New IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong has committed to making the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) a truly inclusive and diverse global organization by reaching out to marginalized regions and parliaments in need of support.
He identified engagement with the Caribbean, the Pacific and South America as a key priority in IPU’s work to build peace and promote democracy globally.
Formally taking up the post today from Anders B. Johnsson who completed a 16-year mandate on 30th June, the IPU Secretary General stressed the importance of a global organization that was universal in its membership.
“As an organization whose Members represent the will of their people both in national and international decision-making through their elected representatives, a universal IPU is essential to building a world more solidly rooted in democratic values,” says Chungong.
IPU currently has 164 Member parliaments out of the nearly 190 countries with legislative bodies. The biggest gaps in membership are in the Americas, Caribbean and the Pacific regions.
“Open to all national parliaments, IPU is an organization where every Member has equal weight. Together, IPU will work to regenerate democracy by engaging and mobilizing a disaffected and marginalized youth to overcome the many challenges the world faces today,” the IPU Secretary General adds.
Having achieved a double first by being the first non-European and the first African to be elected to the post in IPU’s 125-year-old history, Chungong reaffirmed the Organization’s long-standing commitments to key pillars of democracy.
This includes gender parity in political participation, the protection of human rights, human development and parliaments’ role in defining and implementing the new sustainable development goals, as well as modernizing parliaments to successfully tackle global and national challenges to democracy.Although the majority of IPU’s work to support parliaments on these issues is in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Chungong has underlined his intention to do more to support the other regions.