Speaker of the National Assembly, Prof. Peter Katjavivi (second from left) and Chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah- Williams (third from left) with fellow MP, Elma Dienda and Namibia’s ambassador to Switzerland, Sabine Bohlke Moller at the IPU assembly
|Story by George Sanzila
Geneva, Switzerland - The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) began its meeting on 25 March at the ongoing 138th IPU Assembly and related meetings in Geneva, Switzerland. Newly elected President of the IPU, Mexican MP Gabriela Cuevas Barron addressed the grouping of Parliaments for the first time as President. Barron had earlier thanked African countries for their support during her candidacy at last year’s meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia where she was elected to replace Bangladeshi lawmaker, Saber Hossain Chowdhury whose term of office came to an end last year.
Barron stated the importance of resolving the migration crisis, an issue that would take centre stage at the gathering of the world’s lawmakers. She stressed that there should be a speedy implementation of the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) by the United Nations, instruments that would result in effective and comprehensive response to migration and refugees crisis. The latter instruments that compliment strategies already incorporated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emanate from a United Nations meeting in September 2016 that adopted a major declaration to address large movements of refugees and migrants. The two resolutions would be negotiated simultaneously between February and July this year. Formal adoption of the agreements is also expected in the year.
It is estimated that, around the world nearly 258 million people, representing a 3.4 per cent of the total population, reside in countries not of their birth. They leave their countries of origin due to a myriad of reasons including conflict, poverty, war, fear of persecution and other catastrophes that may jeorpadise their wellbeing or safety. Yesterday, the African Geopolitical group met on the sidelines to look at issues such as the region’s representation on the IPU executive and the envisaged amendments of statutes and rules governing the organization.
Namibia is represented at the meeting by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Prof. Peter Katjavivi, Chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah Williams and National Assembly lawmakers, Elma Dienda, Heather Sibungo and National Council MPs. Peter Kazongominja and Phillipus Katamelo.
The IPU Assembly is a global organization of Parliaments around the world that brings together lawmakers to identify international challenges and make recommendations for action. There are currently 173 members and 11 associate members of the IPU and Namibia comprises this composition. 65 Speakers are present at this year’s assembly.