Fiji Parliament Delegation at the 146th IPU Assembly

A Parliamentary delegation led by the Speaker of Parliament Hon. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu is in Manama, Bahrain for the 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union (‘IPU’) Assembly.

The delegation includes the Assistant Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Alitia Bainivalu and Opposition Member Hon. Inia Seruiratu.

The IPU Assembly and its related meetings commenced on Saturday, 11 March 2023. The IPU Assembly provides an opportunity for the global community of national Parliaments to come together to strengthen Parliamentary efforts to drive change and address global issues. The theme of this year’s Assembly is Promoting peaceful coexistence and inclusive societies: Fighting intolerance.

At this year’s 146th Assembly, the Honourable Speaker addressed the plenary during the General Debate at the Special accountability segment on IPU action to tackle climate change.

The Hon. Speaker stated that climate change affects us all and as members of the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS), Fiji is not immune.

“Climate change affects us disproportionately, however, the PSIDS are threatened by rising sea level, ocean warming and acidification, increased frequency and intensity of cyclones, changing weather patterns particularly rainfall that causes serious flooding.”

“As a small island state, Fiji has a strong engagement and commitment with the UNFCCC under the Paris Agreement punching above its own weight in climate leadership, response and climate action,” Hon. Speaker said.

Whilst delivering his concluding remarks, he reiterated that the Fijian Parliament is strongly committed to continue with national response efforts to climate crisis, and urged the global community at large, to collectively fight this calamity that confronts us all.

In a separate side event, the Hon. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu addressed the Conference of Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network with the theme Parliamentary support to the national and global efforts on post-pandemic recovery.

The key message from the Honourable Speaker was that Parliaments must have the necessary tools to ensure minimal disruption to Parliamentary processes during any crisis.

“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fijian Parliament encountered social-distancing rules, restrictions on face-to-face meetings and lockdowns as part of the national response to the pandemic.”

“But the Fijian Parliament continued to function and deliver on its constitutional mandate during the pandemic because of the Parliament’s massive investment in its e-Parliament initiative which began well before Fiji had its first coronavirus case in March 2020,” he added.

The Honourable Speaker urged the forum to affirm the need for Parliaments to be innovative and resilient during public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic; and to advocate for stronger inter-Parliamentary engagements.

The 146th IPU Assembly concludes today, Wednesday, 15 March 2023.