, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – The 56th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference opened in Nairobi on Tuesday, bringing together close to 1,000 delegates from 54 member countries.
The meeting at Kenyatta International Conference Centre is centering on climate change and democracy.
While opening the meeting, President Mwai Kibaki urged the Parliamentarians to lobby their respective governments to reduce carbon emissions.
"This forum is an opportunity for you, Parliamentarians, to further dialogue on the climate change debate which would inform consensus building on a post-Kyoto deal on greenhouse gas reduction which countries would be obliged to implement," he said.
He also urged the Commonwealth community to urgently address issues that continue to affect migrant workers, which include exposure to hostility as well as labour demand patterns that make them vulnerable to exploitation and poor living conditions.
The forum’s theme is “Parliament and Development in the 21st Century thus Far and Beyond".
The President urged the participants to share knowledge among themselves so as to expand their information bases for the benefit of their country’s parliaments and people.
"We must make informed development policies in the areas of socio-economic development such as water and sanitation, energy, health and education. These are the basic rights people must enjoy in order to be productive and to lead dignified lives,” he said.
The conference pushed to formulate policies to protect migrant workers which is expected to rise with growing globalisation characterised by freer flow of people, money, goods and services
President Kibaki said such meetings can help to chart a path in ensuring suitable working terms and conditions within and outside countries. Efforts directed at combating illegal employment or trafficking must also rank high in our agenda.
The President: "Over 86 million people in the world work and live outside their home countries. We need as a Commonwealth community to urgently address issues which include exposure to hostility as well as labour demand patterns that make migrant workers vulnerable to exploitation and poor living conditions."
This is the second time that Kenya is hosting the 10-day event which mainly focuses on sustainable development of their members and how best to serve their interests.
National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende who is also the President of the CPA, urged Parliamentarians to actively participate in ensuring good governance in their respective countries.
"Without being anticipatory or attempting to be prophetic, you parliamentarians have little choice but to speak to development and make it happen otherwise our aspirations and struggle for democratic governance will be hollow," he said.
The Queen of England who is the Patron of the CPA sent a good will message to the conference and was read on her behalf by Mr Marende.
UK House of Commons Deputy Speaker Sir Allan Haselhurst urged members to ensure democracy that delivers services and good leadership to their people.
"I say to this conference don’t look back, look forward starting here and now in Nairobi and then in London let us aim to deliver for all our people that whole new place for all many yearn."