126th IPU Assembly: landmark Resolution on maternal and child health
31 MARCH -5 APRIL 2012 | KAMPALA - Over 1,500 members of parliament and parliamentary staff drawn from 119 countries worldwide came to Uganda to discuss action and resources for improving the health of women and children. Hon. Senator Prof Marleen Temmerman from Belgium represented the iERG at the IPU Assembly.
This is the first time that the Inter-Parliamentary Union has debated and passed a resolution on the issue of maternal, newborn and child. The resolution “Access to health as a basic right: The role of Parliaments in addressing key challenges to securing the health of women and children “ calls for all member-parliaments to take all possible measures to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 by 2015. MDG 4 aims to reduce child deaths around the world by two thirds by 2015, while MDG 5 aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters by the same year.
The resolution was initiated by parliamentarians from Uganda in April 2011 at the IPU Assembly in Panama, and proceeded from a September 2011 special report. The debate on the resolution, which took place over three days in Kampala, featured interventions from more than 50 member-delegations, associate members and observers, including Nigeria, Brazil, the UK, Sweden and Indonesia.
Speaking during the Assembly, Ms. Paula Turyahikayo, one of the three IPU Rapporteur responsible for developing the resolution, said: "The adoption of the resolution on MDGs 4 and 5 in Kampala is a major achievement. We hope that now all the stakeholders will come in and strengthen efforts by parliaments that make it possible to implement the resolution in all countries where MDGs 4 and 5 are doing badly."
Mr Martin Chungong, Director of Programmes at the Inter-Parliamentary Union noted that “this resolution is welcome and will go a long way in structuring the engagement of parliamentarians in national efforts to improve the health of women and children. The Inter-Parliamentary Union intends to support this effort through the development of tools that parliamentarians will be able to use in their efforts to promote accountability for better results. The resolution gives Inter-Parliamentary Union a renewed mandate to work with its partners to strengthen parliamentary capacity in support of maternal, newborn and child health. We are committed to that mandate. We urge development partners, notably CSOs to support parliamentarians in their efforts through the capacity building and the provision of evidence when required.”
The Canadian Parliament, as host of the next 127th IPU Assembly in Quebec City, in October 2012, will follow up with a dedicated push on maternal, newborn and child health to support the implementation of the resolution.
The IPU, created in 1889, is the world’s leading forum for parliamentary dialogue on common issues of concern, and holds a general assembly for members each spring and fall. This spring’s agenda for Kampala also included an IPU initiative to reduce violence in Syria and improve access to humanitarian aid, as well as the launch of the first Global Parliamentary Report, co-produced with UNDP, investigating the state of relations between parliaments and citizens.