Abuja, Nigeria – AWEPA and the ECOWAS Parliament jointly implemented a two-day interactive workshop for professional staff of the Parliament at its seat in Abuja, Nigeria, on 14 and 15 December 2015.
The workshop aimed to prepare the staff for the demands and functions of an enhanced mandate for the ECOWAS Parliament, and included case studies from existing fully-fledged regional parliaments including the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the European Parliament.
The training targeted 32 professional staff members of the ECOWAS Parliament who provide technical support to the parliamentary service and who will be responsible for carrying out various roles within the new enhanced mandate of the Parliament. Also present were resource persons from the European Parliament, the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU – CRIS), EALA, the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) and the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF).
These participants covered a number of topics through seminars and interactive sessions. Points for discussion included democracy building in the regional context; a comparative assessment of the bill processes and procedures of regional parliaments and national parliaments; legislative oversight and budgeting in a regional parliament; establishing effective legislative-executive relations at the regional and continental levels; and strengthening support for the current ECOWAS Parliament mandate.
The general objective of the training was to allow the parliamentary staff to gain an insight into the functioning of regional parliaments with stronger legislative, budgetary and oversight powers through discussion, analysis and case studies.
The workshop also aimed to help parliamentary staff to build the technical competencies needed to render adequate service to such a parliament and increase their confidence in their ability to fulfil their new roles, while allowing them to share their experiences on challenges and techniques for success.
AWEPA also used the opportunity more broadly to discuss the training needs of the parliamentary staff in the context of the organisation’s new programme for 2016-2021.