|>>> VERSION FRANÇAISE|
|Chemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland|
(Nusa Dua, Bali, 30 April and 4 May 2007)
1. Membership of the IPU
At its sitting on 30 April, the Governing Council approved a request for affiliation from the Parliament of Afghanistan and suspended the affiliation of Fiji following a military coup d'état in that country. On 4 May, the Governing Council also suspended the affiliation of Uzbekistan under the terms of Article 4.2 of the Statutes relating to financial contributions. The IPU currently comprises 147 Member Parliaments; in addition, seven international parliamentary assemblies and organizations are Associate Members.
The Governing Council also approved requests for observer status from the Pan-African Parliament and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
2. Financial results for 2006
The Governing Council considered the Annual Financial Report and Audited Financial Statements for 2006, in conjunction with the report of the External Auditor. The Financial Statements showed that the IPU had an operating surplus of CHF 429,782 in 2006 and had transferred additional credits of CHF 150,427 to the Working Capital Fund.
The Governing Council applauded the gender analysis of expenditure, which showed that the Secretariat had achieved parity in the number of professional staff through affirmative action.
The internal auditors, Mr. D. Oliver (Canada) and Mr. A. Quawas (Jordan), reported that they were satisfied with the financial performance of the IPU in 2006 and with the presentation of the Financial Statements. They recommended that the Financial Regulations be amended to limit transfers between budget headings, suggested that new reporting standards be adopted for staff benefits, established a deadline for publishing an internal finance manual, and encouraged the Governing Council to consider appointing a salaried internal auditor.
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 2006.
3. Financial situation
The Governing Council was given an overview of the IPU's financial situation. Expenditure during the first quarter of 2007 was within budget, a healthy situation that might be undermined by the possible suspension of several members, a tax liability in France, and potential liabilities relating to the recently completed technical assistance project in Nigeria.
The Governing Council was presented with a draft scale of contributions for 2008 that took into account changes in the United Nations scale approved by the United Nations General Assembly at the end of 2006 and the IPU's evolving membership base. It would have to approve the definitive scale of contributions for 2008 assessments at its next meeting.
The Secretary General informed the Governing Council about recent fund-raising activities. Several pledges were due to materialize shortly. One member of the Council requested a cost-benefit analysis of fund-raising efforts.
On the recommendation of the Executive Committee, the Governing Council approved supplementary estimates amounting to CHF 324,000 to cover the cost of the 116th Assembly, human rights monitoring in Sri Lanka, and doubtful receivables.
4. Cooperation with the United Nations
In considering United Nations General Assembly resolution 61/6 on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, adopted in New York on 20 October 2006 and co-sponsored by 133 Member States, the Governing Council heard that cooperation between the two organizations had expanded over the past two years. It noted that the General Assembly, acting on a series of recommendations by the IPU, had decided to: strengthen the IPU's contribution to its work; forge close cooperation between the IPU and new United Nations bodies such as the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission; ensure that the IPU was involved in implementing the new functions attributed to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) by the 2005 World Summit, particularly by shaping a parliamentary dimension to the new Development Cooperation Forum; further develop as joint United Nations-IPU events the Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations and other parliamentary meetings held during major United Nations meetings; and closely involve the IPU in the preparation of system-wide strategies for consideration by the United Nations system and its Chief Executives Board for Coordination.
More generally, the Governing Council took stock of recent developments in IPU-United Nations cooperation, considered reports on a variety of United Nations-related activities and approved a calendar of forthcoming initiatives and meetings. The Council also approved the draft programme of cooperation with UNICEF for the next four years (2007 2010), which built on existing cooperation on child protection issues and developed new fields of common action. That broadened partnership required extra-budgetary funding in addition to the budgetary funds already set aside for IPU-UNICEF activities, and the two organizations would seek to raise those funds together in the coming months.
The Governing Council welcomed the message to the 116th Assembly sent by the new United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. The message highlighted the critical role of national parliaments in the work of the United Nations and called for fresh efforts to build a more strategic partnership between the IPU and the United Nations. The newly established IPU Committee on United Nations Affairs is designed to provide greater coherence and political guidance to cooperation between the two organizations.
5. IPU activities to strengthen parliaments and democracy
The Council took note of a report reviewing the activities the IPU had carried out over the past year to promote democracy. The IPU had been actively involved in providing assistance to 11 parliaments in Africa, Latin America and Asia. It had also organized various global and regional capacity-building seminars on a host of subjects, including ICT and parliaments, sustainable development, parliaments and post-conflict management, security sector oversight, human rights and parliamentary procedures.
The IPU had also continued to defend the rights of members of parliament who were deprived of their right to exercise their mandate. As far as promoting women's participation in political life was concerned, apart from its usual advocacy work, the IPU had embarked on an extensive three-year programme in the Arab region to build the capacity of women to participate effectively in parliamentary processes. It planned to extend such activities to the Pacific Island States.
The IPU had sought to give wide publicity to its recently published guide on Parliaments and Democracy, which was now available in five languages. A new project had been initiated to review and develop guidelines for the representation of minorities in parliament.
The expansion of the IPU's democracy work had entailed an increased need for staff and financial resources. More staff had been recruited with external resources, and the IPU was making active efforts to mobilize further additional funds. Those efforts, which were based on the IPU's four-year plan to promote democracy and peace, were starting to bear fruit as some funding had already been secured from different sources, including the United Nations and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
6. Consolidation of IPU reform
The Governing Council gave its approval in principle to a series of reforms recommended by the IPU President's working group on reform. The required amendments to the Statutes would be circulated to all Members within the statutory deadline of three months prior to the 117th Assembly. They would enter into force immediately after their adoption.
The Governing Council also reviewed the proposed new arrangements for the second Assembly of the year and decided to implement them in Geneva in 2007 on an experimental basis. The Standing Committees would no longer meet in plenary, and the time allotted to the Governing Council would be increased to allow for more effective scrutiny of the Organization's affairs. The customary subsidiary bodies and panels would be convened alongside those events. More significantly, the newly established Committee on United Nations Affairs would examine the different aspects of the IPU-United Nations relationship and discuss United Nations questions, including the Organization's funding and the uses to which its funds were put. The Committee would be a plenary committee, and from within its ranks it would set up a core group of parliamentarians particularly well versed in United Nations affairs, who would serve as the cutting edge of the scrutiny function.
7. Recent specialized meetings
The Governing Council took note of the results of the Conference on Broadcasting of Parliamentary Business through Dedicated TV Channels and Public Broadcasting Systems, the Parliamentary Forum held on the occasion of the sixth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies and its follow-up seminar, the Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations, the annual session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, the Meeting of parliamentary bodies dealing with the status of women and gender equality, the one-day parliamentary meeting and the Meeting of Women Speakers of Parliament, both of which were held on the occasion of the 51st Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and the Meeting of the IPU Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS.
8. Reports of plenary bodies and specialized committees
At its sitting on 4 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 Group of Facilitators for Cyprus, the Committee to Promote Respect for International Humanitarian Law, and the Gender Partnership Group.
9. Future inter-parliamentary meetings
In addition to the meetings previously approved, the Council approved the Global Meeting on HIV/AIDS, to be held in November 2007 at a venue to be decided, and the World e-Parliament Conference: Challenges and benefits of ICT in parliamentary processes, to be held in late 2007, also at a venue to be decided. Neither meeting had implications for the IPU budget.