Strengthening Central American and Caribbean parliaments and regional parliamentary organizations


National parliaments in Latin America are finding ways to enhance legislative and managerial competencies for the benefit of the peoples of the region.

  • Executing agency: UN/DESA Division for Public Economics and Public Administration
  • Senior advisor: Mr. Marco Suazo
  • Start date: 1 July 1998
  • Partners: Central American Parliaments
  • Total budget: USD 409,999

In May 1996, with resolution 50/225 on public administration and development, the 50th Resumed Session of the General Assembly gave the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), through its Division of Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA), the mandate to carry out activities and programmes to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in strengthening key government institutions, such as parliaments and legislative institutions.

In December 1996, DESA/DPEPA was invited by countries of the region to provide technical assistance for the formulation of technical co-operation programme aiming at establishing the conditions for strengthening Central American Parliaments through capacity building. On 26 May 1998, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between DESA and PARLATINO to formalise the co-operation modalities between the two organisations. The Central American Parliament also express its desire to formalise an agreement with DESA.

The Division of Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA) works to strengthen public institutions and provide advisory services for capacity building in the public sector, including civil service reform, policy development, human resources development and performance improvement. In this context of co-operation, DPEPA can provide technical assistance and advisory services on issues such as:

1/ The reinforcement of National Parliaments in Central and Latin American, through sub-regional institutions like PARLACEN and PARLATINO, enhancing their legislative and managerial competencies, including working methods, legislative processes, information technologies, administrative management, and inter-parliamentary relations.

2/ Capacity building to meet specific needs of Latin-American Parliaments, through training, workshops and seminars. For example: "Los Parlamentos de Centro América y la República Dominicana ante el ano 2000" workshop held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 13-14 May 1999.

Within the framework of the Parliamentary Capacity Building Programme for Central America and the Dominican Republic with the contribution of the Italian Government, the Division of Public Economics and Public Administration organized a meeting with the representatives of the Italian Parliament and representatives of the Central American delegations to the United Nations, who attended the General Debate of the 54th General Assembly of the United Nations. The Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) was represented by its Secretary General.

Objectives of the follow-up Programme: In the view of the consultations undertaken by DESA/DPEPA during the preparation of the regional workshop, and in light of the preliminary findings from the needs assessment, it is foreseeable that the programme will pursue the following objectives:

1/ Institutional Enhancement: This include: improving the quality of the representation of the Parliament and related bodies; technical strengthening of the electoral processes; reforming norms regulating the political parties and their internal electoral process…

2/ Operational Strengthening of Parliaments: This include: strengthening legislative processes, consensus building processes, and negotiation capacity; enhancing the relationship among executive, judicial and legislative branches; developing information technologies (IT) and technical capacity for communication; reinforcing all other operational aspects of parliaments, including public relations.

3/ Strengthening the mechanisms for an accountable, and transparent and effective legislative budget process.

In the framework of the ongoing Parliamentary Capacity Building Program of the Division for Public Economics and Public Administration for Central America and the Caribbean, developed under the auspices of the Italian cooperation for development, the Under Secretary General for Economics and Social Affaires Mr. Nitin Desai on behalf of the Central American Parliament honored Ambassador Francesco Paolo Fulci of Italy in recognition for his support and the effort made as Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, in a farewell ceremony held on January 28, 2000.

During the ceremony a warm welcome was also given by Mr. Desai and the Central American Ambassadors to the United Nations to H.E. Sergio Vento new Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN. During. a brief speech Ambassador Fulci expressed his recognition and appreciation for the support received during he’s tenure to the representatives of the region as well as to the United Nations authorities.

The Central American Parliament and the Division for Public Economics and Public Administration signed in October 1999 a "Convenio de Colaboracion" aimed at working jointly in support of PARLACEN this cooperation will continue with a Capacity Building Study Tour in Rome in cooperation with the Italian Parliament.

Below are some pictures of the ceremony in honor of ambassadors Fulci, and Vento with the participation of the Under Secretary Desai, Mr. Guido Bertucci, and high representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires of Italy Mr. Franco Giordano and Mrs. Marina Vaccari as well as representatives of the Permanent mission of Italy to the United Nation Mr. Pier Benedetto Francese, Mr. Giovanni Brauzzi. and Mr. Fabio Casese.

The Central American Countries were represented by H.E. Ambassadors Permanent Representatives to the United Nations: Mr. Bernd Niehaus of Costa Rica, Cristina Aguier of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Jose Roberto Salazar of El Salvador and Mr.Alfonso Ortega Urbina. of Nicaragua, and the Ambassadors Deputies Permanent Representatives of Honduras Mrs. Espinoza and Panama Mrs. Moss.

The ceremony was hosted and organized jointly by Mr. Francesco M Talo counselor of the Permanent Mission of Italy and Marco A Suazo advisor of behalf of DESA.