26 October 2010
Midrand: Senior parliamentary officials, academics and information and communication technology experts from Africa and beyond met in the First Plenary of the Africa Parliamentary Knowledge Network (APKN), which was jointly hosted by the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. As a broad platform for the promotion of African agenda, an Africa Parliamentary Knowledge Network will develop new responses to today’s challenges and common solutions to regional problems. “It is in this light that the Network will assist the Pan-African Parliament and the African Union in achieving regional and continental integration”, the Secretary of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa Mr Zingile Dingani said.
The APKN Plenary adopted the APKN 2011/2012 Plan of Action. This plan seeks to share knowledge among African parliaments, build the capacity of members of parliaments, managerial and professional staff of African parliaments and develop and implement tools, systems and processes to improve management of African parliaments.
According to this plan, the APKN would share its knowledge through the linking of parliamentary libraries, linking of parliamentary websites and the organization of forums for exchange of ideas and new knowledge among parliamentarians and staff of parliament. Further, the African Parliamentary Knowledge Network would for the next two years impress on individual parliaments, as a matter of urgency, to inculcate the freedom of information, access to information, open access to knowledge, policy development lawmaking and oversight as well as management oversights into its parliamentary processes.
As part of this Plan of Action, the APKN would establish law clinics to provide legal education to legislators, parliamentary staff and other relevant stakeholders, while aiding in the professional development of graduate law students. The clinics shall be directed by partner institutions, in consultation with members of APKN and will teach evidence-based legislation through the use of well known theories and methodologies that have been developed over the years.