This year CSW welcomed the largest contingent of 1100 NGOs (non-governmental organisations) from all over the world, composing 8600 women. I led a delegation of UK parliamentary delegates including Gavin Shuker MP, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, and Diane Abbott MP for first week sponsored by the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (BGIPU). It is a truly amazing conference on many levels. Especially moving are some of the NGO events where one hears from human rights defenders often under threat on the ground.
More than 700 MPs from 127 countries, including almost 50 Speakers, are now registered to attend the 132nd IPU Assembly in Hanoi, Viet Nam. The Assembly will look at concrete ways parliaments can implement the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) when they are adopted later this year. The Assembly, which takes place on 28 March to 1st April, aims to adopt a declaration on the role of Parliaments in supporting the achievement of the post-2015 SDGs at its conclusion.
BGIPU, in close collaboration with Co-Chairs of the Iran All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), Rt Hon Jack Straw MP and Mr Richard Bacon MP, hosted a parliamentary delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran from 9 to 13 March 2015 in return for a successful visit undertaken by the APPG to Tehran in January 2014. The visit was successful in strengthening inter-parliamentary relations between both countries in support of official government efforts to fully restore bilateral relations.