The Parliamentarian 2022: Issue Two: The Commonwealth and the power of sport

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VIEW FROM THE CPA SECRETARY-GENERAL

BRINGING THE COMMONWEALTH TOGETHER

Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Stephen Twigg In August 2022, the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) will meet in Halifax, Nova Scotia, hosted by the CPA Canada Region. This will be our first CPC for almost three years, and I know that CPA Branches across the Commonwealth are looking forward to the opportunity to come together at this important time. As part of the Conference, we will hold the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Conference, the CPA Small Branches Conference and a meeting of the Regional Champions for the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network. An important agenda item in Halifax will be the question of the CPA’s legal status. I am determined to do all that I can to resolve this longstanding matter. I am in regular contact with officials from the United Kingdom Government about a legal route to the recognition of the CPA as an international, interparliamentary organisation and I am grateful to the work of CPA Branches and Regions on this, including those who raised the question of CPA Status with their Heads of Government or Foreign Ministers in the run-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda. Since the 64th CPC in Kampala, Uganda, in 2019, the CPA Executive Committee has been looking at ways in which we can update the CPA Constitution so that we are ready for a new legal status. Several important proposals will be presented for consideration at the 65th CPA General Assembly meeting in Halifax. I will highlight three of them here: • CPA’s Small Branches play a vital role in our work and have led the way on issues like climate change and biodiversity. With population growth, the CPA Small Branches Steering Committee has recommended that the population threshold for CPA Small Branches should be raised to one million people to ensure that the network is inclusive. This will be on the agenda at the 65th CPA General Assembly this year. • At the 64th CPC in Kampala, the CPA New Zealand Branch put forward proposals around gender representation within the CPA. The CPA Executive Committee has considered this and, at the 65th CPC, will propose changes to provide that, where practicable, at least one third of CPA Branch delegations to the General Assembly and at least one third of Regional Representatives on the CPA Executive Committee should be women. 102 | The Parliamentarian | 2022: Issue Two | 100 years of publishing

• The creation of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD) network is an important development of the CPA’s work. Proposals will be tabled in Halifax to ensure that CPwD is acknowledged in the CPA Constitution alongside the existing provisions for CWP and CPA Small Branches. These three constitutional changes chime with the CPA’s commitment to inclusion and diversity and they reflect key crosscutting themes in our Strategic Plan (2022-2025). Last month, I attended the 52nd CPA Africa Regional Conference in Sierra Leone. I am very grateful to Speaker Bundu and the CPA Sierra Leone Branch for hosting the Regional Conference and it was an excellent opportunity to have discussions with delegations from across Africa ahead of the CPC in Canada. The CPA Executive Committee (ExCo) met in April 2022 in Assam, India. I would like to thank the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Speaker of the Assam Legislature as well as other colleagues in the CPA India Region and the CPA Assam Branch for their wonderful hospitality. This was the first ‘in person’ ExCo meeting since 2019 and was also the first to be conducted on a hybrid basis. This proved very successful with a mix of ExCo Members attending in person and virtually. After the ExCo, I was pleased to stay in Assam for the 8th CPA India Regional Conference which was well-attended by the 31 State Legislatures and the Federal Parliament of India with excellent discussions including a focus on work with young people and ensuring that youth voices are heard. In May 2022, the CPA held our first CPA Parliamentary Academy Residency hosted by the New South Wales Parliament in Sydney, Australia. I was delighted to take part and to meet the participants from a diverse range of CPA Branches. It went very well, and I wish to take this opportunity to thank the CPA New South Wales Branch, the Mentors and the participants. The second Residency will be held in Western Cape, South Africa, later this year. Mutual learning lies at the heart of CPA’s work and the CPA Parliamentary Academy is an exciting and innovative way of promoting learning and development. I encourage CPA members to take part in the online courses and, please do provide us with feedback. I was also pleased to visit Canberra hosted by the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly. Whilst there, I joined an


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