For the Inter-Parliamentary Union in particular, 2011 was the year when its Strategy for 2012-2017, Better parliaments, stronger democracies, was adopted. This Strategy - the end result of a meticulous examination of the Organization - as it stands today, will help Member Parliaments build a more universal, dynamic and effective IPU; one that is able to advance democratic culture, values and institutions through inter-parliamentary cooperation.
I believe that 2012 will be a decisive year. Lasting solutions will have to be found to a lingering global economic crisis, whose political ramifications are yet to be brought under control. Much remains to be done to make gender equality a daily reality, notably in politics. The IPU must lend its support to the democratic reconstruction of the countries swept up by the Arab Spring, and play its role of peacemaker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by promoting dialogue between parliamentarians from both sides. Let us work together to attain these goals through inter-parliamentary cooperation and, by the same token, make 2012 a fruitful year for our Organization, the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
I extend to you my very best wishes for 2012.