Domestication and Institutionalisation of Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures in Southern Africa
In view of the growing global trend of standards-based approaches in parliamentary development, through this Programme, SADC Parliamentary Forum aims to strengthen the capacity of National Parliaments so that they become independent, transparent, accountable, responsive, beacons of good governance, masters in exercising the executive oversight function, true and genuine representatives of the people, and effective in resolving conflicts and disputes through peaceful mechanisms. Accordingly, Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures in Southern Africa were developed from 2007 and adopted by the Plenary Assembly in December 2010 as a self-assessment/ benchmarking tool and a strategic planning guide which helps Parliaments to identify and address some of their weaknesses in the context of Parliamentary reforms. An accompanying Parliament Self-Assessment and Benchmarking Toolkit has also been developed to facilitate the adoption and institutionalisation of the benchmarks by National Parliaments.
Through the domestication and institutionalisation of benchmarks for democratic legislatures, Parliaments in the SADC Region must become more vibrant, more open and accessible to the public and the media and responsive to the needs and expectations of the public. This must result in increased public confidence and trust in Parliaments as central institutions of democratic governance.