VIEW FROM THE CPA SECRETARY-GENERAL
DELIVERING A COMMON FUTURE: CONNECTING, INNOVATING, TRANSFORMING
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Stephen Twigg
In April of this year, it was with a profound sense of shock and great sadness that we heard the news that our CPA Chairperson, the late Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, MP, had passed away. My thoughts are with her family, her friends and her colleagues in the National Assembly of Cameroon where she served as Deputy Speaker. I first met the Hon. Lifaka in February 2020 when I attended my interviews for the role of CPA Secretary-General. Since I took up this position last August, I worked closely with her as we sought to adapt the work of the CPA to the various restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. She chaired two virtual CPA Executive Committee meetings held in August 2020 and in March of this year and spoke powerfully at a CPA webinar in October last year on ‘The Commonwealth in 2025: Building effective partnerships’. I am grateful to the many people and organisations which have been in contact with the CPA Secretariat to express their condolences. Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP, Chair of the CPA’s UK Branch, was elected as the Acting CPA Vice-Chairperson at the CPA Executive Committee in March 2021. He has now taken over as the Acting CPA Chairperson. His column in this edition includes a warm tribute to our late Madam Chairperson. In March, the CPA Executive Committee approved our new Strategic Plan for 2022-25, building upon the excellent progress made through the implementation of the 2018-21 Strategic Plan.
“Mutual learning lies at the heart of the CPA’s work and the launch of the new CPA Parliamentary Academy is testament to this. A curriculum of online courses specifically aimed at strengthening the capacity of Parliamentarians and parliamentary officials in fulfilling their roles, the Academy is an exciting new opportunity for our membership.” 120 | The Parliamentarian | 2021: Issue Two | 100 years of publishing
The Plan sets out our Strategic Objectives and the tools we will use to achieve them. During the consultation period late last year, several priority areas were highlighted. We have identified six of them as cross-cutting themes in the new Strategic Plan: Gender; Small States and Jurisdictions; Youth; Disability; Sustainable Development and Climate Change; and Technology and Innovation. Several recent issues of The Parliamentarian have included a number of articles focusing on disability. I am delighted that the CPA has nine Regional Champions leading the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network and is chaired by Hon. Kevin Murphy MLA, Speaker of the Nova Scotia Legislature. All nine are passionate advocates for disability inclusion and the rights of persons with disabilities. One Regional Champion, Hon. Ann Jones, recently stood down from Senedd Cymru (the Welsh Parliament) in which she had served as an Assembly Member from its inception in 1999 and as Deputy Presiding Officer from 2016-21. She, therefore, has also stood down as a CPwD Regional Champion. She participated in the 2017 CPA Conference for Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities in Halifax, Nova Scotia and chaired a mentoring session at the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference on The Role of Parliament in Facilitating Persons with Disabilities as Electors, Candidates and Legislators. Hon. Ann Jones is a great example of CPA’s high-quality alumni. In our new Strategic Plan, we propose to strengthen our links with former Commonwealth Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff after they leave Parliament. The development of a ‘CPA Alumni’ will enable us not only to keep in touch but to tap into the huge experience and expertise of our alumni. As well as Ann Jones, we have seen two other highly experienced CPA Parliamentarians step down this year – our former CPA ViceChairperson, Hon. John Ajaka (New South Wales) and our former Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches, Hon. Niki Rattle (Cook Islands). Let me take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the CPA. I look forward to engaging with them in the CPA Alumni as it develops. A key theme in this issue of The Parliamentarian is the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Commonwealth. Our new Strategic