Minster for Housing and Equality Samantha Sacramento represented the British Islands and Mediterranean region of the CPA at a meeting of small branches of the Commonwealth last week.
The meeting took place at the Maltese Parliament in Valletta and was the first meeting of Small Branches and hosted by the newly appointed Chair Angelo Farrugia, Speaker of the Maltese Parliament who was elected Chair of the Small Branches at the CPC plenary meeting in December 2016.
Minister Sacramento chaired a session looking at the challenges presented to small branches, particularly discussing the similarities and differences between different branches across the regions particularly looking at each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
The meeting, she said, was aimed at supporting the needs of small jurisdictions in the larger CPA structure.
“Gibraltar is of course one of the smallest of the branches, but not the smallest.”
Ms Sacramento believes that a forum such as this is extremely important as it looks at issues that are specific to small jurisdictions and considers avenues of support through development networks and sharing information and best practice.
“My role at the forum was to represent issues that are specific to small branches in the region that we belong to as well as other more generic issues that apply to small branches globally throughout the commonwealth.”
She added, that “in times where we are looking at establishing new relationships beyond Brexit, our established one with the Commonwealth is an obvious partnership that we should endeavour to strengthen at every possible level.”
Top of the agenda and considered priorities common to all were better engagement by parliaments and working together for better environmental policies in the context of climate Small branches are defined as jurisdictions having a population below 500,000.
Of the over 180 branches of the CPA, 43 are classified as small branches. There are unique challenges that are faced by small countries and it was felt that there was a pressing need for small branches throughout the Commonwealth to come together to address common difficulties as well as strengths and share experiences of parliaments.
Recognising the need to strengthen the small branches network within the CPA, it was decided that a Chair be appointed so as to best represent the needs of these jurisdictions at the CPA Executive Committee