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.
News in brief
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.
Data from the IPU shows the worrisome lack of representation of young people in parliaments. To commemorate International Youth Day 2017 (12 August), the IPU asked young MPs worldwide to share their views on how to increase youth engagement in politics. We are sharing these views through a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook. Young MPs provide examples of how they have reached out to youth in their communities, and ensured that their concerns and actions are integrated into parliamentary debates. This campaign is part of the IPU’s work in helping to increase the number of young MPs in parliaments worldwide. This year also marks the 20th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy (UDD), adopted by IPU Member Parliaments in September 1997. Young MPs have played a pivotal role in advancing its principles.
The IPU presented a “sneak preview” of the forthcoming Global Parliamentary Report (GPR) on parliamentary oversight to a group of scholars and parliamentarians at a two-day workshop in Wroxton College, United Kingdom. The GPR will be co-published by the IPU and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and presented at the 137th IPU Assembly in October 2017. The IPU also presented its work on strengthening parliaments.