1. I participated on 22 February in the conference “Public Service Broadcasting & Parliaments” in Brussels. The conference was organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) with the support of the EU Parliament's Audiovisual Services. For more information, see the ASGP website.
2. Colleagues will recall that the question arose in the Geneva session relating to the continued membership of members from Thailand. In relation to this I had some contacts with former President, Mr Ian Harris, who raised some questions about current Rules. Five rule changes has been proposed for discussion:
No. 1: Rule 1, omit “Section VII, Article 26”, substitute “Section VIII, article 27” (Reason: Error in ASGP rules)
No. 2: 10(2), insert “or the Parliament has been suspended from participation in the activities of the Inter-Parliamentary Union” after “suspended” (Reason: Justify action if IPU acts other than in accordance with previous practice).
No. 3: Rule 19, provide that a member whose service on the Executive Committee is terminated under Rule 16 may seek re-election to the Executive Committee for the remainder of the period that he/she would have been an Executive Committee member but for the termination within the two-year period if the cause for termination no longer applies.
No. 4: Rules 5 and 10(2), provide that suspension or loss of membership should be made by the Association, upon report from the Executive Committee.
Mr Harris has also stated that there is a consequential point if these rule changes are not agreed to:
No. 5: Examine Rule 3(1) concerning independence of ASGP membership from the IPU.
This letter is, in accordance with Rule 31(2), an information on the proposals to the members of the ASGP. I have prepared a Note on Proposed Rule Changes for the Executive Committee and will receive their answers before the 1 April. The Note can be sent to you by the Joint Secretaries on request. I will prepare the issue for the meeting in Bali. On Sunday 29 April the Executive Committee will meet and discuss the proposed rule changes. On Monday 30 April I will announce the issue for the members. On Friday the 4 May the Plenary can take necessary decisions.
3. I participated on 3-4 March in the conference “The Policymaking Role of Parliaments in the Development of the Information Society” in Rome. The conference was organized by the Italian Chamber of Deputies. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) provided substantive and technical inputs to the Conference through the Global Centre for Information and Communication Technologies in Parliament. In conjunction with the conference I also, as advisor to the board, attended the first meeting of the board of the Global Centre for ICT in Parliaments. For more information about the conference, see http://www.ictparliament.org/.
4. A joint IPU-UNDP research project on the representation of minorities and indigenous peoples in Parliament will get under way in the first quarter of 2007. To guide the research an expert group has been convened composed of parliamentarians and other experts. The ASGP has been invited to nominate a member of the group, who would bring a deep knowledge of parliamentary rules and procedures. I have nominated our distinguished colleague from Romania, Mrs. Georgeta Elisabeta Ionescu, Secretary General of the Chamber of Deputies.