Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dear IPU lets not become some sort of Geopolitical Eurovision

My speech from the #IPU131 general assembly

Dear fellow members of IPU

I am proud to report that Iceland is still among the top nations in regard to gender equality according to various global indexes and reports. Iceland continues to be at the top of the overall rankings in The Global Gender Gap Index for the fifth consecutive year.

Iceland has made an effort to share its trials and errors in how to reach such an achievement for it has of course not always been the reality for women to be at equal footing with their male fellows in my country.

There is still un-equality in some areas and not so equal opportunities for high level responsibilities and it is still hard to juggle a career and family and of course there is always space for improvement.

Our world is becoming more complex and out of control every day. At times like these strong and healthy communities based on the values and structures of democracies are perhaps the best antidote to the slide towards totalitarianism and corpocracies. There is a growing distrust in representatives and the systems we have built around the people we serve, locally and globally. I was reading a thought provoking article titled “What's gone wrong with Democracy in the Economist recently, it analyzes why democracy as a form of running states is on the decline and I feel it is of uttermost importance that we here at the IPU address this without delay and find solutions we can all agree on and start of the course of implementing them. In this regard it's also important to acknowledge that there is not a formula of one size fits all for democracy. We need however to have a close look at the architecture of our political systems. Some of democracy’s most cherished institutions look outdated.

The main conclusions in the Economist are as follows:
More transparency,
More accountability,
No more promises to voters we know we can't keep.
More efficiency in how we run our establishments, specially our parliaments.
No more large corporate donors in the shadows
No more revolving doors
More distribution of power and space for experimentation for example use technology to implement a modern version of town-hall meetings to promote civic involvement and innovation.
Implement ways for technocracy and direct democracy to balance each other so democracy won't end up again in the hand of special-interest groups.

We all know that Democracy simply means the rule of the people. We are at cross roads in how to upgrade our systems for they have become too complex and inflexible. Too many people feel that they are no longer served by it despite taking part by paying their due through taxes and other forms of participation. Let us not forget that everyone of us here today are here because people from our communities pay taxes and have chosen us to look after their interests.

Dear esteemed colleges I want to urge you to make sure that we put to rest the persistent rumours that the IPU is useless and that we are not achieving anything by making real effort to show real results. Lets go beyond being an assembly of resolutions that never get implemented. And please lets not become some sort of Eurovision where geopolitics overshadow the common good we can do together no matter where we come from.

Finally I want to urge the IPU to accept as observers all the stateless states, from Somalialand, to Kurdistan, to the Tibetan government in Exile, to the Republic of West Papua and Azawad and all the rest. What is the harm in allowing us to learn from each other directly about the state of the state and the statelessness?