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Brief Introduction of the ICAPP (2016.9).pdf

 

 

The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) was launched in Manila in September 2000 to promote exchanges and cooperation between political parties with various ideologies from different Asian countries; to enhance mutual understanding and trust among Asian countries; to promote Asia’s regional cooperation through the unique role and channel of political parties.

 

At first, few people thought it would be possible to bring together competing governing, opposition and independent political parties in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, Middle East and Oceania. However, since its inception, the ICAPP has grown steadily in both membership and influence. 

 

The ICAPP meetings have been visionary, cordial, constructive and successful. Simply by bringing together Asia’s political leaders in regular fraternal assemblies, the ICAPP has become a positive force for mutual understanding among Asian countries and peoples. As of April 2016, more than 350 political parties in 52 countries in the region with diverse political and ideological backgrounds are eligible to participate in ICAPP activities.

 

Nine General Assemblies of the ICAPP, which have been successfully held in Manila (2000), Bangkok (2002), Beijing (2004), Seoul (2006), Astana (2009), Phnom Penh (2010), Baku (2012) and Colombo (2014), brought together political leaders throughout the region to exchange opinions and communicate with one another. The 9th General Assembly was held in Kuala Lumpur under the main theme of “One Asia” during September 1-3, 2016 with participation of representatives of 87 political parties from 35 countries in the region. These meetings have strengthened unity among Asian countries, while propelling Asia along the road towards stability and prosperity.

 

The ICAPP Standing Committee is comprised of the leading political parties of 23 countries representing different sub-regions of Asia. Currently, a total of 37 political parties, both ruling and opposition, are represented in the Standing Committee. The committee has been meeting regularly, more than twice a year since 2004, to organize the ICAPP activities and programs in an effective and concerted manner.

 

ICAPP special conferences and workshops have also been convened to discuss key challenges in the region. The first special conference was held in Seoul, Korea, in May 2008 on the topic of “State Subsidies for Mainstream Political Parties as a Means to Prevent Political Corruption.”

 

Since then, special conferences have been more focused on the issues targeted by the U.N. Millennium Development Goals: on poverty alleviation in Kunming, China, in July 2010; on natural disasters and environmental protection in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in May 2011; on development and people’s access in Nanning, China, in September 2011; on promoting green development and building a beautiful Asia in Xi’an, China, in May 2013; on women’s leadership and empowerment in Seoul, Korea, in September 2013; on regional economic cooperation in Vladivostok, Russia in May 2015; on silk road in Beijing, China in October 2015; and on democratic transition in Nepal in Kathmandu, Nepal in February 2016. Another special conference on migration and refugees is to be held in Istanbul, Turkey during November 4-6, 2016.

 

In recent years, the ICAPP has been trying to reach out to other regions in the world. For instance, the first joint session with the COPPPAL, the Permanent Conference of Political Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean, was successfully held in Buenos Aires in July 2009. Since then, the ICAPP and COPPPAL have been holding joint sessions annually: the second meeting in Phnom Penh (2010), the third meeting in Mexico City (2012), the fourth meeting in Baku (2013) and the fifth meeting again in Mexico City (2014).

 

In addition, the ICAPP and the COPPPAL have successfully coordinated efforts to help political parties in Africa establish a similar organization. As a result, the Council of African Political Parties (CAPP) was finally launched in Khartoum, Sudan, in April 2013. The first Conference of the CAPP held in Khartoum was attended by representatives of 35 political parties from five different sub-regions in Africa.

 

Under the initiative of the ICAPP, the 1st Trilateral Meeting among the ICAPP Standing Committee, COPPPAL Coordinating Body and CAPP Executive Committee was held in Jakarta during April 22-24, 2016. At the meeting, the representatives agreed to initiate a process to further strengthen the trilateral cooperation in the areas of common interest among political parties in Asia, Latin America and Africa in a more inclusive way, and identified poverty and environmental degradation as two most serious common challenges. They also agreed to gradually work together toward the goal of developing a global forum of political parties, encompassing all political parties in the world regardless of differences in ideological orientations.

 

In recognition of the ICAPP’s role in bringing together various political parties to promote understanding and friendship among countries not only in Asia, but also in Latin America and Africa, several governments in the region, including those of Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, have signed the inter-governmental “MOU on Cooperation to Support the Activities of the ICAPP” since 2013. Now many more governments, including those of India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Thailand and Turkey, are in the process of completing their domestic procedures to sign the MOU.

 

In addition, ten Member States of the U.N., i.e. Australia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Nepal, the Netherlands, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, introduced a draft resolution to grant observer status in the U.N. General Assembly at the 70th session in September 2015. Unfortunately, however, two Member States had expressed their reservations on the legal ground of the ICAPP’s status, while agreeing to the contributions made by the ICAPP. Thus, the decision on the resolution was deferred to the 71st session to be held in September 2016.

 

The ICAPP will continue to play a key role not only in building a cohesive community in Asia, but also in the global quest for a more peaceful and prosperous world.

 

In 2008, the ICAPP Standing Committee agreed to establish the ICAPP Secretariat in Seoul, Korea, and nominated Mr. Chung Eui-yong, then Member of the National Assembly of Korea and Former Ambassador, as Co-Chairman of the ICAPP Standing Committee and Secretary General of the ICAPP, all of which was endorsed at the 5th General Assembly in 2009.

 

The ICAPP Secretariat can be reached by email at secretariat@theicapp.org. More detailed information on the ICAPP and its activities can be found on its website at www.theicapp.org.