New Secretary General for the Inter-Parliamentary Union


Martin Chungong has been elected the new Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), making him the first African to hold the post in its 125-year history. A record attendance of IPU Members made their choice on the closing day of the 130th IPU Assembly in Geneva. Chungong, who is the current IPU Deputy Secretary General, will take over from Anders B. Johnsson who officially retires at the end of his fourth mandate on 30th June this year.

Mr Chungong has been instrumental in guiding the development of the maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) program of work, which seeks to support the implementation of the MNCH resolution of 2012. The resolution was initiated by parliamentarians from Uganda in April 2011 at the IPU Assembly in Panama, and proceeded from a September 2011 special report, ‘Access to Health as a Basic Right: the Role of Parliaments in Addressing Key Challenges to Securing the Health of Women and Children.’

Since 2008, PMNCH has worked closely with the IPU to highlight the importance of MNCH and the vital role parliamentarians play in improving the health of women and children. In 2010, PMNCH and IPU collaborated on a joint publication called ‘Taking the lead: Parliamentarians engage with maternal, newborn and child health.’ The document aimed to inspire parliamentarians all over the world to intensify their engagement in MNCH, and also suggested a course of action for advancing parliaments’ role in MNCH. Other collaborations have included the release of a ‘Handbook on MNCH for Parliamentarians’ in 2013 and providing support to the IPU’s first annual accountability report on its 2012 MNCH resolution.

PMNCH is a technical advisor to the IPU’s HIV-MNCH Advisory Group, which offers guidance to IPU Members on the implementation of relevant international commitments; helps design information and training material for parliamentarians; and conducts field visits to learn lessons from national responses to these issues that can be shared with the wider parliamentary community, thereby expanding the scope of the parliamentary response to HIV/AIDS and maternal, newborn and child health priorities.