EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING
ASIA PACIFIC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
10-13 JANUARY 2000
- At the invitation of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) was held in Canberra, Australia, on 9-13 January 2000.
- The Opening Ceremony was held on 10 January 2000. Delegates, accompanying persons and invited guests heard addresses from: His Excellency Sir William Deane AC KBE, Governor-General; His Excellency Yasuhiro Nakasone, President of the APPF; Senator the Honourable Margaret Reid, Deputy Chair of the Eighth Annual Meeting, President of the Senate and Joint President of the Australian National Group of the APPF; and the Honourable Neil Andrew MP, Chairman of the Eighth Annual Meeting, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Joint President of the Australian National Group of the APPF.
- The Meeting was extremely grateful to the Governor-General for his excellent opening address and for his generously participating in the Meeting on its opening day. His address set the tone for the Meeting as one of building bridges for greater regional stability, improving contacts between people and their elected representatives and looking forward in this new century. The President of the APPF's opening address is at Annex I.
- The Meeting was attended by 109 parliamentarians from 23 regular member countries of the APPF and one observer country, Brunei. Having given advance notice, the Speaker of the Cook Islands also attended as a further observer. The list of participants appears as Annex II.
- On the afternoon of 10 January 2000, the Executive Committee met and the Honourable Neil Andrew MP was elected Chairman of the Eighth Annual Meeting.
- The Executive Committee then approved the agenda and working program for the Meeting. In response to Australia's recommendation, the Executive Committee agreed to a new agenda sub-item IIB 'Other' under the topic international cooperation on the global issues to cover the issues of humanitarian and disaster relief activities and the proposal to establish a Public Accounts Committee Forum. His Excellency Mr Nakasone noted the limited effects of the global Y2K and suggested the Meeting be given the opportunity to present views on this matter if delegates wished.
- Building on the Peruvian example, greater use of information technology to make the discussions more publicly available was a particular feature of the Meeting. The Executive Committee agreed to the plenary sessions being made available live on the Internet as well as being broadcast on closed circuit television throughout Parliament House. The Plenary session agreed to this.
- Chile was warmly confirmed as the host for the Ninth Annual Meeting of the APPF in January 2001. The Meeting will be held in Valparaiso.
- At the commencement of the Executive Meeting the President thanked Mr Sandoval of Peru for the enormous and eager contribution he has made to the establishment and operation of the APPF web site.
- The Eighth Annual Meeting adopted 20 Resolutions on the following topics:
- APPF8/RES/1 Resolution Commending the Peaceful Agreement reached by the Governments of Peru and Chile, submitted by the Canadian Delegation
- APPF8/RES/2 Resolution on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, jointly submitted by Japan, Australia, Peru and the Philippines
- APPF8/RES/3 Resolution on the Protection of Cultural Goods, submitted by the Peruvian Delegation
- APPF8/RES/4 Resolution on Debt Relief in Poor Countries, submitted by the Mexican Delegation
- APPF8/RES/5 Resolution on War-Affected Children, submitted by the Canadian Delegation
- APPF8/RES/6 Resolution on Climate Change, submitted by the Peruvian and Singapore Delegations
- APPF8/RES/7 Resolution to Create an Internal Mechanism within the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) to Share Information on Environment Protection Programs among APPF Member Countries, submitted by the Philippine and Canadian Delegations
- APPF8/RES/8 Resolution on Anti-Money Laundering, proposed by the Thailand Delegation
- APPF8/RES/9 Resolution on Landmines, submitted jointly by Australia and Peru
- APPF8/RES/10 Resolution on Armed Forces Personnel in Peacekeeping Operations, submitted by the Canadian Delegation
- APPF8/RES/11 Resolution in Support of the Process of Peace in the Republic of Colombia, submitted by Colombian Delegation
- APPF8/RES/12 Resolution on the Protection of the Intellectual Property Rights Relating to the Traditional Knowledge of Ethnic and Indigenous Communities, submitted by the Peruvian and Papua New Guinea Delegations
- APPF8/RES/13 Resolution on Global Trade Liberalisation, submitted by the American and Japanese Delegations
- APPF8/RES/14 Resolution on the Tenth United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, submitted by the Thailand Delegation
- APPF8/RES/15 Resolution on Strengthening the International Financial Architecture, submitted by the Japanese and Philippines Delegations, amended by Canada and Indonesia
- APPF8/RES/16 Resolution on East Timor, submitted by the Japanese, Canadian and Indonesian Delegations
- APPF8/RES/17 Resolution on Peace and Regional Stability, submitted jointly by the Australian and Indonesian Delegations
- APPF8/RES/18 Resolution Calling upon APPF to Promote International Cooperation in Educational Programs and Legal Reforms to Strengthen and Protect Family Life in Order to Fight Drug Addiction, submitted by the Mexican Delegation
- APPF8/RES/19 Resolution on Humanitarian Assistance, submitted by the Australian Delegation
- APPF8/RES/20 Resolution on the Proposed APPF Forum of Public Accounts Committees, submitted by the Australian Delegation
These Resolutions are at Annex III.
- The Annual Meeting held five Plenary Sessions.
- The Meeting discussed political and security issues in the Asia Pacific region as well as considering those issues in a more international context.
- The Meeting endorsed the sentiments expressed in the Singaporean report on the 6th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held in Singapore last year. It noted that having increased comfort levels and built confidence amongst participating countries, the ARF is taking its first sensitive steps towards moving to preventive diplomacy.
- The East Timor issue was discussed in detail. Contributions on humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance were outlined. The importance of maintaining the international communities' interest, support and involvement in East Timor was stressed.
- The Meeting discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the ramifications of this for peace, stability and security in North-East Asia and the engagement approach towards the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK). Some APPF members expressed their wish to invite the DPRK to join APPF.
- On the issue of nuclear and missile proliferation in the Asian region, the Meeting called upon all APPF member States and all other States to maintain their moratoria on nuclear weapons tests and to commence negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. The Meeting also called upon the United States of America and the Russian Federation to make every effort towards the progressive reduction and ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.
- The Meeting considered the broader issue of peacekeeping in the region.
- On the issue of the former Yugoslavia (Kosovo), the Meeting discussed the end of the conflict in Kosovo and the return of people to their homeland.
- The Meeting commended Peru and Chile in concluding a longstanding dispute by peaceful agreement.
- The Meeting heard a report from the New Zealand Delegate on the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) New Zealand Meeting held in Auckland in 1999. It was reported that APEC is back on track after the Asian crisis, with progress made on a number of key themes. New Zealand believes that the value of APEC as a key forum for building mutual confidence and constructively pursuing and promoting regional and bilateral issues has been validated. Several countries reported to the Meeting that they believe that New Zealand had helped to revitalise the ailing APEC process.
- Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Korea, Australia, China, Singapore, Laos, Chile, Mexico, and Canada advised the Meeting on their prevailing economic conditions following the Asian economic crisis that began in July 1997.
- World trade liberalisation was debated. Member countries focussed on two themes, an early launch of a new round of trade negotiations and the strengthening of the WTO as the key forum for the promotion of multilateral free trade.
- The Meeting called for the strengthening of the international financial architecture and for solidarity among APPF member countries to support it.
- The Meeting discussed international cooperation on a range of global issues including war-affected children; climate change; coordination of environment protection programs among APPF member countries; the Y2K issue; drugs and money laundering; landmines; terrorism; and the proposed APPF Forum of Public Accounts Committees.
- The future directions of the Asia Pacific Open Information Network Technology (APOINT 2001) were discussed by the Technological Working Group. The Meeting again strongly encouraged member countries to make their legislation and other parliamentary information available on the Internet for the benefit of other countries and to link to the APPF web site. A strategy to hasten the development of the Legislative Exchange System was agreed.
- The Meeting considered Canada's proposal that at future Meetings the current agenda or schedule of activities be combined with a free and open roundtable discussion on a topic determined by the Executive Committee. Such a roundtable would be an opportunity for representatives of the APPF member countries to participate in the discussion or to make comment, but those sessions would not be designed to reach any conclusions for the Meeting as a whole.
- The Meeting's views were sought on whether His Excellency Mr Nakasone should participate in future Parliamentarians for Global Action Forums.
- The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Chairman of the Eighth Annual Meeting, the Honourable Neil Andrew MP, for his friendly, calm and practical manner in organising and conducting the Meeting.
- The Meeting also expressed its appreciation to the President of the Senate, the Honourable Margaret Reid, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honourable Neil Andrew MP, the Parliament of Australia and the people of Australia for the meticulous administrative arrangements made for the Eighth Annual Meeting of the APPF, for the wonderful venue in which the meeting was held and for the delightful hospitality extended to delegates and accompanying persons.
Adopted on Thursday 13 January 2000 in Canberra, Australia.