Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy

A person speaking at a podium at a CP4D conference

Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy

Advancing inclusive and accountable democracies in the Commonwealth 2018-2020

Over the two years of the UK’s term as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, WFD led the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D). Between 2018 and 2020, CP4D worked with parliaments in 15 Commonwealth member states across Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia to increase the representation of women, young people, people with disabilities and the LGBT + community, and to improve how they monitor the executive.

Parliaments and local governments are essential for effective, inclusive democratic governance and the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D) contributed to making this a reality by:

  • Improving inclusion by engaging more women, young people, persons living with disabilities, religious minorities and the LGBT+ community in the democratic process;
  • Increasing accountability through more effective and transparent parliamentary practices.

In total, CP4D engaged 30 legislatures from each of the Commonwealth regions. The programme supported changes in policy, increased capacity, and formalized mechanisms for increased coordination between civil society and duty bearers. Results were achieved at the country, regional and Commonwealth-wide programming levels. Find out more about the results on this page.

The programme was implemented in partnership with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch (CPA-UK) and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF).

Country-level change

Country-level programming focusing on inclusion of underrepresented groups was carried out in The Gambia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. Key results included policy and procedural changes, the introduction and enactment of legislation, as well as the introduction of external policy. Notable examples of changes achieved in CP4D programme countries include:

  • In Mozambique, Mércia Viriato Licá, a 23-year-old woman with a disability, was elected to the Mozambican Parliament.
  • In India, 500 women who were reached by CP4D programming committed to running in the upcoming local elections.
  • In Uganda, the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Youth Affairs (UPFYA) drafted the National Graduate Scheme Bill (2018) and presented it on the floor of Parliament with overwhelming support.
  • In Kenya, two new disability bills were passed, and one previously passed bill was operationalized.

Regional-level change

CP4D delivered five regional conferences. Conference topics included women’s political participation and leadershipyouth political participation and leadership and LGBT+ inclusion. CP4D conferences also included CPA-UK led regional Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees (CAPAC) workshops with legislatures from 30 countries across all four of the Commonwealth regions – including the Caribbean and the Pacific regions – to promote best practices and effective scrutiny of public expenditure. 

Programming at the country-level also resulted in regional momentum and programming coherence. For example, networking and sharing among youth chapters across East Africa empowered youth to elevate their voices in local political discourse.

Commonwealth-wide change

Twelve Parliaments completed a facilitated self-assessment utilizing the updated CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures. The updated Benchmarks were significantly stronger on gender equality, in particular. The feedback from assessments enabled advocates to persuade parliamentary colleagues and authorities to be more open to tracking and acting on barriers to gender equality.

A number of legislatures outside the CP4D programme are currently undertaking or scheduling a self-review based on the benchmarks. There has also been interest from other leading international organisations to use the benchmarks as a foundation to develop a set of global benchmarks for all parliaments.

15 Commonwealth Parliaments

engaged in advocacy activities

500 Indian women

committed to running in upcoming elections


96 percent of implementing partners

believe that CP4D outcomes will be sustained

scales of justice

3 disability bills

passed in Kenyan counties