MPs from Ethiopia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tanzania met to discuss how parliaments can effectively facilitate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a seminar that took place from 10-12 September in Beijing, China.
News in brief
It is with great sadness that we learn that former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has passed away.
Djibouti’s new legislature is making great efforts to become more representative of the country’s people. Elections in February changed the composition of the National Assembly with an intake of 60 per cent of new MPs.
Long-standing efforts since 2013 to send a delegation of MPs to Venezuela have so far failed in the absence of clear authorization and cooperation from the country’s authorities.
MP voices is a new IPU web section in which MPs comment on some of the key issues affecting parliamentary democracy today.
Speakers of South Asian Parliaments agreed to a number of action points including: prioritizing green growth strategies and climate change adaptation; strengthening access to education; and promoting the social inclusion of marginalized, vulnerable groups and differently-abled people. The Speakers of Parliament of Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka met in Colombo from 11-12 July 2018 to discuss progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their region. The focus of the meeting—the third of its kind—was on sustainable, equitable and green economic growth and on creating decent work for all, including young people and persons with disabilities.
With only 12 years to go before the deadline for the 2030 Global Goals, the IPU brought together MPs from North and South at the UN High Level Political Forum in New York from 9 to 18 July 2018. This year’s theme was linked to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on consumption and production patterns. According to the UN, domestic material consumption is increasing worldwide, rising from 1.29 kg per dollar of GDP in 2000 to 1.41 kg in 2015. This level of consumption is not only draining finite resources but also causing environmental degradation and climate change.
The IPU is saddened by the death of Theo-Ben Gurirab in Windhoek last Saturday. Dr. Gurirab was IPU President from 2008 to 2011. He was a world leader who brought great distinction and wisdom to the position. Dr. Gurirab was a prominent politician in Namibia and one of the architects of the country’s independence. As SWAPO’s representative to the United Nations, he was one of the team negotiating for independence. He held several posts in the young country’s government: Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1990 to 2002, Prime Minister from 2002 to 2005, and Speaker of the National Assembly from 2005 to 2015. He also presided over the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Parliaments around the world are increasingly prioritizing human rights and rightly so. Parliaments are uniquely positioned to close the gap between the work of UN human rights mechanisms and implementation at the national level. A recent report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on parliaments’ contributions to the work of the Human Rights Council highlights some good practices to help parliaments better protect and promote human rights.
Last Sunday’s elections in Mexico resulted in gender parity in the Parliament: with almost all the results counted, there are 246 women (48.6%) and 254 men (51.2%) in the Chamber of Deputies and 65 women (50.78%) and 63 men (49.22%) in the Senate. A provisional IPU calculation shows that Mexico has moved up from 9th to 4th place in the world ranking of women in parliament.