Through its programme of activities, the BGIPU seeks to engage Parliamentarians in key global issues and works to expand awareness and understanding of foreign relations and the contribution to be made by the UK Parliament to consolidate parliamentary democracy worldwide.
Here you can read the reports of our activities, including our Outward Delegations, IPU conferences and events and inward visits to Westminster.
You can search for specific reports by using keywords, themes, categories or date using the fields on the right.
You can also view our work by geographical location here
Like many of my generation my knowledge of Vietnam is shaped by the harrowing images of the war in the 1970s. I wanted to know how Vietnam has moved on since that dreadful time and the extent to which it has managed to recreate and rebuild itself. I was also really curious to know about whether the communist system was managing to keep relevant and how, if at all, it seeks to promote its legitimacy and genuinely modernise the infrastructure and economy of the country. I reflect upon what I found during this recent BGIPU visit.
Our visit to Vietnam comprised a cross-party group of four MPs and two Peers which travelled the length of the country from Hanoi in the north, to Danang onwards to Ho Chi Minh City in the south. As Vietnam’s economy continues to grow and creates increased prosperity, it will be incumbent upon the country's many international partners like the UK to do their utmost to help Vietnam along a path of social and political change. This visit has hopefully ensured the friendship between our Parliaments has been truly deepened to assist that process.
The visit provided us with a great opportunity to learn about political, economic and social aspects of Cuba and I was especially struck by two or three things. The first was the exceptional cultural richness in Cuban society. The second was how little change seemed to have occurred since the death of Fidel Castro. Lastly, I remember impressive examples of bio-tech, medical research and drug development with pharmaceuticals being an areas where Cuba where there should be scope for British investment or joint ventures.
From 16 to 21 September 2018, a UK parliamentary delegation visited Cuba with the aim of further strengthening bilateral relations, including new opportunities for trade and cooperation, and to see how recent national developments were changing the country and its people. In Havana and visiting rural areas, the delegation gained a good understanding of the effect of the long-standing US embargo on everyday people’s lives and how this unnecessarily limits progress in Cuba and is detrimental to the everyday lives of Cuban people.
Speaking on the International Day of Democracry in a call for inclusive parliaments, IPU President, Gabriela Cuevas Barron noted that in current times it is not democracy as a system of values, principles and governance that is being questioned. It is the approach to the practice of democracy and the institutions established, often centuries ago, which need to be reviewed and made more effective for the benefit of the people. It is clear that that democracy must be redesigned for the challenges of the 21st century.
Young parliamentarians meeting in Asunción, Paraguay, have called for the pursuit of happiness and well-being to be explicitly integrated into public policy. In the outcome statement, the young MPs asserted that a country’s success could not be gauged merely by measuring its economic growth. Factors such as equality, education levels and emotional fulfilment were just as important.
Globally, threats to journalists are the highest they have been in ten years. Following a landmark FCO conference over summer, the UK Parliament hosted an International Parliamentary Seminar on Media Freedom under the auspices of the BGIPU from 9-11 September 2019. The Chair of the British Group of the IPU, Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, hosted members of parliament from across the world along with relevant experts to explore parliamentary perspectives on Defending Media Freedom.
A visit by a delegation from the Parliament of Lebanon was successful in consolidating the already strong relationship between both countries discussing the challenges created by the arrival of large numbers of refugees into Lebanon alongside other concerns, particularly the broader regional impact of the conflict in Syria and increasing tensions in the south of the country between Hezbollah and Israel. The Lebanese delegation were keen to take advantage of any changes post-Brexit to establish stronger ties with the UK.