Over 20 senior Parliamentarians from jurisdictions across the Commonwealth have met in Malta to discuss sustainable ways of boosting their economies. The CPA programme was hosted by the Parliament of Malta and delivered by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Headquarters Secretariat in partnership with the Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence. It discussed trade opportunities for small states, the development of the tourism sector, education, integration and equality, renewable energy and energy independence, ocean management and climate change and food security.
The CPA programme was the second workshop since the renewed strategic focus that the CPA has put onto its small jurisdictions by formally establishing the CPA Small Branches Network, with the first being a seminar on the effects of climate change on CPA Small Branches hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018.
In Malta, the CPA programme saw the participation of senior Parliamentarians who underwent a thorough selection process to attend, as well as international organisations such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Oxfam and the Small States Network for Economic Development. Participants present in Malta represented the CPA Branches of Alderney, Australian Capital Territory, The Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, Isle of Man, Jersey, Malta, Northern Territory, Perlis, Seychelles, St Helena, St Lucia and Turks and Caicos.
Delegates heard from a wide range of international experts including Professor David Attard from the International Maritime Law Institute, Malta; Vernon Barrett, International Sustainable Development Specialist; Dr Stefano Moncada, Small States specialist from the University of Malta; Gabriella Cassola from the Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence; as well as undertaking a site visit to see a sustainable water plant run by the Malta Water Services Corporation.
The CPA Small Branches Workshop on Sustainable Economic Development was the first delivered under the leadership of the recently elected CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Hon. Niki Rattle, Speaker of the Parliament of the Cook Islands, who embarked on her chairwomanship of the network in November 2019 and said: “I am immensely proud to be the Chairperson of this Network. My goal for the next three years is to carry forward the excellent work of my predecessor, Hon. Angelo Farrugia, Speaker of the Parliament of Malta, but also to ensure that the activities delivered under my Chairwomenship build on each other, so no knowledge or value of an activity gets lost.
It is the aim of our Network to tackle the challenges small Parliaments are facing and to ensure that over time, these challenges diminish. That way, our Parliaments and our democracies will grow from strength to strength and deliver even better results to the people over time. This is my commitment to you. Representing the CPA Pacific Region, I will also bring more of my region’s experiences into this forum, since I believe we have a lot to contribute when it comes to outlining the challenges small Parliaments face and the potential solutions.”
Former CPA Small Branches Chairperson and Speaker of the Parliament of Malta, Hon. Angelo Farrugia, is particularly proud to host this event in his home jurisdiction of Malta and said: “Having been the Small Branches Chairperson for this inspiring Network for the past three years, I am immensely proud to welcome the recently elected Small Branches Chairperson to my own jurisdiction. The idea of a workshop on sustainable economic development arose in early 2019, and I am delighted that this activity now comes to fruition. During my term of office, I focussed on strategy and climate change, and I am pleased to see that this work has been carried forward feeding into this workshop. Also, I believe that my own country, Malta, has a lot to contribute to this topic in terms of economic activity, and I am pleased to see that many local resource persons have shared their knowledge to that effect.”
The Acting CPA Secretary-General, Mr Jarvis Matiya also attended the CPA programme in Malta and met with the Speaker of the Parliament of Malta, Hon. Angelo Farrugia in the margins of the programme to discuss cooperation between the CPA Headquarters and the CPA Malta Branch and the work of CPA Small Branches in empowering small legislatures.
Learn More: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association