On 26 February 2015, BGIPU and Health Poverty Action (HPA) brought a panel together to discuss drug policy as a driver of poverty and its impact on human rights and international development. The occasion was in honour of the launch of the HPA report “Casualties of War” which highlights how the war on drugs is harming the world’s poorest.
A small delegation from the BGIPU visited Kyiv for 3 days in mid-February to establish links with new members of the Ukrainian Parliament, to help establish a British Friendship Group and to discuss how our two Parliaments might work more closely together to strengthen Parliamentary democracy and the accountability of Government in Ukraine. Inevitably the visit and meetings were dominated by the more urgent issue of the war in Eastern Ukraine and the fragile ceasefire that had been agreed in Minsk.
The Annual 2015 Session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO took place in Geneva, on 16 and 17 February 2015. The WTO Director General, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, addressed the meeting making a good case for the need to maintain momentum and to agree a clearly defined work plan by July 2015; before the ministerial meeting in Nairobi should finalise the Doha Round. He emphasised that all discussions were being conducted on the most transparent basis, with all members represented by ambassadors at key meetings. The WTO Secretariat also explained to participants the steps for implementation of the Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement and how developing countries will be supported through assistance and grants for implementation.
This visit intended to strengthen women’s political participation at national level and engage current women MPs in Burma on political empowerment and gender-sensitive parliamentary practices through targeted workshops with UK counterparts. It was a standalone project, complementary to other parliamentary strengthening activities in the country, undertaken in partnership with the British Embassy in Rangoon.