Development Account Projects
Supporting the establishment of a Latin American parliamentary knowledge network
As highlighted in the World e-Parliament Report 2008, issued by the United Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Global Centre for information and communication technology in Parliament, the success of long-established networks such as the National Conference of State Legislatures in the United States and the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation in Europe, underscores the value of these associations for parliamentary development and institutional strengthening and suggests the opportunity to extend the benefits of this type of cooperation to other regions. It also makes clear that, through these networks, parliamentary exchanges on research and legislative documentation of international scope can be more effective and can concretely help to advance the internationally agreed goals.
No formal and structured cooperative mechanism of this kind exists today among the parliamentary assemblies of Latin American countries. This project is therefore designed to support parliamentary administrations in Latin America to establish a Latin America Parliamentary Knowledge Network which will facilitate their structured and coherent cooperation in the areas of management of legislative documentation, parliamentary research, and knowledge and information exchanges.
The project builds on the lessons learned from the recent establishment of the Africa Parliamentary Knowledge Network, agreed upon by 36 parliamentary assemblies of Africa. The process was supported by the DESAand ECA through a project financed by the Development Account.
The project also draws on the experience of the programme Red de Funcionarios de Tecnología de la Información en los Parlamentos de las Américas, jointly developed by the Global Centre for information and communications technology in Parliament and the Inter-American Development Bank, which established a limited network of parliamentary information technology experts in the region.
To support the establishment of a Latin America Parliamentary Knowledge Network to strengthen documentation and knowledge-sharing among parliamentary administrations.
- Increased awareness, collaboration and sharing of best practices in the areas of legislative management, parliamentary research and documentation, and knowledge and information management, based on a Charter agreed upon by Latin American parliamentary assemblies
- Increased skills of staff of parliamentary administrations in the areas of legislative management, parliamentary research and documentation, and knowledge and information management
- Adoption of common guidelines on parliamentary activities and documents
Following a two-day meeting held at the National Assembly of Panama on 15 April 2011 the Secretaries General of fifteen parliaments of Latin America and the Caribbean agreed to establish the Exchange Network of Parliaments of Latin America and the Caribbean (ENPLAC) with a view to strengthen cooperation among the parliamentary administrations of this region.
In 2011 the governance structure and implementation modalities of ENPLAC were established. An Executive Committee composed of five parliaments of the region was created. Correspondents, who are responsible for the effective flow of information between each member parliament and the ENPLAC Secretariat, were appointed by the members of the Network. The Secretariat, headed by an Executive Director, is hosted by the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, which also maintains the Network’s portal (www.ripalc.org).
During 2012 a number of activities were held to consolidate the Network as a key regional mechanism for targeted knowledge transfers, exchange of lessons learned and promotion of collaboration.
ENPLAC was presented at the First Meeting of the Parliamentary Libraries of the South Cone, which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 30 and 31 May. The meeting, organized by the Library of Congress of Argentina, aimed at creating and empowering the connections between the Parliamentary Libraries of the South Cone, so as to promote better communication among neighboring countries. On the first day of the event, ENPLAC’s platform and its interaction tools were presented to the representatives of the parliamentary libraries of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.
At the end of May, Members of the Executive Committee and the Executive Coordinator of ENPLAC participated in the regional workshop that took stock of the impact of the project “Support to ICT Strategic Planning in the Caribbean Parliaments”, funded by the European Union, and implemented by UN/DESA, though the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament. The workshop participants identified ENPLAC’s portal as the online technical platform that would support the work of the Community of practice of ICT Strategic Planners of Caribbean parliaments established through the project.
From 4 to 6 June 2012, ENPLAC co-sponsored the regional workshop “Connected Parliaments - Introduction to Legislative XML”. The event, held at the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil in Brasilia, aimed to increase the understanding of the benefits gained from using XML as a tool for the legislative work. The workshop, directed at the Directors of the IT Departments of the parliaments of the 26 borrowing countries of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), was organized by the IDB, the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil and UN/DESA, through the Global Centre for the ICT in the Parliament.
ENPLAC was highlighted in the World e-Parliament Report 2012, jointly published by the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union in September 2012 (http://www.ictparliament.org/WePReport2012).