The Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF)’s Executive Committee meeting took place in Natadola, Fiji on 15 January 2017. Participants included representatives of the following Executive Committee member countries: Japan, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Chile, Australia, and Cambodia. As the current and upcoming hosts of the APPF Annual Meetings, Fiji and Philippines were also present.
The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Speaker of the Fijian Parliament and President of the APPF, Dr Jiko Luveni. Hon. Luveni welcomed the delegations to Natadola and for that matter to Fiji. She hoped that apart from productive discussions during the sessions that delegates would also enjoy the culture and brand of hospitality that Fiji was renowned for.
She also noted that apologies were received from Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea. The meeting was informed that Costa Rica was substituted by Canada and in light of the apologies received from Papua New Guinea and the arrangement within the group for the Oceania sub-region, the Hon. Speaker welcomed the representatives from Australia.
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.
With regards to the membership terms for Costa Rica, Cambodia, and the Republic of Korea which would come to an end in April 2017, it was decided that Canada replace Costa Rica and serve with Chile in representing their sub-region. It was also agreed for the Northeast Asia sub-region that Russia replace the Republic of Korea for the next 4 years. In addition to that, following the ASEAN meeting also held Natadola, it was mooted and
agreed that Laos P.D.R. replace Cambodia for the sub-region of Southeast Asia.
Although the expiration of membership for New Zealand was brought up, there was no discussion on a replacement or continuation of membership, the Oceania sub-region would need to advise the Secretariat of their decision.
APPROVAL OF RULES FOR THE 25TH ANNUAL MEETING
The Executive Committee was informed by Hon. Speaker that a submission was received from the Indonesian Parliament for an amendment to the rules concerning the Mechanism of the Women Parliamentarians Meeting on whether to make it a permanent feature of the APPF meeting.
Discussions ensued on the matter and it was adopted that the meeting of Women MPs continue to be a permanent feature under the APPF annual meetings.
Indonesia’s position was supported by Australia who emphasised that although there was a long way to go, the forum needed to be seen to be supporting women in their various roles of decision making.
A consensus draft resolution co-sponsored by Australia and Indonesia was raised, which included amendments by New Zealand and Canada. Among other elements, the draft resolution encouraged future host Parliaments to include the meeting of Women Parliamentarians as an agenda item.
In light of the support on the matter, it was agreed that the recommendation for the APPF Rules and Procedures be put to the Plenary for further consideration.
REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF THE DRAFT AGENDA FOR THE 25TH ANNUAL MEETING
The next item for discussion concerned the approval of the draft agenda for the 25th Annual Meeting.
The Hon. Speaker informed the committee that the draft agenda before them was previously circulated to all Members and with no objections, the agenda for the 25th APPF Annual Meeting was approved and presented to the Plenary for endorsement.
CHAIR OF THE 25TH ANNUAL MEETING
Fiji nominated the Hon. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Defence to chair the Plenary, and Hon. Alexander O’Connor and Hon. Mikaele Leawere also of the Fijian Parliament to serve as Co-Chairs of the APPF’s 25th Annual Meeting.
These nominations were approved by the Executive Committee.
CHAIRPERSON OF DRAFTING COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee next turned to the business of the Drafting Committee. The nomination of the Hon. Senator Joseph A. Day of Canada to serve as Chair of the Drafting Committee was approved.
Hon. Speaker acknowledged the willingness of Hon. Senator Joseph Day to assist in the role as Chair.
DRAFT RESOLUTIONS SUBMITTTED
Hon. Speaker invited the Chair of the Drafting Committee to brief the Executive Committee.
Senator Day reported that 38 draft resolutions had been submitted so far. Although an initial deadline of 9 November 2016 was set by the Secretariat it was extended to accommodate numerous requests from various delegations.
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.
These draft resolutions covered a variety of themes, including Gender Equality, Succession Planning including Education for New Leaders, Peace and Security, Border Control, Human and Drug Trafficking, Economy and Trade, Poverty Alleviation, Food Security, Social Media in Civic Participation, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, Conservation and Sustainable Development.
The Drafting Committee would begin its work on Monday, 16 January, with consideration of all of the stand-alone (i.e. non-overlapping) draft resolutions. He also mentioned that there were a few co-sponsored resolutions and that such a consensus should be the aim of the working groups for effective consideration by the Drafting Committee.
Senator Day reminded the Committee that each participating APPF member country was entitled to representation on the Drafting Committee and the Working Groups especially within the working groups that their resolutions were submitted to.
The Drafting Committee and Working Group schedule was approved. The Executive Committee also approved the 38 draft resolutions for inclusion on the Drafting Committee’s agenda.
FUTURE ANNUAL MEETINGS
Hon. Speaker called on the representative from Japan to update the Executive Committee on the correspondences between the Office of the Honorary President and potential hosts for the 26th APPF meeting.
It was reported that the Philippines was approached to host the next APPF meeting but that the Office of the Honorary President was awaiting an official response.
Citing a lengthy approval process, the Philippines asked to be considered for hosting responsibility at a future time.
Following discussions and despite some hesitation from the Philippines it was conceded that the matter be submitted to the plenary for a decision.
Japan also reported that Vietnam had informally notified its desire to host the 26th APPF Annual Meeting in 2018. A delegate of Japan, on behalf of Mr Nakasone, Honorary President of APPF, stated that he would ask Vietnam to host it and that responding to the needs of the National Assembly of Vietnam’s internal procedure, Hon. President would write a letter to the National Assembly of Vietnam concerning this as soon as possible.
While on the issue, Japan reported that they had received confirmation that Cambodia would be hosting the 27th APPF in 2019. This was agreed to by Cambodia and noted by the Executive Committee.
OTHER MATTERS RELATED TO THE WORK AND MANAGEMENT OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
A. Outcome of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians
The Hon. Dr Nurhayati Ali Assegaf from Indonesia, Co-Chair of the women’s meeting presented the report of the 2nd APPF Meeting of Women Parliamentarians that was held on 15 January from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
She reported that fourteen countries were represented from the following member countries: Canada, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Chile, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia and Russia, the Philippines were present as an observer. As host, Fiji was also present at the meeting and the key note address delivered by their Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa.
Hon. Dr. Assegaf reported that discussions were fruitful with contributions from almost all delegates present on a range of issues regarding gender equality, 30% increase of participation of women in all sectors and strengthening of public policies at the community and national level to reflect their level of support.
Following her presentation on the draft consolidated resolution from Indonesia, Australia and Fiji, Hon. Speaker thanked Hon. Dr. Assegaf for her report which was adopted and presented at the plenary.
B. Reports on Previous Work
The Executive Committee addressed the subject of reporting on previous APPF work.
Hon. Speaker 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 reports from Chile, Indonesia and Russia were received and made available for the Committee’s perusal.
With no further discussions, Hon. Speaker closed the meeting at 3.15 p.m.