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November 29, 2012

ParlAmericas Expresses Condolences to Panama for Deaths and Damages Caused by Heavy Rains

ParlAmericas expresses its condolences for the loss of life as a consequence of the intense rains, and the resulting floods, that have hit Panama in recent days.

November 9, 2012

Group of Women Parliamentarians Network Participant Becomes President of UMPABOL

Member of the Chamber of Deputies, Marianela Paco, was appointed the new president of the Union of Women Parliamentarians of Bolivia (UMPABOL) on September 12. The legislator noted that violence rates have increased and femicide must be established as new offense.

November 8, 2012

ParlAmericas Expresses Condolences Following Earthquake off Guatemalan Coast

ParlAmericas expresses its condolences for the loss of life and solidarity for those suffering due to damages caused by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred yesterday in Guatemala, which particularly affected the departments of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu, Sololá, Totonicapán, Sur del Quiche, and Sur de Huehuetenango.

October 26, 2012

Director General of ParlAmericas Participates as Panellist at IDEA’s Inter-Regional Workshop
Gina Hill addressed the participants of the inter-regional workshop on Regional Organizations and Inclusive Political Participation and Representation, hosted by International IDEA, in New York City, United States. Her presentation was part of the workshop’s Session IV, which focused on the complementary role of regional parliaments and parliamentary assemblies as they relate to regional organizations. Among the themes covered were the identification of cooperation mechanisms, as well as initiatives undertaken by regional organizations and parliaments.

“Because we are not issue-based, we leave it to parliamentarians to determine what are topics of current interest and importance about which they would like to learn more, exchange perspectives, and issue recommendations. Through ParlAmericas, one way parliamentarians in the hemisphere contribute to democratic processes is by bringing these recommendations back to their national parliaments.

“While it may be difficult to measure tangible results, I believe the value of parliamentary diplomacy and informal dialogue cannot be underestimated.”

September 1, 2012

Closing of the 9th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas

The 9th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas, which gathered together 46 parliamentarians from 14 countries of North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, ended this morning after the recommendations developed during the meeting were presented to the plenary.

“Every parliamentarian takes the recommendations on the four topics to their countries in order to legislate on them for the benefit of society in general,” said Panamanian Member of the National Assembly, Victor Juliao, host of the 9th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas and 1st Vice-President of the organization.

The meeting was also attended by 12 parliamentarian observers (from two countries and three territories and representatives of five observer organizations).

During the final plenary session, elections were held for vacant seats on the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas, for representatives from North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

September 1, 2012

Elections for the Executive Committee of the Group of Women Parliamentarians

Elections were held for new positions for the Group of Women Parliamentarians’ Executive Committee yesterday during the second session of the Meeting of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, held concurrently with the 9th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas.

Jennifer Simons, Speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname, and Mónica Zalaquett, Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, were unanimously appointed Vice-President and Secretary, respectively.

The Group of Women Parliamentarians is further strengthened with this new structure, as is the organization at large.

Further to the commitment to honour the objectives set out for the Group and for ParlAmericas, the Group is now commencing a new work period, the first activity of which will be the Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians to be held in Suriname in 2013, where the Group will continue working to promote women’s rights and common good in the hemisphere.

August 30, 2012

Opening of the 9th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas

The 9th Plenary Assembly of ParlAmericas, formally inaugurated this morning, has gathered over 40 parliamentarians from North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean to discuss four core topics: Weak Rule of Law: A Threat to Citizen Security; The Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on the Americas; Climate Change and the Environment; and Financial Crisis and its Effects on Women in the Region.

Major Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo (Brazil), Marco Antonio Castillo (Guatemala), Howard N. Fenton (USA), Ottón Solís Fallas (Costa Rica), Laura Gómez-Mera (Argentina), Michelle Michot Foss (USA), Margarita Astrálaga (Colombia), Jason Spensley (Canada), and Mayra Buvinic (Chile) will share their expertise with all participants.

“Insecurity, climate change, and the economy are major issues facing us today. We will discuss them in the course of the Plenary Assembly, and I do hope we may issue some recommendations to assist our governments and peoples in being ready for and responding to them,” said Victor Juliao III (Panama), host of this meeting and 1st Vice-President of ParlAmericas.

July 20, 2012

Women Secure a Third of Mexican Parliament (By Anayeli García Martínez)

“Female candidates are poised to occupy an unprecedented third of the seats in Mexico’s bicameral parliament when preliminary results for the Jul.1 election are confirmed. In the lower chamber, 95 women were elected through direct vote (in a relative majority system), according to the preliminary results from the Federal Electoral Institute. That is 31.7 percent of the seats filled through direct vote in that chamber, almost doubling the 17.33 percent obtained in 2009 when 52 women were elected. In the previous elections, however, eight women had given up their places to a male alternate.”

June 26, 2012

ParlAmericas President Speaker at EITI Conference
Randy Hoback gave the keynote address at the conference Open Government and Transparency in Extractive Industries in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Lima, Peru. The event provided a forum for policy makers, civil society groups, academics, and private sector companies to share experiences and views on key challenges and opportunities to strengthen transparency and accountability in the management of extractive industries in Latin American and the Caribbean.

“As legislators, we need to be well informed to use the skills and resources at our disposal to improve government accountability and responsiveness by engaging regularly with civil society, the media, and broader populations on substantive issues.”

May 9, 2012

Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians

Linda Machuca, President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians and Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador, along with with Mexican Senator Adriana González, and Chilean Members of the Chamber of Deputies Mónica Zalaquett, Andrea Molina, Cristina Girardi, Alejandra Sepúlveda, Marta Isasi, Ximena Vidal, and Maria Antonieta Saa, met in the Chamber of Deputies of Chile to announce the beginning of the Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, which started this morning.

Ms. Machuca explained that the meeting, Citizen Security for Women: A Parliamentary Task is divided into three main themes, “particularly all related to violence and rates of violence [that exist] in each of our countries, then to discuss issues related to femicide and finally to discuss the budgets of our countries and how to adjust them to meet these widespread needs of the women in our regions.”

Ms. Zalaquett said, “This meeting is very rewarding as we will advance public policies across the continent in favor of women and [in our country, Chilean] families.” Ms. Sepúlveda emphasized the importance of this meeting taking place in Chile. “Today, Chile welcomes the largest gathering of women parliamentarians in Latin America. We will have nearly 56 women parliamentarians with whom we will discuss budget issues, defining whether they are sufficient to address the protection of women in terms of femicide and domestic violence.”

May 9, 2012

Opening of the Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians

The Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians began this morning in Valparaiso, Chile, under the main theme Citizen Security for Women: A Parliamentary Task. The parliamentary meeting was inaugurated by Member of the National Assembly of Ecuador, Linda Machuca, President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians; Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, Mónica Zalaquett; and President of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, Nicolás Monckeberg, who thanked the participant parliamentarians for coming together to reflect on issues of inclusion of women in political life in the American states, and the defense of women facing gender violence.

Mr. Monckeberg noted the importance of moving towards a quota law to determine a specific number of women to participate in parliament. Participants were also greeted, via video, by the President of ParlAmericas, Randy Hoback, and the President of Chile, Sebastian Piñera, who appreciated the meeting and said “When women enter politics, policy changes for the better, because the contribution of women in politics is absolutely central, and Latin America is in debt. We need more women integrated into the world of politics, as that will improve society.”

The words of Ms. Zalaquett followed, one of the promoters of the event, who praised as essential “to see how can the budgets of each of our countries deal with the complexity of this scourge that is violence against women.”

Ms. Machuca thanked the Chilean people for their hospitality and indicated that this call is politically transcendent and affects the legislative agenda as it seeks “to analyze what is happening in Latin America with regard to violence against women, and in every country, and discuss how we can respond through the legislation that we construct in each of our countries.”

Women parliamentarians participating in the event represent countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Saint Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

April 19, 2012

ParlAmericas President Joins Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Randy Hoback will visit Cartagena, Colombia, as President of ParlAmericas, then joins Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Summit of the Americas and will accompany him to Chile for a bilateral meeting.

April 9, 2012

Summit of the Americas

A delegation representing ParlAmericas is attending events in the lead up to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. In particular, representatives from Canada, Mexico, Honduras, and Haiti will participate in an inter-parliamentary dialogue coordinated by the Andean Parliament, with the support of ParlAmericas. The delegation intends to have additional meetings with parliamentarians present from the Parlamento Andino.

March 28, 2012

ParlAmericas President Addresses the Permanent Council of the OAS

Randy Hoback attended this morning’s special session of the Permanent Council of the OAS, at the invitation of the President of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Duly Brutus of Haiti. The theme of the meeting was the democratic and economic future of the region. The subjects considered focused on the five themes of the Sixth Summit of the Americas: regional physical integration; reduction of poverty and inequality; natural disasters; access to and use of technologies; and security.

March 8, 2012

Greetings on the Occasion of International Women’s Day

Today it is important to remember that over 100 years ago International Women’s Day was inaugurated, and to recall why it was established. From the beginning, the Socialist International conference (held in Copenhagen in 1910) had planned to establish a day to honour the movement for women’s rights and universal suffrage. The tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York, where women workers and migrants died in 1911, is another key memorial.

These two moments were the pillars for achieving political rights – female suffrage was obtained in the twentieth century. And legal advances – the Triangle disaster forced major legislative changes in labour and industrial safety and health standards in the US, which were imitated by several countries.

I send greetings of solidarity to all women in Ecuador, America, and the world, for being the engine of change, the arms of the political, social and economic struggle, and for achieving significant advances in the historical process of building a more egalitarian, a more equal, and a more united world.

Linda Machuca Moscoso

President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians
Member of the Assembly of Ecuador

February 9, 2012

ParlAmericas and the Organization of American States Enter into a Memorandum of Understanding

ParlAmericas (formerly known as FIPA – Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas) and the Organization of American States today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes a framework to enhance cooperation and interaction in areas of common concern, in particular, democracy, legal systems, and the rule of law.

ParlAmericas President Randy Hoback and OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza signed the MOU. View the event’s photo gallery here.

The MOU identifies areas of cooperation between the two institutions relating to databases, ParlAmericas’ role as a legislative forum to the OAS, parliamentary exchanges in the context of existing processes, women’s rights and gender issues, and sub-regional communications hubs.

February 1, 2012

ParlAmericas’ Strengthening Parliamentary Budget Oversight Workshop Ends

ParlAmericas’ Strengthening Parliamentary Budget Oversight workshop in Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda, ended yesterday after two days of discussions, panels, and smaller working groups.

Parliamentarians and Auditors General were both very positive about the exchanges they had had over the course of the meeting. There was a recognition that smaller and larger Caribbean states can learn from one another, and that there would be benefit from having regular meetings such as this one, bringing together members of parliament and those working within audit institutions.

There was general agreement that the event was enriched through the collaboration of numerous partners such as the CCAF, CAP, and CAROSAI.

View the event’s photo gallery here.

January 30, 2012

Dynamic Participation at ParlAmericas’ Strengthening Parliamentary Budget Oversight Workshop

Today’s session of the workshop Strengthening Parliamentary Budget Oversight, being held in Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda, gathered 20 parliamentarians and 16 auditors general from Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The panels of the day covered the role of parliament in the budget process, Public Accounts Committees leading practices, and an oversight on potential reforms in smaller legislatures.

View the workshop’s complete agenda here.

Tomorrow’s sessions will focus on collaborating with the auditor general and strengthening his/her role, as well as discussing lessons learned and next steps to strengthen oversight in the Caribbean region.

January 29, 2012

ParlAmericas Hosts Strengthening Parliamentary Budget Oversight Workshop in Antigua and Barbuda

ParlAmericas, formerly known as the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA), is hosting a workshop focused on promoting greater knowledge of the Caribbean parliamentary budgetary oversight system, and on discussing key issues relevant to Public Accounts Committees. The workshop starts tomorrow – Monday, January 30, 2012 – at 9:00 (13:00 GMT).

Consult the meeting agenda here.

January 28, 2012

Meeting Between ParlAmericas and GOPAC

Gina Hill, ParlAmericas’ Director General, met with President of GOPAC América Latina y Caribe, Senator Ricardo García Cervantes, Interim Board Member of América Latina y Caribe, Fernando Pérez Noriega, and GOPAC Global Secretariat staff on January 27, to discuss possible future cooperation.