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.
News in brief
Malian MPs from across all political parties gathered at an IPU seminar in Bamako, Mali, to discuss gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The seminar, which was co-organized with the Parliament of Mali, took place on 25 and 26 July. The seminar aimed to sensitize Malian MPs to their role in promoting SDGs and gender equality and to help them to identify strategies to better integrate these two issues into public policies and laws.
In September 2016, the UN General Assembly hosted a High-Level Summit during which Member States committed to negotiating a “Global Compact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration”. The IPU is closely following this process, which will conclude with a major conference in September 2018. As part of the negotiating process, the IPU organized a group of 17 MPs from 11 parliaments to participate in two meetings at UN headquarters from 24 to 26 July: a thematic session primarily on the economic aspects of migration, led by governmental representatives, and a multistakeholder hearing designed to allow parliamentarians, civil society representatives, academics and other experts to review the main issues that may be part of the global compact.
Both the President and the Secretary General of the IPU have expressed serious concern about the continuing violence and bloodshed in Venezuela. The situation has further escalated in recent days as Venezuelan President Maduro has decided to go ahead with the vote on 30 July to elect a Constituent Assembly to redraft the country’s Constitution. In the interest of peace, the IPU calls on the authorities to reconsider the 30 July vote.
The IPU has been assisting the National Assembly of Zambia develop a digital library to improve information management and sharing with MPs and the public. As part of this ongoing work, the IPU just completed a technical support mission to Lusaka. During the mission, workshops were held for parliamentary staff to resolve technical issues and enhance the library’s digital interface. The workshops also bolstered the process for submitting documents to the library.
A record number of MPs from 36 parliaments participated in the 2017 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development, from 10 to 19 July, in New York. The HLPF is the platform where governments and other stakeholders, including parliaments can monitor progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, 44 countries presented national progress reports.
Opposition MPs claim to have been subjected to a campaign of intimidation and coercion in the lead-up to a vote of no-confidence against the Speaker of the People’s Majlis. There has been recent legal action against three prominent MPs, including, opposition Jumhooree Party Leader, Qasim Ibrahim, who has been prevented from travelling abroad for medical care and is in a critical condition. In addition, six MPs have reportedly been stripped of their seats by the Elections Commission, a decision with apparently no legal basis. The IPU is deeply worried that these actions are seemingly intended to take away the small majority in Parliament that wanted to dismiss the Speaker in today’s vote of no-confidence, which was thwarted as a result.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) applauds the new agreement between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan to deliver water to drought-stricken Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza. We acknowledge the contributions of all participating governments, including the US, to address this longstanding humanitarian issue.
Fair and democratic societies are built on human rights and the rule of law, and MPs have a vital role in ensuring that these rights are upheld. To raise awareness on the role of Parliament to promote and protect human rights, the Parliament of Myanmar (Hluttaw) and the IPU, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organized an introductory seminar on the role of Parliament to promote and protect human rights. The seminar, held on 5 July in Naypyitaw as part of the Hluttaw Learning Centre’s series of professional development programmes for MPs, was delivered to over 300 parliamentarians and formed the first step of their engagement with human rights issues.
An estimated one million children under five die annually from causes related to undernutrition in the Western and Central African Region (WCAR). MPs from the region met in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 27 to 29 June, to discuss how parliaments could contribute to improving maternal and child nutrition. The regional parliamentary seminar was co-organized by the IPU, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Alive & Thrive with support from the Parliament of Burkina Faso.