Uganda last hosted the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in 1967. 52 years later, it’s privileged to host the same event again, organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). Originally the CPC comprised of Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. However, in 1948, CPC changed its name, a move that saw the coming on board of most Commonwealth countries. The CPC, as a matter of principle is headed by Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of the Commonwealth and the position of Vice-Patron keeps changing depending on the Head of State or Government of the CPA hosting the plenary conference.
This year’s conference theme ‘Adaption, Engagement and Evolution in a rapidly changing Commonwealth’ is one which stands as a stepping stone towards improving service delivery, creating an avenue where members of CPC get to network with legislators for the shared learning experience and building diplomatic relations. What excites me most are the key issues that are expected to be discussed in the conference among which include climate change, youth unemployment, innovations in Parliament and the role of parliaments in facilitating people with disabilities, the challenge of urbanisation, separation of powers and post-legislative issues are also on the cards. I look forward to the conference creating more impact on the youth and Persons with disabilities (PWDs).
The topics set to be discussed in the conference are a true reflection of how priorities, especially for Parliaments, have over the years been metamorphosed. This therefore there avails the different stakeholders an avenue to deliberate and discuss how best to move forward and adapt in the changing times. However, my concern has been and still is, how to implement the resolutions that are agreed during the conference.
Aware that over 1000 Parliamentarians are expected to grace the event and an estimated cost of about Shs20 billion ($5.3 million) is expected to be spent, to me this should result to an economic boost of Ugandans especially those in the private sector who have goods and services to sell. Equally this avails an opportunity for Uganda to showcase its beauty, hospitality and the flora and fauna to the world.
When all is said and done, this conference should be able to create an impact to the ordinary Ugandan economically, socially and politically, involve the private sector to ensure that the conference leaves an impact on the economy and more importantly the tourism sector in Uganda should be sold to the entire world.