Kadaga Receives Grand Honour In Benin

and geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The Speaker had earlier honour was bestowed on her during a courtesy call she made on the Benin President, H.E. Yaya Boni at the Presidential Palace in Cotonou, Benin on Friday April 11, 2014.

The medals were presented to her by Dr. Koubourath Anjorin Osseni, of the Benin Chancery, which recognized the dignity and prestige the people of Benin accord to Rt. Hon. Kadaga as was recommended by H.E. Yaya Boni, The President of the Republic of Benin.

The Speaker was in Porto-Novo, Benin to attend the Opening of the 1st Session of the 6th Legislature on Friday 11th April 2014. During her remarks, Hon. Kadaga encouraged the People of Benin to include women in decision making processes.

The Parliament of Benin has only six women representatives out of the eighty three Members of Parliament.

The Speaker also visited the National Parliament of Benin Radio Hemicycle FM 103.4 where she proposed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to identify areas of common interests between the two legislative bodies.

The Speaker was accompanied by Hon. Lucy Ajok and Hon. Peter-Abraham Lokii.

Below is Hon. Kadaga’s speech in full:

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to address the National Assembly on the occasion of the Opening of the 1st session of 2014.

I express my sincere pleasure to Prof Nago, the Speaker of the National Assembly. He has invited me on two previous occasions but I was unable to come, but this year I decided to put aside any other work so that I could honour his invitation and I am very happy to be here, for the first time.

When I was in secondary school we studied the history of West Africa and I recall vividly the power, the political and military organization of the ancient Kingdom of Dahomey under its ruler, the FON.

Presently relations between our two governments are very cordial.

There have been state visits to Uganda by both President Kerekou and President Soglo as well as other dignitaries like ministers.

What has been missing and which I have come to implement is the improvement and strengthening of relations between the two national assemblies of the Republics of Benin and of Uganda.

Amongst the other things we share is the production of cotton, and both Benin and Uganda have been consistent and avid advocates for the full implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the least developed countries which calls for poverty eradication and quota free market access for all commodities from least developed countries and specifically for the USA to cut subsidies to their farmers, Coming to the parliamentary dimension, I have worked closely with Prof Nago and the Benin delegation, as a member of the IPU Executive Committee, representing the African region together with colleagues from Burkina Faso, Gabon and Lesotho.

I wish to report that overtime, it has become clear that parliaments are not very much engaged in the shaping of international foreign policy, yet when international agreements are agreed and signed by governments, it is the parliaments which are expected to not only domesticate those agreements into municipal law but to also budget and carry out oversight.

Many times parliaments find themselves in a tight spot where they cannot change the agreements since they have already been signed, including terms and conditions.

It is for this reason that the IPU, has been able as a start to influence the future content of the reports of our countries to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

It is now a requirement that the country report must include an assurance that the report being presented has been discussed by the Parliament.

Therefore, as the Executive Committee of the IPU, we would like to encourage the governments to include Members of Parliament on national delegations to the meetings of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations and of course to request the Speakers to facilitate the participation as well as reporting so that the outcomes are owned by the people.

Members of Parliament are the representatives of the people, and as such are key stakeholders who need to make an input into agreements entered by the governments on behalf of the population.

It is, therefore, a matter of great regret that the Millennium Development Goals were designed, discussed and agreed upon without the national parliaments.

Ironically, civil society has always been consulted and indeed have a right of space at meetings of the United Nations, yet they are not elected by anybody, they appoint themselves and report to the donors not to the population, for instance, during the annual meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women which takes place each year, the IPU has only one day out of the two weeks.

It is therefore important that parliaments and the local governments participate fully in the development of the Post-2015 sustainable development goals.

This position has been made to the high-level consultative group.

At the local level, we need to always keep in mind the public interest.

We should scrutinize the government’s proposals to ensure that they have equity for both genders.

When budgeting, are we taking into account the needs of school children, their infrastructure, their sanitation, the provision of water, the distances that children have to walk to get to school?

Have we provided for sufficient laboratories and equipment, have we ensured sufficient teachers for them?

Do the ordinary people have access to land, to capital, to financial institutions and is it affordable? All these and more responsibilities sit on our shoulders because we are their voice.

I will not conclude before speaking about the need for inclusion of women in decision making.

Most of our countries are signatory to The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which is now more than 30years.

The Beijing Platform of Action required our governments to take temporary special measures to facilitate this, if there is an opportunity to amend your national constitution please take advantage of that to make those changes.

Again thank you for this opportunity Mr. Speaker and I wish you a successful Session.


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