The Inter-Parliamentary Union is going to focus on global nuclear disarmament at its next assembly in 2014.
The decision was taken when nearly 1,000 parliamentarians from 150 countries met at the IPU’s 128th Assembly in Quito, Ecuador from March 22 to March 27. They approved a recommendation of the IPU Standing Committee on Peace and International Security that the 130th IPU Assembly, to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2014 should focus on the subject “Towards a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments.”
The move is widely seen as a breakthrough for efforts to revive the issue on a global scale and put it at the forefront of the international agenda.
The IPU is an international organisation of over 160 parliaments, including most of the parliaments of nuclear weapons states and their allies. It is the world’s premier forum for parliaments and parliamentarians to engage on core issues for humanity.
The choice of nuclear weapons as the subject for discussion reflected 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,” the Basel Peace Office (BPO) in Geneva, Switzerland said in a statement. The BPO works to advance research, teaching and policy-development programmes dedicated to international peace, conflict resolution and security to achieve the global abolition of nuclear weapons
These efforts have included “panels at IPU Assemblies, the adoption of a resolution on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament at the 120th IPU Assembly in 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the production by the IPU and the 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,” the BPO said.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commended IPU and PNND for this educative work in a letter sent to every parliament in 2010. He encouraged further action on the disarmament issue.
The IPU Assembly appointed two rapporteurs recommended by the IPU Standing Committee on Peace and International Security to coordinate planning on the topic, Yolanda Ferrer Gomez of Cuba and Blaine Calkins of Canada.
Kazakhstan did not participate in the Quito Assembly, but it did so in the 127th Assembly held in Quebec City, Canada on October 2012 when a delegation headed by the Chairman of the Mazhilis (the lower house of Parliament) Nurlan Nigmatulin took part. That conference discussed, among others, the international nuclear disarmament initiatives of President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
IPU delegates at the Quebec City conference also noted the contribution of Kazakhstan’s ATOM Project towards advancing the cause of global nuclear disarmament. Belgian, French, German and Egyptian members of parliaments said The ATOM Project is more evidence that Kazakhstan and its leader are active participants of the process for building peace free of nuclear weapons.
“We are very interested in the experience of your country in promoting peace, accord and security. Thanks to President Nazarbayev and his global initiatives, particularly in international dialogues, Kazakhstan is known around the world. We carefully follow all the proposals of your country,” Norbert Lammert, president of the German Bundestag, told Kazakh officials in his remarks at the Quebec City gathering.
Noel Kinsella, Speaker of the Canadian Senate, told the IPU, “The unique dialogue platform for world religions existing in Kazakhstan allows the country to be a model of international and inter-confessional accord. Thanks to the initiative of President Nazarbayev, the leaders of world and traditional religions gather at one table and discuss ways for preserving peace around the world. I am confident, similar initiatives have a great potential, they are the future.”
The IPU delegates in Quebec City also discussed G-Global, Kazakhstan’s global online discussion platform to explore solutions for major international problems.
“I know Kazakhstan quite well, and I am proud of my friendship with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Today, the whole world knows about your country, and all this is thanks to the efforts and the international authority of your President. His initiatives, especially G-global, are of great value for the world economy,” former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said then.
The IPU is the oldest international parliamentary organisation in the world and was founded in 1889. Its main objectives are the promotion of peace and the peaceful settlement of disputes, advancing cooperation among nations and strengthening parliamentary institutions around the world.