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World’s MPs to tackle global migration reforms and refugee protection

Press Release from the IPU Headquarters, Geneva, 20 March 2018

Parliamentarians from over 137 countries will seek to identify and agree upon parliamentary inputs to the UN-led reforms on the rights and protection of migrants and refugees.

Nearly 258 million people – about 3.4 per cent of the world’s population – are living outside their countries of birth. In 2016, UN Members determined that the existing global migration regime offered insufficient protection of the human and socio-economic rights of migrants and refugees and called for two global compacts to strengthen them – the Global Compact for the Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.

Meeting at the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Geneva (24-28 March), more than 740 MPs, including 65 Speakers of Parliament and 216 women parliamentarians, will ensure that the interests of the 6.5 billion people they represent are part of the global negotiations on the new migration regime. MPs will look in detail at their contribution to ensuring domestic enforcement of the two related Global Compacts expected to be adopted by the UN community later this year.

The IPU Assembly will also run two workshops defining concrete parliamentary actions on refugee protection and comprehensive refugee responses.

In addition, the Assembly will feature a high-level interactive panel on 25 March with William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration; Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. This group of global leaders will provide their insights on the current plight of migrants and refugees, and their vision for addressing this humanitarian challenge over the next decade.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains a core subject at IPU Assemblies. During the 138th IPU Assembly, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), will deliver a keynote speech engaging global leaders on the need to promote universal health coverage. The IPU and WHO will also run a joint workshop on accountability and oversight of adolescent health.

There will be a special segment with Mr. Ahmet Üzümcü, Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Ambassador Nobushige Takamizawa of Japan, President of the Arms Trade Treaty Conference.

During the five-day IPU Assembly, IPU Members will adopt a resolution on sustaining peace as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development. This resolution affirms the link between effective implementation of the SDGs and conflict prevention and sustaining peace. At the heart of this debate is the need to build strong and effective institutions, such as parliaments.

A second resolution will be adopted on engaging the private sector in implementing the SDGs, especially on renewable energy. This resolution is expected to call upon parliaments to facilitate private investment in sustainable development, especially renewable energy, by setting up public-private finance mechanisms, fostering a business climate conducive to research and development investment and to creating legal incentives to attract private-sector investors.

The second workshop, organized in collaboration with the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, will look at ways for parliaments to promote the nuclear weapons ban adopted last year by the United Nations. MPs are uniquely placed to foster widespread adherence to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

IPU Members will also convene in several forums, including the IPU’s Forum of Young Parliamentarians (#youngMPs), the Working Group on Syria, the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, as well as the Forum of Women Parliamentarians (#womenMPs). The women MPs will be looking at actions parliaments can take to address the root causes of the underrepresentation of women in politics.

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Geneva