|A handshake between WSD Chairman Dr. Handa and IPU Secretary General Anders B. Johnsson seals a new partnership. © Worldwide Support for Development|
New funding from Japan’s Worldwide Support for Development (WSD) will help IPU in its efforts to build and strengthen parliamentary democracy in Asia.
The agreement, signed by WSD Chairman Dr. Haruhisa Handa and IPU Secretary General Anders B. Johnsson, provides a donation of three million US dollars to be used to support specific IPU programmes in Asia.
The partnership with WSD, a non-profit organization, marks the start of an important engagement with the private and philanthropic world in building a more democratic world.
“Development is inextricably linked to democracy, good governance and human rights. Together with the IPU, we will advance development for people by building stronger democratic institutions that provide for greater participation by women and youth” said Dr Handa.
The funding, to be used over five years, will focus on promoting gender equality and youth participation in the political and parliamentary processes as well as strengthening the capacity of Asian parliaments to deliver on their democratic mandate.
IPU’s world rankings on women in parliament show Asia having a regional average of 18.3 women MPs and the Pacific with 15.4 per cent. Most of the countries without any women MPs at all in parliament are in the Pacific region.
As well as promoting women’s political participation in parliament, the funding will enable IPU to provide more support to its Asian Members in establishing gender-sensitive parliaments.
IPU’s efforts to enhance youth participation in parliament will also be bolstered at a time when youth disillusionment with political processes and status quo has led to their taking to the streets rather than the ballot boxes or engaging in more formal politics in many parts of the world. IPU’s unique forum for young MPs established this year will initially be working to enhance the influence of young MPs in parliaments everywhere.
“Asian parliaments, like others elsewhere, have challenges they need to address to deliver on their democratic mandate. This funding from the Worldwide Support for Development will help IPU to provide critical support to parliaments that will have a direct and life-changing impact on the lives and aspirations of people in these countries,” said IPU Secretary General Anders B. Johnsson.IPU is currently supporting parliaments in several Asian and Pacific countries on issues relating to human rights, violence against women, gender equal parliaments as well as helping Myanmar to build a modern parliamentary democracy. It is also engaging with Pacific Island nations on redressing the gender deficit in parliamentary representation.