COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
List of activities undertaken by the IPU between 8 October 2007 and 13 April 2008
Noted by the IPU Governing Council at its 182nd session
(Cape Town, 18 April 2008)
- Documents adopted by the 117th Assembly were circulated to the United Nations General Assembly in all six official languages and with access from both IPU and UN websites. The documents, including the IPU policy paper on the relationship between the United Nations and the world organization of parliaments, and a Declaration on the IPU Universal Declaration on Democracy, are particularly timely at this juncture in the relationship between the two Organizations.
- Some 14 statements were delivered on the main aspects of IPU work before the General Assembly and its subsidiary organs. The statements focused on key policy principles drawn from official IPU resolutions but also reported on IPU on-going activities.
- A second meeting of the Advisory Group to the IPU Committee on UN Affairs was held at UN headquarters in November 2007 to assess common objectives and priorities. Further consultations took place at the Secretariat level to implement specific recommendations, including a field mission to review the "Delivering as One" reform plan of the UN. Policy meetings with senior UN officials, such as the Deputy Secretary-General, were also held.
- Following up on the recommendations coming out of the Sixth International Conference on New or Restored Democracies, the IPU was actively involved in the negotiations on a UN resolution which henceforth establishes an International Day of Democracy. The date chosen – September 15th – coincides with the anniversary of the IPU Universal Declaration on Democracy.
- Implementing the provisions of GA resolution 61/6, IPU participated in early discussions around the new UN Development Cooperation Forum. IPU was represented at a UN symposium in Cairo in January 2008, and has initiated work toward a joint Stakeholder Forum on foreign aid in the spring of 2008.
- In cooperation with the Office of the UN High Representative on the Least Developed Countries, a new project got under way to facilitate more effective participation of parliament in the implementation of the 2001 Brussels Plan of Action for the LDCs. As part of this project, a meeting with parliamentarians from ten pilot countries and LDC focal points in those countries was held in Tanzania in December 2007.
- The annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations, this year focusing on "The Rule of Law in International Relations", took place in November 2007 as a joint UN-IPU event. Some 200 MPs convened for a substantive exchange among legislators, diplomats and UN officials. The final report of the meeting was circulated by the President of the General Assembly to all member States.
- Cooperation with the UN Peacebuilding Commission continued, with special attention paid to the needs of the Parliaments of Burundi and Sierra Leone. The Speaker of the Parliament of Sierra Leone travelled to UN Headquarters in New York in November 2007 for in-depth consultations with UN officials. As a result, the need for specialized assistance to the Parliament of Sierra Leone is explicitly reflected in the UN/PBC Cooperation Framework.
- A Handbook on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was launched at the 117th Assembly. The handbook is a joint publication of IPU, UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Some 4000 copies in English have been distributed. Three translations, in French, Spanish, and Arabic will be made available at the 118th Assembly.
- An information seminar was held at IPU Headquarters in cooperation with the UN Division for the Advancement of Women in October 2007. The theme of the meeting was "Implementing the Convention on Discrimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women". Also with the Division, the IPU held a one-day meeting for parliamentarians attending the 52nd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women on 27 February 2008. The meeting dealt with the question of financing for gender equality.
- The IPU and the UN (Division for Advancement of Women) published the World Map of Women in Politics 2008. The map, printed in several thousand copies and in all six official languages of the United Nations (the Arabic, Russian and Chinese are not ready yet and should be ready for April or May), was launched during the 2008 session of the Commission on the Status of Women. It is being distributed to UN regional and country offices as well as to parliaments.
- The IPU submitted and presented a report to the United Nations Committee on Discrimination against Women in January 2008, on the occasion of the Committee’s 40th session. The report provided information on the level of women’s political participation in the countries under consideration by the Committee and the level of parliamentary involvement in the reporting process.
- The "World e-Parliament Report 2008" was officially launched at UN Headquarters in New York on 28 February 2008. The report is a joint publication of the IPU and the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs. The formal launch was accompanied by a high-level Dialogue on "Global Citizenship and the Information Society: the Right of Access to Information". The IPU, the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs and the Association of Secretaries General of Parliament co-organized the World e‑Parliament conference and related meetings in Geneva from 9 to 12 October 2008, through the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament.
- A new and comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding was signed with UNDP in November 2007, laying the foundations for a number of joint initiatives, particularly in the areas of parliamentary development, good governance and women in politics.
- In partnership with UNDP and the National Assembly of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic) the IPU held a regional capacity-building seminar in November 2007 in Vientiane on sustainable development for the parliaments of the Asia/Pacific region. The seminar focused on three topics identified by the parliaments of the region: poverty reduction, energy and biodiversity.
- The IPU continued to work with UNDP in the implementation of programmes to strengthen parliament. This was the case in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic where a needs assessment mission was conducted in October 2007 and a project formulation meeting took place in February-March 2008. In Sierra Leone, the IPU conducted a needs assessment mission in cooperation with UNDP in October-November 2007. Other countries where the IPU and UNDP are working together include Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Timor-Leste.
- The Inter-Parliamentary Union is conducting a project financed by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) to support women parliamentarians in Burundi. The project is implemented in cooperation with the Parliament of Burundi for a two-year period. It aims at building the capacity and strengthening the action of women MPs. The project was launched on June 2007. The latest activities took place in January 2008. A seminar on mainstreaming gender into the work of parliament, particularly the budget, was held in Bujumbura on 15 and 16 January 2008. Among other activities, the project is currently providing support to the Association of women parliamentarians and to a series of coordination meetings between women MPs and representatives from the civil society on priority gender issues.
- Another UNDEF-funded programme provides assistance to French-speaking African parliaments to promote parliamentary involvement in the implementation of human rights treaties. The official launch took place at a seminar for these parliaments at the National Assembly of Burkina Faso in October. The project aims to develop the parliaments’ knowledge of international and regional human rights treaties, and encourage them to become more involved in the work of treaty bodies, especially in the preparation and submission of country reports and the implementation of the recommendations issued. Follow-up seminars took place for the Parliaments of Togo and Mali in February 2008. These activities were carried out in close cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
- The Spanish and Arabic versions of the IPU-UNICEF Handbook for parliamentarians on violence against children were produced.
- In cooperation with UNICEF and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, IPU organized an event on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, on violence against the girl child (October 2007).
- A comprehensive cooperation plan between IPU and UNICEF was presented at the latter’s Executive Board meeting in the fall of 2007. Its implementation will start this year, subject to extra-budgetary funding becoming available.
- In light of IPU’s cooperation with UNICEF, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) is holding a meeting "Countdown to 2015" in parallel with the 118th Assembly.
- A Handbook for Parliamentarians on HIV/AIDS, produced together with UNAIDS and UNDP, was launched at the IPU First Global Parliamentary Meeting in Manila, Philippines, in November 2007. The three Organizations have also started plans for a parliamentary meeting on the occasion of the 2008 review meeting of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS. The role of parliaments in future review meetings of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS was duly recognized in a resolution adopted in December 2007.
- The IPU attended the 54th session of the Trade and Development Board in October 2007 and addressed a meeting with NGOs and private sector entities. The IPU has also arranged for a delegation to attend UNCTAD XII in Accra, Ghana, in April 2008.
- In late October 2007, the IPU Secretary General made a presentation on the role of parliaments and the IPU in global governance at the International Forum of Civil Society, held in conjunction with the 34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference.
- A joint IPU-UNIFEM informal side event was organized on 28 February 2008 during the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This panel event discussed the question of "Political accountability to women: the role of women in politics".
International Labour Organization (ILO)
- The IPU attended the ILO Forum on Decent Work for a Fair Globalization held in Lisbon in October 2007, and in this context organized a meeting of parliamentarians. The meeting outlined further steps toward cooperation with the ILO, including the creation of an Advisory Group of parliamentarians on decent work and employment for all.
- A seminar on "Migration from a human rights perspective" was held by the IPU, the International Labour Organization and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in October 2007. The conclusions of the seminar will contribute to the debate to be held on this same subject at the 118th IPU Assembly.
- In December 2007, the second IPU conference for members of parliamentary committees dealing with gender issues was organized with the ILO on the subject of "Women and work". The meeting adopted final recommendations which will be the subject of follow up activities with the ILO.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
- The IPU, together with the European Parliament, held a panel discussion on trade and climate change during this year's WTO Public Forum in October 2007. The Forum proper dealt with the question of how the WTO can help harness globalization.
- The 17th session of the Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO took place at Geneva Headquarters on 3-4 April 2008.
- The IPU and the UN Office against Drug and Crime held a Parliamentary Forum in Vienna on 12 February 2008. The meeting, hosted by the Austrian Parliament, was held in the context of the Vienna Forum on human trafficking. It examined ways and means in which parliaments and parliamentarians could more effectively contribute to the global struggle against the scourge of human trafficking. A report on the proceedings of the Parliamentary Forum was presented to a plenary of the Vienna Forum.
The IPU is a member of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF). It also benefits from the services of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) which sets staff salary rates and travel allowances. The ILO provides support to the IPU through its Administrative Tribunal and Social Security Department
HOME PAGEGOVERNING COUNCILMAIN AREAS OF ACTIVITYIPU STRUCTURE AND DOCUMENTS