EPD factsheet on Parliamentary strengthening
“Effective parliaments are essential to democracy, the rule of law, human rights, gender equality, and economic and social development”, from the Common Principles for Support to Parliaments, 2016.
ALDA member, the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), as part of their mission, illuminates the research on notion of Parliamentary Strengthening and its real life application.
Free and fair elections are seen as the beacon of democracy, what happens between elections, i.e. elected representatives contributing to the formulation of equitable and sustainable policy, is vital for delivering on the intrinsic values of a democracy.
A strong or “strengthened” parliament plays a crucial role in the context of international development assistance programmes, such as:
- Serving as a platform for dialogue forresolution of conflicts and peacebuilding
- Ensuring a more sustainable governance of natural resources, equitable distribution of revenues and (gender) inclusive sector policies
- As influential opinion leaders, making important contribution to socially difficult questions such as climate change, corruption etc.
However, in many instances, formal increase of parliamentary powers has not translated into better performance in practice. Their inability to the high expectations that come with theory election make them increasingly mistrusted by the public, consequently international partners would shift their attention to other stakeholders leading to a relatively minor investment in parliamentary strengthening.
Calling to parliaments and actors around the world, ‘Common Principles for Support to Parliaments’, drafted and adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union Governing Council in October 2014, suggests the practices which will contribute into more effective cooperation and ultimately better democracy.
The European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) is a non-profit organisation supporting democracy worldwide. It comprises thirteen European civil and political society organisations from eleven EU Member States present in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
Read more about the topic and find further information about the EPD on their website.