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INSIDE ISSUES


THE CHANGING FACE OF THE COMMONWEALTH ANDTHE CPA


The Acting Editor’s note


As 2013 draws to a close, it has been an eventful last few months at the CPA Secretariat. With the conclusion of the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in South Africa, preparations have already begun for next year’s annual conference which will take place in Cameroon.


The conference always provides a useful platform for members to exchange ideas and this year’s conference, proved to be just as fruitful, where discussions focused upon striving to achieve the values and aspirations contained within the Commonwealth Charter. A full report on all workshops and associated meetings will be featured in Issue Four of The Parliamentarian. For an organization as long established as the CPA, undergoing great levels of change is inevitable and usually effected for the greater good. In the five years since I joined the CPA, I’ve witnessed; Rwanda join the Commonwealth family – and The Gambia recently leave – two CPA Chairpersons and now my third CWP Chairperson in the name of Speaker Rt Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, MP, of Uganda.


One of the most notable changes, however, particularly as I write my first editorial note, is the departure of two long-service staff members - Mr Andrew Imlach, former Director of Communications and Research and Editor of The Parliamentarian and


Ms Christine Tina) Ngwira, former Assistant Director of Conference and Events.


Under the supervision of Mr Andrew Imlach, I learned a great deal not only about the working of the organization and its objectives, but drew from the girth of his parliamentary expertise. Ms Tina Ngwira’s strength of character enabled the Secretariat to organize the successful running of the annual conference and Executive Committee meetings. They each had a distinguished service of more than 30 years with the CPA Secretariat. In short, they will both be missed, and I know that members who had the pleasure of meeting or working with Andrew and Tina will join me in wishing them the best for the future. The implementation of the CPA Business Plan 2013-15 will be the foundation to cementing positive changes for the future of the Association. Developed with the help of the Cass Business School’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness (Cass CEE), the plan aims to deliver on the objectives outlined in the Association’s Strategic Plan 2015, through a series of key activities and activity measures. To illustrate, the first strategic objective states: To assist Members and Branches to adopt good practice of democratic governance and to strengthen the institution of Parliament and the rule of law.


164 | The Parliamentarian | 2013: Issue Three


To achieve this, the Association will, among other initiatives, use successful programmes and practices already tested by the Association and further develop innovative methods and techniques appropriate to the CPA’s mission. What the Association sees as its desired outcome for 2015 will be more effective, independent and representative Parliaments, exchanging good practice, and taking a continued interest in the Commonwealth.


Encouraging gender equality and proportional representation of women in Parliament remains a hotly discussed issue not only for Commonwealth women Parliamentarians, but across the global political sphere. Issue Three starts with not only one, but three articles, detailing initiatives and programmes designed to encourage more women to enter politics and boost their presence in the public arena.


Hon. Lisa Baker, MLC, of Western Australia, and Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Australia Region, writes about two programmes introduced to increase gender equality and support women into positions of leadership. With $3 million in funding secured from AusAid, the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships project is bringing together CWP Australia


with other regional Parliaments to promote gender parity in the Pacific, while a proposed second young women’s forum hopes to continue discussion regarding overcoming the barriers when trying to forge a political career. In light of recently being awarded Assembly Member of this year’s Women in Public Life Awards in the U.K., the Presiding Officer of the Wales National Assembly, Ms Rosemary Butler, AM, continues the theme by placing the issue at the top of the political agenda. Sharing her own story about the struggles she faced, Ms Butler introduced a programme to kick start the discussion in Wales. Consequently, the Women on Board campaign designed to get more women in Wales involved in public life, is proving to be a useful resource and source of information for women seeking to make a difference. With an election planned for 2016, the Constitution Amendment Bill 2013 proposes significant change, particularly in terms of the proportional representation of women in the House. However, the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly of Samoa, notes that the clash between western style politics and traditional methods, may hinder the process from running as smoothly as anticipated. Samoa’s neighbour in the Pacific, Fiji, also has a looming election scheduled for next year. One of the most anticipated aspects of its new


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