Rwanda: Commonwealth Parliamentarians Meet to Reflect on Global Challenges

23 November 2020

A group of Rwandan lawmakers and other Commonwealth parliamentarians are, starting Monday, November 23, expected to come together to reflect on global challenges as well as the changing political landscape taking into account the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Under the theme "Preparing Parliamentarians for a Changing World", the three-day seminar, expected to be held virtually, will among others attract delegates from all commonwealth countries

Organized annually by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK), the Westminster seminar is described as a knowledge-sharing programme, exploring various aspects of parliamentary democracy.

At least 150 Commonwealth parliamentarians will participate with over 30 Commonwealth legislatures expected to attend.

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.

Rt Hon. Lord Paul Boateng, who will lead a session on the final day of the programme said, "It's been an extraordinary and challenging year for parliaments throughout the Commonwealth."

However, he pointed out, "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."

According to the agenda, the seminar will among others unpack important and timely topics such as increasing geopolitical pressures placed on lawmakers and how parliaments can remain effective in a virtual world.

Also to be discussed are issues of national and international security.

Jon Davies, Chief Executive of CPA UK, noted "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."

He added, "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. "

Rwanda will next year, in June, host the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting also known as CHOGM. The meeting was expected to take place this year but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

CHOGM is customarily held every two years and is the Commonwealth's highest consultative and policy-making gathering.

The Commonwealth is a community of 54 independent and equal countries. Representing a third of the world it is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.

Rwanda joined the bloc in 2009, becoming the second member to be admitted into the Commonwealth club of nations without any direct colonial ties to British, after Mozambique.

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