The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK) is preparing to welcome over 150 Commonwealth parliamentarians and clerks to its flagship annual event, the Westminster Seminar. This will be its 69th edition – and the first in its history to take place virtually.
Delegates from all regions of the Commonwealth will come together online to take part in the three-day knowledge-sharing programme, exploring various aspects of parliamentary democracy.
The theme of the Seminar will be ‘Preparing Parliamentarians for a Changing World’, taking into account what is occurring across the globe in 2020. A global pandemic as well as continued protests for democracy, equality and security have strengthened the case for parliamentarians to be prepared for change and unpredictability.
From 23-25 November, representatives from Canada, Rwanda, Jamaica, Maldives and Gibraltar will be amongst the participants, with over 30 Commonwealth legislatures expected to attend.
Alongside contributions from current and former UK legislators and clerks, parliamentarians from The Gambia, Mauritius and Pakistan will also give their insight into the role of an elected representative in the Commonwealth.
The Seminar will unpack important and timely topics such as increasing geopolitical pressures placed on lawmakers; how parliaments can remain effective in a virtual world; and issues of national and international security. There will also be opportunities for practical exercises, including a virtual committee hearing on Covid-19 and the response of governments .
Jon Davies, Chief Executive of CPA UK, commented:
“I’m delighted that we’re able to run this important annual event, despite the pandemic, by responding flexibly, as so many Commonwealth parliaments have had to do. One advantage of the virtual format is we are able to welcome twice as many delegates as usual. We really look forward to them all learning from each other – that’s the crucial element of what we do. ”
The Rt Hon. Lord Paul Boateng of Akyem and Wembley, who will lead a session on the final day of the programme, stated:
“It’s been an extraordinary and challenging year for parliaments throughout the Commonwealth. The Westminster Seminar is a welcome opportunity to come together with parliamentary colleagues globally and reflect on how we can continue to be effective in our roles as representatives, lawmakers and scrutinisers.”
Participating legislatures in the Westminster Seminar 2020