Arusha, Tanzania – The Parliament of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and AWEPA, in cooperation with the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the Network of African Parliamentarians (NAP), organised an exchange workshop on the “Institutional Strengthening of International Parliamentary Bodies and their Role in Development”, from 10-11 February 2015.
The exchange workshop was implemented in the framework of AWEPA’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Programme and funded by SIDA.
The workshop aimed to stimulate an exchange between the Parliament of CEMAC and the other regional and continental parliaments, on their own experiences of institutional development. The mandates and specificities of the different parliamentary institutions were briefly presented and, in the spirit of interaction and mutual learning, participants conducted a more in-depth reflection on the steps towards development, points of forces and comparative advantages of each parliament represented.
Both the Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon. Daniel Kidega, and the Speaker of the CEMAC Parliament, Rt. Hon. Vincent Mavoungou-Bouyou, attended and opened the conference. For AWEPA, Mr. John Corrie, AWEPA member and Honorary Life President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly attended the opening ceremony.
The workshop consisted of two main parts:
The first part (Day I) focused on the respective institutional development paths of supra-national parliaments in Africa and Europe. This served as an information-exchange session and included presentations of the strengths/comparative advantages of each parliamentary institution and a debate on the value and types of interactions between different levels of parliament: national, regional and continental. The discussion touched upon several key elements relevant to the establishment and functioning of parliaments, such as the mode of election of its members; internal structures and committee systems; strategic planning and institutional capacity building; the exercise of the key legislation and control functions; development and regional integration; and relationships between elected officials and citizens.
The second part (Day II) of the workshop focused on the roles of supra-national parliaments with respect to global development frameworks and the post-2015 Agenda. This included a discussion in working groups on the roles and values of various international networks and other parliamentary fora, with a special consideration for the Network of African Parliamentarians (NAP).
A series of conclusions were drawn from the discussion of Day I including reflections on the selection process of members, their mandate, the financial organisation of trans-border parliaments and their enhanced powers. The working groups of Day II led to the adoption of conclusions and recommendations on the role of trans-border parliaments and networks for development and in the post-2015 framework.
The workshop was followed by an exchange visit of the CEMAC Parliament’s delegation to the headquarters of EALA, facilitated by AWEPA. The visit aimed to strengthen the delegation’s knowledge of the organisation and operation of EALA, its structure and the exercise of its powers.