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EARLIER NEWS News Archives   

  News Archives
    (October 2011 - July 2012)

red cube   New and old human rights abuses come before IPU Human Rights Committee
13 July 2012. New cases on the human rights violations of MPs around the world as well as entrenched on-going ones will be the focus of next week’s meeting of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. The Committee, meeting in Geneva between 20-23 July, will examine and take decisions on next steps on several new cases involving the alleged intimidation, attacks, wrongful and politically motivated arrests or disqualification of MPs that have emerged in recent months. It will also examine on-going public and confidential cases. Among those that are public knowledge include Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, Birgitta Jonsdottir in Iceland and Sam Rainsy in Cambodia. The on-going detention of nearly 20 per cent of Palestinian MPs, the lack of developments in Rwanda as well as some positive news in Burundi will also feature during the four-day meeting. The IPU Committee, which will elect a new president to follow the presidency of Belgian Senator Philippe Mahoux, will revise its working methods in a bid to yield more results on the more than 200 cases it currently deals with. This includes more field visits and the greater involvement of the IPU membership in addressing human rights violations of parliamentarians in their countries.
red cube   Ray of hope for Burundi's victims of gender-based violence
13 July 2012. Wide-ranging consultations are to take place in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, on 18-19 July in the first of several steps that should eventually result in new legislation being adopted to tackle gender-based violence in the East African country. The IPU-Burundian Parliament organized consultations, which will bring together up to 100 people from the Burundian parliament, government ministries, human rights bodies, law enforcers, civil society and media, are part of an IPU gender support programme to the Burundian parliament funded by USAID and Irish Aid. The creation of a law to address gender-based violence has been identified as an urgent priority by Burundian MPs keen to provide greater protection and rights for women in the country, in particular the Association of Women MPs. The consultations will focus on the types of violence, their causes, their scale and their impact as well as on what structures and laws are already in place to deal with the issue. There is little up-to-date information on the scale of the problem in Burundi although one centre in Bujumbura providing support to victims of sexual violence including rape takes in about 110 women and girls each month, more than 68 per cent of them minors. Among them, 17 per cent of the girls are under five years of age. Following the consultations, a committee established to draft a law against gender-based violence will begin its work, using IPU expertise. IPU’s Burundi programme is one of several addressing violence against women that the Organization is working on in African countries. Currently support is being given to developing and adopting legislation in Burkina Faso and Togo with plans to extend the support to other countries at the end of the year.
red cube   Raising the profile of HIV and AIDS in your parliament
Raising the Profile of HIV and AIDS in Your Parliament 13 July 2012. Practical advice for MPs wanting to set up cross-party groups in their parliament to tackle HIV/AIDS has been put together in a new IPU publication, Raising the Profile of HIV and AIDS in Your Parliament. The guidelines will be launched at a parliamentary meeting organized by the IPU on 23 July at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., during the XIXth International AIDS Conference that takes place between 22-27 July. The IPU guidelines will complement the theme of the IPU meeting AIDS in 2012: What will it take to stop the epidemic? with MPs also discussing how HIV science can be translated into policy and practice and how to transform concern over HIV into laws and political leadership. Raising the Profile of HIV and AIDS in Your Parliament currently available in English, also provides advice to civil society organizations on how to best work with MPs on HIV and AIDS.    [ Order the publication ]
red cube   National parliaments urged to strengthen IPU efforts on protecting human rights
29 June 2012. IPU members are being asked to respond to a new survey that will help the Organization to strengthen its efforts in enhancing parliamentary contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights. The survey, available in English, French and Spanish, aims to assess parliaments’ current involvement in national reports to the UN on how human rights are being respected in their respective countries. These reports contribute to the monitoring of individual human rights conventions and also result in country-specific recommendations being made. Among the key contributions parliaments can make on human rights are discussing the draft national report before their governments submit them to the UN and debating and taking action on UN recommendations through legislation and holding governments to account.
red cube   Combating child trafficking and labour
20 June 2012. Parliamentarians from West and Central Africa, as well as representatives of the ECOWAS Commission, countries of the sub-region, international organizations and civil society renewed their commitment to becoming involved in combating child trafficking and labour during a regional seminar organized by Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC-OECD) and the ECOWAS Parliament. At the end of the seminar, participants agreed to consider the ECOWAS and its Parliament as the focal point and clearing house for national parliamentary actions through the implementation of far-reaching strategies. These include the development of a model law with a view to creating a common enabling legal environment within the ECOWAS community against child trafficking and labour; follow-up of the seminar recommendations by ECOWAS parliamentary commissions during their off-site meetings in ECOWAS Member States; the creation of an ECOWAS parliamentary network to combat child trafficking and labour, and the setting-up of a child protection unit within the ECOWAS Commission.    [ More on the subject ]
red cube   Africa Parliamentary Conference on the Millennium Development Goals
31 May 2012. The role of African parliamentarians in accelerating efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the next three years and in the emerging discussions about a post-2015 development agenda took centre stage at a regional conference organized by the United Nations, IPU and other partners in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week. African MPs at the conference recognized they had an important part to play in making a last push forward in achieving current goals before the 2015 deadline. They also made a commitment to working with their governments to ensure parliaments and MPs were at the forefront in shaping the international development agenda after 2015. The conference attracted over 150 participants from national and sub-regional parliaments, civil society, the United Nations system and other stakeholders. Although Africa overall has witnessed tremendous growth in its economy and in some cases a strengthening of democratic principles and processes, it has also suffered serious setbacks on human development due mainly to conflict and natural disasters.
red cube   UN Resolution to Strengthen Parliamentary Involvement on Peace, Human Rights, Democracy and Development
IPU President Radi addressing the UN General Assembly 29 May 2012. A new resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly (GA) has called for greater engagement between the UN, IPU and its membership of national parliaments on key global issues such as peace, democracy, human rights and development. The resolution "Interaction between the UN, national parliaments and the IPU" co-sponsored by 86 countries, builds on previous commitments between the UN and the parliamentary world to make global-decision making more transparent and accountable. Calling for a strategic partnership between the UN and IPU and a new cooperation agreement to reflect this, the resolution included the decision to more closely link the annual parliamentary hearing at the UN to major international processes. It invited more interaction between parliaments and the UN system at the country level on national development and called upon the UN to more systematically use IPU's unique expertise when developing programmes for parliaments in countries emerging from conflict or in transition to democracy. The resolution urged IPU to continue mobilizing efforts on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and for parliaments to contribute to the shaping of the next generation of development goals post 2015. "Every parliamentarian has experience and innovation to share, and each of us has a responsibility in bridging the divide between the UN and parliaments and between parliaments and civilians," UN GA President Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser told UN members. In his address to the GA, IPU President Abdelwahad Radi said "We see the cooperation between the UN and IPU as a two-way relationship" that is mutually beneficial and reinforcing. "We still have a lot of work to do, but we feel we are on the right track to developing a parliamentary dimension to the work of the UN." Several UN member states spoke to support the resolution including Morocco, Uruguay, Indonesia, Egypt, the United States, Mongolia, Mexico, India, Romania, Uganda, Russia, and Iran."    [ Webcast of the General Assembly debate ... ]
red cube   New MPs in DRC Receive IPU Training on Workings of Parliamentary Democracy
16 May 2012. A three-day IPU-UNDP workshop in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this week will help to provide essential training to new MPs in the DRC parliament. More than 80 per cent of MPs elected in late November 2011 have no parliamentary experience. The workshop, part of a long-standing joint IPU-UNDP programme of support to the DRC mainly funded by the British government will tackle issues such as how to draft legislation, parliamentary oversight, parliamentary procedures, political representation and the relationship between the majority and minority groups in parliament.
red cube   Ugandan Parliament's Self-Assessment to Gauge Democratic Performance with IPU Help
16 May 2012. A self-assessment carried out this week by the Ugandan parliament with help from IPU and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) will identify its strength and weaknesses and provide a sound basis for parliamentary reforms before the next elections in 2017. The self-assessment, using the IPU's self-assessment toolkit for parliaments and a gender analysis, will not only evaluate this relatively young Ugandan parliament's own democratic performance but is also intended to lead to concrete action to strengthen parliament. Findings will also contribute to a strategic plan for the parliament currently being worked upon. The four-member IPU team on the assignment include staff from the Australian, Irish and South African parliaments as well as from the Geneva secretariat.
red cube   Over 30 Countries Co-Sponsor Draft Resolution on UN-IPU Collaboration
16 May 2012. Thirty-three countries have co-sponsored a draft resolution initiated by Morocco on ways to better incorporate and strengthen the parliamentary dimension of the work of the UN. The resolution is expected to be adopted during the first-ever General Assembly debate on the interaction between the UN, parliaments and IPU on 29 May. Among the many recommendations are the call to UN country teams to develop a more structured way of working with national parliaments and for the UN system to use the unique experience of IPU and its membership in strengthening parliaments, particularly in countries emerging from conflict.    [ Draft resolution ... ]
red cube   IPU President addressed Special Session of UNCTAD in Doha
IPU President Radi addressing UNCTAD XIII 23 April 2012. IPU President Abdelwahed Radi this week expressed support for a strengthened UNCTAD which could play a more forceful role in global economic governance. "The IPU supports the vital role of UNCTAD as a distinctive knowledge-based UN institution promoting development-led globalization," he said in an address during the high-level segment of the UNCTAD XIII in Doha, Qatar this week. He acknowledged UNCTAD's long-standing receptiveness to parliamentarians as a highly important and large group of political stakeholders that play a critical role in democratic and economic governance. Citing lessons learnt from the Arab Spring, he reiterated that good governance is about achieving sustainable economic, social and institutional development while promoting a healthy balance between the State, civil society and the market economy.    [ Full text of the speech ... ]
red cube   Passing of Domestic Violence Bill in Maldives Big Step Forward
17 April 2012. IPU has welcomed the passing of a domestic violence bill by parliament in the Maldives this week which will for the first time provide legal protection to victims of domestic abuse. Since 2010, IPU had been assisting in the drafting and reviewing of the bill. A government study had found one in three women between 15-49 years of age had suffered domestic abuse. The bill includes powers to investigate abuse, protective orders for victims, punishment for perpetrators violating court orders as well as psychological and rehabilitation assistance for victims and those guilty of committing abuse. The bill, which now has to be signed by President Waheed, received overwhelming cross-party support at a time when the country has been riven by political division. In addition to two IPU missions to Maldives this year to help promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis following a change in political leadership, the Organization is supporting the Maldives parliament on other legislative matters.
red cube   IPU Mission to Libya to Help New Parliament
17 April 2012. IPU will shortly be sending a mission to Libya to help authorities there re-establish a fully functioning parliament. The mission follows a request made to IPU Secretary General Anders B. Johnsson by Libyan Foreign Affairs delegates to the IPU Assembly in Kampala for such assistance. This includes ways of ensuring women's political participation. Elections to a new 200-member parliament are due to take place before the end of June. As in Egypt, where IPU is providing similar assistance, it is likely that very few of those elected will have had parliamentary experience.
red cube   IPU Welcomes Developments in Mali to Restore Democracy
17 April 2012. The swearing-in of the former speaker of the Malian parliament Dioncounda Traore as interim president of the country has been welcomed by IPU. In a statement issued at the conclusion of the 126th Assembly, IPU had called for the military junta that had seized power on 22nd March to honour its intention to relinquish power and effectively restore the Malian Republic's democratic institutions.
red cube   Work to Begin on Fact-Finding Mission to Syria
17 April 2012. With a fragile ceasefire in force in Syria, work will begin on the sending of an IPU fact-finding mission to the Middle Eastern country to help international efforts in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict there. The mission was one of the key outcomes of a resolution passed at the 126th IPU Assembly in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, which ended on 5th April. Discussions between IPU, the Arab League, the UN and Kofi Annan, the joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy on Syria, will work out the modalities of the mission which received full backing from the Syrian parliamentary delegation to Kampala.
red cube   Launch of the first Global Parliamentary Report
2 April 2012. The Global Parliamentary Report was presented to parliamentarians from more than 120 countries at the IPU Assembly in Kampala, Uganda. A joint publication with UNDP, the report investigates the state of relations between parliaments and citizens. It analyses the challenges and parliamentary responses, and provides examples of good practice. As part of the launch, parliamentarians debated ways to modernize parliament and build a new relationship between parliaments and citizens. [ Global Parliamentary Report web pages ]
red cube   IPU delegation in Myanmar discussed relations with and support to the Parliament along with outstanding human rights concerns
Senator Díaz-Caneja at the plenary room of the Parliament 12 March 2012. An IPU delegation comprising Vice-President of the IPU Executive Committee, Senator Angel Alonso Díaz-Caneja (Mexico) and the Secretary General, Anders B. Johnsson, ended a five-day mission to Myanmar last week. Against the backdrop of fast-paced political and democratic reforms in the country, the delegation had a frank discussion with the authorities on a range of issues. The parliamentary authorities expressed their keen interest to rejoin the IPU , which the Parliament left in 1963, and to receive IPU assistance to help build parliamentary capacity. The delegation also discussed progress made in addressing the repeated concerns of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians on the human rights of several members of the parliament elected in 1990. These concerns relate primarily to restrictions on political activity, in particular the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association and movement, and the right to a fair trial. The delegation will report the mission's findings to the IPU Governing Bodies at the 126th IPU Assembly in Kampala (April 2012). The IPU will follow up with a needs-assessment mission to Myanmar immediately after the Assembly in order to devise a comprehensive support programme for the national parliament.
red cube   IPU President conducts mission to United Nations Headquarters in New York
IPU President Abdelwahad Radi and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 2 March 2012. IPU President Abdelwahad Radi and Secretary General Anders Johnsson concluded a series of productive meetings this week at United Nations Headquarters in New York. After opening the parliamentary meeting held in the context of the annual session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the IPU officials met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the growing partnership between the two organizations. As part of this process, they discussed the parliamentary contribution to major global issues and events, including the Rio Conference on Sustainable Development, as well as opportunities for further cooperation in support of democratic institutions in countries emerging from conflict in various parts of the world. Consultations were also held with a number of diplomatic missions and regional groups, with a view to preparing for the forthcoming UN General Assembly debate on Interaction between the United Nations, national parliaments and the IPU.
red cube   IPU mission to Maldives urges all sides to use parliamentary dialogue to end crisis
23 February 2012. An IPU emergency mission to the Maldives which began last week welcomes the agreement on all political sides to resolve the current political crisis in the country through dialogue and to the principle of early elections. However, it urges them to work speedily to put in place conditions conducive to the organization of free and fair elections allowing for open participation. The outcome should reflect the will of the people and allay continuing tensions within the country. The IPU mission reaffirms the important role that the Parliament of Maldives should play in resolving the current conflict in the country. As the pre-eminent forum for dialogue and mediation, the parliament has to be able to continue its work unhindered when it reconvenes on 1 March.    [ Text of the press release ... ]
red cube   IPU Secretary General concludes visit to Egypt
21 February 2012. IPU Secretary General, Anders B. Johnsson, today concluded a brief visit to Egypt where he held talks with Dr. Mohammad Saad Katatni, the Speaker of the newly elected People's Assembly. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr. Essam Elaryan, Secretary General Samy Mahran, and senior officials of parliament also attended the talks. They discussed the challenges facing the Egyptian Parliament and the role of the IPU. The Speaker confirmed his intention to ensure that the People's Assembly assumes an effective role in the organization. He will lead a delegation to the forthcoming IPU Assembly in Kampala. The Speaker welcomed the support provided to the Assembly by the IPU. They agreed to continue and expand this cooperation over the coming months. During his stay in Cairo, the Secretary General also met with the Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyib, who heads Egypt's foremost religious institution. They discussed the al-Azhar Declaration on the Future of Egypt that was adopted last year by senior Azhar scholars and Egyptian intellectuals. Their talks focused on the role of Islam in modern Egypt and its relationship to the State and its governing institutions. They highlighted that the al-Azhar Declaration is founded on moderate Islamic precepts and sets forth basic principles for establishing a modern, constitutional, democratic nation state in Egypt. They agreed to continue the dialogue on Islam and examine how it can relate to IPU's work to promote democracy through parliaments.
red cube   IPU President on a visit to Tunisia
Mr. Abdulwahad Radi and Mr. Mustapha Ben Jaafar 15 February 2012. IPU President Abdulwahad Radi is on an official visit to Tunisia for talks with the newly elected National Constitutional Assembly. He has met with the President of the Assembly, Mr. Mustapha Ben Jaafar, senior members of the Bureau and leaders of the parliament's political groups. He has also held talks with Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem. The talks centered on the challenges facing the Tunisian nation and the Assembly's work to prepare a new Constitution for Tunisia while, at the same time, performing the regular tasks of legislating and holding government to account. The Assembly was elected on 23 October and consists of 217 members, all of whom are new to the task of being a legislator. The President is accompanied by the IPU Secretary General, Anders B. Johnsson, and senior Secretariat staff. They are discussing areas where the IPU can provide technical support to the Assembly. It is expected that the support will focus on the constitution-making process and on the task of building a modern parliament that is in tune with the times and that is sensitive to gender issues. The mission has also met with the Tunisian League for Human Rights to discuss current human rights issues. It will meet with other representatives of Tunisian society and will conclude on Thursday morning with a meeting with the President of the Republic, H.E. Moncef Marzouki.
red cube   Promoting safe motherhood in Uganda
6 February 2012. As part of their joint project to promote parliamentary action on maternal, newborn and child health, the IPU and the Ugandan Parliament recently hosted two constituency meetings in communities with high maternal and child deaths. In Kamuli District, eastern Uganda, close to 1,000 community members, leaders and representatives of development agencies attended the meeting. The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, addressed the event, highlighting practices to promote safe motherhood. At the second event in Rubabo, western Uganda, several members of parliament sensitized over 300 community, district and religious leaders to the importance of family planning to maternal and child health. Organizations participating in both events provided much-needed child, maternal and sexual and reproductive on-site health services at no cost. These included simple vaccinations, baby weighing, vitamin supplementation, safe male circumcision, family planning, pregnancy testing and counselling and screening for HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer. In Kamuli, UNICEF donated 2 motorbike-drawn ambulances to the district.
red cube   New Year Message from the IPU President
IPU President, Mr. Abdelwahad Radi 31 December 2011. In his New Year message, the IPU President, Mr. Abdelwahad Radi, said that for the Inter-Parliamentary Union 2011 was the year when its Strategy for 2012-2017, Better parliaments, stronger democracies, was adopted. It should help Member Parliaments build a more universal, dynamic and effective IPU; one that is able to advance democratic culture, values and institutions through inter-parliamentary cooperation. Thinking of the year to come, President Radi said that lasting solutions would have to be found to a lingering global economic crisis, whose political ramifications are yet to be brought under control. Much remains to be done to make gender equality a daily reality, notably in politics. "The IPU must lend its support to the democratic reconstruction of the countries swept up by the Arab Spring, and play its role of peacemaker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by promoting dialogue between parliamentarians from both sides", he concluded.    [ Full text of the message ... ]
red cube   Parliamentary message to the eighth WTO Ministerial Conference
15 December 2011. "The road to fairer and more equitable international trade will be vastly facilitated with the conclusion of the Doha Round. We call on all Parties to show greater flexibility and make the necessary breakthroughs to enable a successful outcome of the Round", reads the parliamentary message to the WTO Ministerial Conference that starts its work in Geneva today. The message reflects the common viewpoint of parliamentarians, who had taken part in the annual session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, held earlier this year in Geneva. Driven by the synergies of the IPU and the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Conference is an instrument of parliamentary oversight of multilateral trade negotiations carried out under the aegis of the WTO, and as such is its de facto parliamentary dimension.    [ Full text of the message ... ]
red cube   Induction seminar in Burundi
14 December 2011. During an orientation and induction seminar organized by the IPU and the Parliament of Burundi on 12 and 13 December 2011 in Bujumbura, Burundian MPs discussed measures to promote the status of women and gender equality in Burundi. They took stock of progress made, namely: equality was now enshrined in the Constitution; women were guaranteed at least 30 per cent of decision-making positions; free access to health care was provided for mothers and newborns; free education; as well as the removal of discriminatory provisions in the Criminal Code. In spite of those advances, however, discrimination persists, particularly with regard to laws governing family and nationality. Most notably, there are legal loopholes in the areas of violence against women and inheritance, which parliamentarians are urged to address. The participants focused on the empowerment of rural women and hope to influence public opinion so as to create a more favourable environment for women in Burundi by sensitizing both men and women to the need to share family responsibilities and better informing women about their rights. At the end of their discussions, the MPs drew up a plan of action, which they intend to implement with IPU support as part of its project of assistance to the Parliament of Burundi.
red cube   Ugandan Parliament reaffirms commitment to ensuring accountability for women's and children's health
Retreat in Uganda 11 December 2011. On 9 and 10 December, the IPU and the Parliament of Uganda co-hosted a two-day retreat on the role of parliament in promoting the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular MDGs 4 and 5. Close to 100 members of parliament and parliamentary staff from various committees participated in the event. United under the slogan "No woman should die while giving life", the members of parliament adopted a declaration in which they committed themselves to focusing on selected priorities to improve women's and children's health. These include strengthening health governance (strengthening leadership and improving accountability), improving levels and conditions of health workers, enhancing health care services at the local level, and advocating for increased domestic and donor funding for women's and children's health. The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, officiated at the opening ceremony, which was graced by Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Buganda, Nabagereka Sylvia Naginda. The retreat was followed by the signing of an agreement between the National Assembly and the IPU on collaboration and support for MDGs 4 and 5.
red cube   Parliamentary message delivered to the President of COP17/CMP7
8 December 2011. As the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban (COP17/CMP7) draws to a close, Honorary IPU President, Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, met with the Conference Chairperson, Ms. Maite Nkoane-Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. He officially presented her with the text of the outcome document adopted by the Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of COP17/CMP7. Dr. Gurirab underscored the paragraph which states that, pending the establishment of a comprehensive framework, parliamentarians expected all major economies to honour their pledges under the Cancún Agreement, including their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. The Minister undertook to convey the message to all Parties directly involved in COP17/CMP7 negotiations.    [ Text of the parliamentary message ... ]
red cube   Kenyan MPs pledge to prioritize maternal, newborn and child health
Event in Kenya 7 December 2011. Kenyan members of parliament and parliamentary staff participated in a retreat on maternal, newborn and child health on 5 and 6 December. They adopted an outcome statement in which they committed to introducing legislative reforms to improve the health of women and children, advocating for higher national budget allocations for health from the current 6 per cent to the 15 per cent agreed by the government under the Abuja Declaration, fighting corruption and ensuring accountability for results, and guaranteeing better health services delivery through enhanced monitoring, innovation and oversight of government policies and programmes. The retreat was opened by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Farah Maalim. In attendance were resource persons from various organizations, including the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, World Vision and Professor Miriam, a member of the Independent Expert Review Group on Women's and Children's Health. The retreat marked the launch of a joint project between the IPU and the National Assembly of Kenya.
red cube   Parliamentarians consider climate change one of the greatest challenges of our time
6 December 2011. "Climate change continues to present a potentially irreversible threat to humanity and the planet" states the opening paragraph of the outcome document adopted by consensus at the Parliamentary Meeting organized by the IPU and the South African Parliament in Durban, on the occasion of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17/CMP7). Held in parallel with the UN Conference, the Parliamentary Meeting brought together 275 participants from over 40 countries and eight international organizations. Speaking at the inaugural session, Honorary IPU President, Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, said that lawmakers could not afford to sit idly by and wait for government negotiators to reach binding global agreements. He called on parliamentarians to act through legislation and by holding their respective governments to account. As uncertainty lingered on most items discussed at COP17/CMP7, delegates to the Parliamentary Meeting called on the Parties at the Durban Conference to find lasting solutions and agree an equitable, comprehensive and legally binding outcome establishing a fair and effective international framework with the participation of all major economies.    [ More on the subject ... ]
red cube   First national seminar on parliament’s role in overseeing implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) takes place in Cambodia.
6 December 2011. The seminar entitled “Dissemination of the Istanbul Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries and its Translation from Plan to Action” has five main aims: dissemination of the IPoA to all parliamentarians; consideration of the involvement of key national stakeholders, namely: government ministries, international organizations, civil society organizations and development partners, in the implementation process; identification of better strategies to implement the new Programme in line with national development plans; formulation of mechanisms for information-sharing, coordination and support and a system for tracking different stakeholder’s commitments for the IPoA in Cambodia. The seminar will allow for participants to share their experience in promoting development and provide an overview of their action and commitment to achieving the remaining Cambodian MDG goals, other international development plans, and the IPoA. The Fourth United Nations Conference on LDCs adopted the Istanbul Declaration and the Istanbul Programme of Action for the decade 2011-2020 (IPoA). Taking the form of a mutually agreed compact between LDCs and their development partners, the IPoA contains eight priority areas of action, each supported by concrete deliverables and commitments. These eight development priorities include productive capacity, agriculture, food security and rural development, trade, commodities, human and social development, multiple crises and other emerging challenges, mobilizing financial resources for development and capacity- building, and governance at all levels.
red cube   Parliamentary oversight of the security sector: disseminating best practices in ECOWAS member states
2 December 2011. The security sector, as the guarantor of peace and social cohesion, demands of all stakeholders, in particular parliament, heightened vigilance and stronger oversight of the policies and strategies that govern it. West African parliaments, the ECOWAS Parliament and the Parliament of Namibia gathered in Bamako, Mali, for a regional parliamentary workshop organized jointly by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Democratic Centre for the Control of Armed Forces, and the African Security Sector Network, in collaboration with the National Assembly of Mali, on 28 and 29 November 2011. The seminar was an extension of the discussions held at the Regional Seminar in Dakar on Parliamentary oversight in the area of security in West Africa on 21 and 22 September 2010. The Bamako workshop represents the culmination of a thought process initiated over a year ago aimed at identifying ways and means of implementing the general principles and mechanisms of parliamentary oversight of the security sector. At the end of two days of debates on key issues, strategic directions for parliamentary action were draw up.    [ More on the subject ... ]
red cube   Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations
Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations 1 December 2011.Whether it’s in Tahrir Square and the broader Arab region, or just a few blocks away on Wall Street, people around the world are telling us, loud and clear, that they are not satisfied. People want governments and institutions that are transparent and accountable for their decisions.” This is how Hon. Alonso Diaz-Caneja, Vice-President of the IPU Executive Committee opened this year’s Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations. He was joined by H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the UN General Assembly and H.E. Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, who addressed the audience during the opening session. Over the course of two days, members of about 50 parliaments from every region of the world debated the long-standing and timely issue of political accountability for a more peaceful and prosperous world. The issue was discussed from the angles of more effective youth and civil society participation, budget transparency, and the role of the United Nations General Assembly in strengthening global political accountability. The Summary Report of the Parliamentary Hearing, convened as a joint UN-IPU event, will be issued next month and distributed to national parliaments, and circulated as an official document of the UN General Assembly.    [ Speeches and documents of the Hearing ... ]
red cube   World AIDS Day is 1st December
1 December 2011. For more than 20 years World AIDS Day has reminded us that HIV and AIDS are still with us and that much remains to be done to curb the epidemic. Reaching the goal of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths requires far greater access to prevention services and HIV treatment, care and support than is currently available. It also requires measures to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by all, including people living with HIV and communities most vulnerable to the infection. Political leadership is of central importance in this process, and the parliamentary commitment to the struggle is growing, as it must. On this World AIDS Day, the IPU and UNAIDS have sent a special message to parliaments.     [ Text of the message... ]
red cube   Parliamentary Forum at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4)
29 November 2011. Members of parliament and staff who attended the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) in Busan gathered for a Parliamentary Forum organized by the IPU, AWEPA and the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea. The main purpose of the Forum was to formulate a clear parliamentary message to HFL-4. One of the most salient points related to the basic requirement that parliament be recognized as a key State institution, and not merely a “stakeholder” as was previously suggested. In addition to the acquisition of due recognition and respect, the participants agreed that parliament should play a leading role in development, particularly given their unique mandate to examine, scrutinize and oversee executive action. The parliamentarians present in Busan felt strongly that the time had come for them to be included in any post-Busan central coordination structure, and recommended that discussions be pursued on how to better involve parliamentarians in the future Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. The report of the Parliamentary Forum was conveyed to the HLF-4 plenary during the closing session.     [ More on the subject ... ]
red cube   The priorities of the new IPU President, Mr. Abdelwahed Radi
19 October 2011. The IPU elected its new President, Mr. Abdelwahed Radi, Speaker of the Moroccan House of Representatives since 2010, to replace outgoing President Theo-Ben Gurirab of Namibia. Mr. Radi is no newcomer to the speakership, having held this post previously from 1997 to 2007, after which he was appointed Minister of Justice by King Mohamed VI until 4 January 2010. Since March 2011, Mr. Radi has presided over the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean. The new IPU President explains his priorities in an interview given immediately after his election.     [ Watch the interview ... ]
red cube   Bertrand Piccard, inventor of Solar Impulse: "Clean technologies can spur economic growth"
Mr. Bertrand Piccard 16 October 2011. Swiss aeronaut and inventor of the plane Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard addressed MPs of 130 countries at the 125th IPU Assembly in Bern. Parliamentarians have an extremely important role to play in the development of new technologies and the gradual replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energies. If we wait for the situation to change on its own, nothing will happen. Clients are ready to purchase new technologies, but they are not on the market. Manufacturers are willing to produce them but they need clear direction for their investments and a sound legal framework. Who will change the world? It is legislators who will be making laws and establishing the legal framework for saving fossil fuels and developing renewable energies. When we speak to MPs, we speak to people who can make a change in the world", he said in an interview.     [ Read the interview ... ]
red cube   Interview with the Swiss President, Mrs. Micheline Calmy-Rey
16 October 2011. Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey inaugurated the 125th IPU Assembly in Bern, together with UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, IPU President Theo-Ben Gurirab and the Speakers of the two Houses of the Swiss Parliament, Jean-René Germanier (Lower House) and Hansheiri Inderkum (Upper House). The Mayor of Bern, Alexander Tschäppät, and IPU Secretary General Anders B. Johnsson were also present. "In this globalized world, parliaments enjoy a special kind of legitimacy", said the Swiss President in an interview before the inaugural ceremony.     [ Read the interview ... ]
red cube   Work proceeds on anti-violence against women and girls bill in Togo
Participants in the meeting in Togo 6 October 2011. The committee entrusted with drafting a bill on violence against women and girls held its first meeting from 26 to 30 September 2011 with IPU support. For a week, this committee - composed of members of parliament and civil society representatives - drafted the text that will be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and adoption. The bill seeks to provide a comprehensive response to violence against women and girls by including provisions not only on cracking down on perpetrators but also on prevention, protection and assistance to victims. This initiative was prompted by the conclusions of a public consultation on violence against women and girls, organized in May by the Togolese National Assembly and the IPU, during which loopholes in the current legislative framework were identified.    [ More on the subject ... ]
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