15th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum
22-25 January 2007
- At the invitation of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Pa rliamenta ry Forum (APPF) was held in Moscow, Russian Federation, from 22 to 25 January 2007 with participants from 23 member parliaments and one observer country. The list of participants appears as Appendix I.
- The Executive Committee convened working meeting before the first plenary session on 21 January 2007 in Moscow and approved the agenda and program of activities of the Annual Meeting. The Executive Committee Meeting also agreed and supported the candidature of New Zealand as the host of the 16th APPF in 2008. The report of the Executive Committee meeting appears as Appendix II.
- On 22 January 2007, at the inaugural ceremony the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. M. Fradkov opened the Annual Meeting by welcoming all participants of the 15th APPF. In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. M. Fradkov presented the message of the President of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. V. Putin, where it was stated that the activities of the APPF are making an ever more substantial contribution to the strengthening of peace and stability in Asia and the Pacific, are contributing to greater confidence and mutual understanding among the peoples. Addressing the participants of the 15th APPF Meeting Mr. Fradkov stressed that in recent years the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum had emerged as a truly effective mechanism of inter-parliamentary interaction aimed at resolving a wide range of issues on the regional and international agenda. The solution of these complex tasks that face the international community makes it incumbent upon the parliamentarians of our countries to display a high degree of political responsibility and activity.
- H. Mr. Agung Laksono, former President of APPF in his address pointed out that the philosophy of attaining peaceful Asia Pacific will lead this dynamic region to work harmoniously among different cultures and beliefs. The message of H.E. Mr. Yasuhiro Nakasone, the APPF Honorary President, was delivered at the inaugural ceremony.
H.E. Mr. Sergei Mironov, President of the 15th APPF and Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, welcomed all delegations of the 15th APPF and declared the meeting open.
- In the first plenary session on item 1 of the agenda: Political and Security Matters, delegations shared the view that despite relative stability and predictability, the Asia Pacific region continues to face a number of traditional and non-traditional threats and challenges to peace and security such as terrorism, especially considering its current scale and character, illicit drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, including terrorism and crimes using information technologies (IT), the current state of the nuclear weapon non-proliferation, and some
- With regard to terrorism, the meeting reaffirmed that it should not be associated with any specific religion, nationality, or ethnic group, that it is a crime that can not be justified by any reasons under any circumstances. The meeting affirmed that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to international and regional peace, stability, security and economic prosperity of the countries in the region.
- The delegates pointed out that the transnational and sometimes even the global level and nature of some terrorist organizations calls for adequate response in terms of the scale and focus comprehensive activities and forms of cooperation among the countries involved in the active fighting against terrorism and finding answers to the root causes of terrorism, support and understanding of the countries whose interests are affected by terrorism to a lesser extent. In this regard they underlined the central coordinating role of the United Nations in fighting terrorism and other challenges and threats. Participants of the Meeting, called for active support of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, acceleration of taking effect of the International Convention on Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, finalizing the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism as well as strict, consistent and rigorous implementation of the existing international counter terrorism conventions. The delegates called for refraining from statements and appraisals which may be associated with incitement and propaganda of terrorism as well as from statements that affect national and religious feelings and result in sharp negative response; and called for rigorous implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1624. The meeting stressed the importance of bilateral and multilateral cooperation to combat terrorism with active participation of other international organizations. Participants were united in highlighting the need to further raise the effectiveness of the UN and enhance its central role in international affairs.
- The Meeting also shared the view that proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery remain one of the most serious security challenges of our time. The meeting further agreed that it is critical to continue joint efforts in strengthening the existing regimes of non-proliferation so that the weapons of mass destruction would not fall into the hands of terrorists.
- Participants recognized the vital importance of fighting illicit drug trafficking, including both large and small. The meeting identified setting up additional security barriers along drug trafficking routes and improving customs control and as one of the possible key areas of cooperation for APPF countries. Delegations confirmed the intention to support their respective governments in developing cooperation among relevant national drug control agencies. In this regard they welcomed the decisions and recommendations of the Second Ministerial Conference "On Drug Trafficking Routes from Afghanistan" held in Moscow on June 26-28, 2006.
- Participants of the session welcomed further progress in the field of information technologies and means of telecommunication. At the same time they noted that these technologies and means can potentially be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security and may adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure of States to the detriment of their security in both civil and military fields. The participants called for the executive authorities of their countries to refrain from the actions which could potentially lead to such consequences.
- Delegates noted that the transnational nature of information and communication technologies under the conditions of threats and challenges of the modern world calls for additional measures of providing information security by joint efforts on the bilateral, regional and global levels. They stressed that they realize the extremely complex nature of this challenge and that it is difficult to solve. However, they also understand that only by way of coordinated, consistent and systematic measures can the governments strengthen their joint efforts, find an adequate response to new challenges to security and threats in information area as well as a number of allied areas which shape the public attitudes.
- The Meeting exchanged views on the recent developments on the Korean Peninsula. Participants acknowledged that the nuclear tests conducted in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea represents a threat to international peace and stability. At the same time, the meeting also emphasized that the only acceptable way to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue is through· negotiations. In this respect the participants emphasized the vital importance of resuming the Six Party Talks aimed at denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and welcomed the recent progress on their resumption.
- The Meeting expressed concern about the continuing stalemate in the Middle East Peace Process and the situation in the region on the whole. Participants agreed that the principal reason for instability in the Middle East is the unresolved nature of Arab-Israeli relations in general. Participants confirmed their support of the efforts of the Quartet of international mediators and regional parties to resume a political dialogue on all tracks of the Middle East Peace Process in order to define ways of achieving just and comprehensive peace on an internationally recognized legal basis, including UNSC 242 and 338, the Madrid "Land for Peace" principle, the 2002 Arab League peace initiative and the Quartet Roadmap. Participants pointed out that the core issue of all international endeavors is the eventual emergence of a viable and democratic Palestinian State living in peace side by side with Israel. The Meeting concluded that these goals can only be achieved by joint comprehensive work of all concerned parties on all levels and in particular through the convening an international conference on the Middle East in order to bring the positions on the Middle East Peace Process together.
- The Meeting recognized the extremely complicated nature of the situation in Iraq and the lack of visible prospects for its solution especially noting the rise of violence. Participants expressed concern that measures that are currently undertaken in Iraq have failed to produce anticipated positive results in all parts of the country, and the country is on the verge of a full-scale civil conflict. The delegations agreed that the best way out of this dangerous situation is through domestic efforts aimed at reaching national conciliation with the active support from the international community.
- The Meeting emphasized adherence to the general policy of APPF members aimed at continued support of concrete actions on counter terrorism taken by the countries in the region.
- Statements from delegations delivered at the first plenary session stressed the necessity to maintain peace and stability in Asia-Pacific region as an important condition of building multi polar World, which will foster APPF to grow up steadily, possibly to shape itself into a regional Parliament.
- In the second plenary session on item 2 of the agenda: Economic and Trade Matters, the meeting took note of the dynamism and significant economic potential of the region. In particular the Meeting acknowledged the efforts by APPF members aimed at promoting trade and economic cooperation and integration. The Meeting also emphasized the need to strengthen interaction among the countries in the region to address ongoing economic integration and globalization.
- Participants of the Meeting noted that one of the most important issues facing the countries of the Asia-Pacific in terms of facilitating economic growth and development is ensuring stable supply of hydrocarbons to the region. The meeting concluded that this calls for the early establishment of a reliable and comprehensive energy security system both on global and regional level. In this respect the Meeting commended Russia1s efforts during its GB Presidency to make energy security one of top strategic priorities for the international and regional communities for the future.
- The Meeting underlined the significant role of ASEAN, UN-ESCAP, APEC, ADB, and other regional forums in supporting economic development of the countries in the region.
- The Meeting welcomed the outcome of the 14th APEC Economic Leaders• Meeting (AELM) held in Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam in November 2006. The Meeting expressed its hope that APPF members will grant greater support to their respective Governments so that the Hanoi Action Plan adopted at the APEC Summit will be fully implemented to facilitate accomplishment of the Forum•s state objectives. Australia briefed the meeting on the preparation for the 151 APEC Economic Leaders· Meeting which will be held in Sydney in November 2007.
- Participants of the Meeting reiterated their strong support to prompt accession of the Russian Federation to the WTO.
- The Meeting reaffirmed that the trade agreements and the free trade agreements (FTAs/RTAs) under development should be transparent, consistent with the WTO principles and should embody open provisions.They further hoped that FTAs/RTAs will take into account the interests of less developed APPF member nations, which would promote sustainable economic growth in the region. It was recognized, that APPF must become a platform for multilateral efforts to create the required environment for cooperation in the region.
- In the third plenary session on item 3 of the agenda: Regional Cooperation in the Asia Pacific region, delegations exchanged views on a number of global and regional issues, including promotion of inter civilization dialogue, interaction in disaster relief and emergency response, improving transport logistics, cooperation in environmental and healthcare issues, combating pandemic diseases, IT and education exchanges. Matter of poverty eradication was taken as one of the most pressing one, and being subject to especial consideration at future APPF annual meeting in 2008, along with the problem of migration.
- In this plenary session, the Meeting agreed that APPF members should increase regional and international cooperation to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters. The meeting emphasized the need to continue coordination on establishment of a regional early warning system enabling timely detection and minimization of consequences of such natural cataclysms. The Meeting was unanimous that financial assistance for natural disaster should be managed on an accountable and transparent basis.
- Taking into consideration the real danger posed by pandemic disease/Avian influenza, the Meeting emphasized the need for close cooperation between APPF members to address this issue. The meeting urged a coordinated approach at the national and regional level in support of regional and global efforts towards early detection of possible threats, increasing pandemic preparedness and comprehensive response planning. The Meeting hoped that APPF members strengthen cooperation on information exchange and experience sharing in dealing with Avian Influenza. The Meeting appreciated the positive role of regional cooperation within ASEAN and APEC in addressing the pandemic diseases.
- Acknowledging the importance of building a global information society the participants stressed the fact that the international management of the Internet as the key element of the information society infrastructure should be multilateral, transparent and democratic with full involvement of governments, the private sector, the civil society and international organizations. It should ensure an equitable distribution of resources, facilitate access for all and ensure a stable and secure functioning of the Internet.
- The Meeting agreed that the vast social and cultural diversity characteristic to the Asia Pacific region experience of successful interaction provides a good opportunity to promote mutual understanding among regional nations thus contributing to reducing the probability for the so called "clash of civilizations". The Meeting underlined the importance of a dialogue among civilizations, including interfaith dialogue, as a vital element for advancing regional political and socioeconomical cooperation. The Meeting encouraged the APPF members to facilitate and enhance inter-civilization harmony, tolerance and freedom of expression, and in this regard supported all initiatives aimed at the promotion of inter-civilization dialogue and partnership, including the 11 Alliance of Civilizations11 Concept endorsed by the UN General Assembly. In this context the participants also welcomed the outcome of the 4 session of the World Public Forum 11Dialogue of Civilizations11 and praised the efforts aimed at advancing interaction between international public and national organizations in countering violence, suppression of rights and liberties, the use of national, religious, ethnic and other feelings of people to justify and secure support of terrorism.
- In the fourth plenary session on item 4 of the agenda: Future Activities of APPF, the Meeting underlined the importance of putting into practice constructive and concrete measures arising from various commitments made at the annual meeting of the APPF to the people in the Asia-Pacific region. It noted a general tendency towards strengthening of the role of parliaments and parliamentary associations on the international arena in the recent years. In this respect, the delegations concluded that the APPF is in a good position to use its authority to facilitate or even act as a mediator in the resolution of urgent global and regional matters of common concern, therefore acknowledging the necessity to enhance coordination and interaction among APPF member parliaments. The delegates unanimously acce ted the kind invitation of the Parliament of New Zealand to host the 16t Annual Meeting in January 2008, with the venue to be confirmed at a later date.
- The Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Moscow adopted a Joint Communique and 20 Resolutions as follows:
- APPF-15/RES/01: DIALOGUE OF CIVILIZATIONS AND INTERFAITH DIALOGUE
(Sponsored by the Russian Federation, New Zealand and Indonesia)
- APPF-15/RES/2: ENERGY SECURITY
(Sponsored by the Russian Federation, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines)
- APPF-15/RES/3: SECURING PEACE AND STABILITY IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION: THE WAY TOWARDS A MULTIPOLAR WORLD (Sponsored by the People's Republic of China, Federated States of Micronesia, Australia, Indonesia and Russian Federation)
- APPF-15/RES/4: JOINT EFFORTS IN COMBATING PANDEMIC DISEASES
(Sponsored by the Russian Federation, New Zealand, Indonesia)
- APPF-15/RES/5: COMBATING TERRORISM, ILLEGAL DRUG TRAFFIC AND TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME (Sponsored by the Russian Federation, Australia, China, Indonesia, Mexico)
- APPF-15/RES/6: THE JOINT EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN PEACE AND TO PROMOTE COOPERATION IN NORTH EAST ASIA IN VIEW OF THE NUCLEAR TEST CONDUCTED BY THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE1S REPUBLIC OF KOREA
(Sponsored by the Russian Federation, China, Japan and Republic of Korea)
- APPF-15/RES/7: ECONOMY AND TRADE (Sponsored by Australia, Japan and Mexico)
- APPF-15/RES/8: ASIA PACIFIC REGIONAL COMMUNITY Sponsored by Japan and the Philippines
- APPF-15/RES/9: COOPERATION IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE (Sponsored by Indonesia and Russian Federation)
- APPF-15/RES/10: CLIMATE CHANGE (Sponsored by Mexico and New Zealand, China and Micronesia)
- APPF-15/RES/11: POVERTY ALLEVIATION: PROTECTING HUMAN LIFE FROM POVERTY AND GUARANTEEING THE RIGHT TO LIFE (Sponsored by Japan and Indonesia)
- APPF-15/RES/12: STRENGTHENING POLITICAL AND SECURITY COOPERATION (Sponsored by Australia)
- APPF-15/RES/13: APPLICATION OF THE DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA (Sponsored by New Zealand)
- APPF-15/RES/14: MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS (Sponsored by Japan, the Russian Federation, Micronesia, Indonesia and Canada)
- APPF-15/RES/15:INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT (Sponsored by Mexico, Indonesia, Chile, China)
- APPF-15/RES/16: TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS (Sponsored by Mexico and Indonesia)
- APPF-15/RES/17: UNITED NATIONS REFORM (Sponsored by Mexico, Russian Federation and China)
- APPF-15/RES/18: STRENGTHENING COOPERATION IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION TO COMBAT CORRUPTION
(Sponsored by the Philippines, Russian Federation and China)
- APPF-15/RES/19: STRENGTHENING TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS COOPERATION IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION
(Sponsored by the Philippines)
- APPF-15/RES/20: BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE (Sponsored by the Republic of Korea and Russian Federation)
The above mentioned Resolutions appear as Appendix Ill.
- The Annual Meeting praised the Drafting Committee for its efforts to develop a packa e of significant resolutions, which contributed to the success of the 15 APPF.
- The Annual Meeting expressed sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation for its organization and hospitality, especially to Mr. Sergei Mironov, President of 15th APPF and Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation for his chairmanship of the 15th Annual Meeting and to the Secretariat and staff for their hard work and excellent arrangements for all participants, which contributed to the success of the Annual Meeting.