January 2021 Newsletter

Global Partners Governance

 

Content

 


Insight

Study of Parliament Publication

This month our Director Emily Death and former Executive Director Sue Griffiths collaborated on a chapter in the latest publication from the Study of Parliament Group on parliaments and the pandemic.

The chapter, entitled “Overview of International Practice”, examines how parliaments around the world adapted their procedures to Covid-19. It explores the impact of these changes on political culture within parliaments and between the institution and the public.

We are grateful to colleagues at the Majlis al Nuwab in Bahrain for sharing their valuable experiences which contributed to illustrating the chapter.

Don’t forget to read and share our latest blogs!

Our first blog of the year was written by Project Assistant Abdal-Rahman Eltayeb, who went back to his home country of Sudan after two years of absence to coordinate online sessions with the National Committee for Combatting Trafficking (NCCT) and support our work against modern slavery. He describes the transformations his country went through since he last saw it and the impact of the revolution on everyday life in Sudan.

We then received two pieces written on the theme of digital technologies and the pandemic by our Associate Matthew Taylor, who was Director of Operations and Member Services at the UK Parliament for many years. He was also Head of ICT and a board member before he took up the role of Director of Resources within the Digital service until his retirement in 2016.

In his first blog, he examines the role played by new technologies and telecommunications in the functioning of Parliaments.

In a second part, he considers the future and applicability of virtual parliaments. We encourage our readers to contribute to this interactive blog!

Finally, GPG’s Project Coordination Assistant Mia Marty recalls her impressions of a project she recently contributed to: our training course on building male allyship to support Women’s representation in politics.


Iraq

GPG Iraq Team to launch a Guide for Parliaments on Youth Parliamentary Engagement

During December 2020, Iraq’s Council of Ministers approved the 2021 Federal Budget Bill in a meeting led by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. The proposed budget included a 40% salary cut for the President, Prime Minister, and Head of Legislature, as well as a 30% cut for all MPs and Ministers. This budget comes as a result of the devaluation of the Iraqi dinar by 22% by the Central Bank in response to a severe liquidity crisis caused by low oil prices which sparked public anger. On the other hand, the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) has concluded the discussion on the budget by mid-January 2021 and there will be further discussions among different coalitions and committees in addition to which the Finance Committee is scheduled to pass the Federal Budget Bill in the coming phase.

On the topic of the Iraqi CoR, an MP from the Sairoon Alliance stated that all political parties in Parliament agree on early elections to be held this year. Accordingly, Iraq has opened registration for standing in early elections polls. Those are planned to take place in June amid doubts over holding the elections as scheduled. Moreover, demonstrators took to the street as one year has passed since the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis which followed a call by Iraqi leaders for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq. In the same context, the Iraqi Prime Minister stated that only hundreds of US troops would remain in Iraq to provide training, armament, rehabilitation, and technical support to Iraqi forces.

GPG’s Iraq team continues its engagement with local beneficiaries who are ready to resume work and meetings with us across all the Project’s work strands. We are in the process of moving ahead with linking departments with the Council of Representatives Offices. The Health and Environment Committee’s Water Pollution report was included in the agenda of the CoR’s 34th plenary session to be discussed among other draft laws and is yet to be discussed in the coming sessions. Additionally, GPG will meet with the Women Committee to discuss next steps and reach out to women MPs who are interested in attending a Media Skills Development Session. GPG has been working with the Research Department on coming up with a list of potential laws to undergo Post Legislative Scrutiny (PLS). In this context, GPG held the third PLS session with the Research Department staff where they started working on “Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law”. The Training and Development department worked on their own strategic planning and GPG has been requested to provide advice and feedback on the strategic development.

Finally, we are finalising the Guide to Parliaments on Youth Parliamentary Engagement, scheduled to be published by the end of January. Keep an eye out for it!

 


A picture of the Sudanese flag Sudan – Modern Slavery

The team has started the new year following up on the successful November 2020 visit to Khartoum. After the holidays break, together with the  National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking (NCCT), the team is planning for the next few months before the end of the financial year, when this project will end. The main goal is to focus on doing as many sessions as technology, time and capacity will allow, with a particular focus from the NCCT on reporting requirements and how to convey the national and state efforts from the country in the upcoming Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report from the US State Department and supporting their efforts to develop awareness raising campaigns on the dangers of trafficking. This will be heavily affected by recent developments concerning Sudan and the world; from the impact of Covid19 to potential victims of trafficking, the Tigray conflict or the removal of Sudan from the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

The conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia, is having a severe impact in the border with Sudan. Over 50,000 refugees have fled Tigray region, a big number of them having crossed over to Sudan which creates a concerning human rights situation, as well as an escalation of tension between Ethiopia and Sudan. This is only an indication of how dire the situation is, which is causing people to become vulnerable of human rights offenses, including potential threat of becoming involved in trafficking rings. Together with the pandemic, this puts the country of Sudan in an impossible situation to manage the risks and needs of those coming in, where international humanitarian relief is also struggling to reach.


A picture of the Sudanese flag Sudan – TLC

Our project to support the formation of the Transitional Legislative Council (TLC) was renewed by the FCDO. Our team is currently focusing on identifying the key decision-makers in this process and looking to assist them and their work in preparations for the ‘first 100 days of parliament’ in order to support the logistical aspects on parliamentary planning in this crucial period. We are seeking to have discussions with various key groups such as the Forces for Freedom and Change and peace partners to  provide guidance on how to effectively coordinate on the political decisions around the establishment of the TLC. GPG is delighted to continue this important work and to continue its role in achieving a successful democratic transition in Sudan.

We were delighted to hear Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s mention of “the UK’s strong support for Sudan’s irreversible transition to peace and democracy” and recognition of GPG’s work in Sudan to establish a new Parliament.

HMA Irfan Siddiq’s posting as UK Ambassador to Sudan ends this week. You can read more about his reflections on his role as ambassador in this blog he wrote on the FCDO website, Farewell Sudan.


Bahrain

Following very constructive discussions with the Assistant Secretary General of the Bahrain National Assembly, GPG has now kicked-off the implementation phase of its FCDO-funded project in Bahrain.

Our engagement with the Parliament will focus on Youth Political Engagement, responding to the impact of Covid-19 through Information and Communications Technology, and enhancing transparent policymaking by bolstering Community Engagement practices. These priorities stem from the Royal Speech delivered in October 2020 at the opening of the third Session of the fifth Legislative Term, which emphasised Youth Empowerment as a national priority, in addition to the focus on responses to Covid-19 and economic recovery.

GPG activities will cover a range of objectives to support the Bahrain Parliament including inter-institutional relationship building between the lower and upper houses and enhancing the Parliament’s communication with the public. GPG Associates are currently working on strategy documents and planning for activities which are expected to start in late January 2021.


Kuwait

GPG has had a very successful meeting with the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) earlier this month to discuss the implementation plans and priorities of the Kuwait Integrity and Anti-Corruption Strategy (KIACS) for this year. The meeting followed an agreement between the President of Nazaha and Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the State of Kuwait to support the implementation of the KIACS.

Nazaha is in the final stages of drafting its implementation plan and is starting the delivery of several initiatives. GPG will therefore be part of the larger set of partners supporting Nazaha in delivering its strategy with a special focus on themes of integrity in public life. GPG is currently coordinating with different stakeholders to inform its approaches and to contribute to Nazaha’s efforts to tackle corruption in public life.

Global Partners Governance Foundation

A picture of the Lebanese flag Lebanon

Winning with women

Last year, our Women’s political participation project secured additional funding. Following this development, we regained the support of Atalanta and LOST. We began working on an update of our political economy analysis (PEA) paper which explores the challenges and barriers that hinder Women’s political participation in Lebanon, particularly in the post-August-2020 context following the explosion in the Port of Beirut.

Working from the results of the PEA update, we designed activities to build the capacity of women in the Beqaa governorate and three new geographical areas: the municipalities of Tripoli (North governorate), Beirut (Beirut and Mount Lebanon governorate), and Ghazie (South governorate). We aim to contribute to an increase in Women’s participation in upcoming municipal elections.

We will be working to propose capacity building training sessions. Those will be designed to help women candidates be more effective in their work around community projects and to prepare them to the political context of running for office.

The project will soon be re-launched under the name “Winning with Women”.

The training curriculum is scheduled to be finalised by the end of the month, which should allow the training sessions to begin in February at the rate of 2 sessions per week for six weeks. This course will be available for one group of 47 women from the Beqaa governorate, and another group of 15 participants whom GPG is in the process of enrolling.


A picture of the Uzbek flag Uzbekistan

The Uzbekistan team started 2021 with another exciting opportunity to meet with the Oliy Majlis Commission on Human Rights. GPGF organised a another online session for our training programme with the Majlis. The course aims to strengthen the capacity of the newly formed Commission on Follow-Up to and Compliance with International Human Rights Obligations. The session is focusing on ‘Gender sensitive approaches to human rights scrutiny’ and developing a ‘Parliamentary human rights monitoring toolkit’, delivered by our expert associates Meg Munn, Nick Walker, and Sir Paul Silk.

The purpose of the programme is to encourage a discussion around the issues most relevant to the current human rights climate in Uzbekistan and assist the Commission members in developing effective approaches to these challenges.

This conversation on gender was based on how the Commission visualises its role monitoring its commitments to the ‘Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)’ and to the Sustainable Development Goals and, on the other hand, on the integration of gender mainstreaming into every aspect of the commission’s work.

Another focus during the session was on how the Commission visualises its work in the first year and aims to have a positive impact on Uzbekistan’s compliance with its international human rights obligations. To facilitate this dialogue, GPGF presented examples from the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights and explained its functions and approaches as well as a case study of the Georgian Human Rights Committee, which was presented by its former Committee Chair, Dr. Eka Beselia.

We continue to develop our relationships with the Commission to identify additional areas where we can provide support and share experiences that could be integrated into the Commission’s work.