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Legislative Skill Building

Helping parliamentary bodies develop key capabilities to increase their effectiveness in a range of legislative functions.

We work with legislatures and parliamentary bodies to bring government closer to citizens, transforming them into more transparent and effective institutions that are representative of and accountable to all their citizens.

The ability to develop budgets, draft legislation, exercise oversight and reconcile new laws with those already on the books are essential to the effective operations of legislative bodies.  Workshops and knowledge sharing in such areas can enhance checks and balances and support for accountable processes in other branches of government. 

We work with members and staff, as well as with parliamentary entities, including committees, to encourage them to hold public hearings to debate legislation and call experts to give expert testimony to inform legislative initiatives.  In workshops, we encourage coalition building among lawmakers to develop support for viable, issue-based legislation.  We help parliaments develop and maintain legislative libraries and research divisions accessible to citizens, as well as improve citizen outreach through parliamentary staff workshops on constituent services, communications initiatives such as periodic web and broadcast programs with legislators, and the development of intern programs, which allow young people to engage with government. 

Fast Facts

Currently, there are 15 unicameral and 18 bicameral parliamentary bodies in the region.  Although democratic systems are now the norm, many of the region’s legislative bodies are just now trying to develop oversight capabilities, employ professional staff to assist lawmakers, develop administrative support services and establish research entities to guide the development of laws. 

Some of Our Successes

In Peru, we supported the development of an oversight committee in the country’s unicameral congress and an in-house legislative research body.  Working with the heads of committees, we helped them develop oversight mechanisms and skills such as auditing practices, budget analysis and tracking spending. 

In Guatemala, we supported new members of congress and committees with workshops on oversight mechanisms, auditing practices, budget analysis and tracking spending. 

In 2014-2015, we formed a team of Latin American legislative experts to assess legislative needs in El Salvador, Honduras and Panama and, where appropriate, helped establish mechanisms complementing best practices in executive oversight. 

With support from the Institute for Representative Government, we brought lawmakers to Washington to exchange information with U.S. counterparts on thematic issues and share best practices every year since 2003.  We have hosted legislators from Peru, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama. 

Since 2008, we have partnered with the U.S. Congress’ House Democracy Partnership and the National Democratic Institute to host parliamentarians in Washington on exchanges that address accountability, transparency, legislative independence and government oversight.  Countries that have benefited from the exchanges include Colombia, Haiti and Peru.

The generous support of individuals and corporations enable IRI staff and volunteers to carry out its mission around the world. With your help, IRI will continue its mission of hope for decades to come.

IRI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax deductible

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