The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Sir Alan Haselhurst MP

Last year, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) celebrated 100 years of parliamentary strengthening and diplomacy. In the century since 1911, against a backdrop of changing geopolitical structures, econom­ic flux and the establishment of democracy as the predominant global system of govern­ment, the CPA has managed to adhere to its original purpose – as a forum for “closer un­derstanding and more frequent intercourse between those engaged in the parliamentary government of the component parts of the [Commonwealth]”.

The UK branch of the CPA approaches its work in three ways: via international parliamentary conferences, focused topical seminars and parliamentary strengthening programmes conducted between member parliaments, while constantly seeking to improve both quality and reach.

Leveraging resources and avoiding du­plication is crucial in tough economic times, when there is even greater need for a strengthened sense of accountability. Seek­ing value for money is of prime importance and so, in accordance with Recommen­dation 87 of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), which calls for increased coordi­nation and collaboration, CPA UK strives to partner with other Commonwealth bod­ies, NGOs and civil society organisations. Recent examples include the Westminster Workshop on the Public Accounts Commit­tee, organised in collaboration with the Na­tional Audit Office and the Commonwealth Secretariat. In addition, CPA UK signed a memorandum of understanding with VSO (an international charity that uses skilled volunteers to combat poverty around the world) which focused on improving gov­ernance in Commonwealth countries.

CPA UK sees the century ahead as a con­tinuation of the opportunity to improve; however, the aim of the CPA remains con­stant. It strives to ensure that parliamentar­ians have the capability and influence to act for those they represent, and to work to achieve the Commonwealth’s values of development, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

About the author:

Sir Alan Haselhurst MP is Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association


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