Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon.Prof. Peter Katjavivi.
|Story by George Sanzila
Windhoek - Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. 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 13 to 17 October 2019.
The delegation that was impressed by Namibia’s progress in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, is in the country to assess projects funded under the German Federal government’s aid programme. The country visit ended today (25/01/19).
The IPU Assembly that has been in existence for more than 130 years, is a global organization 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, hundreds parliamentarians, UN partners, experts and parliamentary staff from around the world are expected to attend the meeting. 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, Committee on 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 and digitalization and the circular economy among many other issues.
It is the second time the event is hosted in Belgrade. The 52nd IPU Assembly took place in Serbia in 1963.
The Speaker, Hon. Katjavivi 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 assembly. In the debate, Hon. 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. Hon. 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 Hons. Elma Dienda and Heather Sibungo from the National Assembly and Hon. Dawid Boois and Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Margaret Mensah Williams both from the upper house. Hon. 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 that has been 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 % 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 1200 Parliamentarians are expected to be at this year’s assembly.