Legislators across the globe are being challenged to tap into technology to enhance peace, human security and abhor violence.
About 1000 legislators today gathered in Geneva, Switzerland for the 139th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly.
The Assembly is covering multiple subjects including fake news, sexism and harassment in Parliaments, human rights, disarmament, counter-terrorism, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and migration.
Martin Ngoga the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly told the lawmakers to orient their legislative strategy towards tapping positive change aided by technological innovations.
“Today, technological revolution has enhanced communications and presents a phenomenal impact on the economy, society and environment since the days of mechanized production.”
He said that it is equally recognized that technological revolution presents societal and economic challenges; resulting in loss of jobs occasioned by automation. Technological change further exacerbates inequalities due to the disproportion in certain segments of the populations, a characteristic that poses ramifications for peace and security – the very core of our deliberations here today.
There is a trend that associates technological innovations with elitism. Ngonga Rt Hon Ngoga requested legislators to pay attention to the availability, efficacy and affordability of ICTs.
“It is our duty as policy makers to orient technological innovation towards inclusivity and not a tool to promote elitism,” Ngoga said.
“There are success stories where simple applications have helped small income classes & poor, access social services and inclusion in socio-economic programmes. These must be emphasized and experiences shared,” he noted.
According to the Global Peace Index, 2018, released by the Institute for Economics and Peace reveals a world where tensions, conflicts and crises remain largely unresolved resulting in a gradual, sustained fall in peacefulness.
In 2017, “the economic impact of violence on the global economy was pegged at US $14.76 Trillion in purchasing power parity terms; a figure equivalent to 12.4% of the world’s economic activity (Gross World Product) or USD 1,988 for every person’’, Rt Hon Ngoga remarked.
The 139th IPU edition has also attracted over 50 Speakers of Parliament and 40 Deputy Speakers. Of the MPs in attendance, 20 per cent are young MPs under 45 years of age and 33 per cent are women.