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Support for Legislative Institutions and Processes

During the second semester of 1998, studies of parliamentary management were conducted, seminars and workshops on legislative techniques were held, and meetings to analyze the modernization of parliaments and democratic governance were organized.

A regional seminar on Parliamentary Management and Civil Society was held on October 30, 1998 in Chile. The seminar was attended by 90 participants including legislators from the chambers of deputies of Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay, Chilean deputies, local authorities, academics, representatives of interested NGOs, UPD delegates, and students.

The UPD and the Inter-American Dialogue worked together on the development of an informal hemispheric network of legislative leaders from the USA, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The network brings together distinguished legislative leaders in order to study how to enhance legislatures’ contributions to foreign affairs-related issues and in order to exchange experiences and opinions.

The first meeting of the Network of Legislative Leaders of the Americas, which was held on November 21-22, 1998, in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, was attended by national legislators from 30 of the Hemisphere’s nations. The issues discussed included the situation of legislatures in the Americas, the role of legislatures in foreign affairs, the problems of international trade, and the international financial crisis and its impact on the region.

A workshop on legislative drafting techniques was held from July 27 to August 24, 1998 in Barbados. The workshop was organized by the UPD in cooperation with Law Department of the University of the West Indies. Its objectives were to strengthen the operational capacities of the legislative drafting offices in the Caribbean member states of the OAS by improving the knowledge and professional skills of technical staff in these offices.

A seminar to present the Computer Program for a Legislative Information Network for Central America and the Dominican Republic (RILCA) was held in San Salvador, El Salvador, on December 3-4, 1998 under the aegis of the joint support program for legislative processes and institutions in the Central American region.

Citizen participation is fundamental to the goal of assisting the return of governmental authority and decision-making to the local level. Therefore, the UPD has been very active in efforts to decentralize decision-making and strengthen local governmental. structures, at the request of member states. With the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Honduras, the UPD works with national and multilateral institutions to bring together mayors, city officials, legislators, and other local leaders to increase attention to local government and citizen participation in the national and Inter-American political agenda.

Some of the seminars and meetings which the UPD conducted or supported in 1999 and in early 2000, included: