Year: 2014

Meeting with Norwegian Deputy Speaker.JPG

UK’s close friendship with Norway remains strong

The United Kingdom’s close friendship with Norway, forged in the dark days of Norway’s WWII occupation, remains strong despite the passage of time since 1945 and the dramatic change in Norway’s situation now that oil and gas have made it one of the richest countries in the world. Indeed, our recent delegation visit to Norway found that the wartime experience was still a strong factor in Norwegian perceptions of the UK, and that Norway was happy to be investing parts of its wealth in the UK.

Welcome Reception at the Federal National Council

UK’s deep relations and history in the Gulf reflected in visit to UAE

Firm political ties were in evidence throughout our visit to the UAE hosted by HE Mohammed Ahmed Al-Murr, Speaker of the Federal National Council. In roundtable discussions, there was a strong emphasis on the collective nature of their work, with members represented the UAE in their deliberations, not their individual emirates. The UAE is a developing democracy and the FNC demonstrated greater involvement for younger people than in the past by expanding the electorate from 7,000 hand-picked electors to over 100,000 in the near future.

NepalBaroness Northover.jpg

UK delegation to Nepal highlights 200 years of relations

The visit of a UK delegation to Nepal from 14-19 September provided an important opportunity to resume inter-parliamentary visits between Britain and Nepal with the establishment of its Constituent Assembly after successful democratic elections in November 2013.  It was also timely as the 200th anniversary of bilateral relations approches in 2016 and provided insights into the main constitutional issues facing the country.  The UK delegation also saw the major contributions to Nepal’s development being made by DFID and the Gurkha Welfare Scheme.


Harness the power of youth for democracy, urges IPU

Marking International Day of Democracy on 15th 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. The IPU says countries everywhere need to harness the power of youth in formal politics for the sake of democracy. Young people between 15-25 represent 20 per cent of the global population but parliamentarians below 30 accounted for less than two per cent of MPs. For those aged between 20-40 years, the figure increases to just 12 per cent.

Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza chairs the meeting

Women Speakers call for urgent action on gender violence

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.

The XX International Conference was held in Melbourne

UK Parliamentarians attend XX International AIDS Conference

Pamela Nash MP and Lord Fowler, in their capacities as Chair and Vice Chair of the APPG on HIV and AIDS, attended the XX International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia with support from BGIPU. The 2014 Conference provided an excellent opportunity to meet with activists and HIV/AIDS specialists active throughout the world, in addition to meeting with other parliamentarians from across the globe to share their experiences of tackling HIV/AIDS, including discussing the political barriers faced in many countries.

BGIPU Delegation in Discussions with the Georgian Foreign Minster Dr Maia Panjikidze .JPG

Georgia – part of the wider European family?

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.

Meeting with Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle

Armenian delegation seeks deeper engagement with UK

BGIPU hosted a parliamentary delegation from the National Assembly of Armenia to Westminster from 7-11 July 2014. The visit was a key opportunity to engage with parliamentary counterparts from Armenia on its perspectives on key regional peace and security issues and explore ways to further advance bilateral relations. The programme, including visits to Oxford and Reading, also provided the delegation with opportunities to learn more about the scrutiny and oversight functions of UK Parliamentary Committees, explore education issues and learn about the constituency role of MPs.

IPU Headquarters in Geneva

125th Anniversary of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) celebrated 125 years of global parliamentary action on resolving conflicts and building democracy on 30th June in Geneva on the anniversary of its creation in 1889.  The event discussed some of the many challenges democracy faces today. The anniversary date of 30th June also marked the end of Anders B. Johnsson’s tenure as IPU Secretary General after 16 years during which the Organization has worked in all regions to promote and build democracy.

Sudan delegation meets the Minister for Women

Sudan delegation highlights women’s role in politics and peace

BGIPU hosted an all-women parliamentary delegation from Sudan to Westminster from 23-27 June 2014. The visit was a key opportunity to engage with parliamentary counterparts from Sudan on developments in the country and to engage on specific gender issues relating to political empowerment and the role of women in peace efforts. The visit also provided an important opportunity to gain insights into human rights issues in Sudan with the delegation keen to present its perspectives on issues relating to religious freedom, women’s rights and justice issues.