CONSOLIDATION OF THE REFORM OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION
SECOND ASSEMBLY OF THE YEAR
Document approved by the IPU Governing Council at its 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)
All Geopolitical Groups are invited to evaluate the second Assembly and to submit a report to the Executive Committee summarizing their views. The Governing Council will subsequently debate the matter and take a decision regarding the future of the Assembly during its October session this year. In order to facilitate the evaluation, the Executive Committee invites the Geopolitical Groups to address the following questions.
Before the format of the second Assembly was changed, it mirrored the first Assembly of the year. It allowed members to debate three issues in the Standing Committees, debate an emergency item, take decisions in the Governing Council in a standard format without much debate. In 2005, its duration was reduced from four to three days. The Governing Council concluded in late 2006 that this format was not sustainable. It did not offer sufficient time to carry out the work in a satisfactory manner, yet members did not agree to increase the duration of the Assembly.
Are members satisfied with the new format? Does it have sufficient political content? Do members feel that the programme of the Assembly offers them enough variety and interesting things to do? Do they have any suggestions for improving the content of the second Assembly? Do they want to maintain it in its present form or do they want to revert to the earlier format? Are members satisfied that they have sufficient opportunities to debate and express their views during the year? If not, do they have any proposals for improving the situation?
The new format of the second Assembly provides more time for the Governing Council to meet in order to set IPU policy and programmes and to hold its officers to account.
Has this objective been met? Are members better informed about the work of the Organization and are they more involved in the decision-making process? Do members have any proposals for strengthening their involvement in the direction of the organization?
The three Standing Committees no longer meet to debate an issue and adopt a resolution during the second Assembly. Instead, three panel discussions are held to prepare for the debates that take place during the first Assembly of the following year. The rapporteurs present their draft reports and members and experts contribute with their views. The overall objective is to improve on the quality of the report and draft resolutions and increase the consensus base of the final documents.
Have these objectives been met? Are members satisfied with the process and its outcome? Have the quality and consensus base of the final documents improved? Do members feel that they are better informed of the substantive issues under discussion and better able to influence the outcome?
A new Standing Committee on United Nations Affairs has been created and it meets once a year during the second Assembly. It has been given a mandate encompassing six tasks: (1) Monitor implementation of the recommendations made by the 2000 and 2005 Speakers Conferences to strengthen cooperation between parliaments and the United Nations; (2) Suggest how the IPU can ensure greater and more coherent support by parliaments to the work of the United Nations; (3) Formulate recommendations to structure cooperation between parliamentary organizations and assemblies and the United Nations; (4) Recommend parliamentary input to the revitalization of the UN General Assembly and the new functions of the Economic and Social Council; (5) Review the functioning of the United Nations system and provide input to the reform discussions aimed at strengthening the Organization; and (6) Examine the funding of the United Nations and its development cooperation activities and the use it makes of those funds.
Has the Committee been able to carry out these tasks? Are members satisfied with the work of this Committee? Has it enabled them to exert influence on the overall cooperation between parliaments and the United Nations and the functioning of the UN? Does the Committee duplicate work carried out by other bodies of the IPU? Do members have any suggestions for improving the work of the Committee?
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