COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
List of activities undertaken by the IPU between 19 April and 12 October 2008
Noted by the IPU Governing Council at its 183rd session
(Geneva, 15 October 2008)
- Work began on the second joint IPU-UN Annual Parliamentary Hearing, due to take place on 20 21 November under the title "towards effective peacekeeping and the prevention of conflict: delivering on our commitments".
- Consultations were held in New York regarding the content of the biennial report of the UN Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU. The report was released in September in all six languages of the United Nations. It provides the background to a draft resolution on cooperation between the two organizations that will be circulated to member states of the United Nations later in the year.
- In cooperation with the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), the IPU held a panel discussion on "Parliaments, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation" in New York on 13 June. Presentations focused on some of the challenges facing newly established post-conflict parliaments and their dramatic impact upon the peacebuilding and reconciliation process. The panel’s findings were included in the annual report of the Peacebuilding Commission.
- On 9 June, the IPU held a briefing in New York for parliamentarians attending the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS (10-11 June). It was followed by a working luncheon on 11 June co-hosted by the IPU, UNAIDS and UNDP. The two events addressed some of the critical issues under discussion at the UN, such as stigma and discrimination, including travel restrictions against persons living with AIDS.
- The IPU worked with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs to organize a Stakeholders Forum on aid quality and effectiveness in Rome, Italy, on 12 13 June. The conclusions of the meeting were presented to the first Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) of the Economic and Social Council on 1st July in New York.
- The IPU contributed input to the draft Agenda for Action in discussions with UN and OECD, in preparation for the review meeting on the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held on 2 4 September in Accra, Ghana.
- Preparations began over the summer for a Parliamentary Hearing on the occasion of the Review Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November to 2 December. A draft Parliamentary Message to the UN conference was prepared.
- The Advisory Group of the IPU Committee on UN Affairs met in Geneva on 18 July. Following that meeting, a survey on parliament’s involvement in UN affairs was distributed to IPU Members in early September. On 8-10 September, members of the Advisory Group undertook a field mission to Tanzania to monitor how the UN is retooling at the country level in order to streamline operations and improve their overall impact.
- The IPU participated in the celebrations of the first International Day of Democracy (IDD) on 15 September. It held a special panel discussion at IPU Headquarters to mark the occasion, attended by the Director General of the UN Office in Geneva, and it participated in the event organized by the United Nations in New York. The IPU launched a dedicated IDD webpage which was cross linked with that of the United Nations. A large promotional effort of IPU materials prepared on the occasion of IDD was undertaken vis-à-vis the UN community in both New York and Geneva.
- Members of parliament attending the annual general debate that opens the new session of the General Assembly have been invited to participate in an IPU briefing on 26 September, on recent developments in the cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU.
- In September, the resolutions of the 118th IPU Assembly were duly circulated to the UN General Assembly in all six official languages.
- Cooperation with the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (OHRLLS) continued on the basis of the project begun last year to enable parliaments in Least Developed Countries to better integrate the Brussels Programme of Action (BPOA). In September the project entered its second phase with the finalization of a joint IPU-OHRLLS Guide to Parliamentary Practice. Invitations to join the project were sent to the thirty-nine parliaments outside the initial pilot group.
- As part of efforts to strengthen relations between IPU and UNDP, particularly following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two Organizations late last year, the UNDP Administrator was invited to address the 119th IPU Assembly in Geneva.
- IPU and UNDP launched a joint project to promote the representation of minorities and indigenous peoples in parliament. The project will establish a database and identify relevant good practice for dissemination. An expert group of leading academics and parliamentarians was established to provide guidance in this project. The Group met for the first time in Geneva on 16 17 September 2008.
UN Committee on Discrimination against Women
- The IPU presented a report to the United Nations Committee on Discrimination against Women, meeting in New York in July for its 41st session. The report provided information on women in parliament in the respective countries considered at the session, as well as on the level of parliamentary involvement in the CEDAW reporting process.
- The IPU participated in UNCTAD XII (Accra, 20-25 April 2008), where it circulated a Parliamentary Message adopted by the 118th IPU Assembly a few days earlier. The Message was introduced by the Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
- The 2008 annual session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO took place in Geneva on 11 12 September. It provided parliamentarians with an opportunity to obtain first-hand information on recent developments at the WTO and consider the trade liberalization agenda in the face of the recent collapse of Doha Round negotiations.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)
- The UNDEF funded joint IPU-OHCHR project, aimed at familiarising parliaments with the work of United Nations treaty bodies and regional human rights mechanisms and at enhancing their involvement in that work, continued with the holding of national seminars in Mauritania from 12 to 14 May 2008 and in Congo from 23 to 25 July 2008. The parliaments of both countries adopted a plan to implement a number of treaty body recommendations and a strategy to ensure their involvement in the preparation of national reports and follow-up to the recommendations. A second seminar will be held in a few months’ time to evaluate the strategy and achievements.
- The IPU and the World Bank Institute met in late July to review their co-operation in the context of strengthening parliaments. They agreed on a number of new initiatives, including the development of video-conference programmes of training for parliaments in post-conflict countries.
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