Noor Mohammed: Bureau Chief, Qatar:-HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attended the 140th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) at the Sheraton Hotel, where His Highness gave a speech to mark the occasion.
Amid anticipated boycott from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, over 1600 parliamentarians, UN partners and experts from around the world gathered in Qatar for the 140th IPU Assembly happening from 6 to 10 April.Under the overarching theme of education for peace, the Assembly will also consider ways in which parliaments can boost gender equality – particularly in the region, take measures to counter terrorism, promote human rights and invest in renewable energy.
The Qatar Shura Council will host delegates from around 160 countries including 80 Speakers of Parliament, 40 Deputy Speakers, and over 800 MPs, of which 30 per cent are women and 19 per cent are young MPs under 45. Qatar joined the IPU in 2006 and is hosting its first IPU Assembly.During the Assembly, the IPU will facilitate around 200 parliamentary bilateral meetings, including countries from throughout the Gulf region, to encourage greater regional cooperation and understanding.
The IPU will also take one step closer to achieving universal membership with the participation in Doha of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, which will join as the 179th Member Parliament of the IPU. Several Small Island Developing States, who are not yet members of the IPU, will also attend the Assembly as observers.
In the sideline, Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Hon’ble Speaker of the Bangladesh National Parliament had a meeting with the Hon’ble Advisory Council Speaker of the Shura Council, HE the Speaker Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud in Doha. Dr. Shirin SharminChaudhury is leading a 21-members Bangladesh Parliamentary delegation to the Assembly of the IPU in Doha. In the meeting, there were fruitful discussions about different bilateral issues of Bangladesh and Qatar. The Hon’ble Speaker of Bangladesh invited the Hon’ble Speaker of the Shura Council of Qatar to visit Bangladesh.
The choice of Qatar to host the IPU 140th Ordinary General Assembly and its related meetings, confirms the IPU’s confidence in Qatar under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and the Advisory Council and its ability to organize and host such an important global parliamentary event, in light of the circumstances, and crises experienced by the world, and the need for parliamentarians to play a special role in finding solutions and mitigate the negative effects and repercussions.
The five-day meetings will discuss a range of issues related to IPU activities, as well as important issues and themes relating to international peace and security issues and the role of parliaments as platforms for promoting education for peace, security and the rule of law.
They will also deal with promoting respect for international humanitarian law, a draft resolution on the inadmissibility of the use of mercenaries as a means of undermining peace and human rights violations, and another on the role of fair and free trade and investment in achieving sustainable development goals, in particular with regard to equality Economic, sustainable infrastructure, industrialization, innovation and the role of parliamentarians in achieving these goals.
The Standing Committees meetings will discuss the themes of “democracy in the era of electronic digitization”, “the role of trade and investment in achieving sustainable development goals”, “empowering people, ensuring universality and equality”, “global health coverage by 2030”, “role of parliaments in securing the right to health “.
The meetings of the General Assembly and the Governing Council will be accompanied by other meetings of the Chairpersons of the Standing Committees and the Secretaries-General of Parliaments, Forum of Young Parliamentarians, Forum of Women Parliamentarians, and the meeting of heads of geopolitical groups, as well as the meeting of counselors with the secretariat of delegations, the Bureau of the Committee on United Nations Affairs, the meeting of the Committee on Human Rights of parliamentarians, the Committee on Peace and International Security, in addition to other meetings to discuss a number of issues on the agenda items of the general assembly, and a workshop on maternal, newborn and child health and other related events.