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IPU Assembly concludes today

Dispute flares up over inclusion of WB, IMF in SDGs

By Special Correspondent
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Dispute have flared up in the Inter-Parliamentary Union [IPU] Assembly over possible "inclusion" of World Bank and International Monetary Fund when the legislators firmly expressed doubt over the "working capability" of the two global money lenders in the tasks of achieving Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs].
The issue, especially the capability and legal  jurisdictions of WB and IMF, was raised at the meeting of Standing Committee on United Nations Affairs on Tuesday, which was chaired by Swedish Parliament member Anti Avsan.
Taking part in the discussion, the parliamentarians raised question what would be the "working area" of the two financial giants, as both of them have "huge limitations".   Expressing dissatisfaction, the lawmakers attending IPU Assembly in Dhaka, said the two organizations only could lend to different nations, but they have no capability to give decision on other important matters. Hardly, the two can supervise their sanctioned loans, if it is necessary, meeting sources said. "Apart from WB, IMF, issue, the lawmakers have laid emphasis on the participation of the United Nations to achieve SDGs as well as taking more pragmatic steps" Anti Avsan said after the meeting.  Deputy Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament Fazle Rabbi Mia said Bangladesh achieved Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. "And so, the SDGs will also be achieved in the same way. I do urge all the IPU members to work together in this regard," he said. Saudi Arabian representative said there is no alternative to educating female community as of the total global poor population; the number of women is the highest.  Besides, the representatives of China, Zimbabwe, China, Bahrain and India expressed their views over the SDGs issue.
Meanwhile, the closing session of the five-day IPU Assembly will be held today (Wednesday) which Governing Council decisions on the human rights of MPs and Reports of specialized meetings will also come up for vdiscussion.  Governing Council will adopt resolutions, Reports of the Standing Committees, outcome document of the General debate, and Closing sitting at Hall of Fame. Bangladesh Speaker and Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury will address the General Assembly at 2:30 pm.
Earlier on Saturday, the 136th IPU Assembly began where the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Children's Rights Activist Kailash Satyarthi presented the key-note paper.  This year, the theme of IPU Assembly is "redressing inequalities: delivering on dignity and well-being for all". Actually, the main focus of the IPU Assembly is 'taking decisive action to end rising social, political and economic inequalities and to ensure no interference in internal affairs of the states in the present global context. About 1,348 delegates, including 650 parliament members, 53 Speakers, Deputy Speakers and 209 female parliamentarians of 131 countries, attended the programme. "The 136th IPU Assembly will help showcase the country's ongoing economic progress before the international community," IPU President Saber Hossain Chowdhury said. The surprise of this year's IPU Assembly was the "big twist of Pakistan" at the eleventh hour without officially citing any reason behind it. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry conveyed its decision to Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad through a "note verbale". Interestingly, the Standing Committee members of Bangladesh Nationalist Party [BNP] in a recent crucial meeting have termed the IPU Assembly in Bangladesh is nothing but a farce" where parliament does not represent the people.
"The IPU Assembly is nothing but a farce in a country where parliament doesn't represent people, democratic institutions have been ruined while people's human rights have been snatched, and people are plagued by killings, enforced disappearances, wholesale arrests and false cases," BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said recently, echoing his party leaders' voice on the mega event.
BNP stalwarts, however, called upon the IPU members to take a moral stance in favour of establishing a representative parliamentary system in Bangladesh through a participatory election.

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