|>>> VERSION FRANÇAISE|
|Chemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland|
(Nairobi, 8 and 12 May 2006)
1. Membership of the IPU
At its sitting on 12 May, the Governing Council approved a request for affiliation from the parliament of Qatar and requests for reaffiliation from the parliaments of Paraguay and Somalia. The Union currently comprises 146 Member Parliaments; in addition, seven international parliamentary assemblies and organizations are Associate Members.
The Governing Council approved requests for observer status from the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECAA), the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), the Inter-Parliamentary Commission of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), and the Great Lakes Parliamentary Forum on Peace - Amani Forum.
The Council also decided to allow requests for observer status from international federations of political parties and amended the Brussels Practical Modalities of the Rights and Responsibilities of Observers at IPU Meetings to include them as a fifth category of eligible observers.
3. Financial results for 2005
The Governing Council considered the Annual Financial Report and Audited Financial Statements for 2005, in conjunction with the report of the External Auditor. The Financial Statements showed that the IPU had an operating surplus of CHF 218,845 in 2005 and had credited a sum of CHF 275,214 to the Working Capital Fund.
The Governing Council's attention was drawn to the gender analysis of expenditure, which showed that the Secretariat had almost achieved parity in the number of professional staff. The Governing Council was told that extra-budgetary funding during the year had exceeded CHF 2 million and that the pension fund liability that had been reported previously had been liquidated when the IPU had joined the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund.
The internal auditors, Mr. I. Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) and Ms. A. Ben Dali (Tunisia), reported that they were satisfied with the financial performance of the IPU in 2005 and with the presentation of the Financial Statements. They recommended that the internal financial and procurement procedures be codified to facilitate the work of staff members.
On the recommendation of the internal auditors, the Governing Council approved the Financial Statements, the transfer of the operating surplus to the Working Capital Fund, and the Secretary General's financial administration of the IPU in 2005.
4. Financial situation
The Governing Council was given an overview of the IPU's current financial situation. Expenditures during the first two months of 2006 were within the budget. The payment of contributions was slightly ahead of the previous year. The Secretary General alerted the Governing Council to his concerns relating to the reimbursement of expenditures on technical cooperation in Nigeria and negotiations with the French authorities on the double taxation of staff members.
The Governing Council was reminded about the proposal to introduce a new scale of assessments more closely linked to the UN scale and therefore to each country's capacity to pay. The final figures for the new scale of assessments would be presented to the Governing Council at its next meeting, after the UN had published an updated scale of assessments for the 2007-2009 period. Meanwhile, Members who had not paid their contributions were asked to make arrangements to do so.
The Governing Council was reminded that the Union was seeking funding from external sources for new and expanded activities, and informed that a Senior Programme Support Officer had been recruited for a fixed term to develop and implement a fund-raising strategy. Delegates were asked to give support when applications were made to national donors. Internal fund-raising activities were to be coordinated with any fund-raising done by the Global Parliamentary Foundation for Democracy, which was targeting corporate donors.
The Council also approved the Executive Committee's recommendation to forgive the special debts of the Dominican Republic, Georgia and Madagascar. Those debts would therefore be written off the Working Capital Fund.
5. Cooperation with the United Nations
The Governing Council took note of the extensive list of IPU activities carried out in cooperation with various bodies within the United Nations system. It was apprised of the broad thrusts of IPU policy towards the United Nations. The Council also heard that the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly would debate and adopt a resolution on cooperation between the two organizations. At the core of the resolution would be the call for the Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations to be considered as a joint UN-IPU event and an official part of the General Assembly agenda, thereby upgrading the status of the IPU within the United Nations and resolving current difficulties in guaranteeing access to the meeting for all delegations.
Moreover, the resolution would appeal for the establishment of formal arrangements for consultation and coordination between the two organizations. It would also call for close United Nations cooperation with the IPU in the work of the new UN bodies - the Human Rights Council, the Peace-Building Commission, and the UN Democracy Fund - all of which were built on the assumption that sustainable peace and development could not be achieved without viable representative institutions. The Governing Council endorsed the draft contents of the resolution. It also noted that adoption of the resolution would require the full support of Permanent Missions in New York, acting on instructions received from their Foreign Ministries, and urged Member Parliaments to secure support for this.
Under the same item, the Governing Council took note of the status of cooperation with the Bretton Woods institutions, in particular the moves towards developing a working relationship with the World Bank.
6. Cooperation with WTO
The Governing Council took note of the results of the Hong Kong session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO that had been held in December 2005.
It expressed concern that some members of parliaments participating in sessions of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO held in conjunction with WTO Ministerial Conferences had no access to the Ministerial Conference, which undermined their ability to oversee trade negotiations. It therefore approved a resolution urging governments of all WTO Member States to include, as a matter of rule, parliamentarians specializing in questions of international trade in official national delegations to WTO Ministerial Conferences; and invited the WTO General Council to consider adding "Parliamentary Conference on the WTO" (PC WTO) as a separate category of observers to Ministerial Conferences as a permanent mechanism for parliamentary oversight; and to include in the internal WTO rules and regulations a reference to the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO as a permanent mechanism of parliamentary oversight of and interaction with the WTO.
7. Consolidation of reform of the IPU
The Governing Council was informed of progress in the reform process. The conclusions of the President's Working Group had been discussed by the geopolitical groups, whose views would be submitted to the Working Group. The geopolitical groups had each been invited by the President to send a representative to participate in the next session of the Working Group, which would take place at IPU headquarters later in 2006. The Group would make a comprehensive report to the governing bodies at the 115th Assembly.
8. Recent specialized conferences and meetings
The Governing Council took note of the results of the Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations, the Parliamentary Panel on the occasion of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, the African Parliamentary Conference on Violence against women, abandoning female genital mutilation: the role of parliaments, the Hong Kong Session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, the Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of the 50th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the Regional Seminar for Asian-Pacific Parliaments on Developing a protective framework for children, the Regional Seminar on The role of parliaments in the national reconciliation process in Africa, and the Meeting of Women Speakers of Parliament on the occasion of the 50th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
9. Reports of plenary bodies and specialized committees
At its sitting on 12 May, the Governing Council took note of the reports on the activities of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians and its Coordinating Committee, the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, the Committee on Middle East Questions, the Committee to Promote Respect for International Humanitarian Law, and the Gender Partnership Group.
10. Future inter-parliamentary meetings
In addition to the meetings previously approved, the Council approved a parliamentary caucus to take place during the United Nations High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS to be held in New York on 1 June, the joint event organized by the IPU and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS) on the occasion of the 2006 Mid-term Review of the Brussels Programme of Action on LDCs, to be held in New York on 15 September, the conference on broadcasting of parliamentary business through dedicated TV channels and public broadcasting systems, organized jointly by the IPU, the ASGP and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and to be held in Geneva on 19 October, and the meeting of parliamentary bodies dealing with the status of women and gender equality, to be held in Geneva in December on a date to be specified. None of the four events had budgetary implications.
Members were encouraged to join the delegations that their governments would send to the events taking place in New York on 1 June and 15 September.