Parliaments, WBI and the CPA

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1 Parliaments, WBI and the CPA The (WBI) has developed a program for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff that aims to support them in fulfilling their role in the governance process. To date more than 6000 MPs and parliamentary staff have attended WBI s seminars, conferences and workshops. The (CPA), with a total membership of around 15,000 Members of Parliament from 53 nations, seeks to advance parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance. The CPA, among other things, organizes conferences, seminars, and study groups aimed primarily at Members of Parliaments and parliamentary officials. Since 2000, CPA and WBI have cooperated in a number of different areas, jointly designing and delivering learning and knowledge sharing programs for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, maximizing the impact of these activities by pooling resources and expertise. 1

2 About the Program In collaboration with CPA, the has developed a series of thirteen learning modules for parliamentary staff, which can be used in self-paced, online, and face-to-face learning platforms. The main objectives of these modules are to improve parliamentary governance and to strengthen the capacity of parliaments to oversee the allocation and use of public funds, reduce poverty, and curb corruption. The series follows a three pronged approach in which the foundation modules fall under the Parliament in Government Systems category and focus the different tiers of legislation systems and on parliamentary executive relations. Modules in the Core Parliamentary Functions category explain the operational functions of parliament, while the Development category explains current issues in international development. The self-paced learning modules have been developed to suit different audiences and time frames so that new learners may apply the program content to meet their personal learning objectives at their own pace. Each module includes an introduction to the topic, module content, relevant research papers and presentations. In addition, they include: supplemental learning material to enhance participant engagement through active learning and trainers notes to guide presenters on techniques for utilizing an interactive and participatory approach to teaching; step-by-step instructions for leading the training sessions; comprehension and thinking further questions; and a list of publications and websites for further reference. 2

3 Modules Parliament in Government Systems Parliamentary Democracy: This module provides parliamentary staff with the tools needed to put democratic principles into effect both in parliament and among constituents. It does this by explaining the principles and practices of the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy in the context of other democratic models of governance. The aim of this module is to foster better knowledge and understanding of the democratic systems of governance available to parliament. Parliament in Governance: The principle responsibility of parliament is to legislate, oversee government actors and represent society in the governance process. This module considers these responsibilities and the pros and cons of the various legislative structures, e.g. parliamentary versus presidential systems. Specifically, it will explain: How parliaments function in legislative, representation and oversight capacities; Various legislative models; Factors influencing legislative practice, eg political, electoral, etc. Strategies for building more effective parliaments. Orientation for New Staff: Parliamentary staff is called upon to perform an increasingly wide range of activities. This module seeks to provide an initial orientation for new parliamentary staff and a "refresher" for officials already in post. It does this by specifically reviewing: The history of the Commonwealth; Parliamentary procedures; The internal networks common in parliamentary structures. 3

4 Core Parliamentary Functions Parliament and the Budget: Effective scrutiny by parliament of the budget process establishes the checks and balances essential for a transparent and accountable government. This module seeks to provide parliamentary staff with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to effectively analyze in the budget and advise MPs on the role of parliament in the budget process. This module will specifically consider: constitutional challenges for some parliaments the audit process for parliament the role of committees in budgeting timing for the budget process budgetary structure Legislation: (In development) Parliament and the Media: This module aims to help parliament, the media, and civil society to work collaboratively toward the development of a better legal and political environment in which the public is provided with the information it requires to make informed democratic choices and decisions. It is particularly concerned with: Citizen rights to freedom of speech (expression, right to information, free press) and its role in politics. The benefits of free speech for democracy Parliament and media relations Self regulation of the media The importance of access to information The legal framework for good governance Cape Town principles 4

5 Parliamentary Ethics: Over past decades, as a result of recurrent corruption scandals voters have increasingly developed a cynical attitude towards politicians. The purpose of this module is to provide parliamentary staff with a thorough understanding of the origins, structures and purpose of legislative ethics regimes. This module guides learners to a comprehensive understanding of the codes of conduct and codes of ethics and explains the differing circumstances in which each are most successful. Specifically, this module covers: Ethics regimes and codes of conduct Ethics committees and disclosure rules Legal dispositions Ethics rules Misconduct Sanctioning Representation: (in development) Parliamentary Committees: Because the depth and breadth of work in a legislature cannot be conducted in plenary sessions, detailed work is usually processed through parliamentary committees. This module aims to describe the various functions and needs of committees as well as the technical means for organizing the hierarchy and operational structure of a committee. 5

6 Parliament and Development Parliaments as Peacebuilders Parliament in Conflict Affected Countries: Parliaments are coming to the fore as uniquely designed institutions to address contentious issues and relationships in conflict-affected societies. The role of parliament becomes even more acute when considering the contribution parliaments make to poverty reduction and the correlation between conflict and poverty. As conflict often arises from exclusion from the policy process, and poor governance is related to poverty, it becomes evident that parliament, as a multi-party representative institution has a key role to play in the nexus between conflict and poverty reduction. This module considers: The role of a representative parliament in reducing conflict Advancing parliament s legislative function in conflict Social accountability Curbing Corruption: Corruption is a barrier to the enhancement of stronger democratic institutions and successful implementation of poverty reduction and sustainable development programs. This module provides parliamentary staff with the tools to effectively participate in the anticorruption process, and teaches the skills needed to see and analyze corruption in order to make (the fight a success/that possible). Learners will consider, specifically: The classifications, levels and situations for corruption The poverty, social, cultural and environmental costs of corruption The causes of corruption The institutional and cultural responses to corruption 6

7 Parliament and Gender: The objective of this module is to contribute towards the increased inclusion of women in decision-making by raising the awareness of parliamentary staff on gender issues and how the interests of women and men can explicitly be factored into social and economic policies. Introduction to International Organizations: (in development) Human Rights: The Human Rights module aims to illustrate practical ways for lawmakers to fight for the implementation of human rights standards for all. This module exposes parliamentary staff to the tools needed to assist parliamentarians in their effort to promote, protect, and realize these rights through international and common national methods. This module specifically helps learners to: understand the principles of human rights; understand the role of human rights in development; Know the international human rights standards, Comprehend the role of parliamentarians in securing these rights. 7

8 For more information please see: 8

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