Nearly 1000 parliamentarians from approximately 150 parliaments, meeting at the 128th Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Quito, Ecuador from Mar 22-27, agreed to the recommendation of the IPU Standing Committee on Peace and International Security for the topic "Towards a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments" to be a focus of the 130th IPU Assembly in 2014.
The Assembly also agreed to the topics of “Towards risk-resilient development” (proposed by the Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade) and “The role of parliamentarians in protecting the rights of children, in particular unaccompanied migrant children, and in preventing their exploitation in situations of war and conflict” (proposed by the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights).
IPU, as an international organisation of over 160 parliaments (including most of the parliaments from nuclear weapons States and their allies), is the world's premier forum for parliaments and parliamentarians to engage on core issues for humanity.
The fact that the issue of nuclear weapons was chosen ahead of seven other proposals indicates the increased interest in the issue by parliaments and parliamentarians around the world.
A factor in this interest could be the parliamentary education work on this issue undertaken by the Inter Parliamentary Union in partnership with Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND) over the past four years. This includes panels at IPU Assemblies, the adoption of a resolution on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament at the 120th IPU Assembly in 2009, and the production by IPU and PNND of a Handbook for Parliamentarians on Supporting Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (available in English, French and Spanish) which has been sent to every parliament in the world.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended IPU and PNND for this educative work in an unprecedented letter sent to every parliament in 2010 highlighting the important role of parliamentarians and encouraging further action.
The IPU Assembly appointed two rapporteurs recommended by the IPU Standing Commission on Peace and International Security to coordinate the work on this topic - Ms Yolanda Ferrer Gomez (Cuba) and Mr Blaine Calkins (Canada). This will culminate in the adoption of a resolution on "Towards a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments" at the 130th IPU Assembly in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2014.
Saber Chowdhury, PNND Co-President and Chair of the IPU Standing Commission on
Peace and International Security, announcing the topic for 2014 of
"Towards a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments"