ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES CP/CAJP-1663/00
15 May 2000
COMMITTEE ON JURIDICAL AND POLITICAL AFFAIRS Original: Spanish /English
"PARLIAMENTARY NETWORK OF THE AMERICAS"
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL TO THE OAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTION AG/RES. 1673 (XXIX-O/99)
The meeting of chairs of foreign affairs committees or equivalent bodies of the national congresses or parliaments of the OAS member states arose out of the mandate contained in resolution AG/RES. 1673 (XXIX-O/99), adopted at the twenty-ninth regular session of the General Assembly, which resolved:
To sponsor a meeting to be held during the first quarter of 2000–under the terms set forth in resolution AG/RES. 1599 (XXVIII-O/98) as regards external funding–of the chairs of the foreign affairs committees or equivalent bodies of the national congresses or parliaments of the OAS member states, the purpose of which shall be to further the development of interparliamentary dialogue in addressing issues on the hemispheric agenda, bearing in mind the idea of establishing a forum for this purpose."
At its meeting of July 23, 1999, the Permanent Council referred the topic for consideration by the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs. At meetings held on October 12, 1999 and December 2, 1999, that Committee considered the topic and agreed to set March 29 and 30, 2000 as the date for the above-mentioned meeting, which was to be held at the headquarters of the Organization./ The Committee entrusted the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD) with the task of preparing the basic documents for the meeting./
Pursuant to these mandates, the UPD prepared an OAS and Summit of the Americas information paper, carried out the preparatory work for the meeting, and provided technical and logistical support while the meeting was taking place.
Held on the scheduled date, the meeting was attended by 57 parliamentarians representing the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, United States, and Uruguay. Canadian Member of Parliament Bill Graham and Peruvian Congressman Oswaldo Sandoval were elected co-chairs of the meeting by acclamation.
The meeting addressed such issues as the role of the legislature in dealing with topics on the inter-American agenda, different structural models, functions, and objectives of the Forum, and the venue and agenda for the upcoming constitutive meeting. The meeting concluded with broad consensus as to the importance of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA) and the need to create it.
Attached hereto, for presentation to the General Assembly, are the letter and report containing the conclusions and recommendations of the meeting, submitted by its co-chairs, Bill Graham of Canada and Oswaldo Sandoval of Peru. It is to be noted that the parliamentarians have decided to convene the constitutive meeting of the above-mentioned Forum, for which OAS assistance would be requested, in the first trimester of 2001, in Canada.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES AFFAIRES ÉTRANGÈRES ET DU COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Bill Graham, Chair, M.P. for Toronto-Centre Rosedale CHAMBRE DES COMMUNES Bill Graham, président, député de Toronto-Centre Rosedale
Dear Secretary General:
On behalf of Oswaldo Sandoval and myself in our role as co-chairs of the first meeting of the newly established Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA), we have the honour of forwarding to you our joint report summarizing the decisions taken at the meeting of chairs of foreign relations committees of national parliaments and congresses of OAS member states, which you so graciously hosted on March 29-30, 2000 in Washington. This brief report is likewise being forwarded to our fellow parliamentarians who attended the March meeting.
The report notes that FIPA has agreed to hold its constitutive meeting in Ottawa, Canada, in the first trimester of 2001. As the host country, Canada will organize the meeting in consultation with the Steering Committee comprising representatives from Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Grenada and the United States. Among the tasks that FIPA will undertake at its 2001 meeting will be to determine the nature of its relationship to the Organization of American States. Until a decision is made in this regard, Canada may, from time to time and with your approval, call upon contacts at the OAS to provide assistance or guidance on certain matters in relation to the 2001 meeting. Your officials did a commendable job in organizing the March 29-30 meeting and we would hope to be able to call upon their knowledge and expertise when the occasion arises.
I also wish to request an opportunity to present this joint report at the meeting of the General Assembly of the OAS in Windsor in June 2000. As one of FIPA’s principal objectives is to provide for inter-parliamentary discussion of topics of concern on the inter-American agenda and to communicate our findings and conclusions to the heads of state, it will be important that delegates at the June meeting be fully informed about FIPA.
I look forward to receiving a response from you and once again congratulate you and your staff, particularly the UPD, for organizing the meeting in March.
Bill Graham, M.P.
Co-Chairs Report - Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas
April 04, 2000
Co-Chairs Report of the results of the meeting of Foreign Affairs Chairs or their equivalents of the OAS countries in Washington, March 29 and 30, 2000, called as a result of resolutions AG/RES. 1673 and 1623 (XXIX-O/99) of the OAS General Assembly. A list of the countries represented and parliamentarians present is appended hereto.
Co-Chairs, by way of this document wish to share with participants the basic conclusions of the meeting in Washington.
Other issues that were raised for consideration but on which there was no general conclusion were:
The nature of the composition of the Forum was discussed at length. Some were of the view that it should be restricted to Chairs, Vice Chairs and members of Foreign Affairs Committees. Others were of the view that this would restrict the ability of the Forum to reflect the structure of each constituent parliament and the pluralistic nature of the constituent parliaments and to include parliamentarians of diverse backgrounds and expertise. Some participants pointed out that all parliaments were sovereign and would have to decide individually what form of representation to send. This said, continuity was stated to be desirable and, it is probably preferable if the same people who attended the Washington meeting represent their parliaments at the founding meeting in Canada so that the desired goals of expertise and continuity be met.