WINDHOEK – Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi will lead a delegation of members of parliament to the 141st Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly to be held in Belgrade, Serbia from October 13 to 17.
The IPU Assembly, in existence for more than 130 years, is a global organisation of parliaments that brings together parliamentarians to identify international challenges and make recommendations for action.
According to a statement released by the world parliamentary body ahead of the meeting, the assembly will bring together hundreds of parliamentarians, UN partners, experts and parliamentary staff from around the world.
Namibian members of parliament who form part of statutory bodies of the organization, including the governing council and standing committees such as the committee on sustainable development, finance and trade, democracy and human rights as well as the forum for women parliamentarians and the forum for young MPs, will take part in wide-ranging discussions such as the role of lawmakers in achieving universal health coverage, digitalisation and the circular economy, among many other issues.
It is the second time the event is being hosted in Belgrade. The 52nd IPU Assembly took place in Serbia in 1963.
The Namibian speaker is expected to take part in a general debate entitled ‘Strengthening international law: Parliamentary roles and mechanisms and the contribution of regional cooperation’, which also serves as the overarching theme for this year’s gathering.
Katjavivi is expected to showcase Namibia’s resolve and how the country benefited from both international law and diplomacy in its quest for independence in 1990.
Katjavivi is a member of the committee on United Nations affairs representing the Africa geopolitical group and by virtue of his position a member of the governing council.
Other MPs accompanying the speaker include Elma Dienda and Heather Sibungo from the National Assembly and Dawid Boois and chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah-Williams, both from the latter.
Mensah-Williams served for two consecutive terms as president of the IPU Bureau of Women Parliamentarians and automatically as a member of the IPU executive committee until March 2018.
The assembly, which is a strong proponent of women empowerment and human rights, will also consider ways to encourage more women participation in politics through its forum of women parliamentarians. Women lawmakers currently make up 24.5 percent of the world’s MPs.
Other equally important segments of the population to be represented at the meeting include young MPs under the age of 45, who are estimated at over 28% of the total number of parliamentarians in the world.
The membership of the global body of parliaments has also increased to 179 member countries. Over 1 200 parliamentarians are expected to attend this year’s assembly.
Katjavivi said “we intend to report Namibia’s progress with regard to the IPU agenda.”
“On the issue of parliament’s engagement with the UN, I will specifically make a special plea for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara,” he said.
* George Sanzila works in the Division: Research, Information, Publications and Editorial Services at the National Assembly.
2019-10-09 07:56:39 | 8 days ago