|>>> VERSION FRANÇAISE|
|Chemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland|
(Quebec City, 22 and 24 October 2012)
1. Membership of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
At its sitting on 22 October, the Governing Council approved a request from the Parliament of Lesotho for its membership to be held by both chambers of parliament.
2. Reports on the activities of IPU Members
The Governing Council took note of the reports submitted by 51 Members and one Associate Member on their participation in the IPU and on follow-up of three resolutions adopted at the 124th Assembly relating to the prevention of electoral violence, election monitoring and transition of power; sustainable development; and funding of political parties and election campaigns. The Council noted with concern that the number of Members fulfilling their obligation to submit an annual report had fallen compared with previous years.
The Council received a report on activities that had taken place on or around 15 September, the International Day of Democracy. The IPU’s chosen theme for 2012 was "Dialogue and inclusiveness: Central to Democracy". Thirty-six parliaments had informed the Secretariat of events they had held to celebrate the Day. The IPU President had issued a statement on the Day at a special session of the World e-Parliament Conference, in which he underlined the importance of ensuring that democracy and its institutions were truly inclusive and able to resolve differences through dialogue.
3. Financial situation of the IPU
The Governing Council was presented with a comprehensive report on the financial situation of the IPU and an updated list of unpaid contributions as at 20 October 2012. On that date, only one Member had significant arrears and was subject to voting sanctions. The total amount of contributions in arrears was substantially reduced compared with previous years.
The Council took note of the Secretary General's projected operating surplus of CHF 170,000 due to deferred expenditure on IPU website development, anticipated cost savings as well as cancelled and deferred staff positions resulting in savings in salaries. The savings would be partially offset by a reduction in staff assessment and an increase in tax payments to the French authorities. The first Assembly, the largest expense of the year to date, had been completed almost exactly within budget.
For the 2012 budget, the Secretary General had set voluntary funding projections at CHF 1.2 million based on realistic expectations of known or obtainable funding rather than on total funding needs. The total amount of voluntary funds received by the end of 2012 was projected to reach CHF 1.9 million. The Governing Council was informed of the potential for increasing the level of voluntary contributions to fund IPU activities in the future.
4. Programme and budget for 2013
The Council received the consolidated budget proposal for 2013. Reporting on behalf of the Executive Committee, the Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Finance, Mr. K. Örnfjäder (Sweden), stated that the Sub-Committee had guided the work of the Secretariat in the preparation of the budget. It was the first time the governing bodies had been so closely involved throughout the budget process.
The budget was designed to cope with a freeze in assessed contributions at a time of economic hardship for many Members. The budget document followed the same structure as the IPU Strategy for 2012-2017. It was supplemented by a summarized logical framework providing a budget breakdown under each strategic objective and sub-objective.
The budget reflected a reduction in the core expenditure budget for 2013 of CHF 400,000. Activity cost reductions had been made in several areas and one professional staff position had been frozen. That reduction was partly compensated by a progressive increase in voluntary funding from external donors.
It was proposed to freeze additions to the reserve for major building repairs in 2013 and to transfer up to CHF 100,000 of the projected operational surplus for 2012 to the 2013 budget.
The Governing Council was informed that Japan, the biggest contributor to the IPU budget, had asked the IPU to maintain its cost-cutting and "scrap and build" policy. It had also asked to have its contribution rate, which had been fixed at 11.75 per cent, reviewed. The Council entrusted the Sub-Committee on Finance with considering Japan’s requests.
The Governing Council approved the 2013 budget of CHF 13,621,900. The approved budget and scale of contributions for 2013 have been posted on the IPU website.
5. Cooperation with the United Nations System
The Governing Council took stock of recent developments in IPU-UN cooperation and was informed of activities carried out in collaboration with or in support of the United Nations. It welcomed the new and far-reaching resolution on Interaction between the United Nations, national parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union that had been adopted by the General Assembly in May 2012.
The Council heard a report from Mr. M. Traoré (Burkina Faso), President of the Advisory Group to the Committee on United Nations Affairs, on a mission by the Advisory Group to Albania and Montenegro. The mission had been conducted as part of the Advisory Group’s mandate to take stock of progress in implementing One UN reform (Delivering as One) at the country level, aimed at achieving greater coherence of UN operations and enhanced aid effectiveness.
6. Implementation of the IPU Strategy for 2012-2017
The Governing Council endorsed a set of proposals to modify the format of IPU Assemblies, improve the functioning of the Standing Committees and their bureaux and place the Committee on United Nations Affairs on the same footing as the Standing Committees. The Council was informed that the Executive Committee would present more detailed plans at the 128th Assembly so that the governing bodies could take all the necessary decisions for the new system to come into effect in early 2014.
The Council approved a proposal to expand the mandate of the IPU Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS to include maternal, newborn and child health issues and to adopt new rules for the Group.
It received an explanatory note outlining the advantages of continued IPU involvement in the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO.
7. Recent specialized meetings
The Governing Council took note of the results of the Regional Seminar on Joining the initiatives and experiences of national parliaments for an effective campaign against child trafficking and labour; the Parliamentary Briefing at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20); the Regional Debate on Gender-Sensitive Parliaments; the Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of the XIX International AIDS Conference; the World e-Parliament Conference 2012; the Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Rule of Law and the Seventh Meeting of Women Speakers of Parliament.
8. Reports of plenary bodies and specialized committees
At its sitting on 24 October, the Governing Council took note of the reports on the activities of the Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians, the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, the Committee on Middle East
9. Future inter-parliamentary meetings
The Governing Council approved the list of future meetings and other activities to be funded by the IPU’s regular budget and by external sources.
It formally reiterated that IPU Assemblies could only be held if all IPU Members and Observers were invited and if their representatives were certain to be granted the necessary visas in order to participate (see Statement on the IPU visa policy).
The Council mandated the Secretary General to begin preparatory talks with the Parliaments of Mongolia and Viet Nam, which had expressed an interest in hosting the 130th and 132nd Assemblies respectively. The Council endorsed the recommendation of the Executive Committee to maintain the practice of holding the second Assembly of the year in Geneva.
The Council also approved the list of international organizations and other bodies to be invited to follow the work of the 128th Assembly as Observers.