Aproved by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 164th session (Brussels, 11 April 1999)

  • As in the past, bodies to which observer status has been granted by the UN General Assembly and international organisations can be invited as observers to IPU meetings. International organisations are understood to include (a) organisations of the United Nations system, (b) regional inter-governmental organisations, (c) regional or geo-political parliamentary assemblies or associations, and (d) world-wide non-governmental organisations.

  • The status of observer can only be granted to those inter-parliamentary organisations which have an official status and whose general objectives and working methods are shared by the Union.

  • The current practice will be maintained whereby a distinction is made between those observers invited on a regular basis and others on a "one-off" basis in the light of the items placed on the agenda of a Conference.

  • Observers will be entitled to register a maximum of two delegates to IPU statutory meetings. However, each programme and organ of the United Nations will be allowed to send one delegate. Seating arrangements at IPU statutory meetings will be made accordingly.

  • Observers will be entitled to register one speaker only in plenary debates of the IPU statutory Conference and its Study Committees. However, each programme and organ of the United Nations will be allowed to register one speaker each.

  • Observers will not enjoy the right of reply or the right to raise points of order.

  • In the General Debate of the statutory Conference, the speaking time of observers will be limited to five minutes. Some flexibility will be shown to executive heads of organisations of the United Nations system who wish to address the Union.

  • Observers will not enjoy voting rights and the right to present candidatures.

  • Representatives of international organisations having particular expertise in a subject considered by the statutory Conference may be invited by the Presidents of Study Committees, with the authorisation of the Committee, to be present in an advisory capacity to provide technical advice, if need be, during the work of a drafting committee.

  • Observers cannot present memoranda and draft resolutions. They may however make information material available on the special table set aside for this purpose.

  • International organisations having special competence for an item placed on the Conference agenda may be invited by the Secretary General to provide an information document on the item.

  • Observers may be invited by the President to address the Inter-Parliamentary Council in exceptional circumstances only.

  • An evaluation of the situation of observers will be made every four years. Such a periodic review will be undertaken by the Executive Committee on a dual basis: (i) a factual note by the Secretariat on the actual participation of each observer in the period under review, and (ii) the views of the observers themselves regarding their interest in being represented at IPU meetings, on the basis of a short enquiry designed to solicit their views

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