Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures in Southern Africa

These Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures in Southern Africa fall within the context of the strategic objective of the SADC Parliamentary Forum relating to Strengthening Institutions for Democratic Governance. .

Recognising Parliament or the legislature as one of critical institutions for democratic governance, indeed the glue that holds together the state and society, the SADC Parliamentary Forum has developed these important minimum standards on the constitutional and legal framework, political imperatives as well as institutional, financial, material and human resources requirements for truly democratic Parliaments

The development of these benchmarks benefitted from financial and technical support from the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Programme for Parliamentary Strengthening, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the European Parliament’s Office for Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy, Africa Capacity Building Foundation and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), among others. The CPA’s Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures (2006), Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Parliament and Democracy in the 21st Century: A Guide to Good Practice (2006) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs’ discussion document: Towards the Development for International Standards for Democratic Legislatures (2007), among other relevant publications, constitutions, laws, standing rules and order of different countries and jurisdictions, provided useful reference material for the development of these potentially seminal standards.

The SADC Parliamentary Forum thanks all the Members of Parliament, parliamentary officials and resource persons who gave their time and input in this important exercise. Lastly, credit goes to Takawira Musavengana and Kimberly Smiddy for conducting the required research and putting together this document.

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The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was established in 1997 in accordance with Article 9 (2) of the SADC Treaty as an autonomous institution of SADC It is a regional inter-parliamentary body composed of Thirteen (14) parliaments representing over 3500 parliamentarians in the SADC region. Read More

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