Bangladesh set to host 136th IPU assembly in April.

DHAKA- Bangladesh is set to roll out the red carpet as parliamentarians from across the globe join the 136 assembly of International Parliamentary Union (IPU), the century-old organisation of world's legislators, in April this year.

Officials familiar with the process said IPU chose Bangladesh to be the host of its most crucial event for the first time, three years after it elected for the Bangladeshi lawmaker Saber Chowdhury as the president of the global parliamentarians' forum.

The IPU Assembly, which was earlier called Inter-Parliamentary Conference, is the principal statutory body that expresses the views of the global forum on political issues bringing together parliamentarians to study international problems and make recommendations for action.

"We are expecting over 1,300 representatives including parliament speakers, deputy speakers and parliament members of 171 countries to attend the assembly," said additional secretary of Bangladesh's Parliament Secretariat Golam Mostafa said.

He said preparedness was afoot to hold the five-day IPU assembly from April 1 in Bangladesh capital amid foolproof security arrangements for "one of the biggest international events Bangladesh hosted so far".

According to Mostafa apart from IPU countries, representatives from United Nations, IPU associated bodies and different international agencies will join the assembly as delegates' registration is underway in full-swing.

Apart from delegates, he said, as many as 300 journalists from home and abroad are expected to cover the programme to be opened by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the South Plaza of Jatiya Sangsad.

Other programmes of the assembly will be held in five venues of Bangabanadhu International Conference Centre (BICC) while the delegates would be housed in 15 hotels in the city.

Officials said a modern makeshift media centre equipped with computers, laptops, high-speed internet bandwidth and adequate manpower would be set up at BICC for the local and foreign newsmen so they could smoothly send their news feed.

"An IPU spokesperson will brief media at the end of the day's programme at the media centre," an official related to the arrangement said.

The officials said IPU President Saber Hossain Chowdhury was expected to hold a press conference on March 5 on the overall preparations for the global event, which will be wrapped up with the Dhaka declaration on April 5.

According to draft programme, the delegates and IPU executive committee members will start arriving on March 23 and the meeting of the sub-committee of finance will be held on March 29 at BICC.

General debates would follow every session on particular issues like international cooperation on SDGs, international peace and security, women empowerment, redressing inequalities, human rights and parliaments' role in preventing outside interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states.

The IPU, established in 1889 with its headquarters in Switzerland, is the focal point for global parliamentary dialogues for peace, development, and cooperation among peoples, and for the safeguard of representative democracy.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)