Directorio Legislativo Foundation, the National Democratic Institute and ParlAmericas.

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


November 16, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in the Third Andean Meeting of Ibero-American Youth

Member of the National Assembly Ana Belén Marín (Ecuador), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, participated as a panelist in the Third Andean Meeting of  Ibero-American Youth, organized by the NGO Jóvenes Iberoamericanos and held on November 9-13, 2020.

The dialogue gathered young speakers and leaders from Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela to address issues of regional interest related to education, gender equality, sustainability, peace-building, and circular agriculture.

Member of the National Assembly Marín made a presentation at the end of the event, on November 13, on the importance of youth participation in politics, particularly in areas related to gender equality and combatting climate change. In her speech, she highlighted ParlAmericas’ commitment toward facilitating forums for youth participation in the region’s parliaments, sharing experiences such as the first Young Women in Leadership program carried out in Trinidad and Tobago in March of this year (YWiLTT), and the 12th Gathering of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, Designing inclusive futures in partnership with youth, carried out via a series of online events in September and October of this year.

Member of the National Assembly Marín ended her presentation by calling upon the young attendees to engage in politics with proposals based on serving their communities. She also shared strategies that parliaments could implement to promote their participation, such as youth parliaments, political forums, and mentoring programs.

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


November 3, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in the First Virtual Congress of the Youth Assembly of Panama

The First Virtual Congress of the Youth Assembly of Panama was held on October 27, 28, and 29, 2020 and was organized by the National Directorate for the Promotion of Citizen Participation of the National Assembly of Panama, with the support of ParlAmericas and the National Forum of Women in Political Parties (FONAMUPP, in Spanish). The congress gathered more than 250 members and former members of the Youth Assembly of Panama for a series of presentations by national and international speakers on subjects related to citizen participation, youth leadership, and adopting a gender perspective within parliamentary institutions and civil society organizations.

On the first day of the event, Tuesday, October 27, Member of the National Assembly Ana Belén Marín (Ecuador), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, sent a video greeting to the members of the Youth Assembly of Panama, emphasizing the importance of youth participation in key areas such as climate change and the promotion of gender equality. In her message, Ms. Marín encouraged the Youth Assembly to “engage in politics to serve, so that the voices that aren’t being heard can be heard.”

Afterwards, Emilio Rodríguez, Gender Equality and Youth Program Officer for ParlAmericas, moderated a panel interviewing Selva Montealegre, an expert in diversity and inclusion and youth activist, on the importance of gender mainstreaming across institutions and organizations, with a focus on youth-led organizations.

On the second day of the event, Wednesday, October 28, Member of Congress Arlette Contreras (Peru) sent a video greeting to the members of the Youth Assembly of Panama and spoke of her own experience as a young parliamentarian, sharing her story on how her involvement in women’s rights activism led her to participate in politics. Ms. Contreras stated, “It is very important that the struggle for women’s rights be prioritized by the State. That is why I have been promoting a women’s agenda at the Congress of the Republic.”

On the last day of the event, Thursday, October 29, Honourable Representative Juan Carlos Losada (Colombia) expressed his support for the members of the Youth Assembly of Panama in a video that stressed the essential role of youth in our countries’ development, noting that, in his case, it was environmental activism that motivated him to get involved in politics. Representative Losada called upon “all of our continent’s youth, so that their participation can bring about the transformations we desire for Latin America.”

Subsequently, Natalí Casanova, Open Parliament Senior Program Officer for ParlAmericas, moderated a panel interviewing Emerson Salguero, director of the Guatemalan organization Involúcrate, which organizes programs and activities that promote youth involvement in politics. The interview addressed issues related to citizen participation and political activism, highlighting the importance of ensuring that these efforts be inclusive and egalitarian.

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


October 30, 2020

Open Parliament e-Network hosts the Global Legislative Openness Week

The 5th Global Legislative Openness Week (GLOW) was hosted from October 26 to 30 by the Open Parliament e-Network a consortium composed of ParlAmericas, Directorio Legislativo, Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency, National Democratic Institute, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and Westminster Foundation for Democracy, working together to support legislative openness globally.

More than 20 events were held, gathering more than 2,500 participants including parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and CSOs. The week included activities hosted by parliaments in BrazilColombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Indonesia, North Macedonia and Paraguay; and CSOs in Armenia, Mexico and Ukraine that provided an introduction to open parliament concepts, contributed to the development and implementation of legislative Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitments and discussed digital strategies to ensure the continuity of these efforts during the pandemic, among other objectives. GLOW also coincided with the approval of a new Citizen Participation Regulation by the Congress of Chile, an innovative initiative stemming from a legislative commitment in Chile’s Action Plan to increase citizen participation in the legislative process.

A key takeaway of GLOW 2020 was featured in the week’s final session — “Working towards an Open State” (available in English and Spanish) — which brought together more than 80 representatives from parliaments, civil society and academia to explore opportunities for parliaments to further contribute to the implementation and oversight of national commitments within the OGP framework. Reinforcing the critical role of parliamentary openness in crisis situations, the webinar also identified the need for strengthened collaboration between the executive and the legislative and judicial branches of governments. The discussion was moderated by Paul Maassen, Chief Country Support at OGP, and led by Irina Pruidze, former Member of Parliament of Georgia; Paran Umar Tarawallie, clerk of the Parliament of Sierra Leone; Cara F. Zwibel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association; and Maria Liz Sosa Studotti, staff of the Senate of Paraguay.

An “Open State approach” considers open government challenges and opportunities holistically across all branches and levels of government and is an inspiring next step for the open parliament movement. However, it also requires stronger mechanisms for collaboration, participation and communication among the executive, judiciary and legislature. These mechanisms can take the form of national agreements of participation in the national open government multi-stakeholder forum, the inclusion of commitments on open parliament and open justice in action plans, and other approaches. Consult OPeN’s resource on Parliaments and Open Government for additional information. Such efforts would without any doubt strengthen democracy at these times of unprecedented challenges.

The content of this press release was drafted collaboratively by OPeN partners.


October 27, 2020

ParlAmericas shares experiences in LegisTech Forum 2020: Global Conference on Digital Transformation in the Legislative

On Tuesday, October 26 and 27, Bússola Tech, a Brazilian organization that promotes the exchange of experiences and initiatives for bringing citizens and their representatives closer with the aid of technology, organized the LegisTech Forum 2020 “Global Conference on Digital Transformation in the Legislative” which brought together experts from the public and private spheres, alongside representatives from parliaments across the world to strengthen a global community for the digital transformation of legislative power. This forum provided over 24 hours of content to discuss the next steps for parliaments who took the opportunity that the pandemic provided to quickly innovate and transition to virtual parliamentary sittings. It focused on strategies to consolidate parliamentary openness and further improve the application of digital tools to strengthen parliament’s legislative and oversight functions.

Ms. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, participated as a panelist in a session entitled Interparliamentary Cooperation for Digital Legislative Transformation. She was joined by panelists Tiago Peixoto of the World Bank and Andy Williamson of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in this session moderated by Luís Kimaid, CEO of Bussola Tech. The session permitted a reflection on the benefits and challenges to date of remote deliberation systems, the next focus areas for digital transformation in parliaments and the role of multilateral institutions in supporting these initiatives. Ms. Todd emphasized that “it is fundamental for openness and transparency to remain core principles of any parliamentary digital transformation strategy, and for the goal of modernization to focus on enabling parliament to better perform its functions to achieve better results for citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic became a catalyst for quick innovation which has the potential to have a lasting positive impact on parliamentary practices, acting as a stepping stone to strengthened access to information, accountability and public participati43on. ParlAmericas continues to support such initiatives by fostering collaboration and peer exchanges across parliaments in the Americas and the Caribbean through its Open Parliament Network, its corresponding Parliamentary Staff Network and global coordination efforts through the Open Parliament e-Network.”

The webinar provided an opportunity to exchange experiences and lessons learned to guide the further development of digital solutions to effectively support the work of parliaments across the world while addressing challenges they face in their efforts to continue undertaking their critical functions and ensure effective and sustainable responses to support citizens and address this pandemic.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


October 7, 2020

Official release of the Legislative Transparency Toolkit, a joint initiative by the Network for Transparency and Access to Public Information, EUROsociAL+ and ParlAmericas

On Thursday, October 1, 2020, the virtual meeting “Transparency is not in Quarantine: Launch of the Legislative Transparency Toolkit”, a joint initiative by the Network for Transparency and Access to Public Information (RTA), the European Union program, EUROsociAL+, and ParlAmericas, took place with the aim of continuing to foster the design and implementation of good practices in transparency within national parliaments of the Americas and the Caribbean. After a year of meetings held to produce this publication, five tools were presented in detail, namely: active transparency, requests for access to public information, open data, communication and accessibility, and document management, incorporating a gender perspective and the Sustainable Development Goals in a comprehensive manner. These tools include key concepts and considerations for their implementation, as well as indicators and over 100 pertinent good practices selected from Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean. The meeting involved the participation of more than 80 people representing transparency enforcement bodies, parliaments, international and civil society organizations, specialists and journalists from across the region.

In her welcome remarks, Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, noted, “In being transparent and facilitating access to public information, we strive to strengthen public integrity, policy quality and, above all, take a vital step toward empowering the citizenry and bringing policies much closer to the needs of the citizens that demand our attention.” Dr. Gabriel Delpiazzo, Executive Council Chairman of Uruguay’s Unit for Access to Public Information (UAIP), the institution that presides over the RTA, highlighted the importance of the Toolkit, noting that its “capacity to influence and bring about change, and the potential unleashed by its implementation (…) under more transparent parliaments, can achieve greater citizen engagement and representation, leading to a more democratic society.” Lastly, Ms. Anna Herrero, representative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, stated, “We are convinced that the tools compiled in this document will be useful to legislators and officials of the Americas and the Caribbean and the European Union in their aims to press onward with modernization processes and implement the open parliament agenda, even in scenarios as complex as those brought about by the COVID pandemic.”

After these speeches, there was a presentation on the steps to be worked on, the organizations involved and the important aspects of the Legislative Transparency Toolkit by Ms. María José Méndez, consultant for EUROsociAL+, who also moderated the panel that followed this presentation, with the participation of Ms. Blanca Lilia Ibarra, Commissioner of the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) of Mexico, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Javier Macaya (Chile), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, and Mr. Marcelo Espinel, Project Director of Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo, a coordinating organization of the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency. Following this session, parliamentary officials of Latin America and Spain presented the good practices included in the publication. Mr. Miguel Ángel Gonzalo, Chief of the Project Coordination and Planning Unit pertaining to the Cabinet of the Secretary-General of the Congress of Deputies of Spain, presented good practices from Spain and the United Kingdom in the areas of active transparency, communication and accessibility. Representing Latin America, Ms. María Liz Sosa, Director General of Legislative Strengthening and External Cooperation of the Senate of Paraguay, and Mr. Manuel Cotado, Director of the Program for Parliamentary Modernization, Innovation, Transparency and Democratic Strengthening of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, presented the Congreso2030py platform and the Open Data Portal, respectively, exemplifying good practices in the application of Sustainable Development Goals and open data development. This session was moderated by Mr. Juan Carlos Chavarría, Director of the Citizen Participation Department of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, and included commentary and questions by meeting participants.

To conclude the meeting, final thoughts were offered by Mr. Adrián Alcalá, Secretary of Access to Public Information of the INAI, Jeremy Bentley, Coordinator of Public Access to Documents under the Transparency Unit of the European Parliament, and Senator Antares Vázquez (Mexico), ParlAmericas Board Member, who thanked the panelists and participants for contributions shared during this meeting.

To access the Legislative Transparency Toolkit and learn more about the Network for Transparency and Access to Public Information (website and Twitter), EUROsociAL+ (website and Twitter) and ParlAmericas (website and Twitter), visit the linked websites and social media channels.


October 5, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in the International Symposium on Transparency and Access to Public Information during the Pandemic

As part of the events held on the International Day for Universal Access to Information, on Monday, September 28 and Wednesday, September 30, 2020 the International Symposium, Transparency and Access to Public Information during the Pandemic: Perspectives and Challenges, was held by the Citizen Participation Department of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, Movimiento de Iniciativa Popular (Popular Initiative Movement), the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, the National University of Costa Rica, Ideario Costarricense del Bicentenario (Bicentennial Costa Rican Values and Principles), Fundación Konrad Adenauer, and ParlAmericas. This symposium aimed to analyze and reflect on the impact of the current pandemic in various areas, considering transparency and access to public information as key pillars. The two-day event included four panels that covered political communication; public policies for economic, social, and cultural welfare; innovation and resilience in public administrations; and best practices for transparency in parliaments.

The event was inaugurated on Monday, September 28, and included the participation of representatives from organizing institutions. Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, and President of the Legislative Assembly Eduardo Cruickshank (Costa Rica) delivered welcoming remarks via video. In her speech, Member of the National Assembly Cabezas highlighted, “In ParlAmericas, we uphold the open parliament principle so that all citizens can have greater access to information—information that is accurate, concrete, and that reflects the reality of each parliament. We are convinced that having access to adequate information is the best tool citizens can have in order to truly understand the role of their institutions and dignitaries.” Two sessions were held following the inauguration: the first focused on political communication in the context of transparency and the right to access to public Information on the pandemic response, while the second session focused on transparency and access to public information in the elaboration of public policies for economic, social, and cultural welfare. Both sessions involved the participation of specialists and representatives of organizations from Costa Rica and other countries in the region, including Members of the National Assembly Laura Guido Pérez and Carolina Hidalgo (Costa Rica).

On Wednesday, September 30, two additional sessions were held: the first addressed the issue of  innovation and resilience of public administrations within the context of COVID-19 in relation to transparency and the access to information, with the participation of Member of the Legislative Assembly Wagner Jiménez (Costa Rica), while the second session presented best practices in transparency and access to information within parliaments during the pandemic. The latter was organized by ParlAmericas and included presentations by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Dolores Martínez (Argentina) and Members of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís, ParlAmericas Board Member, and Carmen Chan (Costa Rica). Presentations were also made by Mr. Emmanuel Barrantes of the Costa Rican civil society organization Movimiento de Iniciativa Popular (Popular Initiative Movement), and Mr. Luis Rojas, Deputy Secretary of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, who also moderated the panel. In her speech, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Martínez shared her experience with the modernization program of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, where important initiatives have been carried out to promote transparency, also highlighting open parliament commitments that include open data and open law portals. In addition, she gave a brief overview of the Legislative Transparency Toolkit, a publication that seeks to continue promoting best practices in transparency within the hemisphere’s legislative bodies. Member of the Legislative Assembly Solís stressed the importance of having a lobby law—one of her legislative proposals—in order to bring transparency to the decision-making process and thereby ensure higher standards of integrity in civil service. On this note, Member of the Legislative Assembly Solís pointed out that having a law of access to public information was a key step and that it was necessary to appoint an oversight body to ensure its efficacy and implementation by regulated bodies. Mr. Rojas commented on the latest developments and initiatives carried out by the Chilean parliament, including the Virtual Congress platform that aims to create a forum for a more fluid exchange with the citizenry through bills that are presented and included in the portal. Lastly, Mr. Barrantes noted that co-creation was a highly relevant aspect in transparency and access to public information processes because it allows for closer collaboration with civil society organizations promoting this agenda.

The International Symposium culminated with closing remarks by Mr. Juan Carlos Chavarría, Director of the Citizen Participation Department of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, who stressed the relevance of access to information and transparency in a democratic system.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


October 1, 2020

ParlAmericas convenes parliamentarians and youth from the Americas and the Caribbean on the occasion of the 12th Gathering of its Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality

ParlAmericas, with the support of the Congress of Colombia and the Parliament of Granada, is organizing the 12th Gathering of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, Designing inclusive futures in partnership with youth.The gathering, which is taking place as a series of online events in September and October 2020, brings together parliamentarians from more than 20 countries and young leaders from various youth organizations across the hemisphere.

The Gathering was inaugurated with two keynote interviews, one in English and one in Spanish, that were structured as intergenerational dialogues between former parliamentarians and young leaders. In the keynote interview in Spanish, Solangel Robinson, a young Panamanian leader and member of the National Forum of Women in Political Parties (FONAMUPP in Spanish), spoke with Dr. Cecilia López Montaño, a Colombian economist, former minister and former senator. The keynote interview in English featured Dr. Jean Augustine, former minister and former Canadian-Grenadian parliamentarian, and young leader and activist Ashlee Burnett, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter of Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL). The interviews address issues such as women’s political inclusion, gender-based violence, and the care economy.

The Gathering also included two working group sessions, one in English on September 23 and one in Spanish on September 25, entitled “Advancing gender equality solutions with youth partners.” The Spanish session featured remarks by the Honorable Germán Blanco, co-host of the meeting and President of the House of Representatives of Colombia; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Maya Fernández Allende of Chile, President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality; and Ms. Lucía Martelotte, programme coordinator at UN Women Argentina.

The session in English included interventions by the Honorable Chester Humphrey, co-host of the meeting and President of the Senate of Grenada; the Honorable Bridgid Annissette-George, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago; and Ms. Tonni Brodber, representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean. The working groups provided an opportunity for parliamentarians and young leaders to hold proactive dialogues around the following topics, approached from a gender equality perspective: girls, STEM, and the future of work; climate change and disasters; women in leadership and decision-making; promoting co-responsibility in care work; gender-based violence; and protecting women’s health.

The Gathering will conclude with a plenary session, to be held on Friday, October 2, which will explore parliamentary and political mechanisms to promote the inclusion of youth in decision-making from a gender equality perspective. During the plenary session, reports from the rapporteurs of the working groups will also be delivered and the Gathering’s final declaration will be read.

President Germán Blanco, as co-host of the meeting, pointed out that “the youth of the Americas and the Caribbean have called on the State and society as a whole with their demands, and the parliaments of the hemisphere, heeding this call, have opened the doors of congress to welcome them and listen to their voices.”

In turn, co-host President Chester Humphrey shared Grenada’s achievements in women’s political inclusion, but recalled that “it is critical not to lose sight of these goals to ensure that this progress continues to manifest well into the future; the prominence of diverse voices in all decision-making is essential to ensuring that the legislation and policies we enact are responsive to the varied needs of our populations.”

As President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Maya Fernández Allende stressed the importance of legislating while being mindful of the diversity of youth that “must necessarily be considered when proposing public policies for youth. We must insist on the need for desegregated information that accounts for this wide and varied universe of people.”

Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, noted that “the lessons learned, the experiences shared, and the innovative solutions that we have exchanged during these days will serve not only to guide parliamentary work, but also to insist on the need to strengthen spaces for youth participation in deliberative forums in political parties and parliaments.”

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


September 28, 2020

Representatives of ParlAmericas participated in the Open Parliament Regional Forum, ‘Legislative Openness: Experiences and Challenges over the Upcoming Decade’

On Thursday, September 24, 2020, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) held the  Open Parliament Regional Forum, ‘Legislative Openness: Experiences and Challenges over the Upcoming Decade’ in Colombia, with the purpose of presenting progress made and challenges faced in advancing the open parliament agenda by different actors and legislative bodies in the region, while considering the impact of the pandemic on these efforts and the role of civil society organizations in the future of legislative openness.

The first session featured a conversation between parliamentarians representing Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, and included the participation of Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador and President of ParlAmericas, Elizabeth Cabezas. This panel highlighted the importance of continuing to pursue open parliament initiatives and commitments during the pandemic, given the valuable contribution that these efforts make to a stronger and more inclusive democracy and their influence on citizen trust in parliament. On this note, Member of the National Assembly Cabezas stated, “All of these conflicts (lack of citizen trust in politics and public institutions, and social conflict) should prompt us to think about how to rebuild trust among citizens, but above all, how to establish new rules on engaging citizens that would allow for representation that’s more genuinely felt, more real, just and equitable.” The panelists ended this session with final thoughts on recently adopted open parliament initiatives and issues to be further explored in the future, such as measures needed to regulate conflicts of interest and accountability, open data policies, the role of social media, and efforts required to counter misinformation, as well as innovation and technology to promote openness.

This talk was followed by a keynote address on the future of legislative openness by Mr. Rafael Rubio, Professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and ended with a panel on promoting legislative transparency from civil society organizations, which was moderated by Ms. Natalí Casanova, Senior Program Officer – Open Parliament at ParlAmericas. The panel included the participation of Ms. Noel Alonso, Executive Director of the Directorio Legislativo Foundation of Argentina, and Ms. Daniela Moreno, Researcher for Congreso Visible, a project by Universidad de Los Andes of Colombia. During the discussion, both organizations presented initiatives for contributing to parliamentary openness processes in their respective countries, including the Legislative Transparency Index developed by the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency as a tool for measuring progress made in this agenda within the region.

This regional forum ended with final thoughts by Representative Germán Blanco, President of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia and former ParlAmericas Board Member, who highlighted the sustained political determination of the Colombian parliament’s general committees to co-create action plans that have gathered not only civil society organizations but also presidents and officials of chambers who are directing key offices within the Congress of Colombia.

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


September 23, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in the 8th Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment in the Americas and the Caribbean

Member of the National Assembly Ana Belén Marín (Ecuador), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change participated as a panelist in the 8th Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment in the Americas and the Caribbean hosted by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Alliance on Education, Training and Public Awareness on September 23, 2020.

This dialogue brought together government officials, United Nations and inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and academia to advance the discussions on recommendations and views on future work to enhance implementation of Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) which denotes work under Article 6 of the UNFCCC and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement (2015) and their six elements: Climate Change Education, Training, Public Awareness, Public Access to Information, Public Participation, and International Cooperation on these issues.

Member of the National Assembly Ana Belén Marín presented on the importance of ACE policy coherence across all branches  of government and further integrating parliaments in these efforts: “parliamentarians are in a unique position to influence the national agenda, disseminate information to our constituents, create spaces and channels for public participation in the development of legislation, legislative studies or political oversight, and contribute to national initiatives while always keeping in mind the needs and concerns of citizens in our respective districts. Moreover, through our oversight function, parliamentarians also have an important role in monitoring the implementation of ACE at the national level and, in this way, guaranteeing that these programs and initiatives are effective and leave no one behind.”

This dialogue took place as part of a series of regional dialogues across the world and will inform the negotiation at the 52nd session of UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) which is responsible for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the Doha Work Programme on Article 6 of the UNFCCC.

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


September 15, 2020

ParlAmericas shares experiences in a webinar on LegisTech for Democracy on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy.

On Tuesday, September 15, Bússola Tech, a Brazilian organization that promotes the exchange of experiences and initiatives for bringing citizens and their representatives closer with the aid of technology, organized the webinar “LegisTech for Democracy” which brought together representatives from over 20 parliaments across the world to share their experiences with virtual deliberation systems for parliamentary sittings and committee meetings. Ms. Emilie Lemieux, Deputy Director – Open Parliament and Sustainable Development of ParlAmericas joined parliamentary representatives from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago, among others to discuss such experiences within the Americas and the Caribbean.

Presentations demonstrated how the COVID-19 pandemic became a catalyst for quick innovation in parliaments, with many national parliaments transitioning to virtual sessions and meetings using adapted or new technologies. Parliamentary representatives showcased these new systems and the process by which they were established, which in some cases included changes to standing orders or legislation. They discussed the various issues posed by security concerns, voting practices, tradition, knowledge gaps and the digitization of other aspects of administrative processes, in addition to those resulting from the political landscape in their respective countries, and how these are being addressed to establish effective remote deliberation systems.

To introduce the experiences of the Americas and the Caribbean, Ms. Lemieux provided an overview of the challenges and solutions discussed by parliamentary representatives in the hemisphere through ParlAmericas’ virtual meetings and consultations for the development of resources on virtual parliamentary sittings. She stressed the importance of digital transformation, not as a goal in and of itself, but as a means towards modernizing practices and enabling parliament to better perform its functions to achieve better results for citizens: “These initiatives are part of a larger set of efforts towards creating more open parliaments, parliaments that work in collaboration with civil society to continuously improve their practices to be more transparent, facilitate access to information, be accountable to the public, provide opportunities for public participation and uphold the highest ethical standards. It’s important that these objectives remain top of mind as parliaments continue to operate remotely.”

The webinar provided an opportunity to exchange experiences to support the development of virtual parliamentary solutions across the world, to address the similar challenges that many parliaments face in their efforts to continue undertaking their critical functions and ensure effective and sustainable responses to support citizens and address this pandemic.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


September 2, 2020

Parliamentarians from the English-speaking Caribbean exchange on national experiences adopting a gender-responsive approach to disaster and crisis planning

On Wednesday, September 2, parliamentarians, ministers, and other designated national representatives from across the English-speaking Caribbean participated in a virtual roundtable titled Supporting the national adoption of gender-responsive disaster and crisis planning. Hosted by ParlAmericas, UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean, and the Parliament of The Bahamas, the focused dialogue encouraged reflections on national experiences in adopting an intersectional approach to disaster and crisis planning that strengthens resilience and ensures that the differentiated needs of all people are met.

The meeting opened with remarks by the organizing partners, who affirmed the importance of the topic at hand. “It is really critical when we are thinking about disasters and, in particular natural hazards, that we think about which ways hazards impact the lives of women, men, boys, and girls differently… We have to try and figure out why so we can better plan. In this way, we see that gender-responsiveness is critical not only to disaster and crisis planning, but also to sustainable development,” stated Tonni Brodber, Representative a.i., UN Women MCO-Caribbean.

The Honourable Andy Daniel, Speaker of the House of St. Lucia and member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors highlighted the role that decision-makers can play in this mission, adding that “As we continue in our leadership functions, we must critically examine how we have been managing the risks posed by the natural hazards and the biological hazards associated with COVID-19 in an inclusive and gender-sensitive manner.”

This sentiment was echoed by the Honourable Halson Moultrie (The Bahamas), Speaker of the House of Assembly of The Bahamas and host of the meeting, who said “The goals of our parliament, I suggest, must be to establish a non-adversarial gender-responsive environment to build non-competitive sustainable mechanisms for holistic participation and capacity building. Such mechanisms should include educational programs, technical assistance to countries with identified deficiencies, coordination and psychosocial support, healthcare training, and gender-sensitive protocols and procedures.”

Moderator Senator the Honourable Ranard Henfield (The Bahamas) then led the participants through a structured discussion centred on the sharing of key areas of progress and opportunities for further growth in the development and implementation of inclusive disaster and crisis management plans.

The meeting closed with remarks from the Honourable Dr. Mildred Hall-Watson, President of the Senate of The Bahamas. President Hall-Watson provided a summary of promising initiatives exchanged during the meeting that are proactively supporting populations with greater vulnerability across the region and emphasized the importance of further considering how justice delivery and service provision meet women’s and other groups’ changing needs in crisis situations. She stressed that this meeting must be viewed as the start to a dialogue rather than a conclusion.

This virtual roundtable is the second activity in a collaboration between ParlAmericas and UN Women MCO-Caribbean to support parliaments and national governments in institutionalizing a gender perspective in their disaster and crisis planning; the first of which placed emphasis on adopting such an approach during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lessons from that session and the important insights gleaned from the roundtable dialogue will inform further strategic activities and resources for legislative and governmental action.

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


August 28, 2020

ParlAmericas shares experiences in a webinar on regional inter-parliamentary cooperation for digital transformation

On Friday, August 28, Bússola Tech, a Brazilian organization that promotes the exchange of experiences and initiatives for bringing citizens and their representatives closer with the aid of technology, organized the webinar “Regional Inter-parliamentary Cooperation for Digital Transformation” to discuss experiences, challenges and opportunities in developing strategies for expanding the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) that could foster collaboration and synergy between parliaments. Webinar panelists were Ms. Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, Mr. Marcio Coimbra, Executive Director of the Interlegis program of the Federal Senate of Brazil, and Mr. Fábio Almeida, Public Policy Manager at Bússola Tech. The panel was moderated by Mr. Luís Kimaid, Executive Director of Bússola Tech.

Presentations stressed the importance of both regional and local cooperation between parliaments in sharing experiences and challenges related to progress made in order to continue their legislative tasks remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, thereby promoting digital transformation. Panelists highlighted the various forums and international efforts made to foster this collaboration, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Open Government Partnership, and ParlAmericas. Ms. Todd shared her thoughts on the webinar, saying, “We are currently living an unprecedented crisis where parliaments’ roles of representation, legislation and oversight are more important than ever, as governments need to respond quickly and effectively to curb this public health crisis and support citizens who are suffering due to its socioeconomic impacts.  Parliamentary diplomacy has become a critical tool for legislators to exchange ideas and good practices to inform their work and strengthen their own practices to build an increasingly more open and transparent parliament that responds to the needs of citizens.” Discussions also emphasized the interrelationship between the digital agenda and open parliament efforts adopted in the region, and their potential to increase public participation and build trust in parliament – a key aspect of the democratic system.

The webinar concluded by highlighting the activities that are bringing parliamentarians and parliamentary staff together to implement this agenda and foster innovation, as well as the importance of parliamentary foreign affairs offices or officials working together with these international organizations to harness learning opportunities and create synergy between parliaments.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


August 25, 2020

Latin American parliamentarians and parliamentary staff participated in an online meeting on the importance of oversight in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, August 21, 2020, ParlAmericas and the Chamber of Representatives of Uruguay held an online meeting on the oversight role of parliaments in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff of the legislatures of 17 countries in the Americas were in attendance.

The meeting was inaugurated by Representative Martín Lema (Uruguay), President of the Chamber of Representatives, who highlighted the importance of oversight to strengthening public trust: “Even before COVID-19, Uruguay’s parliament had resolved to strengthen the scope of its oversight functions due to a growing public demand for greater transparency and accountability.”

Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, welcomed the attendees and emphasized oversight as a parliamentary task that cannot be delegated: “As legislators, we need to take action to demand the required accountability from governments and ensure that their policies achieve the expected results, either through our work in committees, by requesting reports, conducting interpellations or public hearings, or establishing special committees, as we did in the Chamber of Senators of Paraguay to undertake a detailed audit of the use of resources.”

Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, thanked the participants and underscored the importance of oversight in the context of the severe socioeconomic impact of the pandemic on the region: “Parliamentary oversight, which is essential for the transparent use of public resources, has become especially relevant given the profound economic impacts of the pandemic, which demand acting efficiently to meet citizens’ needs.”

The panel was moderated by Representative Silvana Pérez Bonavita (Uruguay) and included presentations by legislators from parliamentary committees responsible for oversight of measures related to the COVID-19 emergency. The panellists included Member of Congress Alberto de Belaunde (Peru), President of the Special Multi-party Committee Responsible for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Jimena López (Argentina) of the Committee on Women and Diversity; Senator Esperanza Andrade (Colombia) of the Legal Committee for Women’s Equity; Senator Confúcio Moura (Brazil), Chair of the Joint Committee for Monitoring the Fiscal Situation and the Budget and Financial Execution of Measures Related to the Coronavirus; Senator Antares Vázquez (Mexico), of the Health Committee and the COVID-19 Working Group of the Senate of the Republic and ParlAmericas Board member; Member of the Legislative Assembly Silvia Vanessa Hernández (Costa Rica), Chair of the Committee on Financial Affairs; and Senator Agustín Amado Florentín (Paraguay), Chair of the Bicameral Congressional Committee for the Oversight of Resources Provided in Emergency Law No. 6524 and ParlAmericas Board Member.

Following the presentations, Representative Pérez Bonavita moderated an interparliamentary dialogue that prompted further exchanges by parliamentarians on the challenges associated with oversight in the midst of a pandemic. The meeting ended with closing remarks by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Javier Macaya (Chile), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, who thanked the participants for their contributions to the discussion.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


August 21, 2020

Inter-parliamentary Meeting to Promote Legislative Action for the Conservation of Marine Biodiversity in the South Pacific Ocean

On Monday, August 17, ParlAmericas and the National Assembly of Ecuador held a meeting with the legislatures of Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru to discuss the work and experiences of these parliaments in the adoption of measures encouraging sustainable fishing and the protection of endangered marine species, in accordance with existing international standards, including regulatory and control measures for the protection of oceans.

The President of the National Assembly of Ecuador, César Litardo, opened the meeting by highlighting the importance of working together for the conservation of marine biodiversity: “The only way to find a direct solution to these processes is for us to do so in a joint and coordinated manner…You can count on the full support of the legislature of Ecuador, of its president’s office, to work hand in hand with the region so that we can join together to achieve the objective of protecting our seas and ecosystems and seek joint sustainable solutions for the development of the region and the world.”

Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador Elizabeth Cabezas, President of ParlAmericas, highlighted the importance of parliamentary diplomacy addressing environmental issues and supporting the progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and underscored that: “At ParlAmericas, a parliamentary institution composed of the legislatures of the Americas and the Caribbean, we advocate for cooperative political dialogue and the strengthening of our democratic system…Our environment and climate change have no borders, so environmental and human health depends on us working together to explore ways to achieve a social, economic and environmental balance that takes the future generations into account.”

The meeting included a presentation by Dr. Alejandro Flores Nava, Senior Fisheries and Aquaculture Officer of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for Latin America and the Caribbean, who commented on the state of fisheries in the Southeast Pacific Basin and the challenges and socioeconomic benefits of implementing measures aimed at protecting and maintaining sustainable levels of fish populations. Lawyer María Amparo Albán, Senior Partner at the Inter-American Institute on Justice and Sustainability (IIJS), provided a legal perspective on the issue, in line with the precautionary principle, and shared information on the legal frameworks and multilateral environmental agreements relevant to marine conservation in the South Pacific.

The presentations were followed by an inter-parliamentary dialogue, with the participation of the representatives of the invited parliaments. They presented the actions taken and challenges faced by parliaments in relation to the conservation of marine biodiversity and the regulation of fisheries, for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.” The meeting ended with closing remarks by Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador Elizabeth Cabezas, President of ParlAmericas.

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


July 24, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in a Virtual Forum organized by the Congress of the Republic of Peru on post-COVID-19 experiences and challenges across parliaments in the Americas.

On Friday, July 17, with the support of ParlAmericas, the Congress of the Republic of Peru held the Virtual Forum “Parliaments in the Americas: Post-COVID-19 Experiences and Challenges,” with the aim of sharing and exchanging key aspects of priority issues and the functioning of parliament in light of the experiences and challenges faced since the start of the pandemic, as well as discussing future challenges. Speakers included Member of the Chamber of Deputies Javier Macaya (Chile), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network; Senator Rosa Gálvez (Canada), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change; and Member of Congress Leonardo Inga (Peru), President of the Multi-Party Special Committee on COVID-19.

The Head of the Office for International Cooperation of the Congress of the Republic of Peru, Javier Salinas, welcomed participants to the forum. A speech was also delivered by the Peruvian Member of Congress and Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors Rolando Ruíz, who noted, “in view of the complex situation we presently face, it is vital that we learn about the experiences of other countries in order to enrich ourselves from this exchange, knowing that the measures we adopt should make a fundamental contribution to economic and social recovery while safeguarding and ensuring a healthy democracy with equal opportunities for all.”

The presentation by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Macaya stressed that efforts made towards legislative openness have been key to ensuring the continuity of the National Congress of Chile, highlighting that “we’ve prepared ourselves for the future in terms of transparency and the role that the citizenry should have in its own empowerment (…) Today, people are watching our work closely. That’s why open parliament concepts like the transparency and integrity of parliamentary work will always guide us.” Senator Gálvez focused her presentation on the importance of political oversight in a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery, underlining that “80% of Canadians surveyed stated they wanted a green recovery; one that was cleaner, smarter, and more sustainable. Therefore, that recovery should address three points: commitments on climate and the environment, a fair transition for workers, and a sustainable and inclusive economy.” Lastly, Member of Congress Inga described the scope of the actions taken by the Peruvian parliament in response to the crisis, highlighting that “the pandemic has affected different sectors of the economy, which is why we set up five task forces within our committee. One of them oversees contracting and the procurement of goods and services during this emergency, and another focuses on monitoring measures adopted by the executive branch in the health sector.”

The Virtual Forum ended with a speech by Member of Congress Guillermo Aliaga, 2nd Vice-President of the Congress of the Republic of Peru, who thanked the panellists for their participation, as well as their commitment to tackling the current crisis.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


July 22, 2020

ParlAmericas co-organises virtual meeting on gender-responsiveness and disaster resilience during the COVID-19 crisis

Today, ParlAmericas held a virtual meeting in collaboration with the UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean and the Parliament of Saint Lucia on the subject of building resilience during the COVID-19 crisis from gender equality and sustainable development perspectives. The meeting brought together  more than 85 parliamentarians, government and parliamentary officials, and civil society organisations from ParlAmericas’ anglophone membership.

The meeting’s agenda included presentations on good practices as well as emerging data and new literature that can support legislators and policymakers in their decision-making during COVID-19.

The presenters were Ms. Elizabeth Riley from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA); Angie Dazé from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD); Massimiliano Tozzi from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) EnGenDER project; and Mr. Jack Hardcastle from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), who shared a toolkit tailored for parliamentarians from small states to inform their work on Climate Change.  In addition, representatives from ParlAmericas and the UN Women MCO presented new publications about responding to the COVID-19 crisis, including an analysis of legislative responses from a gender equality perspective and gender-transformative hurricane resilience.

Following the presentations, the meeting participants engaged in dialogue and exchanged information about actions being taken in their countries to mitigate the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19 and build back better. This included discussion of proactive measures aimed at addressing the double threat of hurricane season in the Caribbean in the context of the pandemic.

In her introductory remarks, Ms. Tonni Ann Brodber, Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean highlighted the importance of multi-sector partnerships for work on these themes in the region. She observed, “For UN Women, like our sister agencies and our partners in this initiative we have had to adapt our humanitarian response to manage the impact of COVID-19 taking into account the different but equally important needs of women and men, girls and boys. The good news is adaptation for us was determining the new way of working, which has made us more resilient. The content of our work has not changed that much because what we do is at the core of sustainable development and achieving the SDGs. Planning, preparing, and mitigating against disasters taking into account the lived realities of men, women, boys, and girls is gender-transformative programming.”

Speaker of the House of Assembly of Saint Lucia the Honourable Andy Daniel then gave opening remarks in his role as host and Caribbean Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Network on Climate Change. He stressed, “As Caribbean islands are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and disasters resulting from natural hazards, our countries undertake thorough planning every hurricane season to ensure we have all of the necessary precautions in place to protect our people. The added challenge of COVID-19 means thoughtful preparation is even more essential. We must be sure that we are considerate of the diverse needs of our population so that everyone remains safe and well.”

Through a video, President of ParlAmericas Elizabeth Cabezas, Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador, greeted the meeting’s delegates. Ms. Cabezas affirmed that “ParlAmericas believes deeply in the importance of examining all issues from the perspectives of gender equality and sustainability. This meeting provides space for a critical, collaborative dialogue among various actors in the region on how to take action in the face of disasters of many kinds in a way that is informed by the needs of women and vulnerable groups, and is inclusive in its design and implementation.”

For further information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


July 16, 2020

ParlAmericas shares insight by parliamentarians from Chile and Colombia in a session held by the Constitutional Amendment Committee of Ecuador to discuss the bicameral proposal for parliament

On Monday, July 13, ParlAmericas contributed regional perspectives to the debates being held by the Constitutional Amendment Committee of the National Assembly of Ecuador, presided by Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas, President of ParlAmericas, on the subject of a bill for the Partial Reform of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, which proposes a bicameral parliamentary system. International viewpoints on the matter were provided by Senator Rodrigo Lara of Colombia and Miguel Landeros, Secretary General of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile.

During the session, Senator Lara and Mr. Landeros discussed the structure and powers of the upper and lower houses of their respective legislatures, while highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of the bicameral system. Senator Lara noted, “Despite the fact that both houses have very similar powers, the bicameral system in Colombia has been decisive in strengthening the Legislative Branch and tempering Executive power.” Mr. Landeros suggested, “Before deciding on how parliament should be structured, it’s important to analyze the regime in place so as to define the powers that congress should have in order to ensure effective governance.”

Committee members then posed questions to the panellists in order to clarify certain details related to the procedures and functioning of each house’s administrative system. Lastly, Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas thanked the panellists for their presentations and participation in this important dialogue, and she highlighted that they “made a substantial contribution to this debate which seeks to strengthen the legislature, thereby improving the functioning and performance of the Ecuadorian parliament.”

For further information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


July 10, 2020

Online meeting with officials – Protocols of action in cases of sexual harassment in Latin American Parliaments

Today ParlAmericas held a technical webinar on action protocols in cases of sexual harassment within the parliaments of Latin America. This virtual meeting brought together gender specialists from the parliaments of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.

The meeting hosted a panel of expert speakers in the area of gender equality in the parliaments of their respective countries: from Argentina, Jimena Boland y Castilla and Catalina Cirio from the Gender and Equity Observatory of the Chamber of Deputies; from Chile, Constanza Toro Justiniano, Coordinator of Gender Policies of the Chamber of Deputies; from Costa Rica, Haydeé Hernández, Head of the Technical Unit for Gender Equality of the Legislative Assembly; and finally from Mexico, Sulma Eunice Campos,Head of the Technical Unit for Equality of the Senate of the Republic.

Subsequently, a question-and-answer session and dialogue were held where parliamentary officials were able to consult the panelists and comment on experiences in their institutions with the design and implementation of protocols to prevent sexual and workplace harassment.

The ParlAmericas International Secretariat is committed to continuing to provide spaces for dialogue to facilitate the exchange of best practices among parliamentary staff to promote gender equality and women’s rights in the legislatures of the region.

For more information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow@ParlAmericas on social media.


July 10, 2020

Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff of the Americas participate in a virtual meeting to discuss strategies to build back better and integrate key climate change and environmental considerations into economic recovery plans.

On Friday, July 10th, ParlAmericas held a virtual meeting hosted by the Chamber of Deputies of Chile on the importance of building back better for a green and sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19. Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from 14 countries in the Americas attended the virtual gathering.

Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Diego Paulsen (Chile) opened the meeting by welcoming the panelists and attendees and remarking on the opportunities that could be generated from a green recovery in the region: “It is essential that governments seriously commit to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda, which constitutes a roadmap for the next decade that ensures economic development with social well-being and environmental equilibrium. This transformation, far from halting economic growth, represents an opportunity for real development with equity and the generation of new green jobs in Latin America.”

Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas also gave welcoming remarks, highlighting the role of legislators in responses to COVID-19: “As parliamentarians we have a very important role in the transition occurring in our countries, which ranges from responding to the immediate impacts of this pandemic to addressing the recovery and reconstruction of our societies. We have the opportunity to make changes that allow for a redefinition of our systems and their objectives, as well as invest in green sectors and reorient our economies to work for the environment.”

The expert panel was moderated by Member of the National Assembly Ana Belén Marín (Ecuador), President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, who emphasized that climate action should not be sidelined in recovery processes: “This year, each country is responsible for updating their respective Nationally Determined Contributions which outline the actions that will be carried out to curb climate change in line with the Paris Agreement. Parliament plays an important role in this process to guarantee that the measures adopted within these plans are increasingly ambitious, robust, and pragmatic, giving special consideration to the most vulnerable populations.”

In their interventions, the panelists covered a range of topics connected to the broader theme of building back better. Director of the United Nations Environment Programme – Latin America and the Caribbean Office, Leo Heileman, provided an overview of the impact of the pandemic on climate change and how the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda could serve as frameworks for achieving a sustainable recovery; Raul Salazar, Chief of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean, outlined lessons to be learned from COVID-19 to improve disaster risk management and community resilience; and doctoral candidates Brian O’Callaghan and Alex Clark from the University of Oxford shared climate policy recommendations that are aligned with economic recovery goals.

Following the presentations, Member of the National Assembly Ana Belén Marín moderated a discussion period, allowing participants to ask the panel questions and share experiences from their respective countries. The meeting concluded with closing remarks from Member of the Legislative Assembly Paola Vega (Costa Rica), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change – Central America, who thanked panelists and participants for a fruitful and timely dialogue.

For further information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


July 9, 2020

Women parliamentarians and alternate parliamentarians from the National Assembly of Panama met to lay the foundations of a women’s parliamentary caucus

On Wednesday, ParlAmericas, the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the International Relations Unit of the National Assembly of Panama co-organized the virtual meeting “Laying the foundations for the Caucus of Women Parliamentarians and Alternate Parliamentarians of Panama” to advance the development of this group in Panama. National-level women parliamentarians, alternate (suplente) parliamentarians, and an eminent panel featuring representatives from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and El Salvador, attended the meeting.

During the meeting, a representative from each party caucus of Panama’s National Assembly delivered opening remarks highlighting the importance of promoting multi-party work to address barriers to women’s equality and political participation. This included statements by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Zulay Rodríguez, from the Democratic Revolutionary Party; Corina Cano, from the Molirena Party; Yesenia Rodríguez from the Panameñista Party; Ana Giselle Rosas from the Democratic Change Party; and alternate Member of the Chamber of Deputies Walkiria Chandler, from the independent caucus.

The meeting also featured a distinguished panel of representatives from women’s parliamentary groups in the region, moderated by Ms. Vonetta Sterling, vice-president of Panama’s National Forum of Women in Political Parties (FONAMUPP, in Spanish). Former Member of the Legislative Assembly Maureen Clarke Clarke (Costa Rica), founder of the Parliamentary Group of Women Members of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, discussed the process of institutionalizing a group that transcends legislatures. Ms. Carolina Villeda de Rivera, head of the Gender Unit of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, shared a presentation on the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador and its process to develop work plans. Member of the National Assembly Mónica Alemán (Ecuador), chair of the Parliamentary Group for the Guarantee of Women’s Rights, shared strategies for building partnerships with civil society organisations.

The meeting concluded with a dialogue on further steps for establishing the Caucus of Women Parliamentarians and Alternate Parliamentarians of the National Assembly of Panama.

For more information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


July 6, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in the online meeting, “The National Assembly, Transparency, and the Pandemic,” organized by the Foundation for the Development of Citizen Freedom of Panama

Member of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís (Costa Rica), a member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, participated in an online dialogue on Friday, July 3 about open parliament, along with representatives of civil society organizations and of the National Assembly of Panama.

The aim of this meeting was to share experiences and best practices in favour of legislative openness, with regard especially to measures adopted and efforts made by parliaments to ensure transparency and access to public information, as well as mechanisms employed to sustain continuous and effective communication with citizens. The discussion highlighted the use of technological tools for facilitating ongoing communication and information, while also contemplating the challenges that the current pandemic has created.

Member of the Legislative Assembly Solís described the process followed by Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly in adopting the Institutional Policy on Open Parliament, which was ultimately approved in April 2019. In addition, she spoke about tools developed by the parliament such as the protocol on access to public information that aims to regulate the principle of transparency in the civil service and the right to access information at the various levels of the Legislative Assembly. Member of the Legislative Assembly Solís reminded everyone that “these processes don’t materialize from one day to the next, but take time and a long-term effort; however, focusing on these issues also means defending a healthy, inclusive and participatory democracy in which the role of parliament is crucial, especially in situations as complex as those we’re experiencing due to COVID-19.”

For further information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


July 6, 2020

Senators and staff of the Senate of the Republic of Mexico participated in a webinar organized by the Open Parliament e-Network (OPeN) and the Mexican Senate on the importance of continuing to strengthen and advance the aims of the open parliament agenda, while considering the challenges posed by the current crisis.

On Monday, July 6, a webinar was held for staff and advisors of the Senate of the Republic of Mexico, with the aim of sharing Chile and Paraguay’s experiences with open parliament action plans and discussing the progress made and challenges faced in further strengthening efforts toward parliamentary openness in Mexico. This webinar was organized by the Mexican Senate and OPeN, a consortium of international organizations that promote open parliament initiatives and actions around the world, represented on this occasion by ParlAmericas, the National Democratic Institute, and Directorio Legislativo.

Senator Mónica Fernández Balboa (Mexico), President of the Senate of the Republic, and Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network and member of the OPeN Parliamentary Leadership Committee, inaugurated the event. Senator Mónica Fernández welcomed the participants, highlighting that “an open parliament fosters democratic values, which is why parliaments need to encourage communication channels and forums that ensure and promote transparency, accountability, citizen engagement, and ethics.” Likewise, Senator Blanca Ovelar stressed the importance of continuing to promote the open parliament agenda, highlighting collaboration with civil society and the work of parliamentary staff as key drivers toward this end: “Parliamentary staff play a key role in the sustainability and effective implementation of open parliament action plans, commitments, and initiatives, which is why ParlAmericas created the Parliamentary Staff Network on Open Parliament.”

The webinar proceeded with a discussion on open parliament actions in Chile and Paraguay, with presentations by Luis Rojas, Deputy Secretary of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, and María Liz Sosa, Director General for Legislative Strengthening and External Cooperation of the Chamber of Senators of Paraguay. The floor was then given to the representatives of various Mexican institutions and organizations, who shared their views on ongoing endeavours, as well as opportunities for further collaboration on the open parliament agenda. This segment was moderated by Verónica Camino (Mexico), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, and included the participation of Jaime Mena Álvarez, Director General of Parliamentary Support for the Senate, who offered an overview of recent developments around parliamentary openness in the Mexican Senate; Professor Khemvirg Puente of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, who addressed the progress and challenges in working toward openness in the country; Claudia Ramírez, Co-Coordinator of the Unit for the Transformation of Congresses of Transparencia Mexicana, who spoke about the open parliament experiences of Mexican civil society organizations; and Blanca Lilia Ibarra, Commissioner of the National Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection of Mexico (INAI), who presented the Open Government Action Plan in Mexico and emphasized the value of collaboration between the three branches of government.

After a question and answer period that allowed for an exchange between panellists and participants, Senator Antares Vázquez (Mexico), member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, gave the closing remarks, encouraging further progress in reforms related to the open parliament agenda in Mexico.

For more information on the work carried out by ParlAmericas, go to www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


June 12, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in virtual meeting on political violence organized by IRI’s Women’s Democracy Network

Today, Senator Antares Vázquez Alatorre (Mexico), member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, participated in the “Virtual Gathering on the Importance of Addressing Political Violence in the Region.” Organized by the Argentina chapter of the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN), part of the International Republican Institute (IRI), the session convened women parliamentarians and government officialsfrom Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico, to discuss strategies to prevent, sanction, and eradicate political violence in the region.

Senator Vázquez offered the concluding remarks and highlighted the work that the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE) carries out in the area of preventing political violence against women. Senator Vázquez reflected on the importance of incorporating an intersectional lens in the proposal of solutions and transforming the culture and traditional power relations that fuel political violence against women.

Senator Vázquez also raised examples of good practices implemented by parliamentary institutions, such as the Mexican Senate’s Special Protocol to Prevent and Address Gender-based Sexual Harassment, which contributes to preventing political violence against women inside the parliament.

For further information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


June 11, 2020

Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from the Americas and the Caribbean participate in an online meeting on sustainable responses for a post COVID-19 economic recovery

On Thursday, June 11, 47 parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from 13 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean gathered virtually to engage with experts and discuss legislative and public policy responses that promote sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from COVID-19, while considering the gendered impacts of the pandemic and promoting the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The meeting was opened with remarks from Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, sharing “Although this pandemic constitutes a tragedy, we can choose to remember it as that, or we can see it as a great opportunity that allows us to think about the future. We can legislate to improve these structures that currently make us so vulnerable and above all, we can think about entering the future with a country with better foundations and a better society, because the world will not be the same after this COVID-19 pandemic.” The Honourable Alincia Williams-Grant, President of the Senate (Antigua and Barbuda), moderated the dynamic session and emphasized, “This pandemic has exacerbated the existing social vulnerabilities and inequalities and for that reason is disproportionately affecting women. For recovery efforts to be effective, women must be at the forefront of decision-making and climate considerations such as resilience against disasters must be integrated into recovery efforts to ensure a secure future for vulnerable communities.”

The meeting featured presentations from Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); Diane Quarles, Chief of Economic Commission for the Latin American and Caribbean (ECLAC) Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean; Monika Queisser, Head of Social Policy Division of the Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and Therese Turner-Jones, General Manager of the Country Department Caribbean Group of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). The presentations highlighted the current and projected economic impacts of COVID-19 in the region with a special focus on the differential impacts on women. Moreover, the panellists noted recovery strategies that could be implemented by governments to ensure responses are inclusive, gender-sensitive, and environmentally sustainable.

The dialogue was enriched through a series of interventions by parliamentarians, allowing for a sharing of good practices and further deliberation on the presentations. The webinar concluded with remarks from Senator Saphire Longmore (Jamaica), ParlAmericas Board Member.

For further information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


June 9, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in a virtual dialogue between the presiding officers of parliaments of Latin America organized by the National Assembly of Ecuador, the presidency of the GRULAC of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the OAS

On Monday, June 8, Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, participated in a virtual dialogue among the presiding officers of parliaments of Latin America entitled Legislation, Representation and Political Oversight in the New Normal, organized by the National Assembly of Ecuador, the presidency of the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS).

The aim of this forum was to address three central pillars threatened by the current COVID-19 crisis: democracy, development and political communication. With this premise in mind, participants sought to share the progress being made by parliaments of the region in response to the challenges and demands posed by this pandemic, while emphasizing their role in legislation, representation, and political oversight. This meeting also included discussion on the role of parliaments in post-COVID-19 cooperation and development and on political communication during the crisis period.

In her presentation, Member of the National Assembly Cabezas pointed out, “National parliaments have a key role in economic recovery, not just by legislating in favour of our people, but also by ensuring that measures adopted are thorough and transparent, thereby opposing any form of corruption.” She also provided an overview of the recent meeting held by the presiding officers of parliaments of the Americas and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), organized by ParlAmericas, which highlighted the importance of fostering cooperation between countries in working towards greater productive, commercial, and technological integration throughout the region, as well as ensuring a more inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.

This dialogue also included presentations by officers of parliament of the participating Latin American countries, allowing for an exchange of best practices and perspectives on the current situation in the region.

For further information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


June 5, 2020

Presiding officers of parliaments of the Americas participated in a virtual meeting with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on economic recovery and joint parliamentary actions that can be taken in the face of the current crisis.

On Friday, June 5, 2020, ParlAmericas held a virtual meeting on economic recovery from COVID-19, which included the participation of the presiding officers of 15 legislative branches of the Americas, and a keynote address by Ms. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC. Parliamentarians, parliamentary officials and ambassadors from the region were also in attendance.

The meeting began with welcoming remarks from Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, and continued with the keynote speaker. In her address, Ms. Bárcena highlighted the importance of promoting an equitable economic recovery in the region: “Following this crisis, institutional channels will be required to listen to and process the multiple demands that will come as a result of the serious economic and social effects of COVID-19, and parliaments will be crucial at that crossroads. A welfare State is needed, based on a new social compact (fiscal, social and productive) that includes universal access to health care, that is, to the basic infrastructure of life.”

After the keynote address, a high-level inter-parliamentary dialogue was moderated by Senator Rosa Gálvez (Canada), vice-president of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change. This dialogue allowed for an exchange in which the presiding officers of the various parliaments shared the legislative actions that their countries have taken to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic.

During the virtual meeting, details were also shared regarding the Compendium of Legislative and Executive Actions from the Americas and the Caribbean in Response to COVID-19, a resource developed by ParlAmericas and the National Assembly of Ecuador that systematizes the initial measures carried out to counter the impacts of the pandemic in the hemisphere. The compendium includes the legislation and executive orders that have been adopted regarding health care systems, social protection, employment, and other topics. It also highlights considerations related to openness, gender equality and sustainability in these responses, offering several starting points for dialogue on possible future actions.

Lastly, Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas provided the final reflections in thanking Ms. Bárcena and ECLAC and the participating presiding officers for a productive dialogue: “Disorientation and mistrust are symptoms that aggravate the economic scenario in a region that urgently needs to create conditions to strengthen its economy in a creative, innovative manner, capable of replacing old formulas with new paradigms that are more equitable, fairer, and that prioritize human development over crude figures of financial growth. For this reason, today more than ever, our parliaments have a pressing need to provide answers to our peoples. Beyond the political differences, our legislatures are urgently focused on proposing and approving sound regulations based on real data and, above all, ones that present practical and tangible solutions for citizens.”

For more information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 27, 2020

ParlAmericas organizes parliamentary panel in online meeting on gender-responsive policymaking organized by IRI-Panama with the National Assembly of Panama

Today, the International Republican Institute (IRI) – Panama, through its Women Democracy Network, and in partnership with ParlAmericas and the National Assembly of Panama, held a webinar on gender-responsive policymaking. This virtual meeting brought together Panamanian parliamentarians, alternate parliamentarians, and mayors for dialogue and practical training on applying a gender lens to their work.

Welcoming remarks were offered by Mr. Humberto Collado, program manager for IRI-Panama; Her Excellency Lilly Nicholls, Canadian Ambassador to Panama; and Member of the Chamber of Deputies Fernando Arce (Panama), member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors.

As part of the webinar, ParlAmericas organized a panel with interventions from local and international speakers who highlighted examples of how gender-equal decision-making has benefited their countries. The panel was moderated by Member of the National Assembly Ana Giselle Rosas (Panama) and featured remarks by Senator Rosa Gálvez (Canadá) and Ms. Betzaida Guerrero Moreno, a representative of Panama’s National Forum of Women in Political Parties (FONAMUPP, in Spanish). Each of the panellists highlighted strategies for working across political party lines to advance shared goals for women’s equality and human rights.

Following the panel, IRI facilitators and invited experts led an online training session with the aim of  providing guidance on implementing the types of good practices presented in the panel. The session drew from the Women Democracy Network’s “Gender-responsive Policymaking Handbook.”  The webinar concluded with remarks by Member of the Chamber of Deputies Corina Cano (Panamá), who emphasized the importance of building alliances and solidarity networks to institutionalize the good practices discussed.


May 27, 2020

ParlAmericas participates in Andean Forum of Women Parliamentarians Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemia

Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), president of ParlAmericas; and Member of the Chamber of Deputies Paulina Núñez (Chile) participated in the “Andean Forum of Women Parliamentarians Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemia,” organized by the Leadership Center for Women of the Americas, NDI Colombia, the Observatory of Women’s Political Participation of Ecuador, PRO Mujer, and the Violeta Correa Institute. The forum, which included participants from Bolivia, Chile,  Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, served as a space for sharing good legislative practices that respond to the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased levels of violence against women.

In her intervention, Member of the National Assembly Cabezas highlighted actions in the areas of health and employment, underscoring gender considerations that should be part of all responses to the crisis. Among her recommendations was the enactment of protections for frontline health personnel, which has indirect gender implications, as women represent half of the doctors and 80% of the nurses in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ms. Cabezas also spoke about the importance of providing support to informal workers and those in the care economy, sectors which have been greatly affected by the crisis and comprise a majority of women.

Member of the Chamber of Deputies Paulina Núñez underscored actions taken by the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, which include economic aid and public health campaigns for vulnerable populations, economic support for victims of domestic violence, and the extension of post-natal leave during the health emergency that has resulted from the virus.

The meeting was of great importance for the exchange of good practices that help to guarantee the sustainability and inclusivity of economic recovery in the face of COVID-19. It illustrated the significance of inter-parliamentary cooperation and gender equality mainstreaming in legislative work.


May 22, 2020

ParlAmericas supports parliamentarian participation in regional meetings on women’s leadership during COVID-19

This week, ParlAmericas supported the participation of parliamentarians on panels held during two important regional meetings conducted by partner organizations. Both meetings explored the gendered impacts of COVID-19 and the necessity of women’s leadership within responses to the pandemic.

The first of these virtual meetings, “Respond, Restructure, Recover: Women and the COVID-19 Response in the Caribbean,” took place on May 19, 2020. Organized by Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL), the session convened stakeholders from across the Caribbean for a conversation on the specific experiences of women in the region during COVID-19. The Hon. Samantha Marshall (Antigua and Barbuda), M.P. and Minister of Agriculture, offered a parliamentary perspective on the issue, discussing ways in which legislators can contribute to the development of inclusive national responses.

On May 21, 2020, the webinar hosted by the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Leadership and Women’s Global Health, titled “COVID-19: Why Can Women’s Leadership Make the Difference in the Response? Challenges and Opportunities in the Americas and Caribbean Beyond the Emergency,” brought together women leaders and experts in gender and health from Latin America and the Caribbean. This was a further session supported by ParlAmericas as a founding member of the Task Force. The Hon. Delma Thomas (Grenada), M.P. and Minister of Social Development, Housing, and Community Empowerment, shared her views on women’s political leadership in confronting the COVID-19 crisis, as well as strategies to ensure women are central to future crisis response and recovery efforts.

These meetings created critical spaces for dialogue among government, parliamentary, multilateral, and civil society actors on strategies to ensure that the region’s response to COVID-19 considers the crisis’ differential impacts. They furthermore affirmed the importance of women and other diverse groups being actively involved in the management and implementation of response and recovery actions.

For further information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 15, 2020

OPeN hosts a webinar on Parliaments and Pandemics: Going virtual and staying open in the COVID-19 era

On Friday, May 8, the webinar “Parliaments and Pandemics: Going virtual and staying open in the COVID-19 era” was held within the framework of the Open Response + Open Recovery Digital Forum of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The event was organized by OPeN (Open Parliament e-Network) composed of Directorio LegislativoNational Democratic InstituteParlAmericasWestminster Foundation for Democracy, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency.

The session was moderated by María Baron, Global Director of Directorio Legislativo and included panelists from across the world: Marc Serré, Member of the Canadian Parliament and ParlAmericas Board Member; Marta González Vázquez, Member of Spanish Congress of Deputies; Leonardo Barbosa, Secretary General of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies and Sammy Obeng, Executive Director of the Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica). The discussion allowed for an in-depth analysis on how parliaments around the world are adapting their practices to continue their work while respecting the current social distancing guidelines. It also considered the tools and strategies used in different countries to not only keep parliaments in operation during the crisis, but also ensure that their work continues to take place in an open and transparent manner. Panelists highlighted how openness, transparency and innovation can help institutions become more resilient and better prepared to face new challenges, such as those brought forward by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is critical as it enables legislatures to carry on with their functions at a time where their roles of representation, legislation and oversight are crucial to the balance of powers and to ensure accountability and the effective protection of the vulnerable sectors of society, all while providing an agile and timely response to the difficult situation that society is facing.

This dialogue was the first of the “The 2020 Conversation on Open Parliament”, a series of seminars that will cover a variety of topics in the coming months to explore how parliaments are responding to the challenges before them. Watch the webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlrvWBt1wxQ


May 12, 2020

ParlAmericas and the International Republican Institute, in partnership with the National Assembly of Panama, held an online seminar on the importance of legislative openness

On Wednesday, April 29 of this year, ParlAmericas and the International Republican Institute (IRI) with the valuable support of the National Assembly of Panama, held an online seminar on open parliament and action plans for legislative openness, with the aim of continuing to encourage actions in favour of this agenda in Panama.

Welcoming remarks were given by Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, Member of the National Assembly Fernando Arce (Panama), ParlAmericas Board Member, and Beatriz de Anta, IRI’s Resident Program Director in Panama. Senator Ovelar noted that “At ParlAmericas, we value the great efforts that have been made by the region’s parliaments to continue meeting virtually and we encourage all legislative work to continue meeting standards of transparency, accountability, citizen participation and ethics, pillars of an open parliament.” Member of the National Assembly Arce made reference to the complicated times that countries are currently facing and emphasized that “it is important to remember that all of us, legislators, officials and citizens, must act together to counter this crisis and take care not only of our health, but also the health of our democracy.”

During this activity, Patricio Vallespín, a former Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, spoke of the importance of legislative openness for current political action where committing to open parliaments provides an opportunity to continue building credibility, trust and civic legitimacy. Natalí Casanova, Senior Program Officer of the Open Parliament program at ParlAmericas, later stressed that advancing this agenda has also meant adopting measures to modernize parliament, which, in turn, has facilitated the transition to the virtual sittings currently being held by national legislatures in order to continue their work in the face of the global crisis. Following these presentations, the experiences of Chile and Paraguay were presented by Rocío Noriega, Advisor to the Bicameral Group on Transparency of the National Congress of Chile, and María Liz Sosa, Director General of Legislative Strengthening and External Cooperation of the Chamber of Senators of Paraguay, who emphasized the importance of involving civil society organizations in processes for co-creation and implementation of commitments for legislative openness, as well as the importance of addressing other related issues such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

The event concluded with remarks by Her Excellency Lilly Nicholls, Canadian Ambassador to Panama, and Beatriz de Anta, Resident Director of the IRI in Panama.


May 8, 2020

Legislative actions to prevent violence against women in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

On Friday, May 8, 2020, ParlAmericas held its first virtual meeting organized by the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality (PNGE), which explored legislative actions to prevent violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This meeting was attended by parliamentarians and parliamentary officials from 14 countries in Latin America. Panellists Yeliz Osman, Policy Specialist on Ending Violence Against Women at the UN Women Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean; Member of the National Assembly Karina Arteaga (Ecuador), PNGE Vice-President for South America; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Marcela Sabat (Chile), PNGE Alternate Vice-President for South America; and Senator Verónica Camino (Mexico), PNGE Vice-President for North America, shared valuable experiences and preventive measures that can be adopted by parliaments to respond to the growing incidence of violence against women, especially domestic violence, during this pandemic. The session featured concluding remarks from Member of the Legislative Assembly Cristina Cornejo (El Salvador), PNGE Vice-President for Central America.

Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, stated that “it is evident that public health and economic impacts have been the focus of our efforts in this first stage, but we cannot leave aside other silent and shameful epidemics that persist during the COVID-19 pandemic, like the epidemics of violence against women, and also against children and youth.” In addition, Member of the Chamber of Deputies Maya Fernández Allende (Chile), President of the PNGE, issued a call to “put women’s safety and integrity, through legislative actions to prevent gender-based violence, at the centre of parliamentary responses to COVID-19.”

For more information on ParlAmericas’ work, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


May 1, 2020

Presiding officers, parliamentarians, and clerks gather for an online meeting on virtual parliamentary sittings during the COVID-19 pandemic

On Friday, May 1, 2020, ParlAmericas and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) held an online meeting on virtual parliamentary sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic for presiding officers, parliamentarians, and clerks of English-speaking parliaments in the Americas and the Caribbean.

Parliamentary officials from 17 parliaments in the region attended the meeting virtually. The expert panelists—the Honourable Juan Watterson, Speaker of the House of Keys of Tynwald, Parliament of the Isle of Man; Luiz Fernando Bandeira de Mello, Secretary General of the Board of the Senate of Brazil; and Matthew Hamlyn, Strategic Director of the Chamber Business Team of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom—shared valuable insights into the experiences, as well as technical and political challenges, of implementing virtual sittings and committee meetings in their respective legislatures.

The panelists’ presentations were followed by a discussion period facilitated by the meeting Chair, Senator Ranard Henfield (The Bahamas), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for the Caribbean, who emphasized that “parliamentary representation is an essential service and it must go on—especially when our people are dealing with a health and economic crisis.”

The Honourable Brigid Annisette-George, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, ParlAmericas Board Member and CPA International Executive Committee Member, delivered closing remarks, thanking the panelists and participants for a “great dialogue on the current issues facing our legislatures. The spaces for collaboration provided by ParlAmericas and the CPA are particularly valuable in these difficult times to support democracy and good governance throughout this hemisphere and beyond.”

For further information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media. For more information on the CPA, visit www.cpahq.org and follow @CPA_Secretariat on Twitter.

The CPA has also launched a toolkit for parliaments on delivering parliamentary democracy during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic—visit www.cpahq.org/cpahq/coronavirus to download a copy.


April 23, 2020

Inter-American Task Force calls for equal representation of women in Covid-19 decision-making

As a member of the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Leadership, ParlAmericas is pleased to support this call for gender parity in Covid-19 responses in the region. The Task Force’s statement follows:

The undersigned institutions, members of the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Leadership, express their concern regarding the low integration of the gender perspective and women’s leadership in response to the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and call on States and decision-makers to consider the equal incorporation of women at all levels of decision-making in response to this crisis. Only with this equal participation can we ensure the central consideration of the differentiated impacts of the pandemic on the life and well-being of women and men.

The underrepresentation participation of women in leadership positions in public sphere influences the way in which the specific needs of women are addressed. Decisions that minimize or do not consider gender-differentiated impacts not only affect the quality of life and health of women, but also affect that of their dependent persons, whether they are children, older persons or people with disabilities or illness.
There is global recognition of the importance of incorporating gender equality in responses to emergencies and disasters. Evidence from multiple areas suggests that parity in decision-making has resulted in greater plurality in approaching problems and better proposed solutions. The participation of women, their leadership and the breadth of their perspectives show that there are no gender neutral policies and that the perspective and specific needs and interests of half the population must have their own voice, which is even more fundamental in managing this crisis.

It is essential that women’s voices are present and heard at decision-making tables to effectively respond to the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19. This crisis can also be a moment of transformation and an opportunity to challenge traditional political, economic and social dynamics, recognizing the experience of women in protecting the health of families and communities, and adding their perspectives and its contributions at an unprecedented juncture that calls for inclusive and equal leadership at all levels.

We call on governments, especially the health sector, as well as the private sector, parliaments, and other organizations linked to the economic management of the crisis, to ensure that women have a central role in responses to COVID-19.


April 20, 2020

Online meeting – Organizing virtual parliamentary sessions for parliamentary staff

On Thursday, April 16, 2020, ParlAmericas held its first virtual meeting for Latin American parliamentary staff on the organization of virtual parliamentary sessions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This meeting was successfully attended by parliamentary officials from 16 countries in the region. The panelists, Gustavo Vasconcellos, Technology and Information Analyst in the Innovation and ICT Directorate of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies; Miguel Landeros, Secretary General of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies; and Claudio Prieto, General Coordinator of Technology and Information of the Ecuadorian National Assembly, provided valuable experiences in parliamentary adaptation measures to allow legislatures to perform their important functions during this unprecedented period of our history.

Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, stated during her speech that “we are committed to providing useful tools and spaces for dialogue to share the best practices that are being developed in the region to face the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that allow parliaments to adapt to this new teleworking system.” At the beginning of the meeting, the President of the National Assembly of Ecuador, César Litardo, spoke of the successful experience of passing laws using a new voting platform, as was the case with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Law and the School Feeding Law.

During the conclusions, Member of the Legislative Assembly María Inés Solís Quirós (Costa Rica), member of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas, highlighted that “the experience and best practices shared by the panelists, as well as the participants, allow us to deepen our knowledge as we continue evaluating options and defining solutions that best suit our parliaments and national circumstances.”

For further information on the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media.


March 12, 2020

Postponement of the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network

In response to the global situation with regard to the outbreak and expansion of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil and ParlAmericas regret to inform you that the 5th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network: Counteracting disinformation to promote a responsible public discourse to be held in Brasilia, Brazil, from April 1 to 3, 2020, has been postponed for the safety of parliamentary delegations, specialists and international organizations that would participate in the meeting and to prevent amplifying the spread of the virus.

The Chamber of Deputies of Brazil and ParlAmericas are in talks to define new dates for this meeting, while closely following the evolution of COVID-19 and the recommendations of the World Health Organization. Once confirmed, member parliaments and international institutions will be informed of the new dates in a timely manner.

ParlAmericas reaffirms its commitment to continue promoting legislative openness in the hemisphere and working to meet its goals and objectives for 2020.


March 4, 2020

Young Women of Trinidad and Tobago Take Their Seats in Parliament for International Women’s Day

On March 5, 6, and 9, 2020, ParlAmericas and Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL) will host the inaugural Young Women in Leadership initiative (YWiL) in Port of Spain, in partnership with the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. This initiative will bring together more than 55 young women leaders between the ages of 18-25 from across Trinidad and Tobago who are interested in politics and community leadership for skills-building workshops, networking sessions, and dialogue on themes of importance to the country. The leadership workshops will culminate in a historic all-women sitting in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago on March 9 in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Grounded in the concept of transformational leadership to support the advancement of human rights and full equality for all persons, the YWiL leadership workshops will include sessions on applying a gender lens in decision-making, building effective leadership skills, and exploring personal leadership styles and planning.

The two-day leadership workshops will prepare participants for the first-ever all-women YWiL Parliamentary Sitting in the Chamber of the House of Representatives where each participant will serve as a parliamentarian or officer of parliament for a debate on a budget amendment bill developed through a gender-responsive budgeting process. This simulated bill will propose fund reallocations in line with identified gender equality priorities, which participants will review and share responses drawing on their expertise and research, and in line with their assigned role. The Sitting will conclude with remarks by the Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors.

This initiative is one in a series of such activities that will be organised in countries across the region, forming a core component of the ParlAmericas-CIWiL joint project to advance women’s political participation in the Caribbean, supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. Each activity will be designed to encourage young women to consider public leadership as a future career path, and to build knowledge, skills, and networks beneficial to this work. Participants will also be encouraged to share their learning to positively impact their communities and countries.

Follow the meeting using #YWiLTT, or by visiting the @ParlAmericas and @_CIWiL social media pages.


February 10, 2020

ParlAmericas co-organises multi-stakeholder meeting on Caribbean positioning on Beijing+25 and beyond

On February 10-11, 2020, ParlAmericas will co-organise a multi-stakeholder meeting in collaboration with UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean; the Institute for Gender and Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit at the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill; Caribbean Women in Leadership (CIWiL); the Westminster Foundation for Democracy; and CARICOM. The meeting, titled Building a coordinated position for Caribbean negotiations on Beijing+25, will bring together ministers, parliamentarians, and representatives from civil society and multilateral organisations as well as gender machinery from the Anglophone Caribbean countries.

The meeting’s objectives are to hold focused dialogue on the review processes, negotiations, and next steps for the Caribbean region within fora that commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which resulted from the historic Fourth World Conference on Women.

Speaker of the House of Assembly His Honour Arthur Holder (Barbados), Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, will offer welcoming remarks on behalf of ParlAmericas. The agenda also includes various other parliamentary interventions and inputs on priority gender equality issues for the region.

The outcomes of the meeting are expected to support the region’s alignment of political messaging and advocacy at the upcoming 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women and ahead of various other important international and regional meetings on gender equality commitments. These will include activities associated with Generation Equality, a multigenerational initiative that will have various galvanizing moments throughout the year to address the unfinished objectives related to women’s empowerment in all spheres of life.

To follow and participate in this meeting virtually on ParlAmericas’ social media networks, please use #Beijing25Caribbean and #ParlAmericasGEN.


January 31, 2020

ParlAmericas participated in XIV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean

During the week of January 25-31, 2020, ParlAmericas participated in the XIV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, a subsidiary body of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) that is convened at least triennially.

The Conference, on the theme of “Women’s Autonomy in Changing Economic Scenarios,” was hosted in the city of Santiago by the Government of Chile. It was attended by ministers and parliamentarians, government representatives, and experts and activists from across the region. The Conference served as a forum for assessing the situation of women’s autonomy and rights at the regional and subregional levels, presenting public policy recommendations for gender equality, and national reporting on the fulfillment of regional and international plans and agreements on the subject. This year’s Conference was particularly significant given the global review processes that are underway to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

A critical outcome of this meeting was the adoption of the Santiago Commitment, which acknowledges the achievements and progress made in the region over the last 25 years – as evidenced in the national reports submitted to ECLAC and UN Women. It also outlines government commitments to enact measures aimed at accelerating the effective implementation of the Beijing Platform and the Regional Gender Agenda.

Within the framework of the Conference, the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Leadership organized an official side event titled “Investing in Women’s Leadership to Change Economic Scenarios: Lessons and Cooperation with the Private Sector.” The panellists included the Honourable Samantha Marshall, Minister responsible for gender affairs (Antigua and Barbuda); Carolina Cuevas Merino, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Women and Gender Equity (Chile); Cecilia Flores Castañón, President of Women CEO (Peru); Bridget Lewis, Co-founder of SheLeadsIt (Caribbean region); Johnny Méndez, Communications Manager at Medronic (Chile); and Liriola Leoteau de Ávila, women’s rights advocate (Panama).

The Task Force, of which ParlAmericas is an active member, additionally held an internal work-planning meeting on the margins of the Conference.


January 25, 2020

ParlAmericas Participates at the 11th Session of the Inter-Parliamentary Follow-up Commission of the Pacific Alliance (CISAP in Spanish)

On January 23-24, 2020, Member of the National Assembly Elizabeth Cabezas (Ecuador), President of ParlAmericas, participated in the 11th Session of the Inter-Parliamentary Follow-up Commission of the Pacific Alliance (CISAP in Spanish), held in Santiago, Chile. On this occasion, parliamentary delegations from Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico were in attendance, as well as former Minister and Member of Congress Ana María Choquehuanca (Peru).

During this CISAP gathering, delegates addressed issues of high priority in the region, such as migration and climate change. Delegates also discussed the political, economic and social situation in Latin America and the interest of member and associate countries of the Pacific Alliance in achieving human development in line with the region’s expectations

Member of the National Assembly Cabezas noted, “spaces such as these allow us to accompany multilateral initiatives that help promote greater economic growth through cooperation and integration among the countries of our region. It also allows us to ratify, from the legislative branch, the mechanisms and regulations through which these cooperation agreements are fulfilled”. Ms. Cabezas also emphasized ParlAmericas mission to strengthen democracy and governance in the hemisphere through cooperative political dialogue and good legislative practices.

Ms. Choquehuanca shared her experience in implementing the multi-party Green Caucus in the Congress of the Republic of Peru with the support of ParlAmericas. She explained how the foundation for the implementation of the caucus was laid, as well as its work commitments. She also reported on the commitment made by the Executive Branch to the Green Caucus to advance legislation related to climate change, environmental compensation areas, recovery of degraded forest ecosystems and the preservation of natural protected areas. Finally, she discussed the potential for replicating this initiative in other parliaments in the hemisphere.

For further information about the work of ParlAmericas, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow us on social media through @ParlAmericas.


January 6, 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.


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

ParlAmericas participates in high-level seminar in Ottawa on ending violence against women

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 15, 2019

ParlAmericas Participates in PreCOP25 with the Panel “Strengthening Climate Governance as a Tool to Achieve a Just Transition towards Decarbonization”

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 calls for dialogue in Ecuador

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

ParlAmericas participates in the first ordinary session of the multi-party Green Caucus of the Congress of the Republic of Peru

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 Stands in Solidarity with Those Affected by Hurricane Dorian

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.”


August 26, 2019

ParlAmericas urges for ambitious legislative climate actions at the Latin America and Caribbean climate week 2018

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


June 17, 2019

Parliamentarians to explore collective strategies to advance women’s economic empowerment

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.


June 10, 2019

ParlAmericas and the Transparency and Access to Public Information Network (RTA) meet to make progress on consolidating parliamentary transparency

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

Parliamentary delegates and civil society representatives participate in a dialogue on legislative openness

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

ParlAmericas participated in meetings of the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Empowerment and Leadership at the CIM’s 38th Assembly of Delegates

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

The Parliamentary Protocol for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation was officially presented

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. ”

The Protocol is available in EnglishSpanishFrench and Portuguese.

Visit this link for more information on ParlAmericas’ work on climate change. For more information on UNDRR, visit the following link.


April 3, 2019

ParlAmericas and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed a Memorandum of Understanding

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

ParlAmericas participates in regional forum on gender equality and health to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

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

ParlAmericas participated in Regional Workshop on Biodiversity and Traditional Ecological Knowledge

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

ParlAmericas participates in meetings of the Inter-American Task Force on Women’s Empowerment and Leadership at UN CSW

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

Parliamentarians participate in a dialogue on strengthening parliamentary oversight in the framework of the 4th Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network

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

ParlAmericas delegation participated in meetings and a panel hosted by the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica to support the development of open parliament initiatives

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


December 4, 2018

ParlAmericas and the Congress of Chile organize a meeting for the co-creation of a guide to developing an open parliament action plan, contributing to advancing legislative openness in the hemisphere

From December 5-7, ParlAmericas and the National Congress of the Republic of Chile will welcome legislators, parliamentary clerks, and civil society representatives for two meetings aimed at fostering the exchange of best practices and implementing actions directed at promoting the development of Open Parliament Action Plans.

The Chamber of Deputies of Chile will host a collaborative meeting in which parliamentarians, parliamentary clerks, and civil society representatives will share experiences, challenges, and solutions in developing Open Parliament Action Plans. This gathering will provide a space for participants to collectively contribute to the preparation of a guide on developing said action plans in a transparent and inclusive manner. This guide will also outline the main processes, criteria, priorities, and commitments to follow in designing this important parliamentary tool.

“ParlAmericas is committed to improving the transparency and accountability of parliaments and in the advancement of legislative openness. This meeting will allow for frank dialogue among all actors involved in strengthening our democratic institutions, contributing to increased citizens’ confidence, and reinforcing our capacities to contribute to sustainable development,” affirmed the president of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, Maya Fernández Allende.

In turn, the Senate of the Republic of Chile will be the setting for a meeting in which parliamentary clerks from the Americas and the Caribbean will build their knowledge through dialogue and exchanges about designing, monitoring, and evaluating innovative practices and processes for legislative openness.

“The Open Parliament Action Plans have proven to be a useful tool for making progress on legislative openness through an innovative process that involves significant collaboration with civil society. During this meeting, we will work on a practical guide that will become a valuable resource for parliaments in their quest to initiate or improve their strategic processes for identifying and prioritizing more transparent and accountable initiatives, offering opportunities for citizen participation and promoting high ethical standards,” added Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of ParlAmericas’ Open Parliament Network.

For more information and updates on this gathering, we invite you to follow us on social media using the hashtag #ParlAmericasOPN and to visit our website www.parlamericas.org


November 15, 2018

Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados to address delegates at inter-parliamentary meeting on gender equality co-organized by ParlAmericas

On November 19, 2018, the Honourable Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, will open a two-day meeting on advancing gender-responsive leadership and governance that is being co-organized by ParlAmericas. This meeting, taking place in Bridgetown, Barbados, will convene representatives from parliaments, ministries, national gender machinery, multilaterals, civil society and political organizations from more than 10 Caribbean countries.

Titled Transformational Leadership for Gender Equality in the Caribbean: Regional Strategies and Partnerships, this activity has been organized with the support of UN Women – Multi-Country Office (MCO) – Caribbean, the Caribbean Institute for Women in Leadership (CIWiL) and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Through a series of high-level exchanges and working sessions, the delegates will forge strengthened partnerships and coordinate on agendas to promote women’s political leadership and gender equality as a foundation for achieving development objectives. Delegates will contribute to these efforts at the regional level by providing input from a legislative perspective on priority themes of a forthcoming CARICOM Regional Gender Equality Strategy.

In addition to the address by the Honourable Prime Minister Mottley, the opening ceremony will feature remarks by His Honour Arthur E. Holder, Speaker of the House of Assembly of Barbados and member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors; the Honourable Robert Nault, Member of Parliament of Canada and President of ParlAmericas; Lady Anande Trotman-Joseph, Chair of CIWiL; and Ms. Alison McLean, Representative – UN Women MCO Caribbean.

The Honourable Dame Billie Miller, Ambassador at Large and Plenipotentiary of Barbados, will also deliver remarks in one of the meeting’s working sessions.

For further information and updates on this meeting, visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media with the hashtags #ParlAmericasGEN and #RoadtoBeijing25.


November 7, 2018

ParlAmericas coordinates panel at the XVI Gathering of the Network on Transparency and Access to Information

On November 7, ParlAmericas coordinated a panel session on parliamentary openness at the XVI Gathering of the Network on Access to Information and Transparency held in Asunción, Paraguay. This network is composed of public entities that oversee the implementation of transparency and access to information measures in their respective countries.

The panel convened Senator Blanca Ovelar of Paraguay, President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network, with Carolina Hidalgo, President of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, María Dolores Martínez, Director of the Modernization Program of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, Rocío Noriega, Advisor to the Bicameral Group on Transparency of the Congress of Chile, and Rosario Pavese, Program Officer for Government Support and Exchange at the Open Government Partnership. It provided an overview of open parliament principles, and explored the use of action plans to advance the open parliament agenda, as well as linkages with the Open Government Partnership.

“Complying with citizens’ right to access public information is a fundamental aspect of an open parliament. Public information belongs to citizens who require it in order to be empowered and to fully participate in democratic processes, which in turns contributes to building confidence and legitimacy of our institutions. Exchanging good practices with transparency enforcement bodies is invaluable to ensuring the effectiveness of these efforts”, concluded Senator Blanca Ovelar. ParlAmericas’ participation in this activity initiated a dialogue with national transparency and access to information enforcement agencies on the application of transparency and access to information standards to parliaments and provided an opportunity to explore possibilities for future collaboration.


November 7, 2018

ParlAmericas contributed legislative perspectives to the Regional Workshop on Climate Change and Building Resilience

On November 6, ParlAmericas participated in a Regional Workshop on Climate Change and Building Resilience co-organized by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Canada’s Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS) with the support of the OAS Department for Sustainable Development, in Washington, D.C. The workshop considered how resilience to climate change and extreme weather events is being conceived and addressed by countries across the hemisphere, with a specific emphasis on coastal communities, and featured interventions by experts, practitioners, and decision-makers on pragmatic ways to access climate finance funds, build resilient infrastructure, and empower local communities.

The Honourable Alincia Williams-Grant, President of the Senate of Antigua and Barbuda, gave an expert presentation on the work of the ParlAmericas Climate Change Network and the role of parliamentarians as active stakeholders in resilience building and the climate change agenda. “Parliaments approve the national budget and can ensure that resource allocation and budget items reflect priorities established in international agreements [… while also] making sure that the voice and experience of citizens are being heard at the highest level.” In addressing assembled delegates, the Senator added that “involving parliamentarians can be an effective way to raise ambition in the negotiating positions of our countries; to set standards high and then provide oversight […] to ensure these standards are being met.”

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


October 15, 2018

Statement on Hurricane Michael and Ongoing Reconstruction from Extreme Weather Events

ParlAmericas expresses its solidarity with the Governments and people of the United States, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Cuba for damages and losses of life caused by Category 4 Hurricane Michael. ParlAmericas also continues to stand with small-island and low-lying countries and territories of the Caribbean engaged in ongoing processes of reconstruction and recovery to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017.

In recognition of the increased frequency of extreme weather events in the region, ParlAmericas reaffirms its commitment to inter-parliamentary action and cooperation with national governments, civil society organizations, academia and local communities to strengthen efforts to develop and implement mitigation and adaption measures that are an essential basis for disaster risk reduction.
“Just last week, parliamentarians from across the hemisphere convened in Panama [during the 3rd Gathering of the Parliamentary Network of Climate Change] to press for more ambitious efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 C,” stated the President of ParlAmericas, the Hon. Robert Nault, Member of Parliament from Canada. “I have learned from my colleagues […] the extent to which hurricanes devastate entire communities; and just as they rebuild, the next hurricane season arrives. What remains abundantly clear to everyone is that climate change has no borders and that we must act now, because time is not our ally.”

In recognition of the increased frequency of extreme weather events in the region, ParlAmericas reaffirms its commitment to inter-parliamentary action and cooperation with national governments, civil society organizations, academia and local communities to strengthen efforts to develop and implement mitigation and adaption measures that are an essential basis for disaster risk reduction.

“Just last week, parliamentarians from across the hemisphere convened in Panama [during the 3rd Gathering of the Parliamentary Network of Climate Change] to press for more ambitious efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 C,” stated the President of ParlAmericas, the Hon. Robert Nault, Member of Parliament from Canada. “I have learned from my colleagues […] the extent to which hurricanes devastate entire communities; and just as they rebuild, the next hurricane season arrives. What remains abundantly clear to everyone is that climate change has no borders and that we must act now, because time is not our ally.”


October 2, 2018

Parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean Promote Effective Climate Actions

On October 4-5, 2018, parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean will meet in Panama City, Panama, for the 3rd Gathering of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change to contribute to conversations started in the Talanoa Dialogue and promote parliaments’ role in advancing climate agendas comprised of effective and ambitious actions.

The gathering, organized by ParlAmericas and Parlatino, titled: “Fostering Climate Action in the Americas and the Caribbean: The Role of Parliaments within the Climate Agenda, will address topics such as the socio-economic challenges of and possibilities for limiting global temperature increase to 1.5Celsius, political-legislative perspectives on mechanisms to transform the risks of climate adaptation to national economies, and carbon pricing in the region.

The gathering will be an excellent opportunity for parliamentarians and climate experts from across the hemisphere to exchange and learn from each other,” stated the Honourable Robert Nault, President of ParlAmericas, and Member of Parliament for Canada. “We have all been witnessing the detrimental impact of climate change throughout the world and this meeting will provide us with more insight on how to develop effective actions in order to be able to respond to our common challenges and unique circumstances of our neighbours in the region.”

“Our role as the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change is to create tools, resources, and spaces such as this gathering, in which we promote dialogue that allows for the evaluation of the state of international climate change negotiations and progress made towards the achievement of commitments in our countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions,” stated Member of the National Assembly Javier Ortega (Panama), President of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change.

Member of the National Assembly Elías Castillo (Panama), President of Parlatino, added that “the importance of this space organized by ParlAmericas and Parlatino is to support our work as parliamentarians in promoting effective climate governance, which, in turn, aligns with the international climate agenda.”

The gathering’s agenda includes a session for parliamentarians to share their perspectives on the Talanoa Dialogue’s evaluation questions, which will be discussed at a global level during the political phase of the Dialogue at COP24 in Poland next December.

For further information and updates on the 3rd Gathering of the Parliamentary Network for Climate Change, visit www.parlamericas.org and www.parlatino.org and follow @ParlAmericas and @Parlatino_org on social media with the hashtag #ParlAmericasCC.


September 11, 2018

Statement for Peace in the Hemisphere

The ParlAmericas Board of Directors expresses its concern about increasing levels of violence and it calls for peace in the hemisphere.

Sustainable peace is a pre-condition for the exercise of fundamental rights, including democratic engagement. Recognizing the universal principle of sovereignty and unique situation of each country in the region, ParlAmericas respectfully calls on political actors to pursue measures to guarantee conditions for citizen security and meaningful participation in public life, with specific attention to gender and other intersectional identities. This includes measures to ensure the personal integrity and security of parliamentarians, electoral candidates and persons engaged in peaceful assembly to express political opinions.

ParlAmericas rejects all forms of violence and reiterates the importance of utilizing responsible political discourse and dialogue to foster inclusive and peaceful societies. ParlAmericas also reaffirms its support to the advancement of Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), under which countries of the hemisphere have committed to reducing violence, ensuring equal access to justice for victims, and promoting responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making.


September 7, 2018

Canada hosts parliamentarians from the Americas and the Caribbean in Victoria, B.C. to promote inclusive societies

From September 9 to 12, 2018, parliamentarians from across the Americas and the Caribbean will attend ParlAmericas’ 15th Plenary Assembly in Victoria, British Columbia. The conference will focus on fostering inclusion as an integral component of economic and social growth, and of responsible political discourse in the hemispheres’ countries.

Hosted by the Parliament of Canada, the conference will explore how Parliaments can ensure that all people – including underrepresented and marginalized groups – can fully access the resources, opportunities and rights that will enable their equal contribution to the sustainable development of their communities. International organizations and representatives of civil society will participate with the Parliamentarians in the discussion about legislative and other responses to address changing patterns of population displacement and cross-border movements in the hemisphere.

“The importance of bringing this conference to Canada is to highlight Parliamentarians’commitment to inclusion, ensuring that women and men from all backgrounds have the same opportunities to hold leadership roles,” stated the Honourable Robert Nault, Vice-President of ParlAmericas and Chair of ParlAmericas’ Canadian Section. “This conference will also provide Parliamentarians with an opportunity to share what works well in their countries and to speak with civil society and experts, while also exploring common objectives and strategies to promote inclusive societies.”

“I’m looking forward to this gathering to discuss how suitable development can only be achieved through a political environment that recognizes and promotes diversity, pluralism, solidarity and equality of opportunity for all people. The participation and leadership of women in decision-making should be a priority in order to build more inclusive societies,” added Ms. Tarcila Rivera Zea, Indigenous Quechuan activist and keynote speaker.

The agenda for the Plenary Assembly includes a training session on parliamentary budget consultations, as well as working sessions on accessible and equitable labour markets, advancing the leadership of Indigenous women, and integrating migrants and forcibly displaced populations into society.

For more information and updates on the 15th ParlAmericas Plenary Assembly, please visit www.parlamericas.org and follow @ParlAmericas on social media with the hashtag #ParlAmericas2018.

Note: The conference will be web streamed at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs7SOcK-pbS1MfDWECc8fOQ/live.


August 27, 2018

ParlAmericas delegation brought legislative perspectives to the 2018 Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week and the 12th Latin American and Caribbean Carbon Forum

On August 20 to 23, ParlAmericas participated in the 2018 Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week and 12th Latin America and Caribbean Carbon Forum (LACCF), in Montevideo, Uruguay. The LACCF is organized annually by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), World Bank, and other multilateral agencies to foster knowledge exchanges and opportunities for cooperation between private and public sector climate finance and emission market stakeholders. This year, the LACCF was held in conjunction to the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week, a regional summit to drive forward climate action in the hemisphere.

Speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname and Vice President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, Jennifer Simons, participated in the summit’s high-level session about carbon pricing. In her presentation, Speaker Simons outlined the instrumental role of parliamentarians in the development of legal frameworks to implement carbon pricing mechanisms, while underlining the need for robust oversight systems that incorporate parliaments and for related technical, financial and training support to ensure that intended impacts of carbon pricing on emission reductions are achieved.

Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, Juan Carlos Villalonga, in turn, participated in a high-level panel that evaluated the interrelationship between the Sustainable Development Goals and Global Climate Agenda. Mr. Villalonga emphasized the importance of including parliamentarians and non-governmental organizations to promote synergies between these agendas.

ParlAmericas was also represented by Member of Congress of Peru, Ana María Choquehuanca in a session that examined strategies to integrate a gender lens into climate actions. In addressing this topic, Ms. Choquehuanca presented the case of Peru’s Framework Law on Climate Change as a benchmark for Latin America through its promotion of targeted mechanisms for participation of women and indigenous peoples in the formulation of climate policies, and of education on climate issues with an intercultural lens.

ParlAmericas thanks Global Affairs Canada for the support that made our engagement in these meetings possible. For further information on ParlAmericas’ work in Climate Change contact us at parlamericascc@parlamericas.org. Follow the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) on Twitter using the hashtag #ParlAmericasCC.


August 9, 2018

ParlAmericas delegations participate in meetings on gender and inclusive development in Peru, Chile, and Canada

During recent weeks, ParlAmericas delegates have contributed to a number of important regional and global meetings hosted by partner organizations. Each served as a valuable opportunity for the exchange of experiences and good practices on issues of hemispheric relevance.

On July 23, the Women’s Caucus (Mesa de Mujeres) of the Congress of Peru hosted an international gathering on political violence against women in Lima, Peru. The gathering was divided in two parts: panel discussions dedicated to building understanding of the topic and the revision of a draft national law to address the issue in Peru. ParlAmericas delegates — Member of the National Assembly Karina Arteaga (Ecuador), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality for South America; and Member of the Chamber of Deputies Lidia Patty Mullisaca (Bolivia) — participated in the meeting and offered insights informed by their countries’ experiences legislating against violence against women in politics.

On July 30-31, ParlAmericas was in Santiago, Chile, for the 57th Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Women of Latin America and the Caribbean organized by the gender affairs division of the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). During the meeting, which served as an organizing space for the next Regional Conference on Women, discussion centred on women’s autonomy in changing economic scenarios. Member of the Legislative Assembly Cristina Cornejo (El Salvador) and Member of the Chamber of Deputies Marcela Sabat (Chile), made interventions that highlighted, respectively, the importance of strengthening women’s political participation and addressing gender-based violence in order to advance women’s autonomy in region. Ms. Cornejo and Ms. Sabat, who both serve as Vice-Presidents of the Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, each outlined the critical role of parliamentarians in advancing this work through legislative functions.

Finally, on August 5-7, ParlAmericas attended the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) Global Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Jointly presided by Canada and Chile, the ERC is a global inter-governmental coalition dedicated to LGBTI human rights and inclusive development. Member of Congress Sandra Morán (Guatemala) spoke on a panel that explored how these themes intersect with indigeneity and offered reflections on ways in which ERC member countries can ensure that the perspectives of Indigenous LGBTI individuals are reflected in policymaking and human rights mechanisms. The ParlAmericas delegation also attended a session held on the margins of the Conference for parliamentarians to foster discussion on parliaments’ place within this agenda at the international level.

ParlAmericas thanks Global Affairs Canada for the support that made our engagement in these meetings possible.


July 19, 2018

ParlAmericas participated in the 5th Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia

On July 17-19, the Government of Georgia hosted the 5th OGP Global Summit in Tbilisi Georgia. A ParlAmericas delegation participated in this Summit, which provided an excellent opportunity for leaders from OGP’s 75 participating countries and beyond to exchange ideas on how they are making their governments more transparent, accountable and responsive to citizens.

A Parliamentary Meeting was hosted by the Parliament of Georgia on July 17, where parliamentary delegations gathered to discuss the OGP’s legislative engagement policy, exchange best practices to strengthen parliamentary transparency and accountability, and explore innovative technologies to modernize parliamentary work. Senator Blanca Ovelar (Paraguay), President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network participated in High-Level Talks where she discussed the current status of parliamentary openness in the Americas. “We have to move forward by consolidating an open and inclusive culture that allows us to confront inequalities and build a world where there is social justice” declared Senator Ovelar.

The Summit continued on July 18-19 with sessions covering topics such as civic engagement, anti-corruption and public service delivery among others. In a session on Working with Parliaments to Strengthen Oversight of Service Delivery and National Action Plans, Member of Parliament Randy Boissonnault (Canada), Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for North America, presented the positive impacts that efforts undertaken through OGP are having on parliaments. “Through OGP, many countries in the Americas are working to improve transparency and access to public information. These efforts are contributing to narrowing the gap of information between governments and parliaments, which is crucial to strengthening parliaments’ oversight functions” stated Mr. Boissonnault.

ParlAmericas, along with its partners, is pleased to announce that the Open Parliament e-Network (OPeN) was launched within the framework of this Summit. Through this initiative, we join Directorio Legislativo, the Latin American Legislative Transparency Network, the National Democratic Institute, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to form OPeN and enhance collaboration to support the growing number of opportunities to strengthen the legislative openness movement.

For further information, visit https://openparliamentenetwork.squarespace.com/.


July 10, 2018

ParlAmericas participated in working session on experiences in legislative transparency and systematization of jurisprudence in matters of transparency and the right of access to information

On July 10-12, the working session “Experiences in Legislative Transparency and Systematization of Jurisprudence in Matters of Transparency and the Right of Access to Information” was held in Argentina. It was organized by EUROsociAL+, a cooperation programme between Latin America and the European Union, and the Secretariat for Political and Institutional Affairs of Argentina. Javier Macaya, Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile and Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network for South America, participated as a panellist.

The working session focused on access to public information and sought to include legislatures’ experiences in transparency. Good practices were shared on this topic and on systems for measuring access to information, and a collaborative process was built for the systematization of jurisprudence in transparency and rights to access to information as part of EUROsociAL’s work to support the implementation of the Law on Access to Information in Argentina.

During his presentation in the session “Transparency and Open Parliament,” Member of the Chamber of Deptuies Macaya emphasized the importance of fostering more open parliaments, presented ParlAmericas’ Road Map towards Legislative Openness, and shared examples of the ways in which parliaments across the region are advocating for greater transparency, accountability, citizen participation, and ethics. “Working for open parliaments should be at the centre of our efforts as legislators, as this helps us to strengthen our democratic systems and advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Member of the Chamber of Deputies Macaya stated.

For further information, visit EUROsociAL+ on social media.


June 26, 2018

ParlAmericas and the National Forum of Women in Political Parties (FONAMUPP) Signed a Memorandum of Understanding to Foster Women’s Leadership and Political Participation

On June 22, 2018, ParlAmericas and the National Forum of Women in Political Parties (FONAMUPP, by its Spanish acronym) signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their collaboration in advancing women’s leadership and political participation in Panama and across Latin America. This MoU was signed in the presence of 300 representatives from different political parties, the diplomatic corps and international organizations.

The signing took place during FONAMUPP’s 25th anniversary celebration in Panama City. FONAMUPP is a Panamanian organization that works nationally to promote women’s political development. The organization provides analytical tools, information, and training to promote greater participation by women in political parties, electoral processes, and decision-making and greater representation of women in leadership positions at the national level.

Through the MoU, ParlAmericas and FONAMUPP committed to undertaking jointly-coordinated activities that bring together electoral candidates, members of political parties, activists and civil society representatives, and parliamentarians to exchange experiences and good practices learned from work on this agenda. Informed by these exchanges and in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal 5, the MoU also encourages the adoption of actions and commitments to build on progress achieved.

The organizations were represented by Mariela Vega, Member of the National Assembly of Panama and Member of the ParlAmericas Board of Directors, and by Juana Herrera, President of FONAMUPP. “It is truly an honour for ParlAmericas to expand our partnership with FONAMUPP. Together, our organizations have an important opportunity to work to improve citizen participation, good governance, and the extent to which our decision-making bodies reflect the composition and diverse perspectives of our societies,” Ms. Vega stated.

Dr. Herrera added that, “FONAMUPP is pleased to continue growing our partnership with ParlAmericas. The concrete actions that will result from the signature of this MOU will support today’s women candidates in Panama and will help to create a context in which future generations of women leaders can more easily see themselves reflected in our country’s political life.”


June 22, 2018

ParlAmericas at the VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas

From June 20 to 22, ParlAmericas participated in the VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, held in Cartagena, Colombia.

The event, hosted by the Government of Colombia in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), was an opportunity for subject experts, stakeholders and policy makers to exchange experiences and good practices regarding the implementation of the Regional Action Plan, adopted in March 2017 in Montreal, Canada, as a guide for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas.

Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador, Ana Belén Marín, Vice President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change,  contributed a legislative perspective to the panel Gender, Women’s Empowerment and Resilience. Through her presentation, Ms. Marín stressed that: “It is fundamental to call for reducing gender disparities in climate change and promoting equitable participation of women in decision making on disaster risk reduction.”

Likewise, member of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, Juan Carlos Villalonga, participated on ParlAmericas behalf in the session on the Sendai Framework, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change. During his intervention, Mr. Villalonga highlighted the key role of national parliaments to contribute to the implementation of the Framework by creating an integrating approach that assures disaster risk is considered in national budgets and government spending accounts across all sectors.

While in Cartagena, the ParlAmericas delegation held a bilateral meeting with Mami Matzutori,  Assistant Secretary-General UN and Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction to reaffirm continued cooperation between ParlAmericas and the UNISDR, including through the ongoing development of the Parliamentary Protocol for Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation to Climate Change, to support parliaments across the Americas and the Caribbean to align national legislation with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

ParlAmericas thanks Global Affairs Canada for the support that made our engagement in these meetings possible. For further information on ParlAmericas’ work in Climate Change contact us at parlamericascc@parlamericas.org. Follow the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change (PNCC) on Twitter using the hashtag #ParlAmericasCC.


June 21, 2018

ParlAmericas celebrates the passing of the Latin American heritage month bill by the parliament of Canada

ParlAmericas applauds the historic approval of Bill S-238 “An Act respecting Latin American Heritage Month” by the House of Commons (300 votes in favour – zero against) on June 20th, 2018. This Bill, sponsored by the late Senator Tobias C. Enverga Jr. recognizes that members of the Latin American community in Canada have made significant contributions to the social, economic and political fabric of the nation, and designates October as the Latin American Heritage Month as a meaningful way to remember, celebrate and educate the public about these contributions.

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, there are nearly 750,000 people of Latin American heritage in Canada, out of which almost 50% are under the age of 25, being one of the fastest growing population groups in the country. During the bill’s debate in the Senate and the House of Commons, parliamentarians from all political parties recognized the important contributions made by Latin-Americans to the culture, history and economy of Canada. This bill represents a significant moment for the Latin-American community in Canada and embodies the country’s multiculturalism.

Senator Tobias C. Enverga Jr. passed away in 2017 while on parliamentary business as a member of the Canadian delegation to ParlAmericas’ Annual Plenary Assembly. The passing of this legislation is a testament of his legacy and commitment to the Latin American community.


June 21, 2018

Opening of Grenada’s New Parliament Building

ParlAmericas would like to extend its congratulations to the people of Grenada on the opening of the country’s new Parliament building.

Following the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and damage to the Parliament building, the Parliament of Grenada has been holding its Sittings in a rented facility.  With the financial assistance from other countries, Grenada has been able to construct a new Parliament building.  The opening ceremony took place on June 21, 2018.

“The recent return of the Parliament building is not only a testament to the enduring will of the Grenadian people,” stated Senator Marcela Guerra, President of ParlAmericas, “but also to the importance and strength of their Parliament, embodied by the very building it now calls home.”

The Parliament of Grenada is an active and valuable member of ParlAmericas: the Honourable President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey, serves as the Vice-President of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality, and the Grenada Women’s Parliamentary Caucus is featured in our recent publication on Multi-Party Caucuses for Gender Equality alongside other good practice case studies from the region.


June 5, 2018

Statement of Solidarity with Guatemala

The member parliamentarians of ParlAmericas express our sincere condolences and solidarity to the people of Guatemala, who have suffered irreparable human losses and material damages as a result of the eruption of the Volcano of Fire.

We recognize the efforts by the State and the communities that are organizing to address the consequences of this natural disaster, and call upon our governments to provide the necessary support to the respective national authorities.

These unfortunate events highlight the urgent need to continue to implement legislative actions to respond to natural hazards and extreme climate events and develop initiatives for risk management that consider the differential needs of the population, including those most vulnerable.

ParlAmericas reaffirms its commitment to inter-parliamentary action to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.


June 5, 2018

Government of Canada Announces Support to ParlAmericas Project to Promote Women’s Political Leadership in Latin America and the Caribbean

ParlAmericas is pleased to share that today the Government of Canada announced it will contribute $4.99 million for a project to advance women’s political leadership in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This three-year project led by ParlAmericas will provide targeted support to multi-partisan women’s organizations working through local chapters and affiliates, and in collaboration with national parliaments. The project will build enabling environments for women of diverse backgrounds and ages to participate in elections and other political processes in their countries.

“This initiative is a unique opportunity to strengthen the capacity and sustainability of women’s organizations that bring together emerging and experienced leaders across political lines. These organizations are dedicated to tackling the barriers to women’s political participation in our region,” said Senator Marcela Guerra of Mexico, President of ParlAmericas.

This announcement reflects commitments outlined in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance P