COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
List of activities undertaken by the IPU between 15 October 2008 and 31 March 2009
Noted by the IPU Governing Council at its 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)
- On 18 November 2008, the General Assembly adopted a new resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU (A/RES/63/24), sponsored by 67 Member States. The resolution encourages closer cooperation between the IPU and the UN system, in particular its new bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission, the Development Cooperation Forum and the Human Rights Council. It calls for a regular exchange between the IPU political leadership and the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), and it provides for a new and separate agenda item for future sessions of the General Assembly, to focus on cooperation between the United Nations, national parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The resolution also welcomes the growing practice of including legislators in national delegations to major United Nations meetings, and enhances the visibility of the joint UN-IPU hearings.
- The annual joint UN-IPU Parliamentary Hearing, Towards effective peacekeeping and the prevention of conflicts: Delivering on our commitments, took place on 20 and 21 November 2008. For the first time, the final report of the hearing was circulated at the United Nations as an official document of the General Assembly. Highlights of the meeting were also presented at the substantive session of the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations in February 2009.
- The Advisory Group of the IPU Committee on UN Affairs met in New York on 19 November 2008. The Group also participated in a briefing for the broader UN community on Progress in Implementing UN One Reform: Political Challenges, Parliamentary Perspectives. It presented the results of a field visit by members of the Advisory Group to review progress in the streamlining of UN operations in Tanzania (September 2008). A second field visit of the Advisory Group to observe UN operations in another pilot country, Viet Nam, took place from 24 to 26 February 2009.
- The conclusions of the 2008 Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) highlighted the role of parliaments in support of the aid effectiveness agenda (Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action). The IPU organized two expert field missions to Zambia and Tanzania to study ways in which parliaments in recipient countries exercise oversight of aid and national development plans. The IPU has also begun work with the United Nations on preparations for the 2010 DCF and was represented at the first meeting of the DCF Advisory Group held in Doha, Qatar, in November 2008.
- The IPU participated in the International Review Conference on Financing for Development, held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November to 2 December. A Parliamentary Hearing was held on the eve of the Conference. The IPU President addressed the plenary of the Doha Conference, and presented the parliamentary message previously endorsed by the IPU governing bodies at the 119th Assembly.
- On 10 and 11 March 2009, the IPU hosted a meeting of the Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System at its headquarters in Geneva. Chaired by Nobel Economics Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz, the Commission is mandated to reflect on the causes of the crisis, assess its impact on all countries and suggest adequate responses to avoid its recurrence and restore global economic stability. Its outcome report will be used in the preparatory process of the UN High-level Conference on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development, to be held in New York later this year.
- The Global Centre for ICT in Parliament, a joint initiative of the IPU and the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, held the second World e-Parliament Conference in Brussels on 25 and 26 November 2008, in partnership with the European Parliament. The IPU’s Guidelines for Parliamentary Websites, originally published in 2000, were revised by a working group of parliamentary ICT experts set up by the Global Centre. At its third annual meeting on 6 March 2009, the high-level Board of the Global Centre adopted a forward-looking statement and set of strategic goals that will guide the Global Centre’s work in the coming years.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- In collaboration with the OHCHR, the IPU held a seminar to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (3-5 November 2008). The seminar, held at IPU Headquarters in Geneva, took a critical look at the achievements and challenges that remained sixty years after the adoption of the landmark human rights instrument.
Office of the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (OHRLDC)
- Further progress was made in the second phase of the joint project with OHRLDC to establish parliamentary support groups for the Brussels Plan of Action. A follow-up workshop at the Parliament of Cambodia, where a support group was constituted, took place in February 2009. A Guidebook for the 49 LDC parliaments was published in March.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
- The sixth seminar for parliamentarians on implementing CEDAW, organized in cooperation with the OHCHR, took place on 16 October 2008. The seminar focused on the role of parliaments in addressing laws that discriminate against women.
- The IPU presented a report to the 42nd and 43rd sessions of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on parliament’s involvement in the CEDAW reporting process and the level of women’s political participation in the countries whose reports were examined at these two sessions.
United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (UNDAW)
- Together with UNDAW, the IPU held a one-day meeting for parliamentarians attending the 53rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (4 March 2009). The meeting looked at the Role of parliaments in promoting equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men. During the same period, the IPU held a joint event with UNIFEM on Gender Equality and Political Accountability. Another event was held with IPU partners in the iKNOW Politics initiative (UNDP, UNIFEM, NDI, IDEA), under the theme of Getting ahead: testimonials from women political leaders.
UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
- Pursuing their cooperation in the area of combating human trafficking, the IPU and UNODC produced a handbook for parliamentarians on the subject. The Handbook will be launched during the Assembly in Addis Ababa.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- Cooperation with UNDP continued at the project level in a number of countries. Two agreements were signed (November 2008 and February 2009) with UNDP Freetown to provide assistance to the Parliament of Sierra Leone in its strategic planning process. A Memorandum of Understanding with UNDP is due to be signed in the near future to advance work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Lao PDR, implementation of the project of Support to an Effective Lao National Assembly "SELNA" – in which the IPU and UNDP cooperate on certain components - began in January 2009. A Memorandum of Understanding with UNDP was signed last December for parliamentary assistance in the Maldives. In Pakistan, the IPU and UNDP participated in a review/formulation mission in Islamabad from 16 February to 2 March.
- The project document for joint IPU-UNDP activities in Togo was finalized last December based on an in-depth needs assessment. UNDP will contribute US$ 200,000 in 2009. The project component on reinforcing relationships between parliament and civil society has been submitted for funding to the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).
- Informal talks began in March 2009 on ways in which the IPU could work with UNDP in the context of its new programme on Capacity Development for Aid Effectiveness. The programme is designed to provide innovative field-level tools for parliaments, civil society organizations and other actors to better integrate the aid effectiveness agenda.
- The joint IPU-UNDP project on Promoting inclusive parliaments: The representation of minorities and indigenous peoples in parliament moved ahead with the distribution of a questionnaire to parliaments, aimed at gathering baseline data on the number of parliamentarians and ways in which parliaments seek to include minority and indigenous groups in their work.
- A Forum of Arab Women in Politics was heldby UNDP and the Algerian Parliament, with the support of the IPU, in January 2009.
- A training session for women and men parliamentarians from Jordan on human rights treaties with a special focus on CEDAW was held by the House of Representatives of Jordan, the IPU and UNDP, in November 2008.
- A regional seminar entitled For a better promotion of women’s rights: The role of parliaments and parliamentarians of the West African subregion was held from 16 to 18 February 2009, in Lomé, Togo. The seminar was organized by the National Assembly of Togo, the IPU and UNDP.
United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)
- Two national seminars on human rights treaty bodies were held in December 2008 in the context of the UNDEF-funded project. One seminar took place in Mali; the other in the Republic of Congo.
- In partnership with the Parliament of Burundi, the IPU pursued implementation of its UNDEF‑funded project in support of women parliamentarians. In terms of legislative action, women parliamentarians from Burundi have studied and identified priority laws that needed to be adopted, and have discussed these initiatives with government officials, civil society and international organizations. The project has also led to the establishment of a documentary section in the parliamentary library on women’s rights and gender equality. More recently, men and women parliamentarians have debated the role of parliament in the implementation of regional and international commitments in the area of women’s rights (in particular CEDAW and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights).
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- The IPU lent its support to a UNICEF-European Commission conference on the theme of Legislative reform to achieve human rights, held in New York on 15 October 2008. The event focused on good practices, challenges and innovative ideas in legislative reforms to advance children’s rights and the well-being of every child.
- A regional seminar for parliaments of Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) took place in Tirana, on 14 and 15 December 2008, at the invitation of the National Assembly of Albania. Organized by the IPU and UNICEF, the seminar focused on the role of parliaments in preventing and responding to sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. The seminar facilitated a debate among parliamentarians from the region on ways and means of developing a protective framework for children, with a particular focus on parliamentary mechanisms.
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
- The joint IPU-UNAIDS-UNDP Handbook, Taking action against HIV and AIDS, was revised and updated with the most recent figures and indicators for HIV and AIDS. It was translated and printed in French. The English version saw its second print in January 2009.
- The IPU also participated in the Task Team on HIV-related Travel Restrictions, which completed its work in November 2008 by presenting its Final Report to the Coordinating Boards of UNAIDS and The Global Fund. The final recommendations of the Task Team were endorsed by a majority of the members of the IPU Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS.
- A day-long brainstorming session on future joint activities with UNAIDS and UNDP took place in March 2009.
International Labour Organization (ILO)
- A formal agreement has been signed between the IPU and the ILO for the production of a joint handbook for parliamentarians on human rights and migration.
World Health Organization (WHO)
- A seminar for parliamentarians on maternal health and child survival, hosted by the Parliament of the Netherlands, was held by the IPU and the WHO from 26 to 28 November. Its objective was to mobilize parliaments around Millennium Development Goals 4 (newborn survival) and 5 (maternal health). The participants adopted a road map for parliaments to meet these goals.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
In cooperation with the WTO Secretariat, the IPU published an illustrated booklet with highlights of the annual 2008 session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO (Geneva, 11‑12 September 2008). The publication was distributed to parliaments and governments of WTO Members States.
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