A conference of Commonwealth MPs and presiding officers of State/provinces opened here on Friday to deliberate on the theme ‘Ensuring a Relevant Commonwealth for the Future’.
More than 800 delegates from 53 countries and 179 branches have confirmed their participation, said Chamal Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker. As many as 60 elected members and officials from India will attend. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, and almost all presiding officers of legislatures, barring Tamil Nadu will attend. Though Puducherry has confirmed participation, the Speaker is expected to arrive only on September 10, the day Lok Sabha Speaker arrives.
The 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference’s main ceremony will be addressed by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on September 11.
This international meeting is a great opportunity for the participating policy makers, diplomats and dignitaries to travel anywhere in the Island and witness and experience firsthand the progress of the post conflict development activities of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has been accorded an increase in the branch delegate's entitlement with eight delegates, one executive committee member, one CWP member, one branch secretary and also one regional secretary.
About 850 delegates including parliamentary officials, observers representing parliaments and legislative assemblies of the Commonwealth nations, states, provinces and territories representing 185 branches of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in 54 Commonwealth countries will converge in Colombo for the summit. Sir Alan Haselhurst, Chairperson of the Executive Committee and member of the UK House of Commons is also expected to address the gathering at the ceremony.
Sri Lanka is hosting the conference for the third time. This will be the most prominent and by far the largest international event to be held in the country since the eradication of the three decade long war against terrorism in 2009. It will also be a showcase event which will not only project Sri Lanka as a safe and secure destination but also highlight its ability to hold international conferences of this magnitude and the availability of infrastructure and required resources.
The conference is scheduled to conclude on 15th September.
Keywords: Colombo Commonwealth meet