In the last 30 years, parliamentary democracy has enjoyed a huge expansion, replacing military dictatorships, one-party states and autocratic governments in many parts of the world. However, institutions take time to develop and progress is uneven.
The development community has placed much emphasis aid effectiveness in recent years. In terms of delivery, a strong executive can seem attractive to aid donor partners. This does not always do justice to the need for local ownership and voice. Parliamentarians know their constituency needs and these local views are by no means always reflected in national development plans or poverty reduction strategies.
Parliamentary strengthening programmes have often fought shy of supporting political parties. But without an effective opposition and parliamentary oversight, can the institution of parliament develop effectively?
The conference addressed all this and more.