In response to a longstanding invitation from the President of the National Assembly of Togo, the IPU Secretary General, Mr. Martin Chungong, travelled to Lomé, from 30 September to 3 October, to attend the formal opening of the second ordinary session of the National Assembly in 2017. Mindful of the context marked by the socio-political crisis that Togo has been experiencing since August, the IPU Secretary General requested and held meetings with the different political parties representing the majority and the opposition in order to better understand the causes of the crisis.
News in brief
Fijian parliamentarians took part in a self-assessment of their capacity to contribute effectively to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using for the first time the toolkit designed by the IPU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). A total of 50 participants took part in the exercise, including 36 MPs and two Vice-Ministers, which took place in Suva from 2 to 6 October 2017.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) congratulates the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
“We have heard enough talk, it is time to step up efforts and take strong and bold action now!” With these words in the outcome document, young MPs at the Regional Conference of Young Parliamentarians of Africa declared their determination to increase the number of young people in parliament. IPU research shows that although young people under 30 make up approximately 70 per cent of the African population, they make up less than 1.5 per cent of all MPs. The Regional Conference, was co-organized by the IPU and the Parliament of Nigeria in Abuja, Nigeria, on 27 and 28 September 2017 and was attended by 200 participants from 15 countries.
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”.
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