Activities of the Secretariat
Report on the Results of the Visit to the United Nations by Hon. Chung Eui-yong,
Co-Chairman of the Standing Committee and Secretary General of the ICAPP,
during March 16-18, 2011
1. Meeting with Amb. Sha Zukang, Under Secretary General of the United Nations(UN) for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, on March 16
Amb. Sha welcomed, on behalf of the UN Secretariat, the important work done by the ICAPP, in particular on issues related to poverty alleviation, prevention of political corruption, and natural disasters and environmental protection. He said the ICAPP’s interests in these areas were closely aligned with the agenda of the UN and hoped that the UN and the ICAPP would find avenues to work together in the future.
As for the IACPP’s application for an observer status in the UN General Assembly(UNGA), Amb. Sha explained that the procedure is closely coordinated by the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management of the UN Secretariat, and the UNGA normally invites only intergovernmental organizations to participate in its work as observers.
Amb. Sha then explained about the steps for obtaining an observer status in the work of the UNGA as follows:
(1) A Member State, or Member States, of the UN should send a letter to the Secretary General of the UN requesting for the inclusion of an item in the provisional agenda of the UNGA on the issue of inviting the ICAPP to participate in the work of the UNGA as an observer;
(2) Annexed to the letter should be an explanatory memorandum on the organization seeking observer status, and a draft resolution for Member States’ consideration;
(3) The request would then be considered by the General Committee of the UNGA at the start of the session for inclusion in the agenda of the General Assembly;
(4) The General Committee would normally decide to allocate the item to the Sixth Committee(legal) of the UNGA for their recommendation; and
(5) The Sixth Committee would send their recommendation to the General Assembly plenary for final adoption.
Amb. Sha advised that the Member States that would support the ICAPP’s observer status should be well prepared for questions to be most probably raised by the other Member States about the legal status of the ICAPP. In this regard, he also advised to follow the precedent, and similar procedures, of the Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU)’s obtaining the observer status in the UN General Assembly in 2002.
Amb. Sha further suggested that if the ICAPP would initiate the process of obtaining the observer status during the 65th General Assembly this year by having several Member States from Asia submit the application letter with the two annexes, it could be possible to complete the procedures during the 66th General Assembly in 2011.
2. Meeting with Amb. Armin Ritz, Chef de Cabinet, and Prof. Giuseppe Nesi, Legal Adviser, at the Office of the President of the UNGA on March 17
Both Amb. Ritz and Prof. Nesi appreciated the work of the ICAPP and explained the similar procedures to obtain an observer status in the UNGA as explained by Under Secretary General Sha Zukang. In fact, the only difference was that the letter to be sent by a Member State, or Members States, of the UN requesting for the inclusion of the item in the provisional agenda should be, in their view, addressed to the President of the UNGA.
They said that the first draft provisional agenda of the UNGA is normally circulated in July, and the final agenda of the UNGA is decided at the first meeting of the General Committee which is convened in September at the start of the new session of the UNGA.
They also said that the observer status is normally awarded to intergovernmental organizations. Although there had been a few exceptions to this principle, most Member States are concerned about creating precedents when making an exception.
3. Meeting with Representatives of the Member States of the UN that are represented in the ICAPP Standing Committee on March 17
Co-Chairman Chung invited representatives of the eighteen Member States that are currently represented in the ICAPP Standing Committee to a meeting, which was attended by the representatives of the 14 Member States as follows:
Mr. Ngoun Sokveng, First Secretary, Cambodia
Ms Guo Xiaomei, Counsellor and Legal Advisor, China
Dr. Pradip Kumar Choudhary, Counsellor and Legal Advisor, India
Ms Tuti W. Irman, Counsellor, Indonesia
Mr. Kiyoshi Wada, First Secretary, Japan
Mr. Murat Tashibayev, Deputy Permanent Representative, Kazakhstan
Mr. Na Sang-deok, First Secretary, Rep. of Korea
Mr. Bae Byeong-soo, First Secretary, Rep. of Korea
Ms Shazelina Zainul Abidin, Minister-Counsellor, Malaysia
Mr. Amrit Rai, Minister-Counsellor, Nepal
Mr. Abdul Hameed, counselor, Pakistan
Mr. Marciano R. de Borja, Minister, Philippines
Ms Diana S. Taratukhina, Third Secretary, LL.M, Russia
Mr. Aydan Karamanoglu, Counsellor, Turkey
Mr. Do Le Chi, Counsellor, Vietnam
They were all aware of the ICAPP activities and expressed their appreciation for the contributions the ICAPP has been making to achieve the UN objectives. They also expressed their willingness to support the ICAPP’s application for an observer status in the UNGA, but emphasized that they would need the official instructions from their respective governments to formally support this initiative.
The following understandings were reached at the meeting:
(1) The representatives who attended the meeting would form a Task Force to coordinate to support the ICAPP’s obtaining an observer status, and would request the Mission of the Republic of Korea, when necessary, to play the role of the focal point, or the facilitator, for this initiative;
(2) The ICAPP Secretariat will soon draft the letter to be submitted to the U.N. Secretary General and the President of the UN General Assembly, together with an explanatory memorandum and a draft resolution, as suggested by the UN Secretariat, and send them to the Mission of the Republic of Korea after getting an endorsement by the Members of the ICAPP Standing Committee;
(3) The draft letter with the two annexes will then be circulated among the Permanent Representatives of the above-mentioned Members States to the UN through the Mission of the Republic of Korea for their review, consent and signatures, and will be submitted to the UN Secretary General and the President of the UNGA by the end of May 2011; and
(4) After submitting the letter and the annexes, the Permanent Representatives will cooperate, and coordinate among themselves, to have the item to be included in the provisional agenda of the UNGA by the end of August, and to have the draft resolution adopted during the next session of the UNGA.
They pointed, however, that the following two issues would be most probably raised during the course of deliberations at the Sixth Committee for the inclusion of the item in the agenda of the UNGA:
(1) Whether the legal status of the ICAPP is appropriate to invite it as an observer, since it is not an intergovernmental organization; and
(2) The regional nature of the ICAPP might create a new precedent in the UNGA’s principle of inviting inter-governmental organizations with global nature as observers.
They also pointed out that, when the issue of granting an observer status to the International Olympic Committee(IOC) was deliberated at the Sixth Committee during the 64th session of the UNGA in 2009, several Member States made strong reservations about its legal status, in particular its non-intergovernmental nature. The IOC was, however, eventually awarded the observer status.
4. Meeting with Amb. Wang Min, Deputy Permanent Representative of China, and Amb. Alexander Pankin, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN on March 17 and 18 respectively
Both Amb. Wang and Amb. Pankin were well aware of the ICAPP activities and expressed their appreciation for its contributions to achieving UN objectives. They were also supportive of the ICAPP’s bid for an observer status in the UNGA. They, however, pointed out that the Permanent Missions of Member States to the UN would need formal instructions from their respective governments to support the proposal.
They also advised that some Member States, especially those from non-Asian regions, might raise issue during the deliberations at the Sixth Committee with regard to the legal status and regional nature of the ICAPP, and whether it is appropriate to invite it to participate in the work of the UNGA as an observer. They both advised that the ICAPP should be well prepared for deliberations on its legal status.
5. Meeting with Mr. Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN on March 17
Mr. Stelzer expressed his support for the ICAPP’s initiative to be invited as an observer to the UNGA and advised to follow the procedures suggested by the Under Secretary General Sha Zukang.
He also hoped that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the UN and the ICAPP would closely coordinate their activities in the future. He particularly expressed a keen interest in the forthcoming ICAPP Conference on Natural Disasters and Environmental Protection, and advised the ICAPP to invite representatives and experts of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which is based in Geneva with 35 offices around the world and responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies and also to ensure that effective assistance reaches millions of humanitarian beneficiaries in four continents.
6. Co-Chairman Chung Eui-yong’s Responses to Issues relating to the Legal Status and the Regional Nature of the ICAPP
With regard to the ICAPP’s legal status as a non-intergovernmental organization and its regional nature, Co-Chairman Chung stressed the unique status and nature of the ICAPP as follows and emphasized that these points should be well taken into consideration by Member States of the UN:
(1) The ICAPP is unique in nature in that it is open to all political parties regardless of their political orientation;
(2) The political parties participating in the ICAPP activities are either responsible for forming the governments in their respective countries and making most of their policies, or eligible to become to form future governments depending on the results of elections;
(3) The ICAPP has also been (a) aggregating and channeling to the UN system the views of our peoples in all their diversity as expressed in political debates and discussions at all dimensions, local, national and continental, like submitting “the Kunming Declaration on Poverty Alleviation,” which had been adopted at the Special ICAPP Conference in Kunming in July 2010, in time for the UN MDG Summit held two months later; (b) Promoting ordinary people’s awareness, approval and support of international agreements reached at the UN and through UN programs; (c) Building international consensus on UN action to meet key global challenges; and (d) Providing support for political parties in the emerging democracies to increase their capacity to carry out at local and national level their law-making and oversight functions on matters subject to international cooperation in the UN.
(4) In addition, in recent years, the ICAPP has been in close cooperation with political parties in other regions, i.e. Latin America and Africa, with a view to form a global forum of political parties, and, in the case of Latin America, the ICAPP and the COPPPAL(Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean) have been holding annual joint session to coordinate their activities to promote UN objectives.
In addition, Co-Chairman Chung said, the video messages that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had sent for the opening sessions of the 5th and 6th General Assemblies of the ICAPP held in Astana and Phnom Penh and the ICAPP Special Conference on Poverty Alleviation held in Kunming had provided valuable contributions and guidance to deliberations of the main themes of the conferences by the political leaders of the region.
Co-Chairman Chung also reminded that Secretary General Ban has been fully supportive of the ICAPP activities which were consistent with the objectives of the UN. The UNSG particularly complimented on the unique nature of the ICAPP which represented and brought together all competing political parties, both governing and opposition, in Asia and congratulated on the progress that the ICAPP had achieved in both membership and influence over the last ten years. In this regard, the UNSG also hoped that the UN would win support of political leaders from both governing and opposition parties in Asia for its efforts to achieve UN objectives through increased coordination with the ICAPP activities and programs.