The Falkland Islands will be hosting the 43rd British Islands and Mediterranean Region (BIMR) Annual Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) from the 11th to 15th February 2013. This is the second time BIMR holds its annual conference in the Falklands, last time was in February 2004.
The Falkland Islands Branch has been a member of the CPA for many years, and regularly sends delegates to the Annual Plenary and Regional Conferences. The BIMR is made up of branches from Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, CPA UK, St Helena, Cyprus, Malta and the Falkland Islands.
The Regional Conference is hosted on a rotating basis, with this being the second time the Falkland Islands has hosted it. Whilst not all branches are able to attend the meeting, a total of 37 delegates are expected. Representatives from Canada and Anguilla will act as observers. The delegate’s respective branches meet travel costs, with the Falkland Islands responsible for local costs.
The official arrival date for delegates, invited observers and guest speakers is Monday 11th February, with departure on Friday 15th February. However, some delegations have chosen to arrive early, on Saturday 9th, in order to have the opportunity to explore the Falklands further.
The theme of the two-day conference (12th and 13th February) is “Self-Determination and its role in Self Governance and Devolution”. Guest speakers have been invited in order to address three plenary sessions. They are; The RT Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC (**), Professor Michael Keating (*), and Fabian Picardo the Chief Minister of Gibraltar. Their talks will all relate to the conference theme. A question and answer period will follow each speech. Delegates will then break into workshops to discuss elements of the lead speeches before reporting back to the plenary session.
In addition, the BIMR Annual General Meeting will also take place during the week, and Members of the Legislative Assembly will also meet privately with the delegation from UK.
The third full day will be a Falkland Life Tour to Bluff Cove.
There will be a number of evening social events, including a buffet dinner with Members of the Chamber of Commerce and a Gala Dinner with invited guests.
The Opening Ceremony will include performances by children from both the Infant and Junior School and Falkland Islands Community School, under the direction of Shirley Adams-Leach. There will be very limited seating for the public to observe the proceedings of the Opening Ceremony and Plenary sessions, though it is expected that these sessions will be broadcast by the Falkland Islands Radio Service and Falkland Islands Television.
(*) Michael Keating was born in 1950, graduated from the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1971, gained his PhD at Glasgow College of Technology (now Glasgow Caledonian University) in 1975 and received the qualification of Incorporated Linguist (Institute of Linguists) in 1981.
He has a doctorate honoris causa from the Facultés Universitaires Catholiques de Mons (Belgium). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences; He has worked at the University of Essex (1975-6), North Staffordshire Polytechnic (1976-9) and the University of Strathclyde (1979-88). From 1988 until 1999 he was Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario.
From 2000 until 2010 he was Professor of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute, Florence and was head of department between 2004 and 2007. He has held visiting positions at the Institut d'Etudes Politques de Paris; University of Santiago de Compostela; University of the Basque Country; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; the Norwegian Nobel Institute; Nuffield College, Oxford; University of Grenoble; Autonomous University of Barcelona. From 2010 until 2013 he is ESRC Professorial Fellow. He is currently Chair in Scottish Politics at the University of Aberdeen.
Michael Keating's interests include European politics, nationalism, public policy, urban and regional politics and society, and social science methodologies. He is currently working on a large project on Rescaling Europe and on methodological pluralism.
Professor Keating has also been working to improve the interface between academics and practitioners in the field of public policy in Scotland and beyond. He is a co-founder of the Scottish Policy Innovation Forum and, with Richard Rose, directs the Scotland in the World initiative.
He has advised local governments in Scotland and Canada, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament, the European Commission, OECD/SIGMA, OECD, the German Development Cooperation agency, and the Committee of the Regions on a range of issues, including public policy, devolution and federalism and the management of nationality conflicts.
(**) Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Government Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1999-2001; Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department and Government Spokesperson for Law Officers' Department 2001-03; Minister of State and Government Spokesperson for Home Office 2003-07; Government Spokesperson for: Trade and Industry 2004-05, Women's Issues/Equal Agenda; Attorney General and Government Spokesperson for the Law Officers (attending cabinet) 2007-10; Shadow Attorney General 2010-11; Opposition Spokesperson for the Law Officers 2010-11. She is also Alternate UK Government Representative, European Convention since 2002.
Raised to the peerage as Baroness Scotland of Asthal, of Asthal in the County of Oxfordshire 1997.