IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron and IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong look back at the past year and at upcoming challenges in 2018.
News in brief
The National Assembly of Djibouti and the IPU are running a series of workshops to help parliamentarians and staff draw up a strategic plan. The first workshop took place from 12 to 14 December 2017 and saw MPs carry out self-assessment activities, based on the IPU’s three toolkits on democratic parliaments, gender sensitivity and engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also introduced the staff to the scope, importance and methodology for a strategic plan and how to implement it through the day-to-day work of the National Assembly.
A group of young parliamentarians from Nigeria travelled to Ghana on 27 November to help their counterparts set up a forum of young MPs. This sharing of best practices followed on from the IPU Regional Conference of Young Parliamentarians of Africa, which took place from 27 to 28 September in Abuja. The conference inspired young MPs from Ghana to set up their own forum and they called upon their Nigerian peers for support.
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 IPU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have worked together for over 40 years. This long-standing partnership was reinforced by the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 27 November 2017. At the signing ceremony last week in New York, IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner reaffirmed their commitment to work together for stronger parliaments and for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They stressed the importance of governance which is crucial to achieving the SDGs and is at the heart of democracy.
IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong recently received the Ambassadors of Egypt and Slovakia at the Organization’s Headquarters. Mr. Chungong and Mr. Juraj Podhorský, Ambassador of Slovakia, talked about how IPU and Slovakia could cooperate in furthering the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mr. Alaa Youssef, the new Egyptian Ambassador, and Mr. Chungong discussed cooperation in efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism.
Parliaments play a vital role in ensuring safe and humane migration through the ratification and effective implementation of international treaties. They can also help to change the negative discourse around migration by putting in place and strengthening legislation against xenophobia and racism and by promoting balanced and empirically sound public debate. These were among the conclusions of a conference for parliamentarians on smart and humane migration across the Mediterranean. The conference, co-organized by the IPU with the Parliament of Malta and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), took place in Valletta, Malta, from 16 to 17 November 2017.
The children of today will become the leaders of tomorrow, so it is important to inspire them while they are young. The IPU welcomed a group of children aged 10 and 11 to its Headquarters on 22 November 2017. The children were Year 6 pupils from the International School of Geneva, and the visit was part of their unit of enquiry on peace and conflict.
The IPU actively took part during Geneva Peace Week by co-organizing two events, participating in a conference and a Facebook Live interview. The focus of the Peace Week, held from 6-10 November 2017, was on conflict prevention and effective pathways for implementation.
Participants of the Parliamentary Meeting held during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn called on countries to undertake economy-wide reductions in emissions and strengthen mitigation efforts, given the “alarming gap” between the reductions needed and the national pledges made in Paris. The Parliamentary Meeting took place on 12 November 2017 and was co-organized by the IPU and the Parliaments of Fiji and Germany.