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(Nairobi, 7-12 May 2006)
The 114th IPU Assembly opened at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi on the morning of Monday, 8 May 2006, with the election by acclamation of Mr. F.X. ole Kaparo, Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, as President of the Assembly. He informed the participants that due to the election in Italy of a new President of the Republic, Mr. P.F. Casini, the IPU President, had had to return to Italy but that he planned to rejoin them.
The President recalled the important work done by the IPU to promote democracy and help build democratic institutions, which was the overall theme of the Assembly's General Debate, and underlined the special relevance of the issue to Africa, and this part of Africa in particular. For this reason, and in order to put the debate in context, the General Debate opened with a brief high-level segment. Ms. M. Mensah-Williams, the Vice-President of the IPU Executive Committee, gave a keynote address on IPU's work to promote democracy and help build democratic institutions. The President of the Assembly and the IPU Secretary General then presented a study entitled Parliament and Democracy in the Twenty-First Century - a guide to good practice, which the IPU had just released. Mr. A. Dossal, Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Partnerships, spoke about the importance of the relations between the IPU and the United Nations, the newly created United Nations Democracy Fund and the outlook for the United Nations' work to promote democracy. Mr. S.H. Sheikh Aden, Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament of Somalia, spoke on behalf of those countries in Africa and elsewhere that were going through a period of transition from violent conflict to institution-building and peace, and whose parliaments needed assistance from the international community. Mr. F.-X. de Donnea, leader of the Belgian delegation, closed the segment by presenting the Guidelines on Parliaments, Crisis Prevention and Recovery.
On Tuesday, 9 May, the Assembly was addressed by a number of prominent speakers. Mr. R. Tuju, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Kenya, noted that the Assembly was meeting at a time of major challenges and opportunities, when the dominance of free market economies had resulted in changed lifestyles and unprecedented improvement in living standards around the globe. At the same time, the influence of big business on governance, the political process and campaign finance was growing, and parliamentarians had to be concerned about whether that influence would promote or subvert democracy. As the voice of the voiceless, parliamentarians had to protect the vulnerable from the emerging dictatorship of international capitalism. Kenya attached great importance to the situation in the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa. It belonged to both regions - it lived in a tough neighbourhood. He thanked the IPU for granting the Transitional Federal Parliament of Somalia observer status, as this was an important step in that country's reintegration into the community of nations. Kenya had struggled to help Somalia with its limited resources, but, sadly, the rest of the world had for the most part not followed suit.
Professor Wangari Maathai, MP and Nobel Laureate, said that, in awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, the Nobel Committee had for the first time recognized the environment as a central part of peace-building - surprising many people who could not see the link between trees and peace - and had acknowledged the link between peace, sustainability and good governance. The Green Belt Movement she had founded used the tree as an entry point to communities, as a sign of hope that could instil a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment. Democracy had to include sound management of resources and allow the majority to rule while protecting the minority. Without better management of resources, Africa might never achieve peace, and future generations would pay. Since it took ten trees to counteract the effects of one person's daily carbon dioxide emissions, delegates should return home and plant at least one tree.
Mr. D. Nabarro, Senior United Nations Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, said that avian influenza was spreading rapidly across the world. It had affected livestock, increased poverty and caused huge economic damage. The virus might also mutate and trigger the next major influenza pandemic. The threat of avian influenza could be brought under control, and its impact reduced, by legislation, compensation and preparation. The public must be informed but without provoking irrational fear or panic. The issue must be addressed without losing sight of other diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. Preparedness was the key, and the delegates had to ask themselves whether their countries were ready. Had they made plans? Had they engaged with the media, with international organizations such as WHO, and with the private sector?
1. Inaugural ceremony
The 114th IPU Assembly was inaugurated on 7 May 2006 at a ceremony at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, in the presence of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr. M. Kibaki. Inaugural addresses were delivered by Hon. A. Ligale, MP, President of the Organizing Committee, Mr. F.X. ole Kaparo, Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, Mr. A. Dossal, Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Partnerships, and Ms. M. Mensah-Williams, Vice-President of the IPU Executive Committee, speaking on behalf of the President of the IPU. The ceremony concluded with an address by the President of the Republic, who declared the 114th IPU Assembly officially open.
Delegations of the parliaments of the following 118 countries took part in the work of the Assembly: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The following Associate Members also took part in the Assembly: the Andean Parliament, the East African Legislative Assembly, the European Parliament, the Latin American Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Observers included representatives of: (i) Palestine; (ii) the United Nations system: United Nations, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Heath Organization (WHO), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; (iii) African Union (AU); (iv) African Parliamentary Union (APU), Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO), Assembly of the Western European Union (WEU), Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA), Association of Senates Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECAA), Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Eurasian Economic Community, Maghreb Consultative Council, Nordic Council, Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and the Russian Federation, Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Conference Members (PUOICM), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum; (v) Amnesty International, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); (vi) and Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
Of the total of 1,066 delegates who attended the Assembly, 602 were members of national parliaments. The parliamentarians included 33 Speakers, 30 Deputy Speakers and 170 women parliamentarians (28.41%).
3. Choice of an emergency item (Item 2)
The President announced that the Secretariat had received 11 proposals and that, following consultation in the African Group, the proposals submitted by Switzerland, Angola and Niger had been withdrawn in favour of a revised proposal submitted by Kenya and entitled The need for urgent food relief in order to combat drought-induced famine and poverty in Africa, for the world's most industrialized nations to speed up aid to the continent and for particular efforts to be made to reach desperate and poor populations.
Mr. A. Majali (Jordan), speaking on behalf of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt and Iran (Islamic Republic of) and the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, explained that they had decided to withdraw their proposal in favour of the African proposal. An item on respect for religions should be included on the agenda of the 116th Assembly.
Mr. C.S. Atwal (India), who had presented a proposal on avian flu preparedness, withdrew the proposal in favour of that submitted by Kenya with the support of the African Group.
The proposal submitted by Kenya with the support of the African Group was adopted unanimously and added to the agenda as item 8.
4. Debates and decisions of the Assembly and its Standing 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, the overall theme of which was Promoting democracy and helping to build democratic institutions, took place on the mornings and afternoons of 8, 9 and 11 May. A total of 104 speakers from 98 delegations took part in the debate, which was chaired by the President of the Assembly. During the sittings, the President invited the Vice-Presidents, who were members of the delegations of Algeria, Argentina, Benin, Burundi, Monaco, New Zealand and Pakistan, to replace him in the chair.
(b) First Standing Committee: Peace and International Security
(i) The role of parliaments in strengthening control of trafficking in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition (Item 4)
The Committee held three sittings on 8 and 10 May, with its President, Mr. N. Al-Ghanem (Syrian Arab Republic), in the chair. In addition to a report and draft resolution prepared by the co-Rapporteurs, Ms. R. Oniang'o (Kenya) and Mr. F.-X. de Donnea (Belgium), the Committee had before it amendments and sub-amendments to the draft resolution submitted by the delegations of Australia, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Philippines, Romania, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The first sitting began with the presentation of the report and draft resolution by the two co-Rapporteurs. A total of 53 speakers from 45 parliaments and four organizations took the floor during the debate. Following the debate, the Standing Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives from Argentina, Benin, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Japan, Russian Federation, Sudan, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Ms. Oniang'o and Mr. de Donnea were also invited to participate in the work of the drafting committee, in an advisory capacity.
The drafting committee met on the afternoon of 8 May and the morning of 9 May. It appointed Lord Morris (United Kingdom) as president and Mr. R. Mongbe (Benin) as rapporteur. It examined 120 amendments and sub-amendments to the draft resolution, and adopted 34 of them in full or in part. A number of other amendments were accepted, if not in letter, then in spirit, as many were similar in content to the initial draft or to those that had been adopted.
On the afternoon of 10 May, the First Standing Committee considered the consolidated draft. Several delegations took the floor to express support for the text. Three delegations brought forward sub-amendments to the text, which were accepted by the Committee. One delegation requested that its amendment, which had initially been rejected by the drafting committee, be reconsidered. After a discussion on the theme, the amendment was put to a vote and rejected by a broad majority. The revised draft resolution was subsequently adopted as a whole by consensus by the First Standing Committee.
On the afternoon of 12 May, the draft was submitted to the plenary sitting of the Assembly, which adopted it by consensus. The delegation of India expressed strong reservations on the text of the resolution as a whole, since it had requested that the resolution deal exclusively with illicit small arms and light weapons. Click here for the text of the resolution.
(ii) Selection of subject item and co-Rapporteurs for the First Standing Committee at the 116th AssemblyThe Bureau of the First Standing Committee met on 10 May to examine eight proposals for the subject item to be debated by the First Standing Committee at the 116th Assembly. It selected the subject item entitled Ensuring respect for and peaceful co-existence between all religious communities and beliefs in a globalized world; its choice was subsequently endorsed by the Committee and the Assembly. On its recommendation, the Assembly also approved the nomination of Ms. S. Masri (Jordan) and Mr. P. Bieri (Switzerland) as co-Rapporteurs.
(c) Second Standing Committee: Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade
(i) The role of parliaments in environmental management and in combating global degradation of the environment (Item 5)
The Committee held two sittings, on 9 and 11 May, with its President, Mr. A. Fomenko (Russian Federation), in the chair. In addition to a report and preliminary draft resolution prepared by the co-Rapporteurs, Mr. S. Katoh (Japan) and Mr. J.T. Nonô (Brazil), the Committee had before it amendments to the draft resolution submitted by the delegations of Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Romania, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom and Venezuela. A separate set of amendments was submitted by the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians.
A total of 45 speakers from 43 parliaments and two international organizations took the floor during the plenary debate, following which the Standing Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives from Argentina, Canada, China, France, India, Morocco, Niger, South Africa, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Venezuela.
The drafting committee met on the morning and afternoon of 10 May. It appointed Mr. M. Harb (Canada) as its president and Mr. K. Mporogomyi (United Republic of Tanzania) as rapporteur. It examined 138 amendments to the preliminary draft resolution and adopted 76 of them in full or in part. A number of other amendments were accepted, if not in letter, then in spirit, as many were similar in content to those that were adopted. In view of the political sensitivity of the subject of environmental management, the drafting committee had to vote four times.
On the morning of 11 May, the Second Standing Committee considered the consolidated draft. Five changes were made to the text and a number of further amendments were defeated. The Committee also made a number of editorial changes, most of which applied to just one language version of the document. The amended draft resolution was thereafter adopted as a whole by 38 votes to 1, with one abstention. A number of delegations expressed reservations about the draft resolution, which they also repeated during the final sitting of the Assembly (see below).
On the afternoon of 12 May, the draft was submitted to the Assembly and adopted by consensus. Following the adoption of the resolution, the delegation of India expressed reservations on operative paragraphs 4 and 16, which it felt should appear in the preambular section, and pointed out that the European Union proposal referred to in operative paragraph 4 could not be seen as enjoying universal support. The delegation of Australia said that two of its four members wished to register a reservation on operative paragraphs 10 and 11 of the resolution. The delegation of Venezuela expressed reservations on operative paragraph 10 because it failed to mention by name the single biggest atmospheric polluter of the environment. It also regretted that paragraph 13 of the initial draft, which referred specifically to the work of the Nobel Prize laureate, Ms. W. Maathai of Kenya, had been deleted from the final draft, and proposed therefore that honorary IPU membership be bestowed on Ms. Maathai and that a special resolution be adopted to this end. The delegation of Niger seconded the proposal.
Click here for the text of the resolution.
(ii) Selection of subject item and co-Rapporteurs for the Second Standing Committee at the 116th AssemblyThe Bureau of the Second Standing Committee met on 11 May with the Committee's President, Mr. A. Fomenko, in the chair. It examined proposals submitted for the items to be debated by the Second Standing Committee at the 116th Assembly. The Bureau approved the subject item entitled Job creation and employment security in the era of globalization, which it subsequently submitted to the Second Standing Committee. The Committee agreed to propose this subject item to the Assembly for its inclusion on the agenda of the 116th Assembly and requested the President of the Second Standing Committee to carry out consultations with the geopolitical groups with a view to appointing the co-Rapporteurs on the item as soon as possible. The item was subsequently approved by the Assembly, which also appointed Ms. E. Salguero (Bolivia) and Mr. O. Abu Ghararah (Saudi Arabia) as co-Rapporteurs on this item.
(d) Third Standing Committee: Democracy and Human Rights
(i) How parliaments can and must promote effective ways of combating violence against women in all fields (Item 5)The Committee held three sittings, on 9, 10 and 11 May, with its President, Mr. J.-K. Yoo (Republic of Korea), in the chair. Mr. Yoo shared his duties with Mr. L. Nicolini (Uruguay), substitute Vice-President. The Committee had before it a report and a draft resolution drawn up by the co-Rapporteurs, Ms. H. Lee (Republic of Korea) and Ms. M.A. Martínez García (Spain), along with amendments to the draft resolution submitted by the delegations of Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Romania, Sweden and Turkey.
In all, 52 speakers took part in the debate, after which the Committee designated a drafting committee composed of representatives of Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Benin, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Spain. The drafting committee met on 10 May. It began its work by naming Ms. M. De Meyer (Belgium) as its president and Ms. D.M. Sauri (Mexico) as its rapporteur. It considered the draft resolution in detail and improved the text by incorporating some of the proposed amendments.
On 11 May, the Committee considered the consolidated text of the draft resolution and adopted it unanimously. Votes were taken on the inclusion of an amendment by Sweden to add certain categories to the list of vulnerable groups in the preamble. The Committee rejected this amendment. The delegations of Bahrain, Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Saudi Arabia expressed reservations on paragraphs relating to traditions. The latter also expressed reservations on an operative paragraph relating to gender balance in military and peace-keeping operations.
On the afternoon of 12 May, the Assembly, meeting in plenary, adopted the resolution by consensus. Following the adoption of the resolution, the delegation of Australia indicated that two of its members had expressed reservations on the reference in operative paragraph 1 to the CEDAW Optional Protocol. The delegation of Iran (Islamic Republic of) expressed reservations on preambular paragraph 8 and operative paragraph 12.
Click here for the text of the resolution.
(ii) Selection of subject item and co-Rapporteurs for the Third Standing Committee at the 116th AssemblyThe Bureau of the Third Standing Committee met on 10 May to examine a number of proposals submitted for the subject item to be debated by the Third Standing Committee at the 116th Assembly. The Bureau's choice, Promoting diversity and equal rights of all through universal democratic and electoral standards, was subsequently endorsed by the Committee and the Assembly. On its recommendation, the Assembly also approved the nomination of Ms. N. Narochnitskaya (Russian Federation) and Mr. J.D. Seelam (India) as co-Rapporteurs.
(e) Emergency item
The need for urgent food relief in order to combat drought-induced famine and poverty in Africa, for the world's most industrialized nations to speed up aid to the continent and for particular efforts to be made to reach desperate and poor populations (item 8)
On Monday, 8 May , the Assembly decided to include the above topic on its agenda. It then decided to refer it to a drafting committee composed of representatives of Chile, Kenya, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia and Uruguay. The drafting committee appointed Mr. N. Balala (Kenya) as its president and rapporteur. The drafting committee met on Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 and 10 May. It adopted a draft resolution by consensus.
On Friday, 12 May, the draft resolution was adopted unanimously by the Assembly.