During the COVID-19 global health emergency, Parliaments have a vital role to play in supporting national efforts to stem the pandemic and in mobilizing the resources to implement the health measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). They are also key in legislating to mitigate the effects of the ensuing economic crisis and protecting the livelihoods of the populations that they represent.
The IPU has reached out to Speakers of its Member Parliaments encouraging efforts they are taking to contribute to the efforts to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. In the interests of sharing parliamentary practice and facilitating inter-parliamentary communication, the IPU is calling on its Members to communicate what actions they are taking to legislate for the crisis as well as how they are using technology to continue to function in a time of confinement and social distancing. The IPU is collating parliamentary responses to the pandemic here.
The IPU has also called on its Member Parliaments to join WHO’s life-saving campaign on social distancing and hand hygiene using the hashtag #SafeHands. Many parliaments have started amplifying the message through social media and outreach efforts to their populations. For example, the Timor Leste Parliament, in partnership with UNDP, has published a video on basic health hygiene available here as has the UK Parliament at this link.
During a time of crisis such as the current one, some authorities are tempted to bypass democratic practices and parliaments in the name of expediency. The IPU will continue to support parliaments in promoting political dialogue and ensuring the continuity of democratic practices.
See also Parliaments in a time of pandemic.