Mapisa-Nqakula leads SA delegation to IPU assembly

National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is leading a South African parliamentary delegation to the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Manama, Bahrain.

The five-day session of the 133-year-old multilateral organisation will take place at the Exhibition World Bahrain from 11 to 15 March 2023.

The multilateral organisation of 178 Parliaments is scheduled to be attended by representatives of 110 Parliaments, including delegations from countries in conflict situations.

The Assembly will be held under the theme, ‘Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance’.

The theme is informed by evidence that the world is at its lowest ebb of peacefulness in over 15 years because of a series of conflicts, including the War in Ukraine.

Parliamentary spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said Mapisa-Nqakula will also be attending as a member of the IPU Task Force for the Peaceful Resolution of the War in Ukraine.

“The Task Force is scheduled to meet high-level delegations from both Russia and Ukraine. The parliamentarians will share best practices for promoting inclusivity and peaceful coexistence as prerequisites for resilient, cohesive and democratic societies across the world.

“Other special intervention groups of the IPU to provide status reports on efforts to find peaceful solutions to conflicts include the ‘Middle East Questions’, and ‘Facilitators on Cyprus’,” Mothapo said.

In addition to its ‘Yes to the Youth’ campaign, the IPU will launch the ‘Parliaments for the Planet’ campaign, designed to place Parliaments at the forefront of fighting global warming by, among others, reducing their carbon footprints, as part of the overall execution of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“Various statutory structures of the IPU will also be meeting during the five-day assembly with members of the multi-party delegation of Parliament serving in each structure to share and advance South Africa’s position.

“These include the thematic Standing Committees on Peace and International Security; Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade; Democracy and Human Rights; as well as United Nations Affairs,” Mothapo said.

The South African Parliament delegation includes National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Deputy Chairperson, Sylvia Lucas; NA House Chairperson for International Relations, Cedric Frolick; Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs Whip, Moleboheng Modise; African National Congress (ANC) Deputy Chief Whip, Doris Dlakude; Economic Freedom Fighters Chief Whip, Floyd Shivambu; Inkatha Freedom Party Chief Whip, Narend Singh; and United Democratic Movement Chief Whip, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa.

The Members of Parliament (MP) also include Fikile Masiko from ANC and Dr Annelie Lotriet from Democratic Alliance.

UN Commission on the Status of Women

Meanwhile, Parliament’s Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (MPWC) Chairperson, Nkhensani Bilankulu, will next week join the South African delegation attending the 67th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW67) taking place at the UN Headquarters in New York, from 13 – 17 March 2023.

The Commission will this year focus on innovation and technological change and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality, and the empowerment of women and girls.

The session will also review the agreed conclusions of the 62nd session titled, ‘Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls’.

The MPWC’s principal function is to lobby and influence public policy and decisions to ensure progress in achieving gender equality and at the very least, a more gender sensitive approach to decision making and governance.

“International engagements such as the UNCSW67 are important tools in improving members’ understanding and effectiveness, working towards establishing standards of parliamentary oversight that may lead to a more gendered approach to accountability in government planning, expenditure and service delivery,” Bilankulu said.

Source: South African Government News Agency