The 63rd Commonwealth ParliamentaryConference (CPC) and General Assembly, whose theme was ‘Continuing to enhance the high standards of performance of Parliamentarians’, was hosted by the CPA Bangladesh Branchin Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 1st to 8th November, 2017. The CPA Zambia Branch was represented at the conference and General Assembly by the First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, Honorable Catherine Namugala, MP, Mr LazarousChungu Bwalya, MP, CPA Regional Representative for Central Africa, Ms Elizabeth Phiri, MP, Vice-President II of the CPA Zambia Branch Executive Committee, Mr Machila Jamba, MP, CPA Zambia Branch Executive Committee Member V and Dr MwilolaImakando, MP.
The CPA exists to develop, promote and support Commonwealth Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and to implement the enduring values of the Commonwealth.
The conference was officially opened on Sunday 5th November, 2017, by H.E. Sheikh Hasina, MP, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.  The Official Opening ceremony was characterized by a hive of activities that included performances and video clips that showcased the culture and political history of Bangladesh, the values of the Commonwealth and the activities of the CPA.
In officially opening the conference, the Prime Minister urged Commonwealth Parliamentarians to uphold democratic principles. She further informed  them  that, as the people’s representatives the first and foremost obligation of Parliamentarians was to preserve and maintain the faith of the people in democracy and Parliamentary institutions She encouraged all participants to use the opportunity accorded to them by the conference for the benefit of the Commonwealth and their respective branches.
The CPA President and Chairperson of the CPA International Executive Committee, Hon. Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh, said the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) provides a forum for change-makers from around the world to come together to discuss solutions to the global challenges that we face. The diverse nature of the membership provides the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association with a unique position within the parliamentary community to offer a comprehensive perspective on how to strengthen parliamentary democracy Commonwealth-wide and discuss new and innovative approaches on how to do so.
The CPA President further read to delegates the goodwill message for the 63rd CPC from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the CPA and Head of the Commonwealth.
The Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Akbar Khan, welcomed delegates to the conference and informed them that the CPC was a forumfor strengthening networks and nurturing shared Commonwealth democratic values. He stated that the fact that the CPA embodied diversity yet shared values of democracy, rule of law and human rights, only served to strengthen and deepen its unity. He added that the need for the CPA to continue to strengthen its core programmatic work and to translate the practical benefits of democratic governance to the peoples of the Commonwealth had never been greater.
The Commonwealth Secretary General, Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC, in a video message to delegates, stated that a sharedunderstanding of democratic values, with honest and accountable administration, and respect for the separation of powers, were fundamental to the Commonwealth approach to development. She added that the CPC and the work of the CPA were fine examples of how forums and mechanisms for exchange of ideas and expertise enabled us leverage the advantages our shared inheritances offered.
The vote of thanks on behalf of Members of Parliament was given by Hon. Vicki Dunne, MLA, CPA Treasurer and Deputy Speaker of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly.
The 63rd CPC was preceded by meetings of sub-committees and the Executive Committee and the Small Branches Conference. Regional Group meetings were also held during the conference to accord the different regions discuss of relevance to their regions. The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians also held a Business Meeting. The conference comprised several workshops which considered a wide range of topics that included, inter alia; what factors fuel the rise of different kinds of nationalism; the role of Parliament in addressing the challenges of democracy; the role of trade in building stronger ties within the Commonwealth; Climate Change in the Commonwealth context; giving a voice to the youth of the Commonwealth and how Parliametarians can consider the SDGs with a gender lens.,
During the conference, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Hon. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP briefed delegates on the Rohingya refugee crisis in which over 1 million Rohingya refugees had fled Myanmar and sought refuge in Bangladesh..
During the General Assembly, delegates elected Hon Emilia MonjowaLufaka, Deputy Speaker of the Cameroon National Assembly as Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee. The General Assembly also called for urgent action to be taken to help resolve the humanitarian crisis affecting the Rohingya