, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 18 – Curtains came down at the 56th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) conference on Saturday with calls to all governments to adequately address challenges caused by climate change.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga who closed the conference said the erratic weather changes should top each country’s agenda as the effects risked causing regional and international instability.
He also asked citizens to ensure that their governments efficiently responded to the climatic changes.
“Copenhagen was a big disappointment and I therefore urge you to push for aggressive investment, renewable power investment and energy efficiency which will protect our climate while providing employment and growth. We still need more leaders than politicians in this area,” he said.
He further urged the CPA members to promote regional democratic processes and systems saying it would promote stability.
“It is important for the CPA to deliberate on its role in democratization, economic transformation and good governance among member states. I believe that being members of the commonwealth, commits us to help one another when our democratic institutions are threatened,” he said.
Mr Odinga further invited the Commonwealth member states to sanction those they felt were infringing democracy: “I believe the Commonwealth can be an instrument that provides for punitive measures when a serious challenge to democratic process occurs.
The PM also asked the Commonwealth to be an instrument of providing technical assistance and moral encouragement to prevent democratic erosion.
“I want to therefore thank the Commonwealth for agreeing to provide experts to help with the drafting of laws to anchor our new constitution,” he said.
He also underscored the critical role that Parliamentarians had in creating stability and peace in their respective countries.
“The Kenyan MPs were there on that tense evening in 2008 when we gathered in Parliament to elect the Speaker as a much divided house. And they were there last month when we delivered a new constitution as one united nation,” he said.
He further reiterated the need for getting past tribal and partisan politics especially as the country embarked on the implementation phase of the new laws.
“It is important to continue working in a bipartisan manner in order to avoid conflicts. From our experience here, it is clear that when Parliamentarians set their eyes on a national agenda, a nation can move forward,” he noted.
The PM applauded the CPA for directing its members to focus on addressing current human rights issues.
The 56th CPA conference started last Saturday and was hosted by the CPA Kenya Chapter at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC). During their stay in Kenya, the Commonwealth MPs got the chance to tour various parts of the country; some went to Mombasa while others went to Nakuru and Naivasha.
Kenya’s Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende is the CPA President.