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South Sudan delegation leaves for Interparliamentary Union Assembly, in Angola

By Victor Dodo


South Sudan government delegation has travelled to Angola to attend Interparliamentary Union assembly scheduled for next week, in Luanda.

National Legislative Assembly speaker, Rt. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba, leads South Sudan’s delegation.

South Sudan joins hundreds of parliamentarians from across the world to exchange views and galvanize parliamentary actions on promotion of democracy; help parliaments including the National Legislative Assembly become stronger, younger, gender-balanced and more diverse.

Engagement during the five-day event from 23rd -27th October 2023 will further highlight defending the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world.

All IPU statutory bodies, including the Governing Council, Standing Committees, Committees on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians and on Middle East Questions, as well as the Forum of Women Parliamentarians and the Forum of Young MPs, will convene during this Assembly.

General Debate will focus on the overall theme of Parliamentary action for peace, justice, and strong institutions (SDG 16).

While there, Head of the South Sudan government delegation Speaker, Jemma Nunu Kumba will address the Assembly and provide comprehensive and thorough progress report on the implementation of the Revitalized peace agreement highlighting considerable gains the Transitional national unity government has made in the peace process and the underlying bottle necks in the country’s smooth peace process.

Most important, Speaker Jemma Nunu will spell out the significant role of the national legislative assembly in the overall peace implementation process.

The delegation will also take part in the election of the 31st President of the Interparliamentary Union to replace the incumbent, Mr. Duarte Pacheco, a parliamentarian from Portugal.

To date, four candidates have come forward for the position, all women MPs from Africa – a historic first. They are Ms. Adji Diarra Mergane Kanouté, (Senegal) Ms. Catherine Gotani Hara (Malawi), Ms. Tulia Ackson (United Republic of Tanzania) and Ms. Marwa Abdibashir Hagi (Somalia)

President of the interparliamentary union is elected for a term of three years. He or she must be a sitting Member of Parliament throughout the term of the presidency.

He or she is tasked to among others chair its statutory meetings and represents the organization at major global events.

The incumbent, Duarte Pacheco has been a Member of Parliament in Portugal since 1991. He has held different functions in Parliament, including as a Member of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Portuguese Communities.

The government delegation will also witness announcement of the winner of the 2023 Cremer-Passy Prize, the so-called MP of the year award.

The winning parliamentarian is expected to have a first-class track record on climate action, complementing the IPU’s climate campaign, Parliaments for the Planet, launched earlier this year.

The Second Global Parliamentary Summit on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism will also take place during the Assembly, with a special focus on the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region.

The South Sudan delegation will further participate in the of launch several of its new products and publications to support parliaments including, Indicators for Democratic Parliaments, a new tool linked to the Assembly’s overall theme, which will help parliaments to measure their capacity and performance, the IPU report on youth participation in parliament, a guide to digital transformation in parliaments, a new toolkit on parliaments and human rights, in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The gathering is expected to take one step closer to universal membership with the addition of the Bahamas as its 180thMember Parliament.

South Sudan’s participation in this year’s IPU assembly comes at a very critical and challenging time with mounting global challenges including violence in the Sahel region, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan and increased human trafficking hence the country’s representation in such monumental international forum is highly imperative and a powerful step for the  sovereign young country to provide it the opportunity – and means – to solve complex challenges that it could not overcome on its own and further contribute to global peace and security for example its significant peace mediation efforts in Sudan conflict which has been regionally and internationally commended.

South Sudan has participated in several Interparliamentary Union Assembly including the 143rd held in Madrid – Spain during which head of government delegation Speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba delivered key note address and called attention to the transitional national unity government’s tremendous progress in peace building, including advancement of affirmative action evident by the allocation of 35% quota for women representation in leadership, the permanent constitution making process, training of necessary unified forces, Amendment of Bills and building unity in diversity.

Beyond everything, speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba reiterated the government’s resolute and sustained commitment to execution of its constitutional mandate of service delivery to the citizenry, this include but not limited to the gigantic countrywide infrastructural developments namely roads and hospitals, declaration of free education in an effort to combat illiteracy in a country where more than 70% of the adult population is illiterate, according to the United Nations education and cultural agency UNESCO.

The National Legislative Assembly speaker who doubles as sitting President of the Forum of Parliaments of the Members States of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region further drew attention to the dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan precipitated by the 2021 flooding.

The flooding destroyed property, displaced thousands of people and livestock, and submerged half of the country.

Speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba rallied global support for South Sudan in order to complement government efforts on resettlement of internally displaced persons, returnees, and food security.

Not only did she highlight the monstrous consequences of climate change within sight, speaker Nunu also called for increased civic awareness and engagement on the dangers of ethnic fragmentation, legislation of laws prohibiting hate speech, promotion of unity and dialogue to resolve differences.

The 147th Interparliamentary Union Assembly will conclude with adoption of an outcome document on the overall theme of the General Debate dubbed ‘Parliamentary action for peace, justice, and strong institutions.

The 146th Interparliamentary Union Assembly was held in Manama-Bahrain during which parliamentarians debated ‘Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance’.

South Sudan is the 162nd member of the interparliamentary union.

Interparliamentary Union Assembly is a biannual and rotational gathering of parliamentarians to discuss promotion of democratic governance, accountability, and cooperation among its members; other initiatives include advancing gender parity among legislatures, empowering youth participation in politics, and sustainable development.

The Interparliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments founded in 1889 to promote parliamentary dialogue, working for peace and co-operation and for the firm establishment of representative democracy.

Headquartered in Geneva Switzerland, the IPU comprises 179 national Member Parliaments and 14 regional parliamentary bodies.

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