Although many countries and people have benefited from global trade, work still remains to be done to make sure that these benefits are equally distributed and that no one is left behind. How can parliaments ensure this? To look at how parliaments can contribute to more sustainable trade, the IPU and the European Parliament organized a parliamentary session during the 2017 World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum on 26 September. The session focused on “Making trade fair: The contribution of parliaments”.
News in brief
Yemen’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdel Malik Al-Mikhlafi, visited IPU HQ on 25 September. He met with IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong with whom he discussed the current situation in Yemen. The SG briefed him on the Organization‘s efforts to mobilize more resources for humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people.
The IPU held a seminar for the Parliament of Benin to help strengthen the legislative drafting capacity of parliamentary staff and Members of Parliament. The seminar, attended by about 40 staff, took place on 26 and 27 September 2017. It was followed by an information session for Members of Parliament on 28 September at the National Assembly in Porto-Novo.
Women account for one third of the Members in Tanzania’s National Assembly, making it one of the global leaders in women’s representation. The Tanzania Women’s Parliamentary Group, a women’s parliamentary caucus, is working with the IPU on advancing gender equality through the work of the National Assembly. As part of this partnership, the IPU organized two events in Dodoma in September. The first was a workshop to develop a mentorship programme for women MPs. The second event was a parliamentary seminar on implementing the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide parliaments with a plan of action towards coherent and inclusive development. To foster interregional exchanges between African and Asian parliaments, the IPU and China’s National People’s Congress organized a seminar in Beijing from 5 to 7 September. Participants included parliamentarians from Benin, Cameroon, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Laos and Viet Nam; and experts from research institutes and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
For democracy to be effective, decision-making must be inclusive. Involving young people gives them a sense of ownership of public affairs and strengthens public policy. To galvanize action for youth political participation, the IPU and the Parliament of Nigeria convened the Regional Conference of Young Parliamentarians of Africa, the first of its kind, on 27 and 28 September in Abuja, Nigeria
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is gravely concerned about the continuing violence, intimidation and forced displacement of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Reports of documented widespread cruelty against Rohingya children, women and men and the ensuing massive exodus into neighbouring Bangladesh are very disconcerting. The IPU is particularly worried about the dire conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Marking the 2017 International Day of Democracy (IDD) on 15 September, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is celebrating two important milestones: the 10th anniversary of the IDD and the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Democracy. The IPU has placed this year’s IDD under the banner of “In defence of democracy”.
The IPU provides technical support to parliaments, including on information and communication technology (ICT) projects. Over the last few months, the IPU has worked with the Parliaments of Sri Lanka, Vanuatu and Zambia to set up digital repositories for their respective parliamentary libraries. One of the goals of the projects is to encourage parliamentary staff to transfer their acquired knowledge to other parliaments. As part of this, the Chief Librarian of the Zambia’s National Assembly presented a paper on digital repositories at the 33rd IFLAPARL Pre-Conference.
The IPU condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the military’s interference in the business of the Maldives parliament. The IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong and the IPU President Saber Chowdhury have called for calm and for the Parliament to be allowed to carry out its functions without intimidation.