[Oct 22] Overview of the 141st Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly
PHOTO: https://www.ipu.org. The 141st IPU Assembly was held in Belgrade, Serbia, from October 13 to 17, 2019.
On the 13th of October, 2019, Members of Parliament from over 140 countries and 25 regional and other parliamentary organizations gathered in Belgrade, Serbia, at the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), marking the IPU’s 130th anniversary.
The Assembly was convened for discussions on climate change, the right to health, children’s rights, and international law. The IPU Assembly consists of statutory bodies such as the Governing Council, Standing Committees, Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, Committee on Middle East Questions, Forum of Women Parliamentarians and the Forum of Young MPs, whose agenda for debates ranged from security issues to economic challenges of today.
Outcomes of the meeting include the adoption of declarations and resolutions, whose stipulations are briefed below:
On the last day of the conference, October 17, the ‘Belgrade Declaration’ was adopted. Subtitled “Strengthening international law: Parliamentary roles and mechanisms, and the contribution of regional cooperation,” the Declaration shows the participants’ support for principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
It also outlines the work required by parliamentarians for the effective implementation and enactment of international law, and its abridged version is as follows: First, international law needs to be enforced at domestic levels, with necessary budgets and supervisors. Second, regular examination reports should be submitted to international treaty bodies. Third, adequate measures must be taken to ensure that the State complies with international law obligations, especially those regarding genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Also, raising public awareness through education, along with encouraging the civil society organizations for contributions, was discussed. The Declaration further pointed out priority areas that need urgent attention, which include ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), commitment to the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Geneva Conventions. The discussants finished the Declaration by stating objectives for enhanced contributions of regional cooperation.
Another declaration endorsed by the 141st IPU Assembly on the same day is titled ‘Declaration to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.’ It reaffirms the parliamentarians’ determination to advocate for the protection of all children from all forms of violence, noting every child’s rights to survival, health, education, and development. The Declaration ends with the participants’ recognition that taking concrete steps to implement the Convention’s ideas in national contexts is vital to accomplish the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In addition to declarations, two resolutions were adopted at the forum. The first of the two is ‘Resolution - Addressing climate change,’ which urges countries to take action for the Paris Agreement and SDGs to counter global warming and climate change. The Resolution has 9 operative clauses that stress the need for engaged parties to act in accordance with the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. The Resolution was drafted as India submitted a request to select the topic as ‘Emergency Item.’ According to the IPU Assembly Procedure, in order for a subject to be considered urgent, a request for the inclusion of an emergency item must be appropriate for the international community to respond.
The other resolution that was adopted by the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights is ‘Resolution - Achieving universal health coverage by 2030: The role of parliaments in ensuring the right to health.’ The Resolution calls for public authorities to observe strict ethical standards to provide the victims of armed conflict and natural disasters with continued health care services, while proposing legal and policy measures for universal health coverage (UHC).
Full versions of declarations and resolutions are available on the official IPU website.
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