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IPU Secretary General visits UK Parliament to brief BGIPU

The Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Martin Chungong, visited London on 12 July 2016 at the invitation of the BGIPU Chair, Mr Nigel Evans MP, and IPU Executive Committee member, Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, to brief the BGIPU Executive Committee on IPU priorities as identified in its Draft IPU Strategy 2071-21 which will be considered by member parliaments at its 135th Assembly in Geneva in October. The was the first time the IPU Secretary General has been invited to attend the Executive Committee of the BGIPU and underscores the excellent cooperation and engagement that exists between the IPU Secretariat in Geneva and the membership of the Group in the UK Parliament.

In his presentation, the Secretary General highlighted the importance for the IPU of promoting a key role for parliaments in implementation and monitoring of the Global Goals adopted by world leaders in September 2015. He noted that this priority would stand alongside the IPU’s continuing commitment to parliamentary democracy, strengthening parliamentary institutions worldwide, the promotion and protection of international human rights norms, including political empowerment of women and young people and the IPU’s unique monitoring role in cases of abuse against the human rights of parliamentarians, in addition to ensuring parliaments contribute to addressing climate change. Mr Chungong also responded to questions from BGIPU members including regarding the IPU’s efforts to cooperate, as the world body of parliaments, with the United Nations across a range of priority international issues.

Mr Chungong also met with the Chair of the International Development Committee, Mr Stephen Twigg MP and committee member Ms Pauline Latham MP to discuss the recent report of the IDC on UK implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Secretary General welcomed the Committee’s contribution as an impressive example to other parliament’s worldwide of the sort of role legislatures must play in holding governments to account in meeting their SDG commitments.

The Secretary General also met Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, Rt Hon David Lidington MP, who has responsibility for Parliament’s relations with the FCO. The Minister reaffirmed the UK Government commitment to the work and role of the IPU and discussed with the Secretary General deliberations in New York regarding a new resolution on the interaction between the UN, parliaments and the IPU. The Secretary General also had a briefing on the work of POST in the UK Parliament, including the importance of all parliaments having access to evidence-based scientific inputs to their work, particularly as a time when the pace of change and scientific and technological advancement impacts so heavily on this lives of all citizens across the globe.

During his visit to Westminster, the Secretary General also took the opportunity to pay his respects on behalf of the international parliamentary community at a memorial to Ms Jo Cox MP in Parliament Square where he recalled the tribute he made just a few weeks earlier to her legacy as a parliamentarian.