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Friday, July 19, 2024

Hon. JFN Mudenda’s Lisbon International Day of Parliamentarism key note address

TODAY we celebrate the International Day of Parliamentarism on a date the IPU was founded in 1889, 134 years ago. Accordingly, let us pay homage to the two leadership visionaries, Frederic Passy and William Randal Cremer, the innovative creators of the IPU.

The vibrancy of the IPU as witnessed by the celebration today validates the Founders’ fervent belief in parliamentarism which underpins constitutional democracy, equality, inalienable human rights and peace initiatives through Parliamentary diplomacy and sovereignty.

In the same vein, I wish to acknowledge the exemplary stewardship and servant leadership set by the current President, Duarte Pacheco, which leadership and that of all of us derives its authority from the people.

The landmark achievements and milestones under the crusading leadership of President Pacheco, among them, the crafting and implementation of the IPU Strategic Plan for the period 2022 to 2027 with its 5 strategic objectives, the establishment of the Cremer-Passy Prize, the launch of the communication strategy, the introduction of the IPU anthem to remind us of our traditions, history and beliefs, enhanced visibility of the IPU within its Member Parliaments. That is what we celebrate today as the IPU family. 

We are celebrating the International Day of Parliamentarism in the midst of a myriad of global challenges including inequalities, climate change horrific impacts, terrorism, war conflicts and food insecurity.  Parliamentarism, therefore, ought to vigorously address these global challenges which require appropriate global solutions. Accordingly, the International Day of

Parliamentarism beckons us to embrace this responsibility with humility, unflinching dedication to duty and a deep sense of purpose for democracy for everyone to thrive.

Mr President, the Parliamentarism celebration must also quintessentially undergird the youth aspirations underpinned by its boundless demographics. It is the youth who embody the audacity to dream, the courage to challenge the status quo and the vision to shape a better future for itself.

This is in consonant with Nelson Mandela’s observation that “Young people must take it upon themselves to ensure that they receive the highest education possible so that they can represent us well in future as future leaders.”

Furthermore, Mr President, the level of development in our world is intricately intertwined with the progress of its women and girls. We are thus enjoined as Parliamentarians to ensure that gender equality and equity are enshrined in our public policies and laws in order to allow for women’s participation in politics and decision-making processes, notwithstanding the slow progress in this regard. To achieve this noble objective, the womenfolk should walk side by side with their menfolk.

Mr President, wouldn’t you concur with me that it is both unfathomable and tragic that in this age of abundance, millions still wallow up and endure the shackles of poverty? The transformative power of Parliamentarism should be geared towards eradicating poverty through the zealous implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals so that countries can achieve upper middle-class economies by 2030.

Mr President, climate change is a phenomenal existential threat to humankind. Parliamentarism must more than ever before focus on the ultimate goal of the IPU’s action on climate so that all people can live on a healthier planet with global warming limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels. Thus, I wish to applaud the IPU for launching its groundbreaking campaign dubbed “Parliaments for the Planet”.  

This campaign must be consummated by the IPU family of Member Parliaments unstintingly. That is why we must welcome the UNFCCC CoP 27 decision to establish a Loss and Damage Fund as agreed in Egypt on 20 November 2022. The upcoming UAE CoP 28 should of necessity actualise it. The most polluting countries have a lofty responsibility to contribute the most to this Fund unashamedly.

Accordingly, Mr President, young people should continue to be given room to participate and contribute to the climate change discourse. Proposed solutions forwarded by young people should not only be listened to but actioned expeditiously. I am happy that the incoming UAE CoP 28 Presidency has already funded more than 100 young people from developing countries to attend CoP 28.  

We owe it to the youth that we must bequeath to them a sustainable environmental ecosystem. Otherwise, the current older generation will be cursed by posterity for the dereliction of duty in the failure to preserve and conserve the environmental equilibrium.

Mr. President, may the flame of Parliamentarism burn ever so brightly each time we commemorate it.

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