Uganda Hosts Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference

commonwealth speakers

Uganda is hosting the 27th Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference, scheduled for January 3-6, 2024. The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, announced this while participating in the four-day Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers’ Conference in Canberra, Australia, which began on Tuesday, January 3, and is set to conclude on Friday, January 6, 2023, at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort. 

Elected as the Vice Chairperson for the forthcoming Conference, Thomas Tayebwa expressed gratitude for the opportunity to host the event, describing it as a vote of confidence in Uganda. He emphasized the country’s anticipated warm hospitality, stating, “The hospitality that we have as a country is what everyone at the conference is looking forward to experiencing.” and emphasized the country’s eagerness to welcome participants from over 30 Commonwealth nations.

Acknowledging Uganda’s success in winning the bid, Moses Wetangula, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, pledged unwavering support to ensure the 2024 Conference receives a high level of organization. Anthony Rota, the Canadian Speaker of the House of Commons, praised Uganda as a beautiful country and affirmed Canada’s commitment to fostering socio-economic and political ties.

The preparations are led by the Chairperson of the Coordination Committee, Abdu Katuntu, whose role is to plan every detail, from accommodations to the conference agenda. With 40 Speakers and Presiding Officers confirmed from 33 countries, the event promises a diverse and enriching exchange of ideas.

During the summit, delegates participated in workshops and discussions to address key issues related to the roles of Presiding Officers. Topics include the impact of the pandemic, security measures, e-parliaments, and the central role Presiding Officers play in leading innovation.

The Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) brings together more than 120 delegates, including parliamentary staff and observers, from the national parliaments of independent countries within the 32 Commonwealth. It was started in 1969 by Canada’s Speaker of the House of Commons, Lucien Lamoureux. Canada has been assisting CSPOC by providing a secretariat since the beginning. The conference serves to uphold impartiality and fairness among Speakers and Presiding Officers, fostering knowledge and understanding of parliamentary democracy.

CSPOC is its own group and isn’t officially connected to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Secretariat, or the Commonwealth Heads of Government. The conference happens every two years, usually in January, with a full membership meeting. In the in-between year, there’s a gathering of the Standing Committee.

The main goals of the conference are to keep Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments fair and impartial, promote understanding of parliamentary democracy in its different forms, and improve parliamentary institutions. CSPOC works towards these goals in a two-year cycle, bringing leaders together to discuss and develop ways to strengthen democratic practices.

This Conference, marking its first convening in three years due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, aims to strengthen relationships among Commonwealth member states. The themes of the conference address pressing global issues, reflecting the Commonwealth’s commitment to finding collective solutions. From sustainable development to parliamentary practices, the agenda promises to be intellectually stimulating.

Uganda sees this global event as an opportunity to boost foreign exchange and promote its tourism sites, including safari destinations like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls, Kidepo Valley, Kibale, Bwindi Impenetrable, and Lake Mburo National Park.

This also represents a significant opportunity for Uganda to showcase its rich cultural heritage, warm hospitality, and commitment to fostering international collaboration. Uganda stands at the crossroads of history, ready to host leaders who will shape the future course of their nations. These preparations serve as a testament to Uganda’s commitment to diplomacy, dialogue, celebrating diversity, fostering international cooperation, and enduring the spirit of the Commonwealth.