The Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF)’s Executive Committee meeting took place in Vancouver on 17 January 2016. Participants included representatives of the following Executive Committee member countries: Japan, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Chile, and Cambodia. As the current and upcoming hosts of the APPF Annual Meetings, Canada and Fiji were also present.
The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Senator Donald Neil Plett of Canada, President of the APPF. Senator Plett welcomed the delegations to Vancouver and expressed his hope for a productive 24th Annual Meeting. He noted that APPF member countries were well represented at the Annual Meeting, with delegations from 20 countries and one observer country present in Vancouver.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE FOUR SUB-REGIONS ON THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Following the adoption of the agenda and introductions by members of the Executive Committee, the first item of business was representation of the APPF’s four sub-regions on the Executive Committee.
It was agreed that Indonesia and Cambodia would continue as the country representatives from the sub-region of Southeast Asia. Therefore, the membership of the Executive Committee at the time of the 24th Annual Meeting was as follows:
• Republic of Korea and Mongolia (Northeast Asia)
• Indonesia and Cambodia (Southeast Asia)
• New Zealand and Papua New Guinea (Oceania)
• Chile and Costa Rica (the Americas)
• Canada (host country)
• Fiji (host of the 25th Annual Meeting)
• Japan (as designated by the Honorary President)
Senator Plett reminded Committee members of the need to engage in consultations with their respective sub-regional groups regarding membership, and to ensure communication with the upcoming host parliament and the Office of the Honorary President. He notified the Committee that the membership terms for Costa Rica, New Zealand, Cambodia, and the Republic of Korea continue until April 2017. The membership of Papua New Guinea continues until April 2018, and the membership terms for Mongolia, Indonesia, and Chile continue until April 2019.
APPROVAL OF THE RULES AND AGENDA FOR THE 24TH ANNUAL MEETING
The next items for discussion concerned the approval of the Rules of Procedure and the agenda for the 24th Annual Meeting. Senator Plett informed the Committee that no proposed changes to the Rules of Procedure had been submitted to the Secretariat. The Rules of Procedure for the 24th Annual Meeting were therefore adopted.
Senator Plett provided an overview of the three overarching themes on the agenda for the 24th Annual Meeting: political and security matters; economic and trade matters; and regional cooperation. In addition to these themes, Senator Plett informed the Committee that the final Plenary Session would focus on institutional matters relevant to the APPF, including the adoption of resolutions and the Joint Declaration. The agenda for the 24th Annual Meeting was approved by the Executive Committee and submitted to the Plenary for adoption.
CHAIR OF THE 24TH ANNUAL MEETING
Canada nominated the Honourable Senator David Tkachuk of the Senate of Canada, and Mr. Geng Tan, Member of the House of Commons in the Canadian Parliament, to serve as Co-Chairs of the APPF’s 24th Annual Meeting. These nominations were approved by the Executive Committee and referred to the Plenary for adoption.
The Executive Committee next turned to the business of the Drafting Committee. The nomination of the Honourable Senator Joseph A. Day of Canada to serve as Chair of the Drafting Committee was approved.
Senator Day reported that 47 draft resolutions had been submitted before the deadline set by the Secretariat – 22 December 2015 – for consideration by the 24th APPF Annual Meeting.
Senator Plett reported that one resolution from the Republic of Korea had been received after the deadline. He informed the Committee that the APPF’s Rules of Procedure allowed the Executive Committee to consider requests for the inclusion of supplementary agenda items in response to global events. The Republic of Korea notified the Committee that its resolution was submitted in response to the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 6 January 2016. The Executive Committee approved the inclusion of the Republic of Korea’s resolution on the Drafting Committee’s agenda.
Senator Day informed the Committee that – in addition to the Drafting Committee – the following Working Groups would be formed to consider the resolutions submitted by APPF member countries:
• Working Group 1: Peace and Security
• Working Group 2: Terrorism and Transnational Crime
• Working Group 3: Economy and Trade
• Working Group 4: Innovation, Infrastructure and Connectivity
• Working Group 5: Tools of Democracy
• Working Group 6: Disasters and Crises
The Drafting Committee would begin its work on Monday, 18 January, with consideration of all of the stand-alone (i.e., non-overlapping) draft resolutions.
The Drafting Committee and Working Groups would be chaired by Canadian parliamentarians. Senator Plett reminded the Committee that each participating APPF member country was entitled to representation on the Drafting Committee and the Working Groups.
The Drafting Committee and Working Group schedule was approved. The Executive Committee also approved the 48 draft resolutions for inclusion on the Drafting Committee’s agenda.
FUTURE ANNUAL MEETINGS
The Committee considered future Annual Meetings of the APPF. Fiji confirmed its willingness to host the 25th Annual Meeting in January 2017. The Executive Committee expressed support for Fiji as the next APPF host and informed members that this nomination would be submitted to the Plenary for confirmation.
A calendar displaying the rotation of host countries as determined at the 20th APPF Annual Meeting in Tokyo was distributed to the Committee. Senator Plett reminded the Committee that, during the 20th Annual Meeting, the membership agreed to return to the original rotation of host countries. At that same meeting, it was also decided to give priority in the schedule to member countries that had not yet hosted an Annual Meeting, as is reflected in the Rules of Procedure.
Senator Plett requested that members review the calendar and indicate when their country could host an Annual Meeting. He requested that this information be provided to the next APPF host Secretariat and the Office of the Honorary President by the end of May 2016. Mr. Tanaka, representative from the Japanese delegation, also spoke and encouraged APPF members to provide this information as requested.
OTHER MATTERS RELATED TO THE WORK AND MANAGEMENT OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
A. Outcome of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians
The Honourable Senator Mobina S.B. Jaffer from Canada and the Honourable Dr. Nurhayati Ali Assegaf from Indonesia, Co-Chairs of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians, reported on the first-ever APPF Meeting of Women Parliamentarians that was held on 17 January from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Dr. Assegaf and Senator Jaffer informed the Committee that the meeting, which was attended by more than 40 parliamentarians from 14 countries, had been a tremendous success. They presented the outcomes of the meeting, which included a proposal that the Co-Chairs bring forward a recommendation to the Executive Committee to make the APPF Meeting of Women Parliamentarians a permanent event at APPF Annual Meetings and to take steps to increase women’s representation on the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee expressed its support for the achievements of the first-ever Meeting of Women Parliamentarians. The Executive Committee noted that the recommendation proposed by the Co-Chairs would require a change to the APPF Rules of Procedure. As such, it was recommended that it be referred to the meeting of the Executive Committee during the 25th Annual Meeting for further consideration.
B. Reports on Previous Work
The Executive Committee addressed the subject of reporting on previous APPF work. Senator Plett reminded members that the Rules of Procedure stipulated that countries that have sponsored resolutions are to provide the next host with a written report on how those resolutions have been put into effect, contributing to a status report prepared by the upcoming APPF President on all of the resolutions. The Russian Federation had submitted a report on the implementation on the resolutions that had been proposed by the Russian Federation and adopted by the 23rd Annual Meeting in Quito, Ecuador. Senator Plett encouraged all countries to provide reports on the resolutions adopted at the 24th Annual Meeting to the host of the 25th Annual Meeting.