St Petersburg has hosted the largest assembly in the history of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Upwards of 2,500 participants, 160 delegations (over half of which were headed by parliamentary speakers), and 400 journalists took part in the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, which was held from 14 to 18 October 2017.
The event saw impressive results: members of parliaments from around the world signed the IPU Petition in support of the formation of democratic societies. A number of issues were also discussed, from banning nuclear weapons to information security, using scientific research to achieve higher standards in health care, encouraging the use of renewable energy in the private sector, and strengthening the parliamentary dimension of the UN. The assembly’s business programme included the Forum of Women Parliamentarians and the IPU Forum of Young Parliamentarians. Meetings were held between the IPU’s six geopolitical groups: the African Group, the Arab Group, the Asia-Pacific Group, the Eurasia Group, the Group of Latin-America and the Caribbean, and the Twelve Plus Group (which includes the countries of Western and Central Europe, Canada, and other states).
The event also saw the election of Gabriela Cuevas Barron as new President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In addition, the IPU accepted a number of new members: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, and the Marshall Islands, bringing the total number of IPU member-states to 177.
Russia guaranteed all foreign participants a smooth entry into the country, irrespective of their presence on Russian restricted lists drawn up in response to Western sanctions. An atmosphere was created in which parliamentarians could engage in productive dialogue at the assembly.
The next meeting will take place in 2018 in Geneva.