|Place du Petit-Saconnex, P.O. Box 438, 1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland|
OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION
(Geneva, 25-27 September 2002)
1. Inaugural Ceremony
The Special Session of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union was opened at 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 25 September 2002 by the Council President, Dr. N. Heptulla (India) in the presence of Ms. L. Maury Pasquier, President of the National Council of Switzerland. Dr. Heptulla drew attention to the purpose of the Special Session, commenting on the need to provide a parliamentary response to the expectations raised among the world population by the Conference on Financing for Development that had been held six months previously in Monterrey, Mexico. Ms. Maury Pasquier then delivered an address in which she declared her unreserved commitment to parliamentary involvement in the international negotiating process, emphasising her standpoint as a Swiss citizen, a parliamentarian and a woman.
Delegations of the parliaments of the following 122 countries took part in the work of the Special Session of the Inter-Parliamentary Council : Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia.
The following Associate Members also took part in the Special Session: the Andean Parliament, the Latin American Parliament.
The observers included representatives of: (i) Palestine; (ii) United Nations system: International Labour Organization (ILO), World Trade Organisation (WTO); (iii) League of Arab States, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), African Union; (iv) African Parliamentary Union (APU), Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, Assembly of the Western European Union (WEU), Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA); Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA), Maghreb Consultative Council, Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and the Russian Federation, Parliamentary Union of the OIC States (PUOICM), (v) International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Of the total of 866 delegates who attended the Session, 406 were members of national parliaments. The parliamentarians included 28 presiding officers of parliament, 27 deputy presiding officers and 114 women parliamentarians (28%).
3. Proceedings and Decisions of the Special Session
The opening sitting of the Special Session was set aside for debate on the subject of Financing for Development. It was opened by Mr. E. Gudfinnsson (Iceland), one of the three co-rapporteurs on Financing for Development, who described the process that had led to the submission of the final Report. Over forty delegations took the floor, addressing the subject from a wide variety of standpoints. The Report on Financing for Development was broadly commented on, with some speakers drawing attention to areas that could have been given fuller treatment, such as health and malnutrition, while others chose to assess the contents of the Monterrey Consensus itself. There were suggestions that the IPU should strive to place itself at the forefront of debate on innovative forms of Financing for Development, such as taxes on carbon emissions or international financial transactions. Many commended the report as being a thorough document that faithfully reflected the broad concerns of the international community on the subject.
The second sitting on the morning of Thursday, 26 September was given over to a hearing of an international authority on Financing for Development, Mr. E. Zedillo (Mexico), formerly President of his country and currently Director of the Center for the Study of Globalization at Yale University. Mr. Zedillo had been appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to head a high-level panel of experts to prepare a report for the United Nations Conference on Financing for Development of March 2002.
Mr. Zedillo gave a thought-provoking presentation on the subject, dwelling on the contents of his report to the United Nations, some of which was more innovative than the final consensus document of the UN Conference. He was then subjected to several rounds of questions from the parliamentarians. After the conclusion of the hearing, the debate on Financing for Development was resumed.
The afternoon sitting was devoted to a discussion of the draft resolution that accompanied the Report. Mrs. G. Mahlangu (South Africa), a co-rapporteur, introduced the resolution to the meeting, emphasising that the one constituency to which all the parliamentarians were accountable was the world's poor. She drew attention to the thirteen operative paragraphs which called upon parliaments to take various steps to follow up the Financing for Development process, and to the subsequent paragraphs setting out the role of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in pursuing that endeavour. By the close of the ensuing debate, the resolution had been amended to include an additional series of suggestions. Parliaments were called upon to adopt special measures to ensure that the most vulnerable in society were included in the political process, to enact legislation that would strengthen the productive capacity of the grassroots economy, to help extend debt relief to countries which strived for good governance, and, in a much debated paragraph, to promote free and fair trade. The IPU was instructed to encourage intensified cooperation with the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. The rapporteurs, finally, were called upon to prepare a report on follow-up to the resolution to be submitted to a future IPU meeting. The draft resolution was approved as amended.
At the final sitting on the morning of Friday, 27 September, after a resumption of the debate on the Report, the resolution approved the previous day was adopted by consensus. Mr. G. Asvinvichit (Thailand) speaking in his capacity as a co-rapporteur, made some concluding remarks on the new session model which the Council had first approved in Marrakech. The hearing had been lively and interesting and the draft resolution had elicited some robust exchanges. As to the debate, although the individual comments had been stimulating, it had been marred by a lack of spontaneity. As a model for reformed IPU meetings, it had proven successful in many aspects but still required further fine-tuning. Mr. Asvinvichit concluded his remarks by reminding the delegates that the three co-rapporteurs' mandate included the follow-up to the event and the submission of a report to a future IPU meeting, a duty they intended to take very seriously.
The President of the Council then closed the Special Session.