|Chemin du Pommier 5, Case postale 330, CH-1218 Le Grand Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland|
(Santiago de Chile, 6-11 April 2003)
The proceedings of the 108th Inter-Parliamentary Conference began at the Centro de Convenciones Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile on the morning of Monday, 7 April, with the election by acclamation of Mr. Andrés Zaldivar Larraín, President of the Senate of Chile, as President of the Conference.
During the morning sitting, the Conference heard an address by Mr. Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in which he referred to the development goals of the Millennium Summit. Reaching these goals would radically improve the everyday existence of the common citizen. He underlined the role of parliaments in that field, stressing that they should press their governments to live up to their promises. He drew attention to the United Nations Millennium Campaign, and welcomed the fact that parliaments had begun to debate such issues. He expressed the hope that a new and far-reaching political commitment would emerge from the parliamentarians’ efforts. Human development could only succeed if democracy and growth were seen as two sides of the same coin.
In the afternoon of Tuesday, 8 April, during the General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world, the Conference heard an address by the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Soledad Alvear.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasised that the management of political, economic, social and cultural affairs had become internationalised and that multilateral parliamentary work allowed the voice of the people to be heard and enabled dialogue to be promoted for the sake of a better and more secure world. At times of crisis, the message of the Inter-Parliamentary Union could help to re-establish the international consensus essential to achievement of the shared objectives of peace, security and progress for all countries. She also stated that economic and political globalisation had its advantages but the international community should adopt rules to organise the new international system. The United Nations and its specialised agencies represented the ethical basis which would allow that task to be achieved. The Millennium Summit had laid down the objective of giving priority in international relations to freedom, equality, solidarity, and the protection of the environment. The present crisis affecting the international community had been a source of concern in Chile about the immediate and future consequences. Chilean diplomacy had made every effort until the very last moment to avoid the conflict, and disappointment at having failed to secure a multilateral response was sorely felt. Multilateralism represented the space where an international order could be built which afforded protection of the interests of governments and of the people. To foster legitimate measures from the ethical and legal angle, a constant dialogue was needed to which parliamentarians should contribute.
1. Inaugural Ceremony
The 108th Inter-Parliamentary Conference was inaugurated on 6 April at a ceremony in the Centro de Convenciones Diego Portales in the presence of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Chile Mr. Ricardo Lagos Escobar. Inaugural addresses were delivered by Mr. Andrés Zaldivar Larraín, President of the Senate of Chile, Mr. Juan Antonio Ocampo, Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Mr. Sergio Páez, President of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The ceremony concluded with an address by His Excellency the President of the Republic, who declared the 108th Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union officially open.
Delegations of the Parliaments of the following 115 countries took part in the work of the Conference:
Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia.
The following Associate Members also took part in the Conference: the Andean Parliament, the Central American Parliament, the European Parliament and the Latin American Parliament.
Observers included representatives of: (i) Palestine; (ii) United Nations system: United Nations, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Volunteers (UNV), International Labour Organization (ILO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Heath Organization (WHO); (iii) International Organization for Migrations (IOM), League of Arab States, African Parliamentary Union (APU), Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO), Assembly of the Western European Union (WEU), Confederation of Parliaments of the Americas, European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA), Interparliamentary Association of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Maghreb Consultative Council, Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and the Russian Federation, Parliamentary Union of the OIC States (PUOICM); (iv) Amnesty International, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Of the total of 1,201 delegates who attended the Conference, 579 were members of national parliaments. The parliamentarians included 26 presiding officers of parliament, 33 deputy presiding officers and 147 women parliamentarians (25%).
3. Choice of a Supplementary Item
The Conference had before it four requests for the inclusion of a supplementary item presented within the statutory deadline by the delegations of Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Italy and Hungary.
At the beginning of the consideration of this item, the President announced that the delegations of Japan and Hungary had decided to merge their proposals and present their subject under the following wording: Importance of the non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction and of missiles, including the prevention of their use by terrorists.
The delegation of Italy took the floor to withdraw its proposal.
Two proposals remained for consideration by the Conference, one presented by the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was amended in its original title to read A call by parliamentarians to support a collaboration for peace, and the merged proposal from the delegations of Japan and Hungary.
Following statements by the authors of the two proposals, a vote was taken by roll call with the following outcome:
4. Choice of an Emergency Supplementary Item
The Conference had various proposals before it and decided on the first day to allow time for negotiations. At the end of its Tuesday morning sitting, the Conference was informed that the four original proposals presented by Egypt, Sudan, Indonesia and Argentina had been merged into one item, as follows: The need to put an urgent end to the war in Iraq and to re-establish peace: the role of the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The Conference was also informed that the delegation of the United Kingdom had withdrawn its proposal, and that the delegation of Portugal, supported by Australia, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Spain and United Kingdom had submitted the following proposal: The ending of the conflict in Iraq, the role of the United Nations and the international community in assisting the people of Iraq in their future political, economic and social development; support for humanitarian efforts to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people and the role of the IPU in supporting the development of democratic institutions.
The Conference therefore had before it two proposals. Following statements by their authors, a vote was taken by roll call with the following outcome:
5. Proceedings and Decisions of the Conference and its Study Committees
(a) General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world (Item 3)
The General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world took place in the morning and afternoon of Monday, 7 April, in the morning and afternoon of Tuesday, 8 April, in the afternoon of Wednesday, 9 April and in the morning of Thursday, 10 April. A total of 119 speakers from 103 delegations took part in the debate, which was chaired by the President of the Conference. During the various sittings, the President invited the Vice-Presidents from the delegations of Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Croatia, Ethiopia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, and Singapore to replace him in the Chair.
(b) Parliaments' role in strengthening democratic institutions and human development in a fragmented world (Item 4)
This item was considered on 8 and 10 April by the Second Study Committee (Parliamentary, Juridical and Human Rights Questions), that met in two sittings with its President, Ms. B. Mugo (Kenya) in the Chair. The Committee had before it ten memoranda submitted by the delegations of Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Poland, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia and by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, along with three information documents submitted by the IPU Secretariat, the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme. It also had before it 16 draft resolutions submitted by the delegations of Australia, Canada, Congo, Cuba, France, Gabon, Germany, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Sudan, United Kingdom and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as well as elements for two draft resolutions, one submitted jointly by Bangladesh, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Nepal, Sudan and Zambia, and the other by Sweden.
A total of 63 speakers took the floor during the two sittings. The Committee also heard statements from the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Under-Secretary General for the Least Developed Countries. Following the debate on the item, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives from Australia, Canada, France, Guinea, Kenya, Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom and Venezuela.
The drafting committee met on 9 April and began its work by electing Ms. B. Prentice (United Kingdom) as Chairperson and Ms. G. M. Borman (South Africa) as Rapporteur. In preparing the draft resolution, it took into consideration all the 18 draft resolutions that had been submitted.
On 10 April, the Second Committee considered the draft resolution prepared by the drafting committee. After making a number of amendments and additions, it adopted the draft unanimously.
On 11 April, the draft resolution was adopted unanimously by the Conference as proposed by the Second Committee.
(c) International cooperation for the prevention and management of transborder natural disasters and their impact on the regions concerned (Item 5)
This item was considered on 9 and 11 April by the Third Committee (Economic and Social Questions), which met with its Vice-President, Mr. J.-K. Yoo (Republic of Korea), in the Chair. The Committee had before it 13 memoranda submitted by Australia, Canada, Chile, Congo, Egypt, France, Hungary, Japan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; two information documents prepared respectively by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women; and 18 draft resolutions submitted by Australia, Canada, Chile, Congo, Cuba, Germany, France, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, United Kingdom, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, including one draft resolution submitted jointly by Hungary, Poland, Romania and Czech Republic, and elements for a draft resolution submitted by Sweden.
A total of 49 speakers from 42 countries and one international organisation participated in the debate that took place in the Third Committee on 9 April. It is noteworthy that nearly one third of speakers were women. The Committee appointed a drafting committee comprising representatives of parliaments of the following 11 countries: Australia, Belgium, Congo, Greece, India, Japan, Mexico, Niger, Romania, South Africa and Uganda. Special mention should be made of the fact that six members of the drafting committee were women parliamentarians. A representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies participated in the work of the drafting committee as an adviser.
The drafting committee, after electing Mr. G. Chapman (Australia) as Chairperson and Ms. R. Kadaga (Uganda) as Rapporteur, met on the morning of 10 April. In preparing the consolidated draft, the Committee used the ideas contained in all of the drafts at its disposal, but drew in particular on the one presented jointly by the group of four Central European countries (Hungary, Poland, Romania and Czech Republic) and the one presented by Australia. The resulting consolidated draft was adopted without a vote. On the morning of 11 April, the Third Committee examined the text submitted to it by the drafting committee and unanimously decided to adopt it in its entirety.
On the afternoon of 11 April, Ms. R. Kadaga submitted the Third Committee's draft resolution to the 108th Conference, which adopted it unanimously.
(d) Importance of the non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction and of missiles, including the prevention of their use by terrorists (Item 7)
Having decided to add this item to its agenda as a supplementary item, the Conference referred it to the First Study Committee (Political Questions, International Security and Disarmament).
The Committee held two sittings, on 9 and 11 April, with its Vice-President, Ms. E. Papadimitriou (Greece), in the Chair for the first sitting, and its President, Mr. A.H. Hanadzlah (Malaysia), in the Chair for the second sitting. The Committee had before it four texts: elements for a draft resolution submitted, on the one hand, by the Group of Hungary and, on the other hand, by the Group of Sweden, and two draft resolutions submitted by the Groups of Japan and the Islamic Republic of Iran. It also had before it an information document submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
During the debate on the item at the Committee's sitting of 9 April, 24 speakers took the floor. The Committee then appointed a drafting committee comprising representatives of parliaments of the following countries: Algeria, Chile, El Salvador, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Japan, Kenya, Morocco, Peru, Sweden and Switzerland. The drafting committee met on the following day (10 April) and began its work by electing Mr. P. Günter (Switzerland) as Chairperson and Ms. E. Yamatani (Japan) as Rapporteur. The Algerian representative then stated that he would not take part in the work of the drafting committee as he had been designated without his knowledge. The drafting committee took note of his withdrawal. The Chairperson then drew the members' attention to IPU practice whereby draft resolutions to be prepared on general topics should favour the broadest possible consensus; in the case at hand, that implied that it was preferable to refrain from referring to specific situations or countries. Once that clarification had been made, the drafting committee took the text submitted by the Group of Hungary as a basis for its work, supplementing the draft with parts of the other draft resolutions as well as proposals put forward by members of the drafting committee. The Committee performed its work in a spirit of consensus. The resulting consolidated text was then adopted by five votes to zero, with one abstention.
On the morning of 11 April, the First Committee examined the text, introducing two amendments: one to clarify the wording of a paragraph, and the other to encourage the Union's Members that had not yet done so to ratify the international instruments mentioned in the draft resolution. It then adopted the draft unanimously.
On the afternoon of 11 April, the Conference, after having heard the report of Ms. Yamatani, unanimously adopted the draft resolution.
(e) The need to put an urgent end to the war in Iraq and to re-establish peace: the role of the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (Item 8)
On Tuesday, 8 April, the Conference decided to include this topic on its agenda under an emergency supplementary item. It then decided to refer it to a drafting committee set up by the Conference Steering Committee.
The drafting committee appointed Ms. T. Yaryguina (Russian Federation) as its Chairperson. It was composed of representatives of the delegations of Algeria, Australia, Chile, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, and Ms. G. Mahlangu (South Africa), representing the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians. Mr. A. Lie (Indonesia) was nominated as Rapporteur to the Conference. The drafting committee met in the afternoon of Tuesday, 8 April and in the morning and evening of Wednesday, 9 April. At its final sitting, it adopted a draft resolution by consensus.
During the morning session of Thursday, 10 April, the draft resolution was adopted by consensus by the Conference. After adoption, the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic expressed a reservation to the effect that it would have preferred the resolution to state that the war in Iraq had no legal foundation.
6. Amendments to the Statutes and Rules of the Conference
During the last sitting of the Conference on Friday, 11 April, and in keeping with Article 27.3 of the Statutes, the Conference unanimously approved the proposal to modify the Statutes following the favourable opinion expressed by the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. On the same occasion, the Conference adopted the amendments to its own Rules.