Women Speakers set clear goals to respond to global challenges
Statement released by Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on 13 December 2016
Women Speakers of Parliament from across the globe agreed to rapidly develop parliamentary objectives and action plans that put at the core the integrity of our planet and peace and prosperity.
At the conclusion of the two-day Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament, women Speakers unanimously adopted the Abu Dhabi Declaration that defines concrete steps to tackle geopolitical, socioeconomic, environmental and technological challenges to ensure a more gender sensitive and inclusive world and a better quality of life for generations to come.
The Summit, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council (FNC), was attended by 34 female Speakers of Parliament and parliamentarians from 50 countries.
At the closing ceremony, Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the FNC declared, “The success of the Summit will be measured over the coming months and years as we, women Speakers and parliamentarians, work to implement the actions detailed in the Abu Dhabi Declaration.”
IPU President Saber Chowdury, in his concluding remarks, said that “We owe it to the people we represent to take our achievements here in Abu Dhabi and apply them. The Declaration provides parliaments with the ideas and actions to transform their work and ensure their preparedness to respond to current and future challenges.”
As part of the Summit outcomes, women Speakers agreed to promote and uphold human rights and the principle of tolerance in efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism and advance peace and security. They also stressed that action to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls and the promotion of women’s economic empowerment are central to resolving problems and challenges to the society as a whole.
Women Speakers reiterated their commitment to achieving gender equality in politics and in parliament by 2030. They advocated that each parliament assess institutional gender sensitivity. Statistics from a recent IPU study showed that violence and harassment against women MPs is widespread, and more needs to be done to ensure parliaments are role models of gender sensitivity and equality.
Women Speakers urged parliaments to set up structures that examine future megatrends, and how they will affect our nations and our world. They encouraged more widespread use of digital technology to make parliaments more transparent and accessible. They also proposed that parliaments develop or modify existing future-oriented strategic plans, which include steps to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Young people face major economic challenges and obstacles to fully participate in political processes. The IPU’s 2016 report Youth participation in national parliaments revealed that only 1.9 per cent of Members of Parliament are under the age of 30. Women Speakers stressed the imperative of associating youth to parliamentary work through representation and participation in policymaking. They also encouraged parliaments to do more to promote youth economic empowerment and create more opportunities for education and employment.
Women Speakers agreed to timelines for achieving Summit outcomes with the first one set for three months after the Summit. IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong concluded by saying that “There was a strong commitment during the Summit to ensure that words are transformed into actions. It is now up to each parliament and the IPU to take the outcomes here forward. Our work has only just begun.”