Marking International Day of Democracy on 15 September, the IPU is urging bold action and changes in mindset if disillusioned and alienated youth the world over are to be engaged in political decision-making. Young people between 15-25 years of age represent 20 per cent of the global population but parliamentarians below 30 years of age accounted for less than two per cent of MPs. For those aged between 20-40 years, the figure increases to just 12 per cent.
Women Speakers of Parliament from 16 countries, including the UK's Lord Speaker, Baroness D'Souza, have called for urgent action and commitment to ending violence against women and girls in conflict situations as they ended a two-day meeting in Geneva. Highlighting deep concern over recent developments, Women Speakers said they were appalled by the “vicious crimes being perpetrated against women and girls” in a Declaration issued at the 9th Meeting of Women Speakers of Parliament organized by IPU.
While Ukraine’s troubles have captured world attention, another of Russia’s neighbours which suffered two annexations only six years ago – Georgia – has almost escaped notice. Every UK visitor to Georgia, however, is reminded of that country’s long-standing application to join not only the EU but NATO. Georgia has lost 29 soldiers in Afghanistan where it has made the largest human contribution to ISAF of any non-NATO country.