Conference on Parliamentary Oversight with SANCUS and ParlAmericas

On 20 July, INTER PARES jointly hosted a seminar on parliamentary oversight with the Strengthening Accountability Networks among Civil Society (SANCUS) project of International Transparency, and ParlAmericas. The seminar, titled “Accountability and the Legislature: The role of civil society in parliamentary transparency”, brought together representatives from parliaments, research organisations, and civil society organisations (CSO) to discuss challenges related to parliamentary oversight in the context of Latin America, as well as the importance of engagement and dialogue between CSOs and Parliaments.

The activity was structured around two perspectives: that of parliaments, and that of CSOs. Carolina Delgado, Deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica and of the ParlAmericas Board, and Elena Griglio, Senior Parliamentary Official of the Italian Senate, both representatives from Parliaments, spoke of different initiatives to make parliaments more transparent. They also covered ways in which citizens could participate in decision-making and accountability.

Presentations from members of CSOs were focused on ways of exercising accountability over legislators. Jorge Valladares of Transparency International highlighted deliberative democracy, pre and post-legislative scrutiny, and adopting an Open Parliament Agenda as some of the ways through which civil society can take part in parliamentary oversight and strengthen accountability systems in Latin America.

Indira Ricaurte of Transparencia por Colombia shed light on her chapter’s experiences of legislative monitoring and engagement with parliament. Jorum Duri, Research Coordinator on Horizontal Accountability at Transparency International, presented different parliamentary oversight assessment tools and indicators.

Oversight is one of the key functions that INTER PARES seeks to strengthen through its peer-to-peer partnerships with parliaments, and citizens engagement and civil society is one of the cross-cutting themes that it strengthens through activities such as this seminar.