Month: March 2016


IPU 134: Rejuvenating democracy, giving voice to youth

The IPU’s 134th Assembly held 19-23 March 2016 in Zambia, Lusaka had as its main theme “Rejuvenating democracy, giving voice to youth”.  More than 670 MPs from 131 countries attended this Assembly which saw the re-entry of Comoros, Egypt and Guyana lifting the IPU to 170 members in total.  The IPU Assembly, deeply shocked by terror attacks in Brussels on 22 March, adopted resolutions calling for multi-facted responses to counter the global threat of terrorism and highlighted the threats posed to cultural heritage by conflict and terrorism.


SDGs bring new optimism to the CSW 60 agenda

BGIPU sent a four-member delegation to CSW 60 led by Baroness Hodgson and including Baroness Northover, Gavin Shuker MP and Jo Churchill MP. Being the first year since adoption of the SDGs, looking ahead to 2030 with an agenda of leaving no-one behind, there was optimism about this new agenda for CSW 60. This was particularly in light of having achieved the hard fought for SDG Goal 5 on gender, as well as having gender mainstreamed across other goals although the Beijing Platform for Action remains the ‘gold standard’ for gender.

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Young MPs Conference commits to enhancing oversight to achieve SDGs

More than 130 young MPs from across the world committed to enhancing transparency and oversight of public finances as a cornerstone of their fight against corruption at the conclusion of the 3rd IPU Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians in Lusaka.  MPs set their sights on increased public scrutiny of state spending in a series of measures they would take to help achieve the SDGs which commit nations to ambitious targets on reducing inequalities, eradicating poverty, and promoting sustainable economic growth and climate action by 2030.

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British MPs visit Bolivia in support of closer relations

In early March 2016, a cross-party delegation visited La Paz, Bolivia. The delegation was led by Graham Stuart MP (Con), Chair of the Latin American APPG, Diana Johnson MP (Lab), Shadow Foreign Office Minister for Latin America, Mark Menzies MP (Con) and Nic Dakin MP (Labour), Shadow Minister for Schools. Supported by the UK Mission, the programme included meetings with counterparts, government representatives and civil society, as well as a visit to EU-funded projects in one of the legal coca growing regions.


Exchanges in France on EU referendum and migration

A cross-party delegation comprising Baroness Miller (LD), Baroness Janke (LD), John Nicolson MP (SNP) and Stuart Macdonald MP (SNP) visited Paris from 8 to 9 March to meet French counterparts in both Chambers on key issues in the UK-France relationship.  French interlocutors showed keen interest in discussing the mood in the UK in the lead-up to the EU membership referendum on 23 June.  There was also mutual appreciation of the vital importance of both countries working closely to address broader migration challenges. 


IPU sees mixed results for women’s participation in parliament

An increase in the number of women Speakers of Parliament during 2015 and some regional successes were among the few highlights in what proved to be yet another disappointing year for women’s participation in parliament, says the IPU.  IPU’s “Women in Parliament 2015: the Year in Review” released ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, showed that for the second year in a row, the number of women MPs across the world rose by a worryingly low 0.5 percentage point with women just 22.6 per cent of the world’s MPs.


Knesset Speaker addresses UK MPs and Peers

The Knesset Speaker, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein visited the UK Parliament on 2 March 2016 during an official visit to the United Kingdom. He was accompanied by Knesset members and staff and delivered an address to members of both Houses in the IPU Room outlining his views on a range of issues related to the peace process, regional affairs and bilateral relations.  He also underscored his faith in the value of inter-parliamentary dialogue and the Knesset’s commitment to this, including through the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).  During his visit to the UK Parliament, Speaker Edelstein also meet the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP and the Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza CMG PC.


Iceland Speaker focused on mutual concerns and political structures

BGIPU hosted an inter-parliamentary delegation from Icleand led by Speaker Mr Einar K Gudfinnsson from 29 February to 1 March 2016. The visiting Althingi delegation had the opportunity to meet a wide range of key parliamentary figures, including the Speaker of the HoC, the Lord Speaker and the the Leader of the Opposition.  The delegation gained key insights into the UK Parliamentary system, explored issues of mutual concern, including regarding the future of UK membership of the EU in advance of the 23 June referendum.