Through its programme of activities, the BGIPU seeks to engage Parliamentarians in key global issues and works to expand awareness and understanding of foreign relations and the contribution to be made by the UK Parliament to consolidate parliamentary democracy worldwide.
Here you can read the reports of our activities, including our Outward Delegations, IPU conferences and events and inward visits to Westminster.
You can search for specific reports by using keywords, themes, categories or date using the fields on the right.
You can also view our work by geographical location here
Like many of my generation my knowledge of Vietnam is shaped by the harrowing images of the war in the 1970s. I wanted to know how Vietnam has moved on since that dreadful time and the extent to which it has managed to recreate and rebuild itself. I was also really curious to know about whether the communist system was managing to keep relevant and how, if at all, it seeks to promote its legitimacy and genuinely modernise the infrastructure and economy of the country. I reflect upon what I found during this recent BGIPU visit.
Our visit to Vietnam comprised a cross-party group of four MPs and two Peers which travelled the length of the country from Hanoi in the north, to Danang onwards to Ho Chi Minh City in the south. As Vietnam’s economy continues to grow and creates increased prosperity, it will be incumbent upon the country's many international partners like the UK to do their utmost to help Vietnam along a path of social and political change. This visit has hopefully ensured the friendship between our Parliaments has been truly deepened to assist that process.
The visit provided us with a great opportunity to learn about political, economic and social aspects of Cuba and I was especially struck by two or three things. The first was the exceptional cultural richness in Cuban society. The second was how little change seemed to have occurred since the death of Fidel Castro. Lastly, I remember impressive examples of bio-tech, medical research and drug development with pharmaceuticals being an areas where Cuba where there should be scope for British investment or joint ventures.
From 16 to 21 September 2018, a UK parliamentary delegation visited Cuba with the aim of further strengthening bilateral relations, including new opportunities for trade and cooperation, and to see how recent national developments were changing the country and its people. In Havana and visiting rural areas, the delegation gained a good understanding of the effect of the long-standing US embargo on everyday people’s lives and how this unnecessarily limits progress in Cuba and is detrimental to the everyday lives of Cuban people.
Women’s representation in political decision-making continues to rise slowly, with slight improvements since 2017, according to the data presented in the 2019 edition of the biennial IPU-UN Women map of Women in Politics. The map was launched at a press conference during CSW63 at the UN in New York. The map, which presents global rankings for women in the executive and parliamentary government branches as of 1 January 2019, shows the proportion of women ministers is at an all-time high at 20.75%.
From 11 to 15 March 2019, the UK Parliament was represented at the 63rd session of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW 63) at the UN in New York by Baroness Hodgson, Baroness Gale and Baroness Watkins frim the UK House of Lords. The 63rd session had the priority theme of “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”.
Women’s leadership and the equal participation of women and men in public affairs and decision-making are matters of human rights which are key elements of democracy and lasting peace, and prerequisites for achieving sustainable development. Our societies will not enjoy human rights, peace, sustainable and inclusive development, if they are not grounded in effective gender parity, if they do not benefit from women’s leadership and the empowerment of women and girls as expressly recommended by the CEDAW Committee.
According to the IPU’s yearly analysis, the share of women in national parliaments increased by nearly one percentage point last year, from 23.4 per cent in 2017 to 24.3 per cent in 2018. This 0.9 percentage point increase confirms the continuing rise of women in parliament, at a slightly faster rate of change compared to previous years. Countries with well-designed gender quotas elected significantly more women to parliament than those without, respectively, 7 points more in single or lower chambers, and 17 points more in upper chambers.