The Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana, has urged Commonwealth Parliamentarians to work together to uphold democratic principles and the values of the Commonwealth as he opened the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (66th CPC) for over 500 delegates in Accra, Ghana.
The CPA Vice-Patron and President of Ghana said: “The world is still experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which compelled us to work together to survive. As we exit the doldrums of the pandemic, the world has been hit again with a series of geo-political crises, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the recent coup d’états in some parts of Africa. These crises are a threat to the foundation of our democratic values and institutions, and a clarion call for us to work together to address this new challenge. It is a call on all Parliaments to act.
One of the largest annual gatherings of Commonwealth Parliamentarians, the conference addresses key global issues and solutions on a theme of ‘The Commonwealth Charter 10 years on: Values and Principles for Parliaments to Uphold’. 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the Commonwealth Charter which outlines the principles and values of the Commonwealth.
Delegates to the 66th CPC were welcomed by the CPA President (2022-2023), Rt Hon. Alban Bagbin, MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana who said at the opening ceremony: “On behalf of the Parliament of Ghana, I welcome all Commonwealth Parliamentarians to Accra for the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference which brings together delegates on a single platform to share their experiences and good practices as well as promoting the values of the Commonwealth. This includes a commitment to the highest standards and principles of democratic governance and parliamentary practice.”
Delegates were also welcomed by the CPA Chairperson, Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainer, MP (United Kingdom); the CPA Vice-Chairperson, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, MP, Majority Leader in the Parliament of Ghana; and the Ghanaian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey. The vote of thanks was given by the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MP (Nigeria).
The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg said: “On behalf of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, it is my great pleasure to welcome delegates to the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, in Accra, and thank the CPA Ghana Branch and Parliament of Ghana, and in particular the CPA President and CPA Vice-Chairperson for their generosity in hosting this year’s conference. This conference offers an invaluable opportunity to come together and share best practice in addressing common issues and strengthening Commonwealth values, as the theme on the Commonwealth Charter attests. The values within the Charter, and the vital role the CPA has in sustaining and reinforcing them, are as relevant today as they were when they were originally signed in 2013.
With our coming together on the tenth anniversary of the Commonwealth Charter, it provides us with an opportunity to review the relevance of its values and principles, as well as assessing how the Commonwealth is progressing against these pledges. Commitments to democracy, human rights and good governance are cornerstones of the CPA’s work, and these Charter principles play a part in everything we do as an Association.”
MPs and parliamentary staff will benefit from professional development, supportive learning and the sharing of best practice with colleagues from across the Commonwealth together with the participation of leading international organisations. The conference also explores a wide range of workshop topics from the threat of terrorism to gender quotas in Parliaments, tackling energy poverty and achieving sustainable trade and economic development to youth engagement and e-Parliaments.
The 66th CPC is being attended by Speakers, Presiding Officers and Members of Parliament from across the membership of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). The CPA is the only parliamentary association to bring together national, state, provincial and territorial Legislatures. The CPA’s membership comprises almost 180 Parliaments and Legislatures across the Commonwealth.