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OVERVIEW OF MAIN EVENTS AND DECISIONS
(Lusaka, 19-23 March 2016)
1. Inaugural ceremony
The inaugural ceremony took place at the Government Complex on Saturday, 19 March 2016 at 7.30 p.m., with H.E. the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, in attendance.
Mr. Patrick Matibini, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, stressed that strong parliaments were essential to democratic development and welcomed the IPU’s work in that area. The theme of the 134th Assembly provided an opportunity to harness the energy and potential of young people and to help them participate fully in social, political and economic life, thus providing the right stimulus to create the leaders of tomorrow. It was vital to overcome the barriers to youth participation and tackle the chronic underrepresentation of young people in political institutions. The Assembly also enabled IPU Members to identify action to be taken, share experiences and best practices, and ensure that young people’s voices were better heard in the democratic process.
Mr. Saber Chowdhury, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, thanked the hosts, stressing the truly diverse character of Zambia. Speaking on the theme of the Assembly, he noted that youth disillusionment lay at the heart of a range of challenges currently facing the world. It was up to parliaments to regain young people’s trust, inspire them to enter politics and convince them that their voices counted. It was essential to modernize the democratic system, and to overcome legislative and socioeconomic barriers to youth participation. The IPU was playing its role in tackling those problems through standards-setting and advocacy work.
He paid tribute to the late Zambian President Michael Sata, who had been a great champion of the IPU and who had served on its Executive Committee. President Sata had invited the Organization to hold the current Assembly in Zambia. The IPU President asked all the participants to observe a minute of silence in memory of the late President.
He welcomed new and returning IPU Members, Associate Members and Permanent Observers, and drew attention to the revised IPU Strategy, due to be adopted at the 135th Assembly in Geneva. In order to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were met, parliaments had to be fit for purpose. The IPU was helping to achieve that objective through seminars, workshops and capacity-building initiatives, including the development of a self-assessment toolkit. The IPU also strove to innovate and take measures to reduce the carbon footprint of parliaments and the Organization.
H.E. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, welcomed the delegates to Zambia and said that his country was honoured to host the 134th Assembly. He described Zambia’s journey from a single-party State to a multi-party democratic system and stressed its deep commitment to democracy, peace and good governance. Those principles were reflected in Zambia’s regional peacekeeping role, its interaction with like-minded States and membership of international organizations and forums, such as the IPU. The path to hosting the 134th Assembly had begun in 2012, when the late President Sata had expressed an interest in Zambia hosting the event.
Strong parliaments contributed to strong democracies. They needed to reflect the hopes, aspirations and concerns of all citizens, including young people. Zambia was committed to engaging young people, who formed the majority of the population, and had implemented a range of measures, including programmes developed as part of the African Youth Decade 2009–2018 and its own national youth policy, to create a generation of skilled, enlightened and empowered young people.
Nevertheless, in addition to empowering young people, it was also essential to provide the necessary guidance and support to equip them to handle responsibility and power.
There was a need to move from words to deeds, and the 134th IPU Assembly provided an opportunity to translate ideas into action. Echoing the words of former UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, President Lungu stressed that young people should be at the forefront of global change and wished the 134th Assembly every success in its deliberations.
2. Election of the President
The first plenary sitting of the 134th IPU Assembly opened at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) in Lusaka in the morning of Sunday 20 March, with the election of Mr. P. Matibini, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, as President of the Assembly.
Delegations from 126 Member Parliaments took part in the work of the Assembly:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The following six Associate Members also took part in the Assembly: the Arab Parliament, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS), the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), the Parliament of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Observers comprised representatives of: (i) the United Nations system: the United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UN Women, the World Health Organization (WHO); (ii) the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI); (iii) the African Union, the League of Arab States; (iv) the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), the African Parliamentary Union (APU), the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU), the Forum of Parliaments of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR), the Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC), the Maghreb Consultative Council, the Pan African Parliament, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries (TurkPA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia, the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC), the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum; (v) the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria; (vi) Socialist International; (vii) the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).
Of the 1,227 delegates who attended the Assembly, 634 were members of parliament. Those parliamentarians included 36 Presiding Officers, 38 Deputy Presiding Officers and 190 women (29.9%).
4. Emergency item
(a) Choice of an emergency item
On 20 March 2016, the President informed the Assembly that the following four requests for the inclusion of an emergency item had been proposed:
The delegations of Morocco and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela withdrew their proposals before the vote.
The Assembly proceeded with a roll-call vote on the two remaining items. The proposal put forward jointly by France and Uruguay was adopted and added to the agenda as Item 8.
(b) Debate on the emergency item
Giving an identity to the 230 million children without a civil status: One of the major challenges of the humanitarian crisis in the 21st century (Item 8)
The debate on the emergency item was held in the morning of 21 March 2016 with Ms. N. Motsamai, Speaker of the National Assembly of Lesotho, in the chair.
Before the debate, Ms. L. Dumont (France), co-author of the joint proposal, made a brief presentation on the emergency item. She reminded parliamentarians of alarming figures: more than 230 million children under five years of age were without an identity. She urged parliamentarians to work with their respective governments to establish a better registration system for children, provide free birth certificates and allocate adequate funds for civil registries in the national budget. She underscored the need to facilitate the registration process for all citizens regardless of where they lived.
Subsequently, three speakers took the floor during the debate, from Belgium, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. They reiterated that all children, particularly those affected by war and conflict, should be duly registered so they could enjoy all their rights throughout their lives. One delegate referred to the “IPU-UNICEF Parliamentary workshop on the right to identity: Promoting universal birth registration in Latin America and the Caribbean”, held in Lima, Peru, in June 2013. She reminded IPU Members that parliamentarians at that workshop had agreed to work for universal birth registration.
Other delegates emphasized that special attention was needed for children in situations of conflict, war or living in foreign countries following forced migration. One delegate underscored the urgent need to enact legislation on naturalization so that children without an identity could enjoy their rights in the country where they lived. He added that such legislation should not discriminate against children based on race, ethnicity or religion but rather ensure that each State provided the necessary protection to all people on its territory. Another delegate underscored the importance for all children, while awaiting their registration, to receive the necessary help and assistance. Children without an identity often also became stateless, an important issue that the IPU had been working on. He suggested that the matter of children without a civil status should go beyond the emergency item of the current Assembly and be dealt with by another IPU event or body.
The other co-author of the proposal, Mr. R. Martínez Huelmo (Uruguay), underscored that parliamentarians should not just debate but take necessary actions through legislation and disseminate their ideas throughout the world.
Before concluding the debate, the Chair expressed the hope that the emergency item resolution would lead to concrete actions by parliaments that would help children to regain the rights of which they were deprived.
The Assembly referred the emergency item to a drafting committee composed of representatives of Bahrain, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Iceland, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Malaysia, Mexico, United Republic of Tanzania and Uruguay.
(c) Adoption of the resolution on the emergency item
On 22 March, the Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution on the emergency item.
5. Debates and decisions of the Assembly and its Standing Committees
(a) General Debate: : Rejuvenating democracy, giving voice to youth
The General Debate was introduced by a number of high-level speakers, including the Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, who emphasized the importance of youth participation in decision-making at the national level. He affirmed the need to promote youth-led structures in parliament and to empower young parliamentarians. Youth participation at all levels of governance would strengthen accountability and support the implementation of international commitments. He also underlined the importance of providing both a gender and a youth perspective to the work of parliament.
Ms. M. Mensah-Williams, Speaker of the National Council of Namibia and President of the IPU Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians, argued that, to remain relevant, democracies should be constantly renewed through greater inclusiveness and representation. Both women and young people under 30 were underrepresented. In particular, women were often prevented from exercising their political rights because of challenges such as gender stereotyping and discrimination. In order to open up parliament to young women, the status quo must be changed, existing practices questioned and barriers lifted. The message that politics was for everyone should be promoted. The seeds of political empowerment should be planted at an early age for young girls and boys. Parliaments needed to change the way they worked in order to become more gender-sensitive. One way to achieve that was through a review of their processes, infrastructures, working cultures and operational environments. In such challenging times, the answer was more democracy, not less.
Mr. V. Gapsys (Lithuania), a member of the Board of the Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the IPU, drew attention to the paradox between the increasing development of democratic institutions and the decreasing confidence that the public and young people had in them. To address that paradox, democracies needed to adapt to a digital world that had changed the way people lived and communicated. Parliaments should use those technologies to bridge the offline and online worlds and to bring democracy closer to the people. Young people were instrumental in bringing about that change for the good of all people. However, a number of obstacles stood in their way. Youth representation in parliaments was lacking and young people felt frustrated by a system that they felt did not speak for them. The IPU had been at the forefront of addressing those shortcomings, but it was time to go further. The Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the IPU had made recommendations on how to remedy the situation, such as by increasing youth representation and empowering young people to engage in politics more effectively. Young people wanted to engage and both young and old should work together to translate that aspiration into a more democratic course for everyone.
Ms. A. King (New Zealand), in her capacity as Acting President of the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights, underscored that young parliamentarians should be better represented in parliament. Parliamentarians of all ages should play a role in breaking down barriers to promote inclusiveness. In a rapidly changing world with an emerging digital era, qualifications students earned today would be obsolete by 2025. Young people already faced growing pressures, including insecurity, violence, joblessness, poverty and educational disparity. The unsavoury mix of disillusionment, alienation and distrust that was developing among young people had been accompanied by an inability of parliaments to urgently address those concerns. Young people wanted transparency and oversight, both to fight corruption and to help implement fair, equitable and sustainable development. Some positive work was already underway, such as the establishment of youth parliaments, the promotion of civic education and the increasing use of social media and online tools to reach out to new audiences. However, more was needed. Ms. King described how young people had collectively engaged on social media during and after a tragic earthquake in New Zealand, and stressed that young people should be allowed to take up more responsibilities for the public good.
Mr. A. Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, drew attention to a number of mistaken assumptions. He said that persons under 30 years of age now comprised the majority of the world population. As such, young people were not only the future, but also the present. Politicians should not be working for youth as a favour. Instead, they should be capitalizing on young people’s qualities to support existing political institutions. Young people were not a liability, but rather an incredible opportunity. He objected to the belief that all extremists were young, and argued instead that young people were the victims of extremism. Moreover, young people were neither lazy nor apathetic. The reason for youth disengagement was that political processes were unattractive and needed to adapt to the digital era. He highlighted achievements made in the technology sector to illustrate the point that young people were ready to lead: they had been leading in Silicon Valley and other high-tech centres for some time. Investing in youth was a requirement and proper account must be taken of the needs of young women. In sum, young people were the key driving force that could bring about democratic rejuvenation.
Ms. Y. Chaka Chaka, Artist and UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, cautioned against standing idle while efforts were being made both to empower young men and women and to protect children from disease. Young people were disenfranchised and many countries experienced a brain drain they could ill-afford due to lack of opportunities. No decisions about young people should be taken without including young people in those decisions. More generally, politicians needed to be more accessible to all people. Politics should not be about corruption or self-interest but about empowering the people. Young people were going to change democracy but more young people still needed to be represented in political institutions. The young and the older generations needed to work together by complementing each other and, above all, respecting one another. She concluded that there would be no wealth without health and education.
The debate also featured special presentations by Mr. V. Nayak, a young student who had worked as a digital constituency manager for the 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign in the United States of America, and Ms. C. Phiri, a young boxing champion from Zambia.
Mr. V. Nayak discussed the need for politics to be brought to young people where they were and in a way that appealed to them. His experiences as a digital programmes manager had served that very purpose. He described aspects of his work which had involved developing online tools designed to engage young people on social media and encourage them to spread their views. Digital technologies could act as vehicles to enhance youth engagement. Mr. Nayak encouraged parliamentarians to use those tools to conduct online petitions, virtual town halls and live streaming. However, digital communications were not enough on their own. A new, more authentic way of doing politics was also needed, which would speak to young people today. To further increase the political participation of young people, the age of eligibility to vote and run for office should be lowered.
Ms. C. Phiri presented her own personal experiences from growing up as a young girl in poverty in Lusaka to becoming a world-renowned boxing champion. Her experience underlined the importance of hard work and determination. She emphasized that education and sports were critical elements in the empowerment of young people, as they embodied principles that were of higher, longer-lasting value than material objects. She left the audience with an inspiring message that self-discipline, time management and focus were key factors that had enabled her to overcome poverty and become a sports icon.
During the three days of debate, representatives of 95 Member Parliaments, four Associate Members and six Permanent Observers spoke on the theme. The debate provided them with an opportunity to exchange views on ways of reviving the interest of the younger generation in politics in general and the functioning of parliaments in particular. The experience of the debate at the IPU Assembly in Lusaka was ample proof that the IPU was on its way to opening up to new times and new themes.
In the afternoon of 22 March, the Assembly heard an address by the Foreign Minister of Zambia, Mr. H. Kalaba, who commended the IPU for placing emphasis on the need to rejuvenate politics, mentioning that Zambia could in many ways serve as an example. Zambia was committed to giving its young people a voice in politics and in society in general. That was evidenced by the young faces seen among the Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament. On its paths towards sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs, the country was keen to draw inspiration from best practices in other countries in terms of good governance, transparency and inclusiveness.
In light of the terrorist attacks that had occurred the previous day in Brussels, the IPU President read out a statement on 22 March condemning the attacks and all forms of terrorism. The Assembly subsequently endorsed the statement.
(b) Standing Committee on Peace and International Security
The Standing Committee on Peace and International Security held four sittings from 20 to 22 March, with its President, Mr. R. Tau (South Africa) in the chair. At its first sitting, the Committee considered an explanatory memorandum and draft resolution entitled Terrorism: The need to enhance global cooperation against the threat to democracy and individual rights, jointly drafted by the co-Rapporteurs Ms. C. Guittet (France) and Mr. K. Hari Babu (India). It also considered 95 proposed amendments to the draft resolution submitted by 17 Member Parliaments and the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians. Approximately half of the proposed amendments were approved and many sub-amendments were also accepted.
At the sitting on 22 March, the Committee adopted the revised text by consensus. The delegation of India expressed a reservation on the use of the expression “right to a private life”.
The draft resolution was submitted to the Assembly, meeting in plenary, on the afternoon of 23 March and was adopted by consensus. The title of the resolution was amended by the Assembly to: Terrorism: The need to enhance global cooperation against the threat to democracy and human rights. The delegation of India reiterated its reservation.
Elections to the Bureau were held at the fourth and final sitting of the Committee. The three vacant posts were filled. Elections for the posts of President and Vice-President of the Committee were then held. Ms. L. Rojas (Mexico) was elected President of the Committee and Mr. D. Pacheco (Portugal) was elected Vice-President.
The Bureau met on 21 March to discuss the Committee's next subject item and future work programme. Four subject items had been received by the deadline and were discussed by the members of the Bureau. The Bureau decided to propose to the Committee the topic submitted by the delegation of the Russian Federation albeit with a substantially revised title. The Committee agreed that, at the 136th Assembly, its draft resolution would be entitled The role of parliament in preventing outside interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States. That proposal was subsequently approved by the Assembly.
The Bureau agreed to focus its work at the 135th IPU Assembly on two types of activities: an expert panel on the theme chosen by the Committee for debate and one (or two) panel discussion(s) on the theme(s) of the remaining proposals.
(c) Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade
The Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade held three sittings from 20 to 22 March, with its Vice-President, Mr. O. Hav (Denmark) and Bureau member Ms. N. Marino (Australia), in the chair. The Standing Committee had before it an explanatory memorandum and draft resolution, entitled Ensuring lasting protection against destruction and deterioration for the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of humanity, jointly prepared by the co-Rapporteurs, Mr. A. Destexhe (Belgium) and Mr. H. Kouskous (Morocco). It also had before it 169 proposed amendments to the draft resolution submitted by 16 Member Parliaments.
The Committee first heard a presentation of the draft resolution by the co-Rapporteurs and then held a short debate. A total of 17 speakers took the floor. The Standing Committee then proceeded to consider the proposed amendments in two plenary sittings. The co-Rapporteurs endeavoured to merge as many amendments as possible.
At its final sitting on 22 March, the Standing Committee unanimously adopted the consolidated draft. The Committee agreed that Mr. A. Cissé (Mali) would present the draft resolution to the Assembly.
The draft resolution was submitted to the Assembly at its plenary sitting in the afternoon of 23 March and was adopted unanimously.
At its final sitting and at the proposal of the Bureau, the Standing Committee adopted its next subject item, Promoting enhanced international cooperation on the SDGs, in particular on the financial inclusion of women as a driver of development. The Committee approved the nomination of Ms. G. Cuevas (Mexico) and Ms. P. Mahajan (India) as co-Rapporteurs.
In terms of the work plan for the 135th Assembly, the Committee approved the proposal of the Bureau to organize a debate on the subject item as well as a panel discussion on the theme, The role of parliaments in countering the activities of vulture funds.
Lastly, the Committee elected the Bureau as proposed by the geopolitical groups. It also elected Ms. S. Tioulong (Cambodia) as its President and Mr. A. Cissé (Mali) as its Vice-President.
(d) Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights
The Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights held two sittings on 21 and 22 March 2016 with its Acting President, Ms. A. King (New Zealand) in the chair.
At its first sitting, the Committee approved the nomination of the two co-Rapporteurs for its next resolution, Ms. S. Lines (Australia, replacing Ms. L. Markus) and Mr. M. Kilonzo Junior (Kenya). The co‑Rapporteurs participated in an interactive debate on the subject of the Committee’s next resolution, The freedom of women to participate in political processes fully, safely and without interference: Building partnerships between men and women to achieve this objective. They were joined on the panel by Mr. N. Erskine-Smith (Canada), Ms. M. Azer Abdelmalak (Egypt) and Mr. J. Zangpo (Bhutan). Thirty-two delegates took part in the debate, including 18 women and 14 men. The Chair invited all members to submit their written inputs for the draft resolution by 10 April.
At its second sitting, the Committee held a debate on Open Parliaments: Building an association on accountability with Ms. L. Rojas (Mexico), Mr. N. Evans (United Kingdom), Mr. C. Chauvel (UNDP) and Mr. D. Swislow (National Democratic Institute) serving as panellists. Twenty-three parliamentarians participated in the debate, of whom 18 were men and five were women.
At its second sitting, the Committee held elections for the vacant seats on its Bureau. The Asia-Pacific Group nominated Mr. P. Wangchuk (Bhutan) and the Twelve Plus Group nominated Mr. J. Lacão (Portugal). Both nominations were approved by the Committee. Four more vacant posts remained unfilled. After the Committee sitting, the Asia-Pacific Group submitted the candidature of Mr. A.Y. Desai (India) to fill one of the vacancies. That nomination would be submitted to the Committee at the 135th Assembly.
The Acting President informed the Committee that the geopolitical groups had jointly agreed that the next President of the Committee would be from the African Group. As the nomination for the post of President had not yet been received, the election of the next President would be deferred to the 135th Assembly. The vacant post for the Vice-President would be filled at the same time.
(e) Standing Committee on United Nations Affairs
During the first sitting of the Committee, members commented on the new process for the selection of the United Nations Secretary-General, as outlined in a detailed background note prepared by the IPU Secretariat.
The Committee heard presentations from Ms. Y. Terlingen, a representative of the 1 for 7 Billion Campaign, working to change the selection process; Mr. K. Kosachev (Russian Federation); and Ms. G. Ortiz (Mexico) and a member of the Committee’s Bureau.
The participants asked the IPU to transmit the following three questions to all candidates running for the position of UN Secretary-General:
At the second sitting, the Committee was briefed on the institutional arrangements for the implementation of the SDGs. Mr. L. Borbely (Romania), Ms. P. Torsney and Mr. A. Motter (IPU Secretariat) and Mr. C. Chauvel (UNDP), made presentations on the topic.
It was agreed that each first annual session of the Standing Committee would henceforth be utilized to: (i) take stock of global progress on the SDGs (UN reports); (ii) prepare parliaments for the voluntary national reviews by the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; (iii) encourage parliaments to perform a self-assessment of their capacity to implement the SDGs and share best practices.
The Standing Committee on United Nations Affairs met on 22 March. Mr. A. Romanovich (Russian Federation) was elected to the Bureau, as was Ms. A.R. Albasti (United Arab Emirates) and Mr. A.F.I. Al-Mansour (Sudan). Mr. Al-Mansour became Vice-President of the Committee, replacing Mr. M. El Hassan Al Amin (Sudan).
6. Concluding sitting
At its final sitting in the afternoon of 23 March, the Assembly had before it the results of the work of the Standing Committees, as well as the Outcome Document of the General Debate, Rejuvenating democracy, giving voice to youth.
Following the presentation of the reports of the Standing Committees and the adoption of the resolutions, the President of the Assembly invited Ms. G. Kokorwe, Speaker of the National Assembly of Botswana, and Mr. O. Yanar, a young member of parliament from Finland, to present the Outcome Document of the General Debate. Representing both sexes, senior parliamentary leaders and young parliamentarians, majority leaders as well as minorities in parliament and in society, they gave a powerful testimony to the outcome of the very rich and substantive Assembly proceedings. They called on all participants to follow up on the specific recommendations from the Outcome Document and to report back to the IPU on progress made.
The Assembly concluded with statements from the representatives of the geopolitical groups: Mr. K. Al Maawali (Oman) on behalf of the Arab Group, Ms. A. Rasheed (Maldives) on behalf of the Asia-Pacific Group, Mr. R. León (Chile) on behalf of the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. P. Mahoux (Belgium) on behalf of the Twelve Plus Group, and Mr. P. Nzengue Mayila (Gabon) on behalf of the Africa Group. They expressed their immense satisfaction with the Assembly, which had culminated in tangible and topical outcomes, as well as their deep appreciation for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements provided by the host country, Zambia.
The IPU President reiterated his thanks to the Zambian hosts for ensuring the success of the Assembly, to the IPU Members and partners for their constructive contributions and engagement, as well as to the IPU Secretariat and support staff for their dedication and hard work.
The Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia, summing up the results of the Assembly, thanked all the participants for their active involvement and declared the 134th Assembly closed.