PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
Final document of the
IIIrd INTER-PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE
IIIrd INTER-PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE
Organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union
1. The countries of the Mediterranean region share a rich historical heritage enhanced by myths and ideals common to the peoples living on its shores. But despite constant interaction in every area of human activity, the Mediterranean region is fraught with political, economic, social and religious tensions which sometimes escalate into open conflict. Turning it into a zone of peace and common prosperity is therefore a long-term project.
2. The Conference notes that it was with the aim of fostering change in this direction that the Inter-Parliamentary Union decided in 1990 to establish an inter-parliamentary process to promote security and cooperation in the Mediterranean (CSCM). At the first Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean (First CSCM), held in Malaga in June 1992, and the Second CSCM, held in Valletta in November 1995, the Inter-Parliamentary Union undertook a detailed analysis of the principal challenges in the Mediterranean based on the three baskets* covering all the issues involved. At the two plenary Conferences, the six intermediary thematic meetings held from 1993 to 1999 and the 15 meetings held in conjunction with its biannual statutory Conferences, the Inter-Parliamentary Union established an innovative political consultation process for the region to enable all Mediterranean States and two States directly linked to the Mediterranean in economic, political and strategic terms to work together on an equal footing to solve the problems of the Mediterranean in association with other major players in the region.
3. The Conference notes the historic and ongoing importance of this process and, while reaffirming the principles and recommendations set forth in the Malaga and Valletta Final Documents, states its intention to build on all the initiatives taken in the meantime by the Inter-Parliamentary Union itself and by other actors to promote the concept and practice of true partnership among States and interested parties in order to ensure peace and stability in the Mediterranean and the sustainable and more homogeneous development of all the countries of the region.
4. It is in this spirit that the Conference particularly welcomes the development of the Euro-Mediterranean Process initiated as a result of the Barcelona Conference in November 1995. At the intergovernmental level, this process foresees cooperation under three broad headings: establishing a common area of peace and stability, creating an area of shared prosperity, and developing human resources and promoting understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies. A multitude of new initiatives and programmes have subsequently been launched and two further Euro-Mediterranean Conferences have taken place, the first in Malta in 1997 and the second in Stuttgart in 1999.
5. At the inter-parliamentary level, the Euro-Med process has led to the creation of a mechanism for consultation among the Presidents of the Parliaments of the Euro-Mediterranean Region and to the establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum. The Conference welcomes the initiatives by a number of other parliamentary institutions such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which has since 1985 organised four Conferences of the Mediterranean region, followed since 1999 by Conferences of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea basins. It also considers it important to use the potential and experience of the OSCE in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.
6. The time has come - ten years after the IPU established its CSCM process and almost five years after the launching of the Barcelona Process - to take stock of progress to date and to make recommendations for future action by governments and parliaments.
7. Regional security and stability remain the prerequisites for sustainable development of the Mediterranean countries and for a balanced partnership among them. The fact is, however, that situations of tension and open conflict persist in the Mediterranean, undermining stability in the region and often leading to serious human rights violations. These tensions and conflicts, which seriously impede the development of the Mediterranean countries and jeopardise relations among them, remain unresolved.
8.** However, some developments since the Valletta Conference warrant cautious optimism. For example, the process of resolving the Middle East conflict, which has long been a major obstacle to peace and stability in the Mediterranean, has resumed after an extended interruption. The Conference welcomes this, while acknowledging the crucial importance of the issues still to be negotiated and the challenges facing the parties. Improvements in relations between Greece and Turkey since summer 1999 have opened up new possibilities in regard to the Cyprus problem. The suspension of the embargo against the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has contributed to détente in the southern Mediterranean basin. As a further step, the Conference calls for the definitive lifting of the sanctions, especially since the Jamahiriya has complied with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe launched by the European Union has offered an integrated operational response to the structural challenges of an unstable region. The Conference recognises that the Kosovo issue remains a serious problem and fully supports the systematic implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 which lays the basis for the settlement of the Kosovo issue.
9. Having expressed these views, the Conference nevertheless wishes to reiterate that, in conformity with its founding principles laid down in the Final Document of the First CSCM (Malaga, June 1992) and confirmed in the Final Document of the Second CSCM (Valletta, November 1995), the CSCM process is not a mechanism for direct conflict resolution. The CSCM is a long-term process designed to generate momentum for coherent and comprehensive cooperation and to create mechanisms for better crisis management and alleviation, thereby laying the basis for their equitable resolution.
10. Moreover, the Conference calls on parliaments to extend the scope of their security considerations beyond the notion of hard security to encompass that of soft security. The former represents a territory's response to strategic threats (arms build-up, terrorism) with a view to preserving its integrity or the integrity of persons. The latter involves taking account of natural, economic, political, humanitarian and social factors that frequently present a potential threat, constituting a source of instability.
11. The Conference welcomes the results of the third Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Ministers (Stuttgart, 15-16 April 1999) held as part of the Barcelona Process, which gave new impetus to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, particularly through the development of guidelines for elaborating a Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability based on the concept of global security.
12. The Conference reiterates its conviction that relations between the Mediterranean partners must be based on a specific platform, tailored to the dynamics of the region and designed jointly by the Mediterranean partners, enjoying equal status and working in a spirit of partnership for the common good. It confirms that these relations must be in conformity with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and the 1970 Declaration on the principles of international law relating to friendly relations and cooperation between States (refraining from the use or threat of the use of force; peaceful settlement of international disputes; inviolability of frontiers and territorial integrity of States; right of peoples to self-determination and to live in peace on their own territories within internationally recognised and guaranteed frontiers; sovereign equality of States and non-intervention in internal affairs; respect for human rights; cooperation between States; and fulfilment in good faith of obligations assumed under international law). The Conference also points out that any military act or measure taken against the sovereignty of another State constitutes an act of aggression.
13. The Conference calls on all Mediterranean States to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice as a measure conducive to conflict prevention and to ensuring a just and fair interpretation of international law.
14. The Conference welcomes the fact that the future Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability, envisaged as part of the Barcelona Process, will include "partnership-building measures", "measures to enhance good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation" and "preventive diplomacy measures" whose flexible implementation will lay the foundations for an evolving and balanced Euro-Mediterranean system of global security.
15. The Conference considers that such a system would facilitate mutual predictability of the policies of the Mediterranean countries by means of transparency and ongoing dialogue, concerted management of crises to prevent them from degenerating into open conflicts and the peaceful settlement of differences and disputes between Mediterranean countries. To that end, the Conference recommends the establishment, by common consent of the parties, of a regional information centre for stability in the Mediterranean which would be responsible for long-term conflict prevention and the creation of an emergency consultation mechanism as envisaged in the Barcelona Process. It likewise recommends that the future Euro-Mediterranean Charter be signed at the highest possible political level.
16. Lastly, the Conference considers that an institutionalised Mediterranean inter-parliamentary forum would provide valuable support for this action. In addition to providing a setting in which the parties could make known their views at regular intervals, such a forum could advise governments on ways of managing crises in the Mediterranean and make available its good offices to parties involved in crises or conflicts.
17. The Conference reiterates its conviction that confidence-building measures can significantly enhance security and stability in the Mediterranean. It reiterates its recommendation that governments give favourable consideration to the adoption of a package of confidence-building measures in the Mediterranean relating to security in the region, including, as a minimum, prior notification of certain routine military activities and the reciprocal invitation of military observers to such events, in accordance with the principles set forth in paragraph 15 above. Regular dialogue on defence and security concepts and doctrines would also facilitate mutual understanding. The same applies to a code of political good conduct envisaging, among other things, the prohibition of hostile or inflammatory propaganda. The Conference also reiterates its recommendation that governments hold an annual meeting to assess the implementation of confidence-building measures in the Mediterranean and to coordinate efforts to participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
18. The Conference supports the idea generated by the Barcelona Process of setting up a network of contact points for political and security issues. Lastly, it reiterates the importance of strengthening exchanges of information and cooperation between parliamentary committees and other bodies dealing with defence issues. To this end, it recommends that the Inter-Parliamentary Union compile a World Directory of such parliamentary committees and bodies.
19. The Conference notes with concern the accelerated build-up of conventional and other weapons of mass destruction in the Mediterranean since 1992 and the increasingly sophisticated and lethal character of such weapons. It once again urges the States in the region to eliminate superfluous weapons, to scale down their armed forces so that they are proportionate to their real security needs and to divert the resources thus released towards objectives of peace and cooperation. It affirms the commitment of parliamentarians to act to this end.
20. It recommends the adoption of a series of measures conducive to transparency of arms transfers in the Mediterranean and urges all States to cooperate actively in updating the Register of Conventional Arms opened by the United Nations.
21. It urges all Mediterranean States that have not already done so to accede to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (1981), the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (1972), the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (1993) and the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction (1999). The Conference also reiterates the relevance of the recommendations made in March 1999 by the Ljubljana thematic meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union concerning small arms, whose rapid spread has led to an upsurge in violence in the Mediterranean.
22. The Conference advocates the signing and ratification of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons by all States of the region without exception. It trusts that the regime established by the Treaty will be promptly and fully implemented throughout the region and lays special emphasis on the obligation of the countries concerned to submit their nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection.
23. The Conference stresses that a regime based on trust and transparency in the Mediterranean should seek to reduce military activity in the region, should be comprehensive and should also apply to foreign fleets or bases in the Mediterranean.
24. The Conference considers that these measures would eliminate many of the causes of the fear and mistrust that continue to overshadow relations between Mediterranean countries. It considers that the goal of all Mediterranean States should be to free the region of weapons of mass destruction.
25. The Conference draws attention to the resolution adopted at the 102nd Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Berlin in 1999 on the "Contribution of parliaments to ensuring respect for and promoting international humanitarian law", particularly the paragraphs on the adoption of the Geneva Conventions, child soldiers, the International Criminal Court and the adoption of the Ottawa Convention.
26. It encourages cooperation between Mediterranean States with a view to preventing and punishing violations of the rules of international humanitarian law in the armed conflicts that occur in the region and providing humanitarian relief for the victims of such conflicts. To this end, it invites all Mediterranean parliamentarians to make use of the handbook prepared for them in 1999 by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
27. It also advocates making more efficient use than in the past of existing national and international judicial bodies to ensure the application of international law. It stresses the need for judicial action to ensure that war criminals do not enjoy impunity and to that end supports the establishment and operation of the International Criminal Court set up by the Rome Statute of 17 July 1998.
28. The Conference notes that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted in 1995 by the Fourth World Conference on Women, describes rape committed under circumstances of armed conflict as a war crime. It calls for the incorporation of this principle in instruments that have binding force. It also notes that, in the definition of crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence are regarded as war crimes and that, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, such crimes are considered as crimes against humanity, falling therefore within the competence of the International Criminal Court.
29. The Conference strongly affirms that terrorism continues to represent a particularly serious challenge and risk in the Mediterranean. It has therefore decided to reaffirm in full the content of the paragraphs concerning terrorism in the Final Document of the Second CSCM (Valletta, 1995) and to express support for the work being done in the same field by the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
30. Since our most recent Conference (Valletta, 1995), major developments have occurred in the area of economic cooperation among the Mediterranean countries. The Barcelona Conference was convened in November 1995, bringing together the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the European Union and the 12 Mediterranean partners (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta). This Conference, and subsequently the Conference in Malta in 1997, the mid-term Conference in Palermo in 1998 and the Conference in Stuttgart in 1999, led to the launching of a process driven by the resolve to create a true partnership among Mediterranean countries (a resolve welcomed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in the spirit of the CSCM) and the development of numerous cooperation programmes along the lines of those advocated at our earlier conferences. Some of these programmes are of special relevance to the economic component of the Third CSCM. The Conference welcomes and supports these initiatives.
31. With a view to ensuring balanced economic and social development in the Mediterranean region, the Barcelona Process envisages the creation of a "Euro-Mediterranean free trade area" by the year 2010, to be accompanied by a process of economic transition aimed at the achievement of a zone of shared prosperity. The Conference welcomes and supports this initiative.
32. The Conference considers that the current globalisation process has the potential to promote global production and employment and that the growth of international trade and investment may be expected to result in market expansion and better distribution of global economic resources, benefiting all States to varying degrees.
33. It urges the developed countries to encourage private-sector investment in the developing countries in order to promote employment and invites the governments of developing countries to adopt policies that encourage foreign direct investment. It likewise recommends the adoption of measures at the international level to strengthen relations and economic openness among States in the context of economic globalisation and to reduce inequality and poverty in the Mediterranean countries.
34. In line with the recommendations of the most recent CSCM Conference on the launching of a large-scale European investment plan in the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, the Barcelona Process has established the MEDA Programme. As the European Union's main financial instrument for the implementation of a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the MEDA programme establishes the following priorities at the bilateral level:
(i) Support for economic transition: the aim is to prepare for free trade by enhancing competitiveness with a view to achieving sustainable economic growth, particularly through the development of the private sector;35. In this context, the Conference invites the European Union to contribute to the establishment of machinery and instruments for the channelling of investment to the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries, promoting, in particular, capital flows that do not generate debt.
36. The Conference notes with satisfaction the scale of budgetary resources allocated to financial cooperation between the European Union and its Mediterranean partners for the period 1995-1999 and the fact that these substantial subsidies from the Community budget are accompanied by loans of a similar amount from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Around 90% of the funds earmarked for MEDA are channelled bilaterally to the partners.
37. Viewing indebtedness as an obstacle to further structural reform of the economies of the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries and as a barrier to partnership, the Conference calls for a dynamic approach to debt involving the development of mechanisms to convert part of the debt into investment and recommends that it be channelled into the funding of infrastructure programmes.
38. The Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union has frequently advocated debt relief. It views the recent decisions to cancel the foreign debt of poor developing countries as extremely encouraging and recommends that the debt relief eligibility criteria under the initiative on behalf of the heavily indebted poor countries of the Mediterranean be extended to include other poor or vulnerable countries struggling to cope with the debt burden. In this context, it would be appropriate to recommend converting the foreign debt of emerging countries into social development projects, primarily for the advancement of women, the promotion of employment and the protection of the environment.
39. The Conference stresses the vital importance of ensuring that all countries adopt sustainable cooperation policies in the areas of food supply, farming, forestry, fishing and rural development, particularly to guarantee access for all farmers, including the poorest, to the financial resources and agricultural factors of production needed to ensure sustainable productivity of land and labour (chemical and organic fertilisers, ecologically sound pest control facilities, electricity, farming implements, daily or seasonal labour, technical assistance for production, marketing and post-harvest services, etc.).
40. The Conference considers that optimum distribution and use of public and private investment are essential for the development of human resources, the sustainability of food-supply, farming, fishing and forestry systems and the promotion of rural development. Such an approach calls for the following measures:
41. While employment is a major challenge in all the industrialised countries of Europe, it is an absolutely crucial issue in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries. The Conference is aware that employment opportunities in the southern Mediterranean countries are not keeping pace with the massive influx of young jobseekers into the labour market. It stresses, moreover, that women as a population group are particularly severely affected by unemployment. Hence the major importance of tackling these challenges, seeking initially to achieve long-term growth rates of over 8 per cent.
42. In this context, the Conference reiterates the recommendations made at the first thematic meeting in Monte Carlo (1997), namely modernisation of production facilities, development of a competitive supply of goods and services and attraction of large-scale foreign and local private and public investment.
43. The Conference once again calls on all Mediterranean States to accede to the labour-law Conventions of the International Labour Organization to which they have not already acceded, or to establish the necessary instruments of succession, and to incorporate the corresponding provisions in their national legislation. It further invites them to establish the relevant regulations for their implementation. It urges them to take similar steps with regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN, 1989), Article 32 of which recognises the right of the child to be protected from performing any work that is likely to be harmful to his or her health, education or development, and to Conventions Nos. 138 and 182 adopted by the International Labour Conference: the Minimum Age Convention (1973) (Convention concerning minimum age for admission to employment) and the Convention on the worst forms of child labour (1999) (Convention on prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour).
44. Concerned about the problems associated with illegal migration, the Conference supports the "Trans-Med" programme of the Council of Europe's North-South Centre designed to raise public awareness and provide information on social and cultural phenomena associated with immigration, and invites States to refer to Council of Europe document No. 8599 of 21 December 1999 concerning illegal migration to Europe from the southern Mediterranean.
45. The Conference considers that certain tools such as those envisaged in the Barcelona Process could improve the management of migratory flows, for example the compiling of more reliable statistics on current and potential migratory movements or the reduction of factors conducive to migration, particularly by providing more job opportunities in the Mediterranean region. The Conference invites the Mediterranean States to prepare, with the assistance of specialised international organisations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a migration charter setting out strategies to safeguard the fundamental rights of migrants in host countries, to defend their interests and to guarantee the free movement of persons and ideas as well as goods by developing relations between the parties concerned in a spirit of mutual respect.
46. The Conference reaffirms its commitment to ensuring respect for the principle of free movement of persons, a principle whose application has in many cases offered an escape route from intolerance, oppression and extreme poverty.
47. The Conference recommends that the Mediterranean States take into account, as appropriate, the recommendations on population made by the:
49. The Conference reiterates the recommendations concerning the eradication of rural poverty formulated by the specialised Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (Rome, 1998). The fight against poverty calls for strong solidarity on the part of the countries of the northern shore of the Mediterranean basin with the countries of the southern shore, especially through investment, the transfer of technology and the opening up of the markets of European countries to agricultural produce from the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean.
50. In the developing countries, poverty is most prevalent among rural population groups that rely on agriculture, directly and indirectly, for their livelihood. Sanctions, wars, foreign occupation and extreme rural poverty are responsible for the spread of hunger and vulnerability to famine. It is imperative to implement policies to eliminate poverty and inequality and to improve the material and economic access of all to adequate, safe and nutritionally sound food and to promote the rational use of food supplies. It is also imperative to address the constraints encountered by poor farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihood and many of whom are women. Such policies should include:
52. The Conference draws attention to the resolutions adopted on the problem of megacities (Brussels, 1999) and invites national parliaments to adopt appropriate legislative measures to enhance the institutional and financial capacity of governments to honour the commitments made at the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II, 1996) and to monitor the implementation of these commitments at the national level.
53. The Conference calls on States to implement human settlement policies that preserve the Mediterranean landscape and environment. Such policies should at the same time encourage sustainable development in urban areas. Development in this sense includes the promotion of viable modes of production, consumption, transport and human settlement planning, the prevention of pollution, respect for the limited capacities of ecosystems and preservation of the options available to future generations.
54. The Conference likewise invites States to refer to the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the twenty-first Special Session of the General Assembly, entitled Key Actions for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.
55. The Conference supports the MED URBS programme developed by the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in the context of decentralised cooperation programmes in the Mediterranean, which is designed to improve the living conditions of urban populations and to develop cooperation among local authorities in carrying out projects in the areas of town planning, environment, town management and urban transport.
56. The Conference stresses that protection of the Mediterranean environment is a prerequisite for the sustainable development of the region and notes with immense satisfaction that the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is making environment one of its top priorities.
57. The Conference stresses the importance of cooperation under the Barcelona Convention on the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution and recommends that the process of ratification of the revised Convention and of its protocols should be expedited so as to reinforce the legal instrument for protection of the Mediterranean and its shores.
58. The Conference invites the Mediterranean States to refer to the statements made at the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on the Environment (Helsinki, 1997), particularly those relating to the priorities of the Short- and Medium-Term Action Programme on the Environment (SMAP).
59. The Conference notes that the Euro-Mediterranean partners have pledged to provide appropriate political and financial support for these actions. The main areas of action identified in the programme of work established at the Barcelona Conference are integrated management of water, soil and coastal areas, waste management, prevention and control of air and sea pollution, conservation and management of the natural heritage, landscapes and sites, Mediterranean forest protection, particularly through the prevention and control of erosion, soil degradation and forest fires and by combating desertification. SMAP will also promote the transfer of Community experience in environmental financing, legislation and ongoing monitoring techniques and in integrating the environmental dimension into all policies.
60. The Conference supports the initiative developed by the committee on follow-up to the Helsinki Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on the Environment aimed at the creation of an environmental civil forum focusing on three main subjects:
(i) Integration of the environment into the Euro-Mediterranean process;61. The Conference urges Mediterranean States to implement Agenda 21 adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, July 1992) and the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 adopted at the Special Session of the General Assembly in 1997.
62. The Conference welcomes the initiative of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of organising the 6th Conference of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea Basins in Varna (Bulgaria) in October 2000.
63. The Conference notes the similarities between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and draws attention to the special appeal made by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) and Israel for the control of pollution in these regions.
64. The Conference recommends the establishment in all Mediterranean countries in which such mechanisms do not already exist of a specialised ministerial body or an interministerial committee on environmental questions. It also advocates the establishment, where they do not already exist, of committees, sub-committees or parliamentary groups on the same issue. It calls for the strengthening of coordination machinery among structures responsible for environmental affairs.
65. The Conference notes that the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) account for 5 per cent of the world's population but just under 1 per cent of annual renewable water resources, and that populations, the size of cities and the scale of agricultural and industrial activity have been steadily growing in recent years. Experts predict that consumption will be limited to 650 cubic metres per capita per annum by 2025, compared with today's already low level of 1250 cubic metres.
66. The Conference stresses the relevance of the work being undertaken by the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development in the area of sustainable water management.
67. The Conference notes with particular satisfaction that integrated water management is one of the five priorities in the Short- and Medium-Term Action Programme on the Environment (SMAP) and supports this approach.
68. Drawing attention to the WHO guidelines on water quality, the Conference, acknowledging the importance and interdependence of subterranean waters, lakes, watercourses, wetlands, estuaries and marine and plant environments and their links with surface and atmospheric phenomena in general, recommends the adoption of measures at the national and international levels to conserve and protect aquatic ecosystems.
69. Anxious to prevent the issue of water from generating tensions, the Conference urges the Mediterranean States to coordinate their water policies and draws attention to the resolution adopted at the 100th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (Moscow, 1998).
70. The Conference draws attention to the Algiers Declaration (May 1990), which stresses the importance of a common water management strategy, the Mediterranean Water Charter adopted in Rome in 1992, which enshrines the principle of regional and international cooperation on water issues, the first Euro-Mediterranean Conference on local water management, held in Marseilles in November 1996, the first World Water Forum (Marrakesh, 1997), the international colloquium entitled "Global Water Politics: Cooperation for Transboundary Water Management" (Bonn, 1998), the meeting of the group of experts on strategic approaches to water management (Harare, 1998), the ministerial meeting on water resources and sustainable development (Paris, 1998), the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (New York, 1998), the Turin Euro-Mediterranean Conference on local water management (1999) and the World Water Forum held in The Hague on 21 and 22 March 2000.
71. Almost two-thirds of the arid land in the Mediterranean region (550 million hectares) has undergone severe degradation. The productivity losses from this desertification are extremely worrying, since they restrict the scope for sustainable economic growth, jeopardise food security and increase the risk of famine, frequently triggering mass movements of displaced persons. The incapacity of unproductive land to meet the needs of populations and the increasingly marked fluctuations in climatic conditions, including recurrent periods of drought, have already led to significant population displacements and constitute a source of intercommunal strife in many regions of the world. The Conference invites the countries of the northern shore to provide the other countries with technical and financial assistance for desertification control.
72. The Conference notes that combating desertification is one of the key objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean SMAP programme.
73. The Conference urges States that have not already done so to ratify the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and to participate in the initiative aimed at making 2000-2010 the decade for desertification control.
74. The Conference also invites States to participate in the high-level parliamentary forum that is establishing a mechanism to follow up the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
75. The Conference reiterates that, where tourism is managed in such a way as to ensure sustainable human development and to safeguard the economic, social, cultural and environmental balance of the country concerned, it represents a source not only of economic development but also of human contact and mutual respect in the Mediterranean.
76. The Conference supports the development of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership's Tourismed initiative which consists in providing the Mediterranean partners with a methodology for anticipating and managing all aspects of their tourism policies (markets, jobs, training, promotion, new technology, quality, Mediterranean identity, security, etc.).
77. Within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the Conference supports the establishment of a network of science, innovation and technology (SIT) focal points in the Euro-Mediterranean region and draws the attention of States to the conclusions of the Brindisi seminar (1998).
78. The Conference supports the MED CAMPUS programme developed by the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership within the framework of decentralised cooperation programmes in the Mediterranean, which links the universities of the northern and southern Mediterranean in networks for the exchange of experience and the transfer of technology and know-how.
79. The Conference reaffirms the universal principles and common values of civilisation that have been solemnly set forth since the very beginning of the CSCM process. It welcomes the fact that dialogue among civilisations has now been firmly placed on the international agenda - the year 2001 having been proclaimed the Year of Dialogue among Civilisations by the United Nations.
80. Dialogue is a product of simultaneous acceptance of commonality and diversity. International endorsement of dialogue constitutes the rejection of a mono-cultural world. It constitutes a recognition of the diversity of cultures and civilisations and reaffirms the cultural rights of all peoples and nations. The process of dialogue involves listening to, hearing from and talking to other civilisations and cultures. The Conference is convinced that it is through this interaction of all peoples of the Mediterranean that the common goals of peace, freedom, tolerance and justice in the region can be attained.
81. Intolerance and extremism severely test our ability to build a common edifice in which all peoples of the Mediterranean region can live together in harmony and prosperity. They grow out of the frustrations stemming from the widening disparity in living standards and conditions and the crisis in value systems. They feed on the absence of understanding and solidarity and can, in turn, lead to terrorism and repression, ultimately undermining democracy and human rights and destabilising the State.
82. The Conference therefore urges the Mediterranean States to give priority to combating the root causes of intolerance and extremism and to promoting a dialogue among civilisations and cultures that is centred on the present and the future. It takes note of the programme of action adopted by the Speakers of the Parliaments of Egypt, Greece, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Italy at their meeting in Rome in November 1999 to promote dialogue among civilisations as an instrument to achieve mutual understanding and remove the threat to peace. The Conference also looks forward to the debate within the world parliamentary community to be held at the forthcoming 103rd IPU Statutory Conference (Amman, 30 April - 6 May 2000).
83. The Conference reaffirms the Universal Declaration on Democracy adopted by the world parliamentary community in Cairo in 1997 and urges all Parliaments of the Mediterranean States to discuss and endorse it. Democracy is a universally recognised ideal as well as a goal based on the common values shared by peoples throughout the world community irrespective of cultural, political, social and economic differences. It is a basic citizenship right to be exercised under conditions of freedom, equality, transparency and responsibility, with due respect for plurality of views and in the interests of the polity.
84. The Conference notes that each State has the sovereign right freely to chose and develop, in accordance with the will of its people, its own political, social, economic and cultural systems without interference by other States. At the same time, the Conference reaffirms the basic underpinnings of democracy as enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Democracy.
85. The Conference reiterates that good governance, transparency in administration, the fight against corruption, and measures to prevent the flight of public funds and the misappropriation, at the source or the receiving end, of resources for development aid are key factors in democracy and sustainable social development. It therefore recommends in particular the strengthening of national mechanisms for auditing public finance.
86. The Conference reiterates the recommendations made throughout the CSCM process for Mediterranean States to ratify international human rights instruments, including those prohibiting torture, to incorporate international norms and standards in national legislation and to apply them, to set up national human rights bodies and to guarantee that they operate independently. The Conference rejects all forms of torture to which individuals are subjected for any reason, and calls upon those who condone or legalise torture to halt this inhuman practice. It also invites all parliaments in the area to establish parliamentary human rights bodies if they have not already done so. Moreover, the Conference stresses the commitment of the participants to take all appropriate measures to vitalise the institutions of civil society, particularly associations concerned with the defence of human rights, and to guarantee their independence.
87. The Conference welcomes the presence of women in the delegations and notes with satisfaction the views on this Final Document expressed at the meeting of Mediterranean women parliamentarians organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. It notes with satisfaction the idea of regular consultations among Mediterranean women parliamentarians. It is convinced that women, through their participation, can make a major contribution to the solution of problems facing societies and to the settlement of disputes in the Mediterranean.
88. The Conference endorses Principle No. 4 of the Universal Declaration on Democracy, namely that the achievement of democracy presupposes a genuine partnership between men and women in the conduct of the affairs of society in which they work in equality, complementing each other and drawing mutual enrichment from their differences. It recommends that effective equality of opportunity be recognised as an indicator of democracy in its own right. Moreover, it reaffirms its conviction that it is possible, without destabilising cultures or imposing values alien to national cultures, to acknowledge, develop or, where appropriate, rehabilitate women's dignity at the social level and allow the emergence of a more balanced image of the capacity of men and women to participate in the management of both public and private affairs in the States of the Mediterranean.
89. In this context, the Conference welcomes recent advances in certain Mediterranean States in securing enhanced participation of women in public life. It notes, however, that the proportion of women parliamentarians is still low and expresses the wish to see their numbers growing in every parliament. To that end, it draws attention to the IPU Plan of Action to correct present imbalances in the participation of men and women in political life.
90. The Conference considers that the contribution of Mediterranean women to all activities that have a bearing on the economic and social development of the region should be better known and duly appreciated. To that end, it encourages the development of women's associations and the creation of networks among them for the promotion of exchanges. It recommends that new technology be turned to account as a means of promoting contacts among women and publicising their contribution to Mediterranean societies. It urges that traditional practices that have an adverse impact on women's life, dignity or personal integrity be abolished.
91. The Conference invites the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as a leading source of information concerning the participation of women in parliaments, to circulate its most recent statistics on a regular basis to national parliaments with a view to enhancing their awareness and promoting action to facilitate women's access to politics. The Conference also encourages networking among Mediterranean women parliamentarians, a possible first step towards which would be the creation, on the IPU Internet site, of an information and dialogue sub-site for Mediterranean women parliamentarians.
92. It calls on all Mediterranean States to implement the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, September 1995) and to take an active part in the evaluation of progress to be undertaken by the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in June 2000, by sending both male and female MPs to take part in the process and in the tripartite consultation organised jointly by the IPU and the UN. It also invites all Mediterranean States that have not already done so to accede to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) or to establish the necessary instrument of succession, to adopt the appropriate enabling legislation and regulations, and to reconsider any reservations they have entered thereto. It also invites all States to accede to the additional protocol to the Convention and to ensure its entry into force.
93. The Conference invites all Mediterranean States that have not already done so to accede to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) or to establish the necessary instrument of succession, and to adopt the appropriate implementing laws and regulations.
94. Moreover, the Conference echoes the concern expressed in the Beijing Platform for Action and United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/54/148 of 25 February 2000 regarding discrimination against the girl child and the violations of her rights, which often result in limited access for girls to education, nutrition and physical and mental care and in girls enjoying fewer of the rights, opportunities and benefits of childhood and adolescence than boys and often being subjected to harmful practices such as female infanticide, incest, early marriage, prenatal sex selection and female genital mutilation.
95. The Conference calls on all Mediterranean States to take all measures recommended in the aforementioned resolution and, in particular, to institute the requisite legal reforms to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by the girl child of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
96. The Conference reiterates its plea and earlier recommendations to all Mediterranean States to see to it that the existence and identity of the national, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious minorities living on their territory is preserved and that members of these minorities enjoy full equality with other citizens in law and in practice, free from all discrimination. It also encourages awareness-building campaigns aimed at promoting tolerance and respect for differences.
97. Education plays a cardinal role in promoting tolerance and understanding between peoples of different civilisations and cultures. It is a singularly important means of conveying a sense of communality and of values that are shared by all peoples of the Mediterranean region. The Conference therefore urges all States in the area to ensure that their national curricula at all levels of education include material providing every student and pupil with knowledge of and respect for all the cultures and religions of the Mediterranean and promoting a general culture of peace and tolerance. It also calls for the elimination of sexual stereotyping and sexist language, especially from school textbooks.
98. It recommends strengthening cooperation between Mediterranean States in the field of education, in accordance with the recommendations and conventions of UNESCO. Cooperation between universities and institutes of higher learning, exchange of information, training programmes for teachers, the organisation of specialised seminars, the promotion of research, the building of networks of institutions and qualified experts, and cooperation with regard to educational reform are some of the ways of facilitating access to information and interaction between civilisations and cultures.
99. The Conference reiterates that knowledge of the Mediterranean heritage is one of the best sources of mutual respect among civilisations and awareness of a Mediterranean identity. It encourages the strengthening of cultural cooperation between Mediterranean countries in the preservation and enhancement of the common Mediterranean heritage and action to combat illegal trafficking in antiques. It welcomes the results of the 1996 Conference in Bologna and the ensuing Euro-Med programmes on the cultural heritage.
100. Participants in the CSCM process have proposed various other means of facilitating cultural exchanges and access to information. Activities in the arts could be intensified, particularly through Mediterranean cultural exhibitions and festivals, including film festivals. Musical, literary and theatrical exchanges should also be promoted and Mediterranean sporting events held on a more regular basis. A Mediterranean cultural forum could be established to coordinate activities in these areas and a database on the Mediterranean cultural heritage could also promote familiarity with the common cultural heritage. Other proposals include the establishment of either the "Euro-Med city of culture" on an annual basis, or the "Euro-Med cultural month" on a rotating basis. Towns in Mediterranean countries designated for this project could associate their efforts with those of the European Union towns designated as "City of Culture" and participate in joint projects.
101. The Conference recognises that the media clearly have a key role to play in disseminating culture. This role could be further enhanced through the creation of a Mediterranean television channel, the main purpose of which would be to counter prejudice, negative perceptions as well as sexual and all other forms of stereotyping. It also wishes to encourage co-productions and exchanges of programmes among existing channels.
102. The Conference notes that the media, especially the audiovisual media, play an increasingly important role in the lives of the peoples of the Mediterranean. It urges all Mediterranean States to respect freedom of the press and free access to information, noting that the watchdog role played by the media makes a significant contribution to good governance. It remains concerned at the existing imbalance in terms of control of the flow of information, and considers that this imbalance, in favour of the media of the North, is instrumental in perpetuating tension and mutual mistrust. It urges the media to reinforce the values of tolerance, respect and understanding among the peoples of the Mediterranean and to respect cultural differences and cultural, ethnic and religious diversity in the area. Lastly, it reiterates its call to Mediterranean States to facilitate the development of an intra-Mediterranean news system.
103. There are wide disparities in the Mediterranean in terms of access to information and information tools, differences not only between the info-rich North and the relatively info-poor South, but also disparities within communities. The Conference therefore urges that greater efforts be made to share information technology.
104. The Conference reiterates its previous recommendations, contained in paragraphs 124 and 125 of the Valletta Final Document, concerning the strengthening of dialogue between the religions of the Mediterranean - Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It urges the Mediterranean States to ensure that religious instruction is moderate and tolerant, to guarantee respect for the values and symbols of collective and individual religious convictions, and to respect the religious rites and holidays of immigrant and expatriate populations.
105. The Conference considers that, ten years after the launching of the process of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean, the Inter-Parliamentary Union has every reason to be proud of the strong impetus it has given to an idea that has resulted in the burgeoning of initiatives and in preliminary steps towards the establishment of cooperation machinery and structures.
106. It notes, however, that the main initiatives - in the context of the Euro-Med process - have been taken by the European countries vis-à-vis the rest of the Mediterranean. While recognising the far-reaching and momentous character of these initiatives and the importance of the partnership - above all the economic ties - that they generate between the European countries and certain countries of the southern Mediterranean, the Conference considers that concurrent action should continue to be taken to establish an inter-parliamentary cooperation structure as advocated in the Final Document of the Second Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean (Valletta, November 1995) with a view to creating, in the long run, a parliamentary assembly of the Mediterranean.
107. With regard to inter-parliamentary cooperation, the Conference stresses the complementarity of the CSCM process within the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Conference of Presidents of the Parliaments of the Euro-Mediterranean Region and the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum.
108. The Conference notes that the CSCM process offers all the Mediterranean partners represented by national parliamentarians, who are often members of relevant committees, the opportunity to contribute on equal terms and on a pluralist political footing to the resolution of the concrete problems raised by cooperation and security in the Mediterranean.
109. The Conference therefore wishes to pursue this process within the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In that connection, it requests the Inter-Parliamentary Council to give favourable consideration to the recommendations regarding:
111. The participants in the Conference undertake to ensure national and international follow-up action in the light of the relevant recommendations contained in the Final Document of the Second Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean (Malta, November 1995) with a view to maintaining a permanent dialogue at the intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary level.
112. Lastly, the Conference invites the French Parliament to bring this Final Document to the attention of the Fourth Euro-Mediterranean Conference to be held in Marseilles in November 2000 during the French presidency of the European Union.
* Regional stability