December 14, 2022
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, 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.”