Councillors Christine Scipio-O’Dean and Cruyff Buckley returned to the Island on Tuesday 10 January 2017, having attended the 62nd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in London, UK.
Councillor Scipio-O’Dean attended the 62nd CPC as an alternate member of the CPA Executive Committee, in place of Councillor Derek Thomas.
The Parliamentary Conference – attended by Delegates from 180 Parliaments and Legislature in 53 Commonwealth Countries across the Commonwealth – ran for one week, beginning Sunday 11 December to Saturday 17 December 2016.
The theme of the conference was ‘A collaborative Commonwealth: Unity, Diversity & Common Challenges’, and workshops during the conference included:
- There is a role for the Commonwealth in fostering freedom of religion or belief
- The role of the Commonwealth in supporting the outcomes of the COP21 Paris Agreement on Climate Change (Small Branches Topic)
- The role of Parliamentarians in implementing and monitoring policies relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals
- Ending violence against women and girls. The impact of social media and the internet in perpetrating violence
- The radicalisation of young people and how we are dealing with this challenge throughout the Commonwealth
- The media plays a large role in promoting public mistrust of Parliamentarians
Councillor Buckley commented:
“All topics were debated openly and Delegates gave valuable advice to other Legislatures with similar barriers to overcome. It became clear as to how useful these forums can be in the exchange of useful information and experiences.
“I chose to make a presentation at Workshop B – The role of the Commonwealth in supporting the outcomes of the COP21 Paris Agreement on Climate Change – this topic was very rewarding as I engaged in such discussions on Hydro-geological studies and long-term investments into renewable energy.”
Councillor Scipio-O’Dean also attended the CPA Caribbean, Americas & Atlantic Regional ‘Hot Topic’ Forum on the hot topic of the region – ‘Seeking to Increase Women’s Political Participation’.
Councillor Scipio-O’Dean remarked:
“A lecture was given by former Lord Speaker of the UK Parliament’s House of Lords, Rt Hon. Baroness D’Souza CMG PC, who spoke of the Commonwealth’s enduring political values that brings challenges and opportunities for Commonwealth Parliamentarians.”
Councillor Buckley attended the CPA British Isles & Mediterranean Region Meeting (BIMR) while Councillor Scipio O’Dean had the opportunity to attend the 5th Commonwealth Women Parliamentarian Conference.
The main theme of this meeting was ‘Political Violence against Women’, and sessions included:
- Violence and intimidation of Women during Elections
- Parliament’s role in raising awareness of political violence against women, and women’s equal civil & political rights
Commenting on her attendance at these conferences, Councillor Scipio-O’Dean said:
“By attending, I continued to raise St Helena’s profile, develop my performance on parliamentary practices and procedures as well as enhance my skills, knowledge and changes in behaviours and practices.”
Having attended an overseas conference for the first time, Councillor Buckley, added:
“After attending these conferences, I feel really privileged to have participated in these longstanding political forums, which gave a clear insight into Parliaments and Legislatures.
“It is crucial that St Helena continues to be represented on the World stage, as it can only increase our reputation. This proves that we have a part to play internationally, and I feel proud to have represented St Helena Island.”
27 January 2017