Members of Parliament (MPs) from across the world will seek to address the critical question of how to rejuvenate democracy at a time of falling public confidence in the institutions of democracy when they meet at a global conference in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, later this week.
Low levels of trust and disenchantment, particularly among young people, are in contrast to a growing aspiration among people globally to be governed democratically.
The MPs, attending the 134th IPU Assembly (19-23 March) hosted by the Zambian Parliament, will aim to identify ways to reverse low voter turnouts and a waning youth interest in formal politics - a critical step towards safeguarding and strengthening democracy in all cultures. It will also be an opportunity to explore innovative ideas that enhance and modernize democratic culture, institutions and practice.
“Our collective ability to meet the unprecedented challenges we all face today has a greater chance of success if democracy is more deeply rooted in our beliefs and practice,” says IPU President Saber Chowdhury. “We as parliamentarians must ensure that we breathe new life into politics and parliaments, with young people at the heart of that process.”
The Assembly will take place on the heels of IPU’s third Global Conference of Young MPs, which has a specific focus on the role of youth in delivering on the new generation of development goals agreed by world leaders in 2015.
More than 650 MPs from around the world, including 82 Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliament, are taking part in the Assembly, including for the first time ever, the Speaker of China’s National People’s Congress.
The Assembly will adopt resolutions on boosting global cooperation to combat terrorism and protecting the world’s cultural heritage. IPU Members will also explore options for promoting environmentally sustainable, and open and accountable parliaments as well as preventing child and forced marriage.
IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians will hold an estimated 10 hearings with authorities and MPs from various countries. It will also examine cases involving the abuses of the human rights of 123 MPs from 13 countries. Decisions on some of the cases will be adopted by the IPU membership.
The IPU Meeting of Women Parliamentarians and Forum of Young Parliamentarians will also hold their twice-yearly meeting as part of the Organization’s ongoing work to empower women and young MPs and strengthen their input into global decision-making.
An initiative on the potential of using science and technology for peace will be among a range of innovative ideas to be examined by IPU’s Committee on Middle East Questions, which was set up to foster peace through dialogue in the region.
IPU Assemblies, held twice a year, bring together MPs from the Organization’s Member Parliaments to define policy on key international issues. The membership currently stands at 167.
Watch the 134th Assembly live at www.ipu.org from 20-23 March.
Follow or take part in discussions on Twitter using #IPU134.
Photos of the event will be made available on Flickr.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.