The General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) concluded on Wednesday the 146th Assembly of the IPU and its related meetings, held with the participation of the Shura Council in Manama from March 11-15 under the theme *Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance.
Over five days, the meetings witnessed discussions and sessions of the IPU General Assembly, the Governing Council, and various standing and sub-committees, as well as the organisation of a number of workshops and accompanying events, and co-ordination meetings between the various parliamentary groups.
The Shura Council delegation participated in the sessions of the last day of the meetings of the IPU General Assembly, including the closing session, which discussed the various topics on its agenda, including the adoption of resolutions, reports of Standing Committees, and the final document.
Among the meetings in which the Shura Council delegation participated were the meetings of the IPU Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights, in which Shura Council member Mohamed Bin Mahdi al-Ahbabi participated, where the parliamentarian momentum to combat misleading information and hateful and discriminatory content in cyberspace was discussed.
It also dealt with the issue of trafficking in orphanages and the role of parliaments in addressing it.
The sessions of the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security were held under Shura Council member al-Ahbabi’s chairmanship, at which the committee approved its summary report on its activities adopted at the previous session of the IPU General Assembly in Rwanda last year.
The committee discussed cyber-attacks and crimes and their threat to global security, adopting a decision regarding it, as well as preparations for the upcoming General Assemblies.
As president of the committee, al-Ahbabi presented a report to the plenary session.
He indicated that the members' discussions included issues of the need to exchange information about cyber-crimes through parliaments, strengthening the protection of citizens, especially the most vulnerable, and vital civil infrastructures, as well as expressing differences of opinion on concepts and terminology that should be used.
Al-Ahbabi emphasised that the topic of cyber-attacks and crimes is of great importance to all members.
The report concluded that the results of the discussions and negotiations are a balanced decision that highlights the role of parliaments in expanding protection for citizens in cyberspace.
The report stresses that cyber-crime may pose a serious threat to democratic processes and calls for international co-operation to address cyber-crime, as well as to protect peace, security, stability, and global economy, while preserving the basic principles of human rights, including freedom of expression.
Shura Council member Nasser bin Mohsin Bukshaisha meanwhile participated in the meetings of the Committee on United Nations Affairs, at which issues in the United Nations and using its sessions as opportunities to mobilise parliamentarians to bring about change in the international body were discussed.
The committee discussed the achievement of gender equality in the United Nations General Assembly.
It reviewed the results of the 2022 IPU survey of about 40 parliaments participating in the voluntary national reviews of the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, and also presented the 2023 survey, which It includes 42 parliaments.
Shura Council member engineer Ahmed bin Hitmi al-Hitmi took part in sessions of the IPU Permanent Committee for Sustainable Development to discuss parliamentary efforts required to achieve environmental sustainability.
The committee discussed a resolution on parliamentary efforts to achieve negative carbon balance in forests, and adopted it after reviewing it and the explanatory note prepared by rapporteurs.
At one of the sessions, al-Hitmi highlighted Qatar’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions according to plans crystallised in the Qatar National Strategy for Environment and Climate Change.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Network of the Non-Aligned Movement held its second conference, with al-Hitmi’s participation, where the report of the network president was reviewed.
The committee discussed a draft decision on the establishment of the Parliamentary Support Group of the Parliamentary Network for the initiatives put forward by the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement to support the global recovery after the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Also discussed were draft resolutions on granting observer status to international parliamentary organisations and on amendments to the statutes of the Non-Aligned Movement's working methods.
Shura Council member Omair bin Abdullah al-Nuaimi participated in the Young Parliamentarians Forum, which dealt with assessing the participation of youth at the national and international levels in parliaments and the latest developments in this regard.
The successes achieved were also reviewed, along with the challenges that hinder youth work to draw conclusions and make recommendations regarding them.
HE the Secretary-General of the Shura Council Dr Ahmed bin Nasser al-Fadala participated in a series of meetings of the Assembly of Secretaries-General of National Parliaments of the IPU, which were held daily.
Issues related to the work of the IPU General Secretariat were discussed.
Parliaments and legislative assemblies presented the practices of a number of countries and discussed best practices for digital parliaments.
On the sidelines of the work of the IPU General Assembly, HE Dr al-Fadala met IPU President Duarte Pacheco.
During their meeting, they discussed parliamentary co-operation, relations between the Shura Council and the IPU, and ways to enhance them, in addition to reviewing a number of topics on the IPU General Assembly’s agenda.