Sweden joined the IPU 125 years ago, making it one of the Organization’s longest-standing Members. To mark the occasion, on 30 November the Swedish Parliament organized a seminar on cooperation between national parliaments and the United Nations. Panellists discussed the achievements of this cooperation and current international challenges such as terrorism, human rights and gender equality.
The panel included IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong; Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva Michael Møller; President of the Swedish Red Cross Margareta Wahlström; Swedish MP and President of the IPU Committee on UN Affairs Anti Avsan; and Acting Director, Acting Deputy Head of Department and Head of Security Council Coordination at the UN Policy Department at the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry, Tomas Wiklund. It was moderated by Yves Leterme, Secretary General of International IDEA, with opening remarks by the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Urban Ahlin and Chair of the Swedish IPU-delegation, Krister Örnfjäder.
Speaking at the seminar, Mr. Chungong said that the IPU, among other things, sought to bring the United Nations closer to the people through their elected representatives. “This in turn would help democratize global governance and the international decision-making processes that to this day continue to confound so many people around the world. It would also help mainstream global commitments—and the UN—into the day-to-day work of national parliaments.” He elaborated on how the IPU had achieved this—through its Committee on UN Affairs, the Annual Parliamentary Hearings at the UN, and other specialized meetings aimed at informing major UN processes from a parliamentary perspective; and by engaging parliaments in their countries’ reporting exercises to the UN on issues such as discrimination against women, human rights and sustainable development.
Mr. Chungong encouraged parliaments to work tirelessly to enhance the parliamentary dimension to the UN and help ensure greater transparency and accountability in global governance.