The 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the global organization of national parliaments, will be officially opened on Saturday at the Exhibition World Bahrain (EWB) in Sakhir.
Held in Bahrain for the first time since the IPU was founded more than 133 years ago, the IPU Assembly will run until March 15. It is hosted by Bahrain’s bicameral parliament.
Hundreds of parliamentarians from all over the world are expected to attend the deliberations on the overall theme of Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance.
At the Bahrain Assembly, all IPU statutory bodies, including the Governing Council, Standing Committees, Thematic Committees on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians and on Middle East Questions, as well as the Forum of Women Parliamentarians and the Forum of Young MPs, will convene.
The General Debate will focus on the overall theme of “Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance”, and will provide a platform for delegates to deliberate, exchange views and galvanize parliamentary action in this area.
In a statement ahead of the Assembly, the IPU said that the world has reached its lowest point of peacefulness in the last 15 years. Quoting the 2022 Global Peace Index, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank, the IPU said that online hate speech continues to sow division and is increasing against minorities, trust in government and the media is diminishing, religious freedoms are being curtailed, and religious discrimination, racism and xenophobia are rising.
“However, parliaments, as guardians of the rule of law, citizenship, human rights and justice, are part of the solution. During the Assembly, the IPU will offer opportunities for exchanges on good practices to promote inclusion and support peaceful coexistence as a prerequisite of resilient, cohesive and democratic societies,” the IPU said.
Some 110 parliaments, including delegations from countries in conflict situations, will attend the IPU Assembly.
The IPU Task Force for the peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine will meet high-level parliamentary delegations from both the Russian Federation and Ukraine to continue to explore options for a peaceful resolution of grievances, in strict observance of international law.
The IPU Committee on Middle East Questions and the IPU Group of Facilitators on Cyprus will also meet to take stock of and propose measures to resolve the situation in those regions.
The IPU membership is expected to increase to 179 Member Parliaments with the readmission of Liberia, a founding member of the IPU in 1889 whose membership had lapsed in 2011.
Climate emergency will receive a much-needed boost in Bahrain when the Assembly sees the launch of a new IPU campaign, Parliaments for the Planet.
The campaign is designed to mobilize parliaments and parliamentarians to act on the climate emergency.
It will also encourage parliaments and those who work in them to reduce their carbon footprints and become greener institutions and will also support parliaments in their efforts to implement the Paris Agreement on climate through legislation, budgeting and scrutiny of government action.
The Assembly is also expected to adopt resolutions on the emergency item and on the subject items taken up by the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security entitled “Cyberattacks and cybercrimes: The new risks to global security” and by the Standing Committee on Sustainable Development entitled “Parliamentary efforts in achieving negative carbon balances of forests”.
The Assembly is expected to conclude with the adoption of an outcome document on the overall theme of the General Debate.
The IPU was founded more than 133 years ago as the first multilateral political organization in the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations.
Today, the IPU comprises 178 national Member Parliaments and 14 regional parliamentary bodies.
It promotes democracy and helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender-balanced and more representative. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world.