Parliamentary researchers from over 20 Legislatures in the continent are converging in Nairobi on Monday for a week-long conference aimed at promoting evidence-informed approach to decision-making during the legislation, oversight and the budget-making processes.
The Inaugural African Parliamentary Researchers Conference which is billed to bring about a paradigm shift in development of the legislative business is expected to kick off on March 18 through to March 22.
The event which is the first of its kind in Africa is taking place at a time when Parliaments across the globe are embracing the reality that people-centeredness is the rallying approach to formulation, coordination and implementation of policies and legislation.
“World over, it is becoming increasingly obvious that fledging parliamentary democracy requires that national priorities and policies should be publicly debated and the government should be held accountable to the citizens for its decisions,” reads a statement from the conference organizers.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is slated to open the conference as he shares Kenya’s experience having anchored public participation and citizen engagement in the Constitution through Article 118.
Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka will deliver the closing remarks to the conference whose main objective includes deliberating on the place of parliamentary research and its organisational model in African Parliaments while promoting evidence use in decision making in African Parliaments.
“Parliamentary Research Service has been identified as one of the building blocks of an effective Parliament. Legislatures require knowledge and expertise in vast array of technical areas to enable them fulfil their mandate. In line with this, Kenya will be hosting this conference themed, “Realizing the Potential of Parliamentary Research Services in African Parliaments,” the Speaker’s Office noted in a pre-conference statement.
The forum which was spearheaded by the Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Decision Making further seeks to establish an association for the African Legislative Researchers working in African Parliaments.
Key presenters during the forum have been from the Inter-parliamentary Union, the European Parliament, and the National Council for State Legislatures (USA) and from other selected Parliaments across the world.
Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Decision Making Chairman Makali Mulu (Kitui Central) explained that the group was established out of need to have MPs actively involved in championing evidence use in Committees in the two Houses of Parliament.
“It is hoped the forum will help build capacity of members and promote evidence-based policies and legislations in line with the regulations of the Inter Parliamentary Union and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions which the Parliament of Kenya is affiliated to,” the Parliamentary Caucus noted.