Sri Lankan Parliament Delegation attends the 148th Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva

  • Parliamentary diplomacy has gained prominence in recent times as a tool for conflict prevention and resolution – Speaker says while addressing the assembly

A delegation of the Parliament of Sri Lanka led by the Speaker Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena attended the 148th Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union held in Geneva from 23rd to 27th March 2024.

The delegation comprised of Members of Parliament Hon. R. M. Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Hon. Ashok Abeysinghe, Hon. Sumith Udukumbura, Hon. (Mrs.) Manjula Dissanayake and Secretary General of Parliament (Mrs.) Kushani Rohanadeera.

Addressing the General Debate under the theme “Parliamentary diplomacy: Building bridges for peace and understanding” Speaker Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena pointed out that parliamentary diplomacy acts as a bridge between governments and citizens, ensuring that the concerns and perspectives of the people are taken into account in the formulation of foreign policies.  Speaker also stated that in recent times, parliamentary diplomacy has gained prominence as a tool for conflict prevention and resolution. By facilitating dialogue and understanding between nations at the legislative level, parliamentary diplomats contribute to creating an environment conducive to peaceful coexistence the speaker added.

The Speaker further mentioned that, Parliamentary diplomacy is an important perspective and alternative form of diplomacy. Even if not widely studied yet, Parliamentary diplomacy has developed lately by the increasing role of Parliaments and their enrollment in foreign affairs and issues related to international relations.

Focusing on the experiences of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, the speaker pointed out that Sri Lanka joined Inter-Parliamentary Union on 9th Feb 1949. Since then, Sri Lanka actively participated in IPU assemblies and Sri Lanka had the opportunity to host several seminars and workshops of IPU in the past, the speaker added. Further, the Sectoral Oversight Committee on International Relations and Consultative Committee on Ministry of  Foreign Affairs have wide mandates to inquire into all aspects of foreign policy, to examine legislation referred to them as well as the expenditure estimates of departments and agencies that are  implementing foreign policy, the Speaker Hon Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena Said.

During the assembly, Hon. Members of Parliament attended the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights, Standing Committee on Peace and International Security, Standing Committee on Sustainable Development and Forum of Women Parliamentarians and shared their experiences and knowledge.