The Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Anita Among, addressed her counterparts in the Commonwealth at the closure of the 27th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) held at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort in Kampala on Saturday, January 6, 2024, focused on fostering a peaceful and conflict-free world.
Among urged Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers to play a leading role in achieving a peaceful world, especially in light of recent geopolitical changes marked by increased violence and conflicts, particularly in the Middle East and parts of Europe. She emphasized that Parliaments cannot afford to be passive bystanders in the face of such challenges.
Advocating for the respect of states’ values, cultures, and traditions, Among highlighted the importance of managing differences within the bounds of friendship. She pledged the commitment of the Parliament of Uganda to support cooperation among Commonwealth legislatures and strengthen Parliamentary diplomacy through various Inter-Parliamentary bodies, including the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
During the four-day conference, which ran from January 3 to January 6, 2023, Speakers and Presiding Officers deliberated on crucial issues such as climate change, the security and health of Speakers and Presiding Officers, gender inclusivity, and youth engagement. Among stressed the need for deliberate efforts to promote youth engagement in Parliaments to ensure continuity.
She cited Uganda Parliament’s initiatives, including the annual Youth Parliament, where youth leaders from across the country participate in a moot plenary session. The conference also endorsed India to host the 28th CSPOC in 2026, with a call for Parliaments to actively address climate change through legislation.
Harivansh Narayan Singh, the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament), expressed that the forum would provide an opportunity for delegates to positively impact the lives of citizens in Commonwealth countries. He welcomed all participants to India, stating that it would be a moment of pride for India to showcase its diverse culture.
The conference’s overarching aims include maintaining, fostering, and encouraging the impartiality and fairness of Speakers and Presiding Officers across Commonwealth Parliaments, as well as promoting knowledge and understanding of Parliamentary democracy in its various forms.