New York, USA – The President of AWEPA, Minister of State Ms. Miet Smet, attended the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, held at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, United States, from 31 August to 2 September 2015. The Conference was organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), in close cooperation with the UN.
The three-day global summit represented a unique forum for dialogue and cooperation between parliaments at the highest level, and brought together more than 170 Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliament from nearly 140 countries. Other participants included Presidents of international parliamentary assemblies, and Heads of Programmes and Agencies of the UN system and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The opening ceremony was attended by the President of the IPU, the UN Secretary-General and the President of the UN General Assembly.
The overall theme of the Conference was peace, democracy, and development as seen through the parliamentary lens. In line with this topic, the title of the general debate was “Placing democracy at the service of peace and sustainable development: Building the world the people want”.
The world’s parliamentary leaders addressed ways to bring parliament closer to the people by tackling the growing public scepticism and disconnect with politics, social and political marginalisation, gender inequality and an imbalanced power relationship with government.
As part of a series of high-level meetings in the run up to the UN Summit in late September 2015, at which the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are due to be adopted, the Summit also provided the opportunity for the global parliamentary community to give its unequivocal support to the new development agenda.
At the end of the Conference, the parliamentary leaders adopted an ambitious and far-reaching Declaration in which they pledged to do their utmost to reconnect people with democracy. This Declaration acknowledged that extraordinary efforts are needed to build a world that people want by turning the tide against the many challenges that undermine democracy, peace and development.
Through the Declaration, the Speakers also underlined the need for constitutional and institutional reforms in transition countries, social justice, good governance and the respect for human rights, and pledged to pursue efforts to make parliaments more representative, accountable and transparent.