The 136th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly chaired by Uganda’s Rebecca Kadaga, ended on Wednesday with the adoption of the Dhaka Declaration calling for urgent international action to save millions of people from famine and drought in parts of Africa and Yemen.
The five-day assembly in Dhaka also took a resolution on the role of parliament in respecting the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of states, promoting enhanced international cooperation on the SDGs, financial inclusion of women in particular.
Presenting the remarks of the African Geo-Political Group to the Assembly, Kadaga thanked the people of Bangladesh for the conducive environment and organization of the 136th Assembly.
She expressed gratitude to the assembly for adopting the emergency item on famine and drought, which she said was prevalent in many African countries, including Uganda.
Kadaga applauded Bangladesh for their role in peacekeeping missions and to the recognition accorded to women. “This country has a female Head of State and Government, a female Speaker, a female Leader of the Opposition, and has for a long time maintained a large contingent of women peacekeepers serving with the Blue Helmets,” she said.
In their Dhaka Communique, the Assembly urged parliamentarians to play their role to bring relief to the millions of people facing starvation and death and and to also put pressure on their governments to fund humanitarian relief operations to avert the crisis. Over 650 Members of Parliament from 132 countries have been meeting in Dhaka from April 1-5, 2017.
“Our parliaments should be more representative, accessible and transparent. We must strengthen international cooperation to improve the quality and quantity of aid to Less Developed Countries, support fair trade practices, and to ensure fairer representation from LDCs in global economic and financial governances,” the communiqué reads in part.
The President of the IPU, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, took pride for the successful organization of the Meeting, which he called a defining moment in the history of Bangladesh.
“We will always remember Dhaka as the city where the IPU Television started its journey. This is the first Assembly, which is also going to be a Green Assembly,” he said.
He lauded the Assembly for pioneering the empowerment of women with new rules to the IPU where one third of Members of the Executive Committee will now be women, and young parliamentarians will have representation in the Executive Board of the IPU.
The Secretary General of the IPU, Martin Chungong, was reappointed for a four-year term to serve at the helm of the organization. Chungong called for an end to extreme inequalities which he said come at a high cost to society, stalling economic progress, undermining the democratic process and social cohesion and increasing the risk of violence.
“To reduce inequalities, efforts are needed at national and international levels, including strengthening legal frameworks, making parliaments more representative, making the economy work for all, strengthening social dialogue and human capital and improving international cooperation”, said Chungong
Osoru addresses IPU Assembly
Mourine Osoru, the president Forum of Young Parliamentarians made her maiden speech to the IPU Governing Council with a call to the world parliamentarians to demonstrate action and ensure youth inclusion in employment and political leadership. Osoru was elected last Sunday to the helm of the parliamentarian’s youth body.
Osoru, also Arua woman district woman member of parliament, said the priority is readdressing inequalities to young people in the political, economic and social spheres.
“We cannot remain passive when young people are constantly deprived of basic rights such as the right to education and health,” she said, adding that “Young women’s empowerment is also fundamental for inclusive societies. We call on you, dear colleagues, to prioritize oversight of government policies and resource allocations in this regard.”
Osoru’s remarks to the IPU Assembly come ahead of a regional meeting in Sri Lanka on the role of young parliamentarians in advancing inclusive and peaceful societies and preventing violent extremism. The meeting is scheduled for 25-26 April 2017.
The meeting aims at building awareness of young people about issues of youth radicalization into violent extremism and identifying action areas to be taken by young MPs.
The meet is jointly organized by the IPU, the Parliament of Sri Lanka and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
This was the biggest international event in the country so far and about 1,350 delegates from different countries and international organizations took part in it.
Uganda’s delegation to the 136th IPU included, Rebecca Kadaga, also leader of the delegation, Latif Ssebaggala (Kawempe North), Raphael Magyezi (Igara County West), Osoru Mourine (Arua), Hon. Mukoda Zabwe Julie (Mayuge), and Francis Mwijukye (Buhweju County).
The next IPU Assembly will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia in October 2017.