Fostering Political Participation and Representation in Regional Organizations: A Case Study of ParlAmericas
The Organization of American States is a regional organization supporting democracy, peace and security in the American continent. From the late 1990s, it backed the creation of a regional parliamentary association, the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA), to help strengthen dialogue between national parliaments and foster the integration process.
In 2011, the 10th anniversary of FIPA coincided with a name change to ParlAmericas, together with a new communication campaign and strategic plan. Whilst the organization has been proactive in fostering interest in subjects of hemispheric concern (e.g. gender, conflict, migration etc.), it also faces important challenges. Besides expanding its membership base, ParlAmericas also needs to diversify its sources of funding.
This paper analyses the mandates and functions, as well as the strengths of and challenges faced by ParlAmericas, both from an institutional point of view, as well as from the perspective of fostering political participation and representation. It argues that more should be done to evaluate the real impact of this forum, particularly to understand how debates, activities and recommendations issued by ParlAmericas take shape in national parliaments.
List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
The Organization of American States
The Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (ParlAmericas)
Democratic Credentials of ParlAmericas
ParlAmericas: Achievements and Challenges
Conclusions and Issues for Further Research
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