The BGIPU Produces regular newsletters outlining our recent work and upcoming activities. You can download previous editions below.
As we prepare for a busy few months after the Christmas/New Year break, we look forward to the first Executive Committee meeting of 2017 on 24 January under our re-elected Chair, Nigel Evans MP. We have a delegation visiting from Argentina shortly after in late January and a visiting delegation from Poland in late February. In return, we have delegations to Germany, Kosovo and Hungary in February also under preparation, prior to attending the 136th IPU Assembly in Dhaka in early April. Looking back, 2016 has been a truly extraordinary year in both UK politics and on the international stage. BGIPU has played its part, giving members key opportunities to engage with counterparts and, hopefully, better comprehend fast changing events and the impacts on our country. The pace will be no less in 2017 as the UK faces new challenges in negotiating an entirely reshaped global outlook unrecognisable from that we faced just 12 months ago. In times of uncertainty though, it is key to recall that we can only take advantage of new opportunities through maintaining active engagement in the world and our leading role in the IPU greatly facilitates such efforts.
Following a busy period in the UK Parliament, with political changes following the outcome of the EU Referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, BGIPU will be working over the summer recess to confirm programmes for a wide range of inward and outward visit exchanges and UK participation in the 135th IPU Assembly in Geneva in October. Recent activities, and the welcome visit of the IPU Secretary General, have underscored the continuing importance and value of inter-parliamentary exchanges as an alternative form of contacts and dialogue for progressing the UK interests abroad and many members and contacts have remarked how this bilateral track of engagement will become even more important as the UK moves to exit the EU.
In very productive period since late 2015, BGIPU has seen the election of a new Executive Committee, a range of inward and outward delegations visits, our joint European Security seminar with Wilton Park in mid-February and IPU meetings including the recent 134th Assembly in Lusaka. BGIPU ended the financial year with all activity and financial targets met and an approved forward programme for the year ahead based on the newly approved BGIPU Strategic Busines Plan for the next three year period. There will be a wide range of activities in Westminster and further afield prior to the summer recesss.
With BGIPU activities for the new Parliament now well underway, the Secretariat has welcomed the support of all members in the work of the Group in recent months. We have maintained a very active shcedule of inward and outward visits in addition to additional conference commitments created by our support for both Speakers attendance at the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in New York. We are advancing efforts to confirm an active programme into 2016 and look forward to convening the AGM to re-elect the Executive Committee and welcome some new members on 2 December.
This is the first BGIPU newsletter of the 2015-20 Parliament. The BGIPU Secretariat is grateful for the support of all members in our preprations for the work of the Group for the period ahead. You can see at the end of this newsletter that we have plans for a wide range of inward and outward delegations and a number of other inter-parliamentary events as the year progresses. We are very pleased to see the BGIPU Executive Committee reconstituted following the General Election with Nigel Evans MP elected BGIPU Chair at the 30 June Special General Meeting.
This is the final BGIPU newsletter of the 2010-15 Parliament and the BGIPU Secretariat would like to express our gratitude to all members for their contribution as we enter the period prior to the May 7 General Elections. We wish all House of Commons members the very best wishes for the future, be they standing down or seeking re-election. We look forward to providing to members in both Houses an extensive, timely and relevant programme of BGIPU activities following the elections for the rest of the 2015/16.
Since the end of the summer recess, BGIPU has undertaken a number of bilateral outward delegations, participated in high-level IPU meetings and hosted events here at the UK Parliament, most recently our very successful International Parliamentary Seminar on the Arms Trade Treaty. It has been a very active period in which we have had regular and substantive opportunities to engage with counterparts from overseas in addressing some of the most pressing international issues including arms control matters, the future security of Europe, the rise of extremist ideology in the world and the urgency of addressing the current global health challenges.
As the Summer recess of Parliament approaches we can look back on a successful and active period of work. As a founding member of the IPU, we were delighted to participate in a ceremony in Geneva to mark the 125th anniversary of the organisation. BGIPU has welcomed to Westminster delegations from Armenia, Sudan and Portugal, and contributed highlighting parliamentary engagement in the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in cooperation with CPA UK. We have a busy programme ahead with a delegation travelling to Georgia in the near future, and Nepal, Norway, Guatemala and Honduras in the Autumn amongst others. We will also be hosting an International Parliamentary Seminar on the Arms Trade Treaty 3-5 November in Westminster.
The BGIPU has maintained an active programme of activities in the Palace of Westminster and overseas since the start of 2014 with members participating in a diverse range of activities summarised below. It is timely, not least against the backdrop of current events, to remind ourselves of the IPU’s core objective of encouraging inter-parliamentary dialogue for peace, democracy and the rule of law for all and do all we can to support and sustain the IPU’s future efforts.
The Autumn has been a very busy period with delegations to Argentina and Ethiopia, an inward visit from Haiti, and Members attending Parliamentary Conferences at the WTO and the UN Hearing. The Group also held its AGM on 4 December. The AGM marked the end of the three year term of Robert Walter MP as Chairman of the Group, and members registered their appreciation for his guidance and leadership. Members also welcomed the new Chair, Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, and the Secretariat looks forward to working with him and the other Officers and Members of the Executive Committee in the year ahead.
A busy period after the summer recess, including a successful outward visit to Bosnia & Herzegovina and 129th Assembly in Geneva, culminated in BGIPU hosting an International Parliamentary Seminar on Drug Policy Reform attended by some 50 parliamentarians from 30 countries from Europe, Latin America and West Africa. The event again underscored the unique ability of BGIPU to facilitate substantive inter-parliamentary discussions on current international issues, particularly to ensure the parliamentary voice is heard clearly as part of the global debate.
Recent months have seen a number of activities by the BGIPU in Westminster, with visiting Parliamentary delegations from Senegal, Bolivia and Somalia. We have also held a diverse range of policy-based lectures and events, including a preparatory event on Drug Policy Reform in the lead up to our Parliamentary Seminar on this subject in October.
The BGIPU has been maintaining a very busy programme of events since the start of 2013 with four inter-parliamentary delegations, participation in IPU-related meetings, including the 128th Assembly in Quito in late March, and regular events for BGIPU members in the Palace of Westminster.
A busy Autumn for the BGIPU saw the BGIPU host, in conjunction with the CPA UK, an international Seminar on Gender and Politics, a visit from HE Moncef Marzouki, President of Tunisia, and a lecture lunch on the outcomes of the COP 18 climate talks in Doha. The BGIPU also sent parliamentarians to the Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations in New York and the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO in Geneva. In addition the Group also held its Annual General Meeting on 5 December presided over by Mr Speaker.
Commencing with the launch of our new website, the BGIPU have had a very productive few months and are looking ahead to an equally active Autumn programme. Recent activities include a series of events in Westminster to mark the 2012 International Day of Democracy, insightful delegation visits to Indonesia and Colombia and the participation of Group members in IPU parliamentary conferences; one on HIV/AIDS and another on the future of the WTO, both of which proved to be valuable in holding up existing global policy settings to greater scrutiny and debate.