Sweden joined the IPU 125 years ago, making it one of the Organization’s longest-standing Members. To mark the occasion, on 30 November the Swedish Parliament organized a seminar on cooperation between national parliaments and the United Nations. Panellists discussed the achievements of this cooperation and current international challenges such as terrorism, human rights and gender equality.
News in brief
The IPU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have worked together for over 40 years. This long-standing partnership was reinforced by the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 27 November 2017. At the signing ceremony last week in New York, IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner reaffirmed their commitment to work together for stronger parliaments and for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They stressed the importance of governance which is crucial to achieving the SDGs and is at the heart of democracy.
IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong recently received the Ambassadors of Egypt and Slovakia at the Organization’s Headquarters. Mr. Chungong and Mr. Juraj Podhorský, Ambassador of Slovakia, talked about how IPU and Slovakia could cooperate in furthering the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mr. Alaa Youssef, the new Egyptian Ambassador, and Mr. Chungong discussed cooperation in efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism.
Parliaments play a vital role in ensuring safe and humane migration through the ratification and effective implementation of international treaties. They can also help to change the negative discourse around migration by putting in place and strengthening legislation against xenophobia and racism and by promoting balanced and empirically sound public debate. These were among the conclusions of a conference for parliamentarians on smart and humane migration across the Mediterranean. The conference, co-organized by the IPU with the Parliament of Malta and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), took place in Valletta, Malta, from 16 to 17 November 2017.
The children of today will become the leaders of tomorrow, so it is important to inspire them while they are young. The IPU welcomed a group of children aged 10 and 11 to its Headquarters on 22 November 2017. The children were Year 6 pupils from the International School of Geneva, and the visit was part of their unit of enquiry on peace and conflict.
The IPU actively took part during Geneva Peace Week by co-organizing two events, participating in a conference and a Facebook Live interview. The focus of the Peace Week, held from 6-10 November 2017, was on conflict prevention and effective pathways for implementation.
Participants of the Parliamentary Meeting held during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn called on countries to undertake economy-wide reductions in emissions and strengthen mitigation efforts, given the “alarming gap” between the reductions needed and the national pledges made in Paris. The Parliamentary Meeting took place on 12 November 2017 and was co-organized by the IPU and the Parliaments of Fiji and Germany.
The new President of the IPU, Gabriela Cuevas Barron, met with Beatrice Fihn, Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Portuguese MP Mr. Duarte Pacheco, Chair of the Twelve Plus geopolitical group, was also at the meeting, which took place on 14 November 2017. They discussed ways of ensuring a more robust engagement by parliaments and MPs in the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Serbian MPs used the self-assessment toolkit produced by the IPU and UNDP to evaluate their capacity to contribute effectively to the implementation of the SDGs. Parliamentary oversight was a major focus of this exercise. The self-assessment exercise, which took place on 3 and 4 November 2017, was attended by members of the cross-party parliamentary Focus Group on the SDGs as well as clerks from four parliamentary committees.
The IPU hails the appointment of four women as members of the Shura Council of Qatar, the country’s Parliament. This is the first time that women will sit on the Shura Council, which is responsible for examining government policy, drafting laws and reviewing the state budget.