COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
LIST OF ACTIVITIES FROM 16 OCTOBER 2006 TO 29 APRIL 2007
Noted by the IPU Governing Council at its 180th session
(Nusa Dua, Bali, 4 May 2007)
- Resolution on cooperation between the IPU and the United Nations adopted by consensus and with 133 signatures of support on the floor of the General Assembly on 20 October. The resolution makes strides in consolidating the relationship between the two Organizations by: promoting future Parliamentary Hearings as joint UN-IPU events; inviting IPU to play a role in a reformed Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); and calling for more operational and policy coordination at the level of the UN Chief Executives Board.
- Circulation of resolutions from the 115th IPU Assembly to the General Assembly, in all six official languages of the United Nations, with access from both IPU and UN websites.
- IPU statements delivered before the General Assembly or its subsidiary bodies on: strengthening the United Nations system and revitalization of the General Assembly, human rights, the administration of justice, women, sustainable development and green budgets, employment and decent work, international trade and development, information technology and parliaments.
- Annual Parliamentary Hearing (13-14 November) on Conflict prevention and peace building: Reinforcing the key role of the United Nations. The conclusions of the meeting were transmitted to the General Assembly as an official UN document. In addition to some 200 MPs, the meeting attracted a large number of ambassadors and other representatives from permanent missions in New York and the UN Secretariat.
- IPU was included in the select group of member States and international organizations guiding the work of the United Nations Peace-building Commission (PBC). IPU attended and addressed a number of PBC briefings and formal discussions, drawing attention to the need to consolidate the institution of parliament as a key component of the peace-building exercise. Working modalities for cooperation with the Parliaments of Burundi and Sierra Leone are currently in the process of being established.
- Funding secured from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) for two parliamentary projects: one in support of women legislators in Burundi, a second regional project for Africa aimed at mainstreaming international human rights commitments into the work of parliament.
- Parliamentary Meeting at the Sixth International Conference on New and Restored Democracies (29 October – 1 November, Doha, Qatar), followed by a meeting to chart the future course of the ICNRD process in Stockholm, Sweden, on 13-14 March. The Parliamentary Declaration and Plan of Action issuing from Doha provided the basis for further cooperation with specialized departments and funds of the UN.
- Frequent consultations with the President of ECOSOC and the Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on the reform of ECOSOC, and ways in which IPU may be more actively involved with that body to support the MDGs and the overall development agenda.
- Cooperation with DESA continued regarding the work of the Rome-based Global Centre for ICT in Parliaments. The IPU and the Centre worked together to provide support to an international conference organized by the Italian Chamber of Deputies on the theme of "the policy making role of parliaments in the development of the information society" (3-4 March, Rome, Italy). IPU also addressed the Global Forum for Inclusive Information and Communications Technologies at UN Headquarters in New York (26 March).
- Work in progress – in cooperation with DESA and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) – towards producing a joint handbook for parliamentarians on the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- In follow-up to the parliamentary meeting at the Mid-term Review of the Brussels Programme of Action on the Least Developed Countries (New York, September 2006), the IPU and the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (OHRLLS) have developed a joint project proposal for the establishment of parliamentary support groups in the Least Developed Countries. Ten pilot projects are proposed at the initial stage, with several parliaments having already expressed an interest to join.
- Third Meeting of Women Speakers, held on the occasion of the 51st Commission on the Status of Women. They discussed their role in protecting and empowering the girl child and the next generation of women leaders.
- Early contacts established with the new Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and his new cabinet of high-level officials.
UNDAW (UN Division for the Advancement of Women) and UNIFEM
- Joint one-day parliamentary meeting on the occasion of the 51st Commission on the Status of Women (1 March), on the question of combating violence against the girl child. The event also served as background to the release of the new IPU statistics on women in politics for the year 2006.
- The IPU Secretary General participated as a panelist in the Thematic Debate of the General Assembly on the Empowerment of Women (6-7 March). The IPU was also represented by the President of the Senate of Colombia at the UN high-level event marking International Women’s Day (8 March).
- Creation of iKNOW Politics, the International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics, as an online facility seeking to assist and promoted women in politics (website: http://www.iKNOWpolitics.org). Jointly operated by IPU, UNIFEM, UNDP, NDI, and IDEA, the new facility was launched at an event held at the United Nations (28 February, New York) in the presence of high-level officials and the Speaker of the Parliament of Jamaica.
- Parliamentary assistance projects were initiated or advanced with UNDP support in the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Pakistan.
- IPU participated in the UNDP Annual Global Democratic Governance Practice Meeting in Montauk, New York (9-13 October 2006).
- IPU initiated talks with UNDP (Bureau for Development Policy, Democratic Governance Group) on the production of a major new study on the representation of minorities in parliaments. A two-day preparatory meeting on the subject was held at IPU headquarters on 19 and 20 March.
- Organization of a regional seminar for Arab parliaments on rules of procedure (Rabat, 28 29 March 2007).
- Translation into Spanish and Arabic of the Handbook for parliamentarians on human rights.
- The IPU Secretary General spoke at the high-level segment of the 4th session of the Human Rights Council (March) and at the meeting of National Human Rights Institutions, organized during that session.
- Work continued on the production of a new joint Handbook for Parliamentarians on violence against children. The handbook will be launched at the 116th Assembly in Nusa Dua, during the panel on "Making schools safe for children".
- Preparations got underway for a seminar for the Asian region on sustainable development in Vientiane, Laos, in November 2007.
- Initiated work on a new handbook for parliamentarians in the field of international environmental law and sustainable development as part of the on-going capacity building programme for parliamentarians.
- A joint IPU-ILO briefing of members of parliament attending the 45th Commission for Social Development was held on 8 February. The briefing (25 MPs from a dozen countries) focused on the meaning and objectives of the "full employment and decent work" agenda. It opened the way to more joint activities between the two organizations in the context of the cooperation programme adopted at the 115th Assembly.
- The second meeting of the IPU’s Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS, which includes representatives from UNDP and UNAIDS, took place at IPU headquarters in March.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
- The annual 2006 session of the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization (WTO) was a milestone event enhancing the role of the Conference as a de facto parliamentary dimension of the WTO. The session was held in Geneva on 1 and 2 December 2006 and was attended by 420 delegates from 73 countries and 10 international organizations, including some 210 members of parliament. Also present were government representatives of 43 sovereign States that are members of the WTO. Among the highlights of the session were a hearing with the WTO Director-General Mr. P. Lamy and a dialogue with Trade Ministers of G5 countries.
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