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December 29, 2014

IV Congress of the Future: The Crossroads of the 21st Century

The Congress of the Future is an initiative of the Senate of the Republic of Chile originating from a commission dedicated to addressing the challenges we will face as a society in the near future. Topics such as sustainable mining, telecommunications, smart cities, and Politics 2.0 inspired this initiative.

The Congress of the Future has been held for the past four years with the objective of democratizing science and scientific advances. It is led by prominent scientists and public figures who share the challenges and the opportunities that science, technology, and innovation can offer.

The next congress will be held from January 14 to 17, 2015 in Santiago, Chile.

December 8, 2014

ParlAmericas represented at Parlatino’s 50th Anniversary

ParlAmericas was represented at an event celebrating the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino)’s 50th Anniversary, called “Women and Parity Democracy: Women, Politics, and Sustainable Development in the 21st Century.” The delegation was led by President Marcela Guerra, board members Gina Godoy Andrade and Ignacio Urrutia Bonilla, and Vice President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians Claudia Nogueira Fernández. Its objective was to serve as a nexus for synergies among those working on issues related to women’s political empowerment throughout the region and at all levels.

November 25, 2014

The XXth Canada-Mexico Interparliamentary Meeting concludes

The XXth Canada-Mexico Interparliamentary Meeting concluded today following two days of meetings and discussions between 40 Canadian and Mexican parliamentarians.

These annual meetings, hosted by the Speakers of both parliamentary chambers in Canada and Mexico, have been held alternately in Canada and Mexico since 1975, and provide parliamentarians with an opportunity to exchange views and ideas on key issues facing the two countries.

November 5, 2014

ParlAmericas Adds its Voice to the 5th Forum of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean

ParlAmericas is proud to participate in the Fifth Forum of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, which takes place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on November 5 and 6.

The objective of this year’s forum is to strengthen political commitment towards inclusive governance for the purpose of developing, drafting, and implementing regulatory frameworks aimed at fulfilling the right to suitable diets. This will be carried out in the context of the fight against hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty.

As ParlAmericas board member Guadalupe Valdez has noted, “For the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, the link with ParlAmericas is an opportunity to promote the commitment of legislators in the region to the fight against hunger, poverty, and for the Right to Food. Spaces are generated for dialogue about the importance of laws on food and nutrition security, as well as the role of parliamentarians in passing budgets and public policy oversight.” Ms. Valdez is a member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic and the regional coordinator of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean.

ParlAmericas has previously engaged with issues including food security and connecting women’s rights to food security in working groups at the 10th Plenary Assembly. The recommendations issued are available on our website.

For updates on the forum in Santo Domingo, follow @ALCsinhambre on Twitter (in Spanish). 

October 24, 2014

ParlAmericas Condemns the Attack against the Parliament of Canada

The member countries of ParlAmericas deplore the attack committed on the morning of October 21, 2014 in the vicinity of the Canadian parliament in Ottawa – where the Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, members of parliament, other authority figures, and visitors were present at the time – and which left a soldier dead.

We express our solidarity with the Parliament, the authorities, and the people of Canada in the face of such a deplorable act.

We send our condolences for the death of Corporal Nathan Cirillo who was guarding the National War Memorial.

We strongly condemn all acts of violence, and we vow for this to not be repeated in any part of our continent.

Canadian Member of Parliament Randy Hoback, former President of ParlAmericas, expressed gratitude for the messages and well wishes received. He recognized that because of the actions of the Canadian security services, he and his staff were back to work again safe and unharmed.

October 21, 2014

Inter-Parliamentary Union Calls for Parliaments to Promote Policies to Combat the Ebola Epidemic

At the 131st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held this month in Geneva, Switzerland, a request was made for the inclusion of an emergency item on the agenda to consider the current Ebola outbreak. The outbreak has had devastating health and security consequences for the West African region and beyond.

The assembly adopted a resolution titled, The Role of Parliaments in Supporting an Immediate and Robust International Response to the Ebola Epidemic and in Enacting Laws Ensuring an Effective Response to and Preparedness for Ebola and Other Infectious Disease Outbreaks.

Among other items, the resolution “Invites parliaments to promote effective policies to combat the Ebola epidemic at national and international level [sic]; [It] Also invites parliaments to enact the legislation needed to improve health systems and emergency preparedness, with a view to boosting the capacity to deal with the serious public health and humanitarian crises that may result from an infectious disease outbreak.”


Through this resolution, IPU appeals to the international community to urgently mobilize the resources necessary to tackle the Ebola crisis. It furthermore calls for longer-term solutions such as enacting legislation to improve health systems and better preparing to deal with such health emergencies (read the IPU press release).


The President of ParlAmericas, Mexican Senator Marcela Guerra Castillo, attended the 131st Assembly (photos here) and urges parliamentarians from ParlAmericas member legislatures to consider sharing the resolution in their respective chambers.


ParlAmericas was granted Permanent Observer Status at IPU during the 128th Assembly.

July 14, 2014

ParlAmericas invited at the First Inter-American Meeting of Speakers of Parliaments

On July 17 and 18, Randy Hoback, President of ParlAmericas, and Anabella Zavagno, Program Manager, will be attending in Lima, Peru, the First Inter-American Meeting of Speakers of Parliaments, which will also gather parliamentary forums and integration parliaments currently active in the hemisphere.

The topics covered during the meeting will include parliamentary transparency and the role of parliament in sustainable development, two of the themes to be discussed during ParlAmericas 11th Plenary Assembly in Santiago, Chile, next September.


June 27, 2014

Closing of the 6th Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians

The 6th Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, Moving from Formal to Substantive Equality, concluded Wednesday evening after a day of strategic planning sessions. The Gathering was attended by 58 parliamentarians from 25 countries across the hemisphere.

At the closing of the two-day event, Mexican Senator Marcela Guerra, member of the Board of Directors of ParlAmericas and host of the gathering, stated that legislators have the key to transform reality by creating laws for our countries.

Legislators present at the event stressed that despite the advances in guaranteeing gender parity, significant obstacles remain to achieving real equality. During the strategic planning sessions led by Keila González, director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Mexico, participants identified the following priority issues for the committed work of the Group of Women Parliamentarians over the next 12 months: the prevention of violence against women, employment and economic empowerment of women, and women’s political leadership.

Jennifer Simons, Speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname and President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, expressed her great satisfaction at the close of the event. She reiterated the importance of the Group’s work in moving from words to action.

She further explained that to create transformative change, young boys need to be educated. “We need them to be aware and support this cause, that our boys in school have different ideas about how to be men in society and how to relate to women.”

The second day of the gathering built upon the productive discussions held the previous day, led by guest speakers Dr. Teresa Incháustegui and Dr. Ramona Biholar, as well as panellists with a diverse range of achievements in the promotion of gender equality in their parliaments: Imani Duncan-Price (Jamaica), Margarita Escobar (El Salvador), Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis (Canada), Constanza Moreiera (Uruguay), Alvina Reynolds (St. Lucia), Verónika Mendoza (Peru), Marie Jossie Etienne (Haiti), and Dulce María Sauri Riancho (Mexico).

Additionally, after news emerged about another mass kidnapping of girls, adolescents, and women in Nigeria, the parliamentarians in attendance condemned the acts committed, urging Nigeria’s authorities to protect the female population and the international community to support all efforts to prosecute the perpetrators, in order to denounce and eradicate all forms of gender violence.

June 26, 2014

ParlAmericas meets with organizations in Washington

On June 26 and 27, Randy Hoback, President of ParlAmericas, and Alisha Todd, Director General, will be meeting in Washington DC, USA, with officials of the Organization of American States (OAS), Canadian Ambassador to the OAS Allan Culham, as well as representatives of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to discuss opportunities for potential collaboration.

June 23, 2014

Opening Press Conference of the 6th Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians

Members of the Executive Committee of the Group of Women Parliamentarians of ParlAmericas; Jennifer Simons, President of the National Assembly of Suriname and President of the Group of Women Parliamentarians; Randy Hoback, Member of Parliament of Canada and President of ParlAmericas; and Marcela Guerra, Senator of the Republic of Mexico and Host of the Gathering, jointly with Ambassador Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, Undersecretary of Multilateral Affaires and Human Rights in the Secretary of External Relations of Mexico; Member of the Chamber of Deputies Maricela Velázquez Sánchez, Vice-president of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico; and Raúl Cervantes Andrade, President of the Senate of the Republic of Mexico, will announce in press conference the opening of the 6th Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, which will be held from June 24 to 25, 2014 in Mexico City. The press conference will take place on Tuesday, June 24, at 9:45 am (local time) in the Octavio Paz room of the Marriott Reforma Hotel in Mexico City.

This event will provide preliminary information on the Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians that will be held that same Tuesday, June 24, and the following day, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Parliamentarians from North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America will meet to discuss, along with experts in the field, how to take action to achieve not only formal laws that guarantee gender equality but also political commitments to achieve real equality.

More than 50 parliamentarians from 25 countries of the hemisphere will hold debates on the main topic and participate in strategic planning sessions, in which they will identify priority areas for future action and training required for legislative work with a gender perspective.

On the first day there will be two working sessions led by specialists in the field. The first session, “Achievements in Guaranteeing Equality: Experiences Promoting Legislation and Programs Benefiting Women,” will be presented by Teresa Incháustegui (Mexico), while the second session, “Barriers to Real Equality,” will be hosted by Ramona Biholar (Romania). Each session will include a panel discussion among regional rapporteurs.

The second day will include strategic planning sessions in which, among other things, participants will review the main issues addressed in the recommendations resulting from previous meetings, discuss and identify strategies and/or actions that could be developed to promote said issues, and identify training needed for future programming of the Group of Women Parliamentarians.

WHAT: Opening Press Conference: 6th Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians
WHEN: Tuesday, 24 June 2014, at 9:45 am (local time)
WHERE: Octavio Paz room of the Marriott Reforma Hotel in Mexico City

June 3, 2014

ParlAmericas participates in side meeting on Sustainable Development, OAS 44th General Assembly

Mexican Senator Marcela Guerra Castillo, member of the Board of Directors, participated in a side event at the 44th General Assembly of the OAS, “Good governance and environmental justice: towards an inclusive sustainable development agenda for the Americas,” as representative of ParlAmericas.

Read her speech and presentation (in Spanish).

May 20, 2014

ParlAmericas Announces the 2014 Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians: Moving from Formal to Substantive Equality

ParlAmericas is pleased to announce that the Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians will be held in Mexico City from June 24 to 25, 2014, thanks to the support and collaboration of the Senate of Mexico.

This event, Moving from Formal to Substantive Equality, is an opportunity to bring together women and men parliamentarians who are committed to gender equality and enthusiastic about contributing to these discussions in a multilateral context.

Alongside subject experts, parliamentarians from throughout the Americas will discuss how to mobilize action to advance not only legislation guaranteeing formal gender equality, but political commitments towards real equality. As influential public figures, parliamentarians are uniquely situated to bridge the gap between written law and practice, transforming equality before the law into true equality of opportunities for women.

This year’s Gathering will also incorporate strategic planning sessions, in which delegates will identify priority areas for action and future training needed to carry out legislative work with a gender focus.

The draft agenda is now available and will be updated shortly with the confirmed speakers and panellists.

May 12, 2014

ParlAmericas meets with OAS Secretary General Insulza

This afternoon, Member of Parliament Randy Hoback, President of ParlAmericas, and Director General, Alisha Todd, met with OAS Secretary General Insulza. The issues discussed in the meeting focused on how to deepen cooperation between the OAS and ParlAmericas, on the basis of the existing Memorandum of Understanding.

March 8, 2014

ParlAmericas Commemorates International Women’s Day 2014

Today, ParlAmericas joins millions across the hemisphere in commemorating International Women’s Day. The Group of Women Parliamentarians, ParlAmericas’ permanent working group, recognizes women across the region working tirelessly for gender equality.

There are many recent advances worth celebrating. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, for instance, women in the Americas lead the world in expanding their parliamentary presence, with a regional average of 25.2 percent. This political leadership of women is crucial for equitable and sustainable development in all of our countries.

We also seize the occasion to focus on the legislative work that must be carried out to secure a more solid foundation of respect for women’s rights. Our countries urgently need to address the problems many women face daily: food insecurity, poverty, gender violence, and workplace discrimination, to name just a few.

ParlAmericas’ Group of Women Parliamentarians will continue to promote the mainstreaming of a gender perspective on the legislative agenda. This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Inspiring Change,” reminds us that by coming together to exchange innovative ideas, share success stories, and learn from the challenges and setbacks that affect us all, we can build a more prosperous future for all citizens of the hemisphere.

February 10, 2014

Government and Opposition Parliamentarians of the Caribbean Gathered at ParlAmericas Workshop with Auditors General to Discuss Strengthening Budget Oversight

At the closure of ParlAmericas’ capacity-building workshop, Strengthening Parliamentary Budget Oversight in the Caribbean – Phase 2, participants stressed the unique opportunity the event had created by convening parliamentarians from both government and opposition, as well as heads of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs).

“It has been incredibly useful,” stated Hon. Cheryl Bazard, Senator from The Bahamas. “The key is synergy with all partners, inclusive of AGs [Auditors General], SAIs and the public so that there is a greater awareness of PACs [Public Accounts Committees].”

The workshop took place February 5-6, 2014, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and was attended by 25 parliamentarians and six SAI heads from Caribbean countries.

Key outputs of the workshop included the identification of ways to strengthen PACs in small jurisdictions where the PAC rarely or never meets, as well as a discussion about how PACs can support SAI independence and the production of timely financial statements.

According to Hon. Emma Hippolyte, Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs of Saint Lucia, “It is time to start a public discussion about accountability and transparency and the role of parliamentarians leading the way.”

To conclude the workshop, parliamentarians and heads of SAIs shared key findings arising from their deliberations on moving forward to strengthen the estimates process and PACs. These will be presented in a final report that will be made available shortly on the ParlAmericas website.

“[I am] pleased with the extent of the contributions from colleagues which reflected both the enthusiasm as well as the value they placed on this most important issue,” said Hon. Carl Greenidge, Member of Parliament and Chair of PAC in Guayana.

February 3, 2014

ParlAmericas to Host Follow-up Workshop on Parliamentary Budget Oversight in the Caribbean

ParlAmericas – a forum for parliamentarians in the hemisphere – is hosting a capacity-building workshop, Strengthening Parliamentary Budget Oversight in the Caribbean – Phase 2, to provide a space for parliamentarians and Auditors General to increase their regional knowledge and share best practices.

The two-day event will take place February 5-6, 2014, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. ParlAmericas welcomes the media to attend the opening ceremony on Wednesday, February 5 from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. (GMT-4) at the hotel Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre, Lady Young Road, Port of Spain.

Parliamentarians representing the national legislatures of 12 countries in the Caribbean (The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago) will gather to enhance their practical skills and knowledge related to auditing within the Westminster System. The Auditors General from several Caribbeans countries will also be in attendance. Participants will benefit from the presentations and guidance of experts in the subject during panels and various strategizing sessions.

The overall objectives of the workshop are to build on the discussions about parliamentary budget oversight mechanisms and other key issues of concern to Public Accounts Committees (PACs) that took place during a previous workshop (Phase 1) in Antigua in 2012.

The panel sessions and breakout groups will consider the budgetary cycle, existing practices and challenges, Supreme Audit Institution (SAI)-Parliament cooperation, audit products, and SAI-PAC relations. To conclude the workshop, participants will develop recommendations to strengthen the estimates process and PACs in the Caribbean.

The workshop agenda is available here.

January 22, 2014

Pre-Workshop Recommended Resources

ParlAmericas’ next workshop Strengthening Parliamentary Budget Oversight (Caribbean) – Phase 2 is less than a month away. To prepare for the discussions and other activities, participants may be interested in reviewing the following materials on the workshop topic. These resources have been prepared by individuals and institutions specializing in budget oversight in the hemisphere:

Characteristics of Different External Audit Systems

Lima Declaration of Guidelines on Auditing Precepts / Mexico Declaration on SAI Independence

PAC and SAI: “Partners” in the Accountability Process

Parliamentary Oversight Committees and Relationships: Attributes of an Effective Public Accounts Committee

As the workshop is targeted to parliamentarians from English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, these materials are only available in English.