The 131st Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly met in Geneva from 12 to 16 October 2014 with over 1,500 participants including 725 parliamentarians from 144 parliaments, with 113 Speakers or Deputy Speakers and 234 women MPs, and welcomed back Madagascar and Guinea bringing total IPU membership to 166 of the world’s parliaments. In an Assembly which saw S H Chowdhury elected as the new IPU President, key issues addressed including gender equity and violence against women, the current Ebola crisis and the threat of terrorism and extremism.
On 15 October, BGIPU co-hosted with civil society organizations Womankind and Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS UK), a lunchtime panel discussion on “Implementing the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security: How parliamentarians can engage.” Drawing on the recently launched UK National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security, participants highlighted the importance of recognising the role women can play in addressing conflict and the differing impacts of violent conflict on women and girls, including the need to address sexual violence in conflict.
The election of a new IPU President will be one of the main highlights of a content-rich 131st Assembly in Geneva on 12-16 October. The new president will take over from Abdelwahad Radi, who ends his three-year mandate at the end of the event. Over 120 IPU Member parliaments involving more than 650 MPs have so far registered to attend the 131st Assembly. Among them, there are more than 75 Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliament, as well as a significant percentage of women and young MPs.