REPORT OF THE IPU COMMITTEE ON UNITED NATIONS AFFAIRS
Approved by the 117th IPU Assembly
(Geneva, 10 October 2007)
- The Committee on United Nations Affairs expressed strong support for the establishment of the Committee and underlined the need to develop further both the definition of its mandate and the rules governing its proceedings.
- The Committee expressed support for the policy paper presented by Mr. G. Versnick on the nature of relations between the United Nations and the world of parliaments, and proposed that it be endorsed as an official IPU document.
- The Committee expressed approval of the organization of annual meetings at which high-ranking United Nations officials would present the different facets and programmes of the UN agenda, thus allowing the Committee to pinpoint the areas on which it might focus its work.
- The Committee will take a particular interest in the system-wide coherence of the United Nations as part of the ongoing process of United Nations reform. Its conclusions and findings will be oriented towards recommendations for making the world organization more efficient and cost-effective.
- The Committee will not seek to supplant the role of the IPU Standing Committees by examining substantive, thematic items that fall within the purview of the latter. It will nonetheless examine how the United Nations is organizing its work in relation to a number of broad issues which include:
- Financing for development, especially through the establishment of the new ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum;
- Human rights and the functioning of the new Human Rights Council;
- The sources of United Nations funding and the use of those funds, with a view to setting up a stronger scrutiny role in the longer term;
- The organization of peace-building operations, paying particular attention to gender concerns, the question of reconciliation, multilateralism and inclusive development, and the key role of parliament in the establishment of sound democracies.
- The Committee emphasized the importance of specialized IPU meetings attended by experts from the relevant parliamentary committees who could make a substantive contribution to the debates.
- There is much duplication in the various parliamentary initiatives vis-à-vis international institutions. When it comes to dealing with global issues, the IPU should strive to build a membership comparable to that of the United Nations, take the lead in building greater coherence among regional and other parliamentary bodies, and make better use of the relevant expertise available within national parliaments.
- The Committee will strive as far as possible to ensure that national parliaments concerned are actively involved in all activities that have a particular country focus.
- The Committee will continue to examine reports by its Advisory Group, which will meet between sessions and maintain the continuum of the Committee’s work. The Advisory Group could be called upon to make field visits while preparing its reports. This would be done in close cooperation with the national parliaments concerned and with the United Nations.
- The Committee stated, in connection with the foregoing, that the budgetary arrangements for Advisory Group meetings and visits should be more clearly defined in the IPU programme and budget.
- The Committee should strive to monitor compliance with all major international commitments. Priority should be given to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Committee applauded the presentation on the status of the MDGs, and suggested that it receive similar updates at each annual session, with a special focus on parliamentary initiatives aimed at furthering the Goals.
- The Committee recommends that consideration be given to systematically including parliamentarians in national delegations to the United Nations, involving them in international negotiation processes at an early stage, and providing them with comprehensive briefings prior to major international conferences.
- The Committee should make a survey of how each parliament organises its interaction with the United Nations and other international institutions, and how it works with the government in the implementation of international commitments, and consider how to mainstream global issues into national parliaments.
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