Although parliaments have a crucial role to play in building and sustaining peace, they are often missing from key UN debates and reports, said Mexican MP Laura Rojas, a member of the Bureau and former President of the IPU’s Committee on Peace and International Security. She was speaking at the Dialogue on Strategic Partnerships with the United Nations, as part of the High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the General Assembly on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, which took place from 24 to 26 April 2018 in New York.
If the United Nations is to effectively implement its agenda on sustaining peace, it must include parliaments at both political and operational levels. Not only are parliaments responsible for legislation, oversight and budget, but, as Ms. Rojas said, “they also allow for the ratification of international agreements…and their translation into enforceable national laws”.
Swiss MP Andrea Caroni presented the IPU’s statement to the HLM. The statement emphasized the importance of parliaments in preventing conflict and promoting peace. Conflict and fragility impacted negatively on a country’s development, so it was essential that the root causes of conflict were dealt with before they spiralled out of control.
Mr. Caroni was a rapporteur of the resolution on Sustaining peace as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development, adopted unanimously at the 138th IPU Assembly in March. He explained that the resolution highlighted the ways in which parliaments could play a role in conflict prevention, conflict mediation and post-conflict rebuilding. Mr. Caroni referred to concrete actions such as “preventing the flow of arms in conflict-affected societies and regions, avoiding the use of children in armed conflict or engaging against climate change and its consequences or promoting the participation of women in peace processes”.
The IPU has, over the years, helped parliaments by providing a space for dialogue and exchange of best practices, and by providing technical assistance to strengthen their legislative, oversight and representative capacities.