The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron is in Namibia for a four-day visit that is meant to strengthen relations with IPU member countries and discuss initiatives the world’s parliamentary body has undertaken in the region.
In a joint meeting with the presiding officers of the Namibian parliament, Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi and chairman of the National Council Bernard Sibalatani, Barron praised Namibia for being an active member of the IPU as shown through its involvement in many of the body’s programmers and activities. She bemoaned the slow pace at which member countries of the IPU are implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), revealing that only 14% of member parliaments are somehow addressing SDGs issues.
She suggested that parliaments be capacitated on a national level through exchange programmes in order to share knowledge and skills given the lack of funding currently engulfing her organization. She further urged for a review of laws to make them more inclusive and therefore ease the oversight function of parliaments.
Barron said this, in response to Katjavivi who had earlier requested for IPU expertise in evaluation and monitoring of SDGs and streamlining of the work of parliamentary committees. The speaker had also implored for inclusion of the UN think tank into the activities of IPU and by extension, member countries.
In the same vein, Sibalatani amplified the appeal by noting that both members of Parliament and staff needed to be capacitated and that Namibia’s notable achievement on gender parity in the legislature could be sustained with the support of the IPU.
At a meeting that followed with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, minister Doreen Sioka concurred that Namibia has achieved a lot in terms of gender parity, particularly in politics, noting that an amendment to the electoral law could serve as the final solution to sustain gender equality. She reiterated her concern regarding escalating cases of gender based violence requesting the IPU to help in finding a long lasting solution to the scourge.
Executive Director in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Wilhencia Uiras added that there was a need to strengthen not only gender responsive budgeting but that the gender lens should also apply to the drafting and review of legislation.
Barron on Monday, laid wreaths at the heroes’ acre to pay tribute to Namibia’s fallen heroes and heroines including at the graves of late speakers of the National Assembly, Moses Tjitendero and Theo Ben Gurirab.
The Mexican lawmaker, who was elected in October 2017 with overwhelming support from the African geopolitical group, is further expected to meet with the head of state, President Hage Geingob. Baron who is also the youngest MP to hold that position since the organisation’s formation has also praised Namibia’s democracy.
Namibia joined the IPU shortly after independence in 1990 and has been actively involved in the work of the organization through annual meetings and other activities. The 99th session of the IPU was hosted in Namibia and late former Namibian Speaker, Theo Ben Gurirab once served as the body’s president from 2008 to 2011.
*George Sanzila works for the National Assembly in the division: Research, Information, Publications and Editorial Services.
2020-02-06 07:58:34 | 17 days ago