|>>> VERSION FRANÇAISE|
|Chemin du Pommier 5, Case postale 330, CH-1218 Le Grand Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland|
(Geneva, 1-3 October 2003)
1. Opening of the Proceedings
The 109th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union opened its proceedings at the Centre international de Conférences de Genève on the morning of Wednesday, 1st October 2003. The President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Mr. Sergio Páez Verdugo, delivered a speech in which he noted that, after the completion of the reform process and the adoption of the new Statutes and Rules in Santiago de Chile, the 109th Assembly was the first to use the new working methods, in which the three newly established Standing Committees would each be discussing its own subject item. He also underlined the importance of meeting in Geneva, the home of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, where all Members would be able to attend the official inauguration of their new Headquarters, the "House of Parliaments".
The Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, representing the Secretary-General of the United Nations, then delivered a message from Mr. Kofi Annan in which he renewed his appeal for a fundamental reform of the United Nations to meet a host of challenges, such as terrorism, poverty, disease and climate change. The United Nations Secretary-General called upon the legislators of the world to press their governments to do more to advance the interests of the entire planet. Stressing that the decision to embrace change lay with Member States, Mr. Annan pledged to do everything possible to help them make the United Nations a better instrument in the service of the peoples of the world. He addressed the parliamentarians in the following words: "I appeal for your help. If the reform agenda is to succeed, it will require States to promote their national interests by advancing the global interest. You as parliamentarians can do much to mobilise public opinion and encourage government to do just that".
Following the official opening, the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union was elected President of the Assembly.
Delegations of the Parliaments of the following 122 countries took part in the work of the Assembly : Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, 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, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
The following Associate Members also took part in the Assembly: the Andean Parliament, the European Parliament and the Latin American Parliament.
Observers included representatives of: (i) Palestine; (ii) United Nations system: International Labour Organization (ILO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Heath Organization (WHO); (iii) African Union, 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), European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA), Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Maghreb Consultative Council, Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and the Russian Federation, Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference Members (PUOICM); (iv) Amnesty International, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA). Of the total of 1,022 delegates who attended the assembly, 465 were members of national parliaments. The parliamentarians included 30 presiding officers of parliament, 22 deputy presiding officers and 131 women parliamentarians (28%).
3. Choice of an Emergency Item
When it took up this item on the agenda, the Assembly had before it a proposal for the inclusion of an emergency item submitted by the delegation of Indonesia. The Assembly was informed that another proposal, submitted by the delegation of Chile, had been examined by the Assembly Steering Committee, which had ruled that the proposal did not fulfil the conditions for an emergency item under Rule 11.2(a) of the Rules of the Assembly.
The President gave the floor to the delegation of Indonesia to present its proposal entitled "Parliamentary support for the implementation of the road map for peace in putting an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and achieving a comprehensive peace process and justice in the Middle East". The President then offered the floor to the delegation of Israel which had expressed its wish to speak against the proposal.
After these two speeches, and in view of the fact that the delegation of Israel, although it objected to certain paragraphs of the draft resolution submitted in support of the proposal, did not oppose either the title of the item or its inclusion in the Assembly agenda, the item was approved by consensus. Following the recommendation of the Steering Committee, it was decided that the Committee on Middle East Questions would be asked to hold consultations among the Members and to prepare a draft resolution for the Assembly.
4. Debates and Decisions of the Assembly and its Standing Committees
(a) Debate on the Emergency Item
The debate on the emergency item took place in the afternoon of Wednesday, 1st October. A total of 23 speakers from 18 delegations took part in the debate which was opened by the President of the Assembly, who thereafter invited the Vice-President of the Executive Committee, Mr. N. Enkhbold (Mongolia), to chair the sitting.
During the sitting of Friday, 3 October, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution by consensus. After the adoption, the delegations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Yemen expressed reservations on those parts of the text which might be construed to imply recognition of Israel. The delegation of Palestine expressed a reservation with respect to operative paragraph 3, stating that the text did not make it clear that the Palestinian Authority had started implementing the road map. The delegation of Israel expressed a reservation with respect to paragraph 4. A delegate of the United Kingdom expressed a personal reservation on paragraphs 2 and 4. A delegate of South Africa expressed a personal reservation on the entire resolution, while the delegation as a whole stated that it wished to abstain from approving the resolution. The delegations of Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon also voiced comments on the resolution.
(b) The role of parliaments in assisting multilateral organisations in ensuring peace and security and in building an international coalition for peace (Item 3)
This item was considered on 1, 2 and 3 October by the First Standing Committee (Peace and International Security). This Committee held four sittings with its President, Mr. E. Menem (Argentina) in the chair. The Committee had before it a report and draft resolution prepared by the co-rapporteurs, Ms. S. Masri (Jordan) and Mr. C. Zöpel (Germany), as well as proposed amendments to the draft resolution submitted within the statutory deadline by the delegations of Cuba, Gabon, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Norway, Romania, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and the United Kingdom, and sub-amendments submitted by Andorra, India and Romania. A total of 52 speakers from 50 countries and two international organizations took the floor during the debate on this item. Following the debate, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of Australia, Canada, Chile, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Lebanon, South Africa, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and Uruguay.
The drafting committee met on 2 October in two sittings. At the beginning of its work, it appointed Ms. P. Torsney (Canada) as its president and Mr. S. Ahluwalia (India) as rapporteur. The drafting committee examined in detail the draft resolution prepared by the co-rapporteurs and amended it by incorporating many of the proposed amendments.
In the morning of 3 October, the First Standing Committee considered the draft resolution. Two amendments, previously rejected by the drafting committee, were tabled again by the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon. Nine other delegations also took the floor, to table their own proposals for further amendments to the resolution. Following consultations between the President of the First Standing Committee and the president and rapporteur of the drafting committee, the draft resolution as prepared by the drafting committee was submitted to a vote and adopted by an overwhelming majority. In the afternoon of 3 October, this decision was endorsed by consensus by the plenary sitting of the Assembly. Following the endorsement of the resolution, the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic presented reservations on the resolution.
(c) Global Public Goods: A new challenge for parliaments (Item 4)
This item was considered on 1 and 2 October by the Second Standing Committee (Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade). This Committee held four sittings with its President, Mr. E. Gudfinnsson (Iceland) in the chair. The Committee had before it a report and draft resolution prepared by the co rapporteurs, Ms. E. Matthei Fornet (Chile) and Mr. D. Oliver (Canada) as well as proposed amendments to the draft resolution submitted within the statutory deadline by the delegations of Cameroon, Cuba, Germany, India, Japan, Romania, Sudan, Sweden, Tunisia and the United Kingdom.
A total of 50 speakers from 48 countries and one non-governmental organisation took the floor during the debate on this item. Following the debate, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of Gabon, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Sudan, United Kingdom and Uruguay. One of the rapporteurs, Ms. Matthei Fornet, assisted the drafting committee in an advisory capacity.
The drafting committee met on 2 October. At the beginning of its work, it appointed Ms. M.G. Proenca Carvalho (Portugal) as its president and Mr. M. El-Tigani (Sudan) as rapporteur. The drafting committee scrutinised the draft resolution prepared by the co-rapporteurs and amended it by incorporating some of the proposed amendments.
On the afternoon of 2 October, the Second Standing Committee considered the resolution. Two amendments, previously rejected by the drafting committee, were tabled again, one by Norway, on behalf of Sweden, and one by Tunisia. Both amendments were adopted after a vote. The entire draft was thereafter adopted unanimously. In the afternoon of 3 October, this decision was endorsed by consensus by the plenary sitting of the Assembly. After adoption, the delegation of India expressed a reservation on certain parts of the text.
(d) The contribution of new information and communication technologies to good governance, the improvement of parliamentary democracy and the management of globalisation (Item 5)
This item was considered on 1, 2 and 3 October by the Third Standing Committee (Democracy and Human Rights). This Committee held three sittings with its President, Ms. R. Kadaga (Uganda) in the chair. The First Vice-President of the Committee, Mr. Jay Kun Yoo also chaired the proceedings during the first sitting of the Committee on 1 October. The Committee had before it a report and draft resolution prepared by the co rapporteurs, Ms. I. Fila Lemina (Congo) and Mr. P. Martin Lalande (France) as well as proposed amendments to the draft resolution submitted by the delegations of Australia, Egypt, India, Japan, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia and the United Kingdom, and sub-amendments submitted by India and Sweden.
A total of 31 speakers took the floor during the debate on this item. Following the debate, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of Australia, Canada, Chile, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Nigeria, Romania, South Africa, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The two co-rapporteurs assisted the drafting committee in its work.
The drafting committee met on 2 October. At the beginning of its work, it appointed Mr. G. Chapman (Australia) as its president and Mr. V. Zgonea (Romania) as rapporteur. Baroness Miller (United Kingdom) chaired the second part of the drafting committee's meeting. She was also appointed rapporteur to the Third Standing Committee in the absence of Mr. Zgonea. The drafting committee examined in detail the draft resolution prepared by the co-rapporteurs and enhanced it with some of the proposed amendments. On 3 October, the Third Standing Committee considered the resolution and adopted it unanimously. In the afternoon of 3 October, this decision was unanimously endorsed by the plenary sitting of the Assembly.