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Closing Remarks by Hon. Agnes Limbo, Chairperson of the SADC PF Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights and Member of Parliament from Namibia during the High Level Seminar on Peace, Security and Sustainable Development: The role of Parliaments in tackling the Root Causes and Consequences of Violent Extremism and Terrorism held at the Belgian Senate Chamber in Brussels, Belgium on 8 and 9 October 2015

Let me start by thanking AWEPA President Ms Miet Smet for convening this high level seminar where we as Parliamentarians from Africa and Europe have had the opportunity to interface with different partners in tackling challenges on peace, security and sustainable development.

I am sure I am speaking for the majority of you when I say that the robust deliberations we have had from yesterday have exposed us to new knowledge on these very complex issues. The new knowledge has in many ways challenged the assumptions and stereotypes that tend to dominate the discourse on violent extremism and terrorism. This has enabled us to dig deeper in exploring the root causes, consequences and possible responses to the global challenge of violent extremism and terrorism, in particular what we can do as parliamentarians.

As the representatives of the people we must advocate more for more engagement and dialogue oriented solutions to the challenges of violent extremism and terrorism at national, regional and international levels.

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VALIDATION WORKSHOP FOR THE DRAFT BENCHMARKING AND SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOLKIT FOR NATIONAL PARLIAMENTS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA - Press Release

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Windhoek, NAMIBIA: Monday, 18 June 2012-
Members of Parliament from SADC National Parliaments will convene in Windhoek, NAMIBIA from 19 to 20 June 2012, for a SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) Workshop aimed at finalising self-assessment guidelines for the adoption and implementation of Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures in Southern Africa.
The two-day workshop will validate a draft benchmark and self-assessment toolkit for National Parliaments in Southern Africa, which is an implementation tool for benchmarks for democratic Parliaments and will serve to entrench democratic principles and internationally accept governance standards for Parliaments in Southern Africa.
SADC Parliamentary Forum mooted the idea of benchmarks for democratic legislatures across Southern Africa in 2007, to provide a mirror for self-assessment, measuring the performance of SADC Parliaments, strengthening capacity, role and functional independence of Parliaments.
The toolkit is aimed at helping SADC’s Parliaments to assess their strengths and challenges and to identify strategic priorities and include them in their strategic plans for implementation so that they transform to become democratic institutions that are representative, transparent, accessible, and accountable to the citizens.
The toolkit will help advance and enhance parliamentary reforms within Southern Africa and once validated and approved at the 31st Plenary Assembly set for Maputo, Mozambique in July 2012, an implementation process will commence amongst various SADC Parliaments.
The benchmarks are tailor-made for Southern African Parliaments and they therefore self-identify with best practice for democratic legislatures.
The Secretary General of SADC PF, Dr Esau Chiviya, has described the validation of the toolkit as a milestone achievement in Southern Africa’s quest to promote democracy and good governance by strengthening Parliaments as the elected representatives of the people so that they better serve the needs of Southern Africa’s citizens.
Deputy Speaker of the Namibia National Assembly, Hon. Loide Kasingo, who is also the Third Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament will officially open the workshop, which will be attended by the Members of the SADC PF’s Regional Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Gender Equality, the Chairpersons of SADC PF’s other Standing Committees, senior officials from SADC National Parliaments, SADC Parliamentary Forum senior staff and representatives from the global parliamentary body, Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The SADC Parliamentary Forum organised the Workshop in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and International IDEA.
For more information please contact Mr. Sheuneni Kurasha, SADC Parliamentary Forum Programme Manager, Democracy and Governance on +264 814728438 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
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Following an invitation by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) constituted an Election Observation Mission to observe the 26th May 2012 National Assembly Elections in Lesotho. The 22-Member Mission was in the country from 15th to 29th May 2012. It was composed of 10 Members of Parliament, 7 Parliamentary staff from SADC Parliaments and 5 staff from the Forum’s Secretariat. The Mission comprised male and female Members of Parliament from both the ruling and opposition political parties from Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This is the third time that the SADC Parliamentary Forum has observed National Assembly Elections in Lesotho, having previously observed the May 2002 and February 2007 Elections

icon Interim Statement - SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO THE LESOTHO 26TH MAY 20

Strengthening Institutions for Democratic Governance

Under Strengthening Institutions for Democratic Governance Programme SADC-PF seeks to collaborate with and to strengthen other key institutions central to democratic governance. These include constitutional and statutory bodies dealing with elections, human rights, media, gender and anti-corruption. It also works with political parties especially those represented in Parliament and civil society organisations. This is premised on the reality that democratic governance cannot be guaranteed in the absence of strong and vibrant democratic institutions.

The Programme also has other parliament-centric programme interventions in two areas; (i) Peace Building and Conflict Management and, (ii) Anti-Corruption. These two areas focus on the role of Parliamentarians in the context of their role as community leaders and opinion makers. Among the strategic outcomes of these two areas is to make Parliamentarians champions in advocating for peace and conflict resolution and in fighting corruption at all levels of society.

 

The Programme also focuses on facilitating the ratification of SADC as well as continental and international Protocols and other instruments related to democracy and governance, by Member Parliaments in order to accelerate the domestication and implementation of such instruments for the benefit of SADC citizens.

Decentralisation and Citizen Participation

This Programme seeks to help National Parliaments build relations with the electorate and wider society as a way of promoting active citizenship as a way of ensuring transparency and accountability in the governance process. Decentralisation is thus viewed as one of the key strategies to guarantee active citizen participation in the decision-making processes in line with participatory democracy.

 

It gives citizens decision-making powers on matters that affect their lives and in the design and implementation of programmes aimed at benefiting them. For this to happen, Parliamentarians play key role in reforming outdated centralised laws and policies and replace them with laws that facilitate the devolution of powers, decision-making authority and resource allocation to institutions operating at the constituency level where the citizens are located.

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