LIST OF RECENT AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY THE IPU IN COOPERATION|
WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
Noted by the IPU Governing Council at its 176th session
(Manila, 8 April 2005)
- New General Assembly resolution 59/19 of 8 November 2004, on cooperation between the two organisations. The resolution was co-sponsored by over 100 Member States.
- Statements during the 59th session of the General Assembly on:
- the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine,
- security in the Mediterranean,
- sustainable development,
- eradication of poverty in the least developed countries,
- human rights,
- the advancement of women.
- Panel of Eminent Persons on the relationship between the United Nations and civil society, including parliaments and parliamentarians (Cardoso Panel). Following substantive consultation, it was agreed that the IPU should take the lead in seeking the views of the international parliamentary community on how this relationship can best evolve, and present its findings at the Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments in September 2005. This decision was formally acknowledged in UN Resolution A/RES/59/19.
- In December 2004, a Report was issued by the Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, entitled A more secure world: Our shared responsibility. The IPU has decided to submit it to the consideration of the leadership of national parliaments.
- Parliamentary Hearing
The 2004 Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations, From Disarmament to Lasting Peace: Defining the Parliamentary Role, took place on 19-20 October.
- Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments
The Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments will be held in the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York from 7 to 9 September 2005. The Third Meeting of the Preparatory Committee will be held in Gabon in May 2005.
- Continued cooperation to strengthen capacities worldwide. Other contributors to IPU activities in support of parliaments include the European Commission, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the World Bank Institute, UNIFEM and The Ford Foundation. Projects funded from various sources are under way in Afghanistan, Albania, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Uruguay, and Kosovo. A project is being initiated with a view to providing assistance to the Transitional National Assembly of Iraq.
- Initiation of a joint project to develop guidelines for the delivery of technical assistance to parliaments in conflict situations.
- The UNDP is contributing to a major project launched by the IPU to produce a manual on parliaments' contribution to democracy. The manual will be made available for use by parliaments, development practitioners and the public at large.
- In 2004, in cooperation with UNDP, WBI and UNIFEM, the IPU finalised a handbook for parliamentarians on ways to develop a gender-sensitive national budget. The same bodies also provide support for holding seminars in the series on parliament and the budgetary process, including from a gender perspective.
In 2004, the Union produced a handbook for UNESCO officials and national commissions on how they can work with parliaments and parliamentarians to secure their contribution to UNESCO's areas of endeavour. Available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.
IPU responded to calls from Members for a more energetic policy in the field of HIV/AIDS by preparing a project for the establishment of a small committee and provision for a full-time staff position in the Secretariat. The proposal received the endorsement of both the IPU Governing Bodies and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr. P. Piot. Its execution will rely on external funding, which it is hoped will be secured in 2005.
UNCTAD XI was held in São Paolo (Brazil) on 13-18 June 2004. The Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of UNCTAD XI took place on 11 and 12 June 2004 on the premises of the Latin American Parliament.
IPU teamed up with United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to develop a Guidance note on Volunteer Legislation, presented at the 111th IPU Assembly in Geneva.
- The Handbook on Refugee protection was issued in Arabic at the 110th IPU Assembly. It is now available in 34 languages and will soon be released in four further languages.
- IPU supported a regional African Conference on Refugees in Africa: The Challenges of Protection and Solutions, organised by the African Parliamentary Union, with UNHCR support, and hosted by the National Assembly of Benin.
- In February 2004, a seminar entitled Conflicts: Prevention, Resolution, Reconciliation was organised by the UNHCR Spanish Committee and others, with the sponsorship of IPU Parliamentarians from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, El Salvador, Peru, Russian Federation, Rwanda and South Africa.
In February 2004, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The two organisations agreed to carry out joint initiatives to strengthen the capacities of parliaments worldwide. A major inaugural conference will take place in Paris in April 2005 to mobilise international support for the initiative. Implementation will commence in the second half of 2005.
- The Handbook on Parliament and Human Rights, a joint IPU/OHCHR initiative, is now finalised.
- On 18 March 2004, the Secretary General presented the IPU's work in the field of human rights and democracy before the high-level segment of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. On 24 June 2004, the Secretary General made a presentation to the sixteenth meeting of chairpersons of treaty bodies at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
- At the invitation of the OHCHR, the Human Rights Programme Officer made a presentation on the role of parliaments in the treaty reporting, implementation and follow-up process at a training workshop for human rights NGO from 8 to 12 November 2004 in Geneva.
- New updated edition of the World Directory of Parliamentary Human Rights Bodies published in July in English and French. The publication provides a wealth of information on the role, structure and functioning of some 130 committees in over 80 countries, including contact details of presiding officers and assistants.
- OHCHR and UNDP helped IPU organise a seminar for chairs and members of parliamentary human rights bodies, attended by representatives of international, regional and national human rights mechanisms, from 15 to 17 March 2004 at the headquarters of the OHCHR in Geneva.
- The IPU and UNICEF produced a handbook for parliamentarians on “Child Protection”, launched at the 110th Assembly in Mexico City.
- Since the discussion held in Ouagadougou on female genital mutilation, in 2001, the IPU has continued to develop its work to eradicate the practice, thanks to the vigorous efforts of a small group of parliamentarians. The IPU developed a medium-term strategy with UNICEF aimed at enhancing parliamentary support from the global, regional and national perspectives.
- The IPU governing bodies have approved a proposal to set up a specialised committee on child protection issues, which will begin its work as soon as funding is secured. This decision marks the Organisation’s commitment to pursue work in favour of child protection.
- The Handbook for parliamentarians on the CEDAW and its Optional Protocol produced with UNDAW serves as a useful tool.
- A panel discussion was organised in cooperation with UNDAW in New York on the occasion of the 48th session of the CSW.
- IPU and UNDAW continued the practice of one day information seminars for members of Parliament on the Convention and its Optional Protocol in October 2004, at IPU Headquarters.
- Support project in Timor Leste, one in a series on behalf of women in post-conflict situations.
- On the basis of its experience, the IPU was invited to contribute to the work of the United Nations Expert Group meeting on Enhancing women's full participation in electoral processes in post-conflict countries. As a follow-up to this session, the IPU, the Office of the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Gender Issues, and the Permanent Mission of Norway held a panel debate on the same subject during the 48th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
- The IPU and UNDAW held a parliamentary event entitled Beyond Beijing: Towards Gender Equality in Politics. The meeting took place in New York, at United Nations Headquarters, on 3 March 2005, on the occasion of the 49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
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