Commonwealth agencies team up to enhance the use of ICTs


The two agencies -- the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) -- acknowledge that ICTs are a key tool not only in development but also to promote democracy and empower people. 
While parliamentarians play a crucial role in facilitating the promotion and use of ICTs for development, through policy, legislation and regulation, the very same ICTs open new vistas for citizens to engage in governance.

Primarily, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will facilitate collaboration between the CTO and CPA to build the capacity of parliamentarians in the adoption and use of ICTs for development and for the promotion of democracy.

The MoU also anticipates information exchange, including mutual access to the web environments of each party, sharing publications, participating in and promoting each others’ conferences and holding joint events and capacity-building programmes in the future.

“The Internet and social media have increased and strengthened the channels of communication between various branches of government and the citizens,” says Professor Tim Unwin, CEO of CTO.

“I believe this MoU between two lead Commonwealth agencies, one for legislators and the other for ICTs, will pave the way for utilising ICTs to improve accountability, enhance transparency and strengthen democracy across the Commonwealth and contribute to achieving one of the core Commonwealth missions: empowering people in governance.”

Dr. William F. Shija, secretary-general of CPA added, that “many parliamentarians already use web-based and mobile technologies to help them scrutinize governments and establish interactive dialogues with constituents.  But many more lack full access to the new forms of communications which are today recognised as one of the benchmarks of good governance. 

“All parliamentarians also need the best possible advice on how to regulate this rapidly advancing area and apply it effectively to development issues and deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to democracy. 

“The MoU with CTO will help parliamentarians throughout the Commonwealth to be better representatives of the people.”

About the CTO

With a history dating back to 1901, the CTO is an international development partnership between the Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, businesses and civil society organisations. Through research and studies, advisory and consultancy services, capacity building and training and events on topical issues, the CTO helps to bridge the digital divide and achieve social and economic development, by delivering a range  of unique knowledge-sharing programmes in the use of ICT.
From its headquarters in London and with members based in Europe, the Caribbean, Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, the CTO has been at the centre of continuous and extensive international communications development funding, co-operation and assistance programmes. The CTO’s mission is to promote wealth in developing countries through the more efficient utilisation of ICTs, and its development agenda reflects the priorities set in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

About the CPA

The CPA is an association of 185 Commonwealth parliaments and legislatures. Its mandate is to promote the advancement of parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance among members and officials of parliaments.  It informs the parliamentary community about the Commonwealth’s democratic commitment and furthers co-operation among its parliaments and legislatures.

The CPA’s priorities include the expansion of participation of women in the democratic process and promoting the involvement of young people in representative government. The CPA benchmarks for democratic legislatures are being used around the world to help parliaments assess their procedures and processes to identify areas for reform to improve democratic governance.




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