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(Dhaka, 30 March and 5 April 2017)
1. Membership of the IPU
At its sitting on 30 March, the Governing Council approved a request for reaffiliation from the Parliament of the Central African Republic and a request for reaffiliation from the Parliament of Tuvalu. The overall membership of the IPU was thus raised to 173 national parliaments and 11 Associate Members. High-level delegations from the parliaments of Brunei Darussalam, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu also attended as observers with a view to future affiliation.
The Council was apprised of the situation of certain parliaments and endorsed relevant recommendations adopted by the Executive Committee with regard to each of them. The Council approved the decision to remove the Central African Republic from the list of countries to be closely monitored. It decided to encourage all sides to dialogue in Burundi and reiterated the IPU’s offer of its good offices to mediate the crisis, indicating that Geneva would be an ideal venue for talks. Regarding Cambodia, the Council urged the authorities to recognize the value of the political opposition and change-over of political power. It also decided to keep monitoring the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, the Gambia, Haiti, Libya and Turkey. The Council expressed the hope that South Sudan would soon return to normalcy. It approved a proposal by the Executive Committee to set up a working group on Syria that could conduct on-site missions and hold meetings outside Assemblies. In connection with Yemen, a final determination would be made by the next session on the parliament’s status within the IPU.
The Council condemned the attacks on the St. Petersburg metro on 3 April 2017 and expressed its solidarity with the Russian people. It also deplored the chemical attack in Syria. It endorsed an Executive Committee Statement on the situation in Venezuela and a Presidential Statement on the recent attacks on the Parliament in Paraguay.
2. Financial results for 2016
The Governing Council considered the Financial Report and Audited Financial Statements for 2016. The Financial Statements had been prepared in full compliance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and the accounts of the IPU and the closed Pension Fund were again consolidated into a single set of financial statements.
The financial results for 2016 were introduced by Mr. R. del Picchia (France), Chair of the Sub‑Committee on Finance, who reported that the External Auditor had expressed to the Sub-Committee on Finance and in a written report that the financial statements were of high quality and the collaboration with the IPU finance team had been excellent. Although the IPU had recorded a reduction in its net assets of CHF 296,409, that was fully authorized within the 2016 budget. The performance of IPU investments had achieved a good return and voluntary contributions had increased.
The Internal Auditors’ report was presented by Mr. A. Gryffroy (Belgium) on behalf of himself and Ms. S. Moulengui-Mouélé (Gabon). He conveyed their opinion that the accounts accurately portrayed the financial situation of the IPU at 31 December 2016 and complied with all current standards and rules. The External Auditor had expressed no reservations on the Financial Statements and had made no recommendations for improvements. The deficit for the year was within the amount authorized by the Governing Council in the 2016 budget.
The President noted that the IPU had received a clean bill of health from both the External and Internal Auditors and that the Organization’s financial management was confirmed to be sound. With no questions from the floor, he commended the Secretary General and his team for the financial results. He also invited the Governing Council to adopt the modalities for the Parliamentary Solidarity Fund, designed to facilitate the participation of parliaments in the activities of the IPU, that had been introduced and described by Mr. del Picchia.
3. Financial situation
The Governing Council received an overview of the IPU's financial situation at 31 January 2017 and noted that the overall level of expenditure was on track at 99 per cent of the year-to-date budget. Arrears in assessed contributions amounted to CHF 619,000, with 34 Members having overdue accounts. Assessed contributions of CHF 6.3 million had already been paid for 2017, being 62 per cent of the total amount due.
tailed logframe, as in the past, to be annexed to the approved budget following the adoption of the revised IPU Strategy for 2017–2021. The approved budget and scale of contributions for 2017 are presented on pages 60 and 61.
4. Cooperation with the United Nations system
The Council took note of the usual checklist of activities conducted in cooperation with the United Nations since the previous Assembly held in October 2016. It noted in particular growing cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on preventing violent extremism as a means of countering terrorism. It took note that all activities carried out in cooperation with the United Nations were part and parcel of the IPU Strategy. With a new UN Secretary-General who was a former parliamentarian, it looked forward to further strengthening ties between the two organizations.
5. Implementation of the IPU Strategy for 2017-2021
The Council took note of a report on recent activities in implementation of the Strategy, as well as proposed activities under the new Strategy, in which peace and security – part of the IPU’s core and original mandate - featured more prominently. It approved the proposal to establish a Centre for Innovation in Parliament funded by interested Members. It took note of suggestions to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the IPU’s flagship Universal Declaration on Democracy and proposals to enhance youth participation in the IPU.
6. Recent specialized meetings
The Governing Council took note of the results of the Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of the United Nations Climate Change Conference; the Regional Seminar on Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals through a human rights perspective for Pacific Parliaments; the Parliamentary Forum at the Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation; the Regional Seminar on the Sustainable Development Goals for the Parliaments of Latin America and the Caribbean; the Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament; the Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations; the South Asian Speakers’ Forum on implementation of the SDGs; the Regional Seminar for Parliaments of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia on parliaments and implementation of the SDGs; the Regional Seminar on the Sustainable Development Goals for the Parliaments of Sub-Saharan Africa; and the Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
7. Reports of plenary bodies and specialized committees
At its sitting on 5 April, the Governing Council took note of the reports on the activities of the Committee on Middle East Questions; the Committee to Promote Respect for International Humanitarian Law; the Gender Partnership Group; the Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which decided to change its name to the Advisory Group on Health; the Forum of Women Parliamentarians; and the Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the IPU.
The Council also heard the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians and approved eight decisions submitted by the latter, noting the reservations expressed by the delegations of Cambodia and Malaysia concerning the cases in their respective countries.
8. Future inter-parliamentary meetings
The Council was apprised of an invitation by the Parliament of Argentina to host an IPU Assembly in April 2019. It entrusted the Secretariat with conducting the usual on-site mission to ascertain that all the requirements for holding an Assembly were met. It approved proposals for a number of specialized meetings.
9. Amendments to the Statutes and Rules
The Governing Council adopted amendments to the IPU Statutes and Rules, specifically to the revised mandate of the Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and the Rules and Practices of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.
The Council agreed that relevant editorial changes would also have to be made in the text of the IPU Statutes. These would include the change of name of the Advisory Group on Health, as well as changes.
10. Appointment of a Secretary General for a period of four years
At its sitting on 5 April, the Governing Council approved the unanimous recommendation by the Executive Committee to appoint the incumbent Secretary General for a second term of office starting on 1 July 2018 and ending on 30 June 2022. It did so on the basis of the incumbent’s satisfactory performance and therefore decided not to initiate the formal procedure for elections. Rather, it invoked Rule 3 of the Secretariat which stipulates that the Executive Committee may propose to the Governing Council that it waive the procedure referred to above and reappoint the incumbent Secretary General.