COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
List of activities from 14 October 2005 to 8 May 2006
Noted by the IPU Governing Council at its 178th session
(Nairobi, 12 May 2006)
UNDAW (UN Division for the Advancement of Women)
- Annual Parliamentary Hearing (31 October and 1 November) on UN reform, crisis management and peace building ("Our shared responsibility for a stronger United Nations to meet the challenges of the 21st century"). The report of the meeting was subsequently circulated in the General Assembly as an official UN document.
- Parliamentary panel on the occasion of the Second Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 17 November). The theme of the parliamentary panel was the role of parliaments in building knowledge-based societies, with a particular focus on the question of access to information.
- Official statements delivered before the General Assembly or its subsidiary bodies on the following topics: non-proliferation and disarmament, the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, new or resorted democracies, international migration and development, human rights instruments, political participation of women, information technologies. The IPU also addressed the open debate of the Security Council on “women, peace and security”.
- Circulation of resolutions from the 113th IPU Assembly to the General Assembly, in all six official languages of the United Nations (texts available on both the UN and IPU websites).
- Consultations on and initiation of preparations for future meetings in cooperation with the UN on the following subjects: New or Restored Democracies (International Conference in Doha, November 2006); HIV/AIDS (June 2006), Least Developed Countries (September 2006), Reinventing Government (World Forum, July 2007).
- Discussions under way with the President of the General Assembly and Co-chairs of the Working Group on Revitalization of the General Assembly (ambassadors of Latvia and Yemen) on a possible parliamentary contribution to that process.
- IPU joins the United Nations and a group of other prominent international organizations in endorsing the Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers (New York, October 2005)
Office of the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries
- One-day information seminar entitled "Implementing the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women: the Role of Parliaments and their Members." (Geneva, 20 October 2005).
- In preparation of the 50th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which discussed "equal participation of men and women in decision-making processes at all levels", the IPU joined UNDAW to set up and contribute to an Expert Group Meeting on Equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes, with particular emphasis on political participation and leadership, which took place in Addis Ababa in October. The results of the meeting served as a reference document for the UN Secretary-General's report to the CSW. As a result, the IPU was extensively referred to and quoted in the report.
- Meeting of women Speakers of Parliament at UN Headquarters (27 February 2006), on the occasion of the 50th session of the CSW. The meeting of women Speakers discussed Gender equality on the legislative agenda: The role of women presiding over parliaments. Results of the meeting were presented to the IPU/UNDAW parliamentary event on 1 March 2006. Participants agreed to meet again on the occasion of the 51st session of the CSW in 2007.
- IPU participated in the CSW panel discussion on Equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels which took place on 28 February 2006. The IPU Secretary General presented an extensive report on the status of women in parliament and highlighted trends and upcoming challenges. The panel served to frame debates at the CSW on that particular theme.
- Parliamentary event in cooperation with the Division (1 March 2006) on the theme of the Commission on the Advancement of Women (CSW) "equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels." The parliamentary meeting was acknowledged for the first time in a decision of the CSW at the end of the session.
- The President of the IPU Coordinating Committee on Women made a statement before the CSW plenary meeting to report on the parliamentary meeting and on IPU activities in general. The Vice-President of the IPU Executive Committee joined the UN Secretary General at the special UN event in celebration of International Women’s Day (8 March 2006);
- Supported the UN mid-term review process for the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries by inviting national parliaments’ participation in the national reporting exercise in view of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly (September 2006).
- The IPU became a consultant in the review of a major UN study on Governance in the Least Developed Countries, as well as a participant in a UN team of field experts on governance-related questions.
- Cooperation in the context of projects of assistance to the parliaments of Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Uruguay, Viet Nam.
- Continuation of the joint project to develop guidelines for assistance to parliaments in conflict and post-conflict situations. The guidelines will be adopted at a major conference scheduled in Brussels in April 2006.
- Designed and implemented a new project of assistance to the Parliament of Uruguay (also in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights). The project aimed to strengthen constitutional functions of the Parliament, especially its oversight function, as well as its administrative and human resources capacities. Human rights were a major area of focus. A second phase of the project is currently being designed and pending receipt of funds will be implemented during 2006 and 2007.
- Begun work on a handbook on education for all for the use of parliaments, state legislators and National Commissions for UNESCO. The handbook will explain in a concrete and practical manner what parliaments can do in terms of policy and planning, financing and budget, legislation, governance, monitoring and evaluation in order to contribute towards achieving the Education for All goals endorsed by the international community at the 2000 Dakar Framework for Action.
- The IPU and UNICEF supported the African Parliamentary Union Conference on Violence against women, abandoning female genital mutilation: the role of national parliaments. The event, hosted by the National Assembly of Senegal in December, took place in December 2005. The objective of the conference was to secure the political commitment of members of parliament in Africa to relinquishing FGM. At the close of two days of debate, the parliamentarians unanimously adopted a Final Declaration to end female genital mutilation and cutting. There will be sub-regional and national follow up activities in 2006.
- Regional (Asia-Pacific) Seminar for Legislators on Child Protection (15-17 February 2006), hosted by the National Assembly of Viet Nam and organized jointly by IPU and UNICEF.
- In cooperation with UNIFEM, the IPU held a regional seminar on Parliaments and the budgetary process, including from a gender perspective for Latin American Parliaments, in September 2005. The National Assembly of El Salvador hosted the seminar, the sixth regional event in the series.
- The Spanish version of the Handbook for Parliamentarians entitled Parliament, the Budget and Gender, produced by the IPU, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNIFEM and the World Bank Institute, was also presented at the El Salvador seminar.
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- Further to the joint programme inaugurated in April 2005 to strengthen the capacities of parliaments to interpret and implement international environmental agreements, a first workshop targeting Arab parliaments was held in Beirut, Lebanon in November 2005.
- Projects in the pipeline include: a second workshop for African parliaments (Yaoundé, Cameroon) in June 2006. The publication of a specialized handbook to assist parliamentarians in developing practical solutions to manage sustainable development.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- Produced and launched a major new Handbook for Parliamentarians on Human Rights. Authored by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, the handbook is an authoritative resource that will be used in the context of IPU seminars around the world. A first print of over 2000 copies (English, French and Spanish) was distributed to member parliaments.
- Launch of the new IPU-UNHCR Handbook for parliamentarians on Statelessness and Nationality, in the presence of the UN High Commissioner, Mr. Antonio Guterres (Geneva, October 2005).
- In September 2005, the IPU partnered with UNAIDS and UNDP in a discussion in New York on The role of parliamentarians in national policy and the AIDS response. Preparations are under way for a parliamentary event in New York to mark the occasion of the UN Review and High-Level meeting on HIV/AIDS at the end of May 2006.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
- In 2005, The Guidance Note on Volunteerism and Legislation published by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the IPU was produced in Arabic and Russian. The Guidance Note now exists in five languages.
- Hong Kong session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO (12 and 15 December 2005) in cooperation with the European Parliament – held in conjunction with the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the WTO. The Declaration issued at the meeting was presented to the WTO Director-General.
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