Mongolia hosts the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum

Over 200 delegates from 17 member nations met in Ulaanbaatar for the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum
The 19th annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) was held in Ulaanbaatar for the first time from January 23- 27. There were 215 delegates from 17 member countries of the APPF (Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lao, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Singapore and Vietnam) and two observer countries- Brunei Darussalam and Kazakhstan attending the meeting.
G.Batkhuu deputy speaker, Prime Minister S.Batbold, D.Demberel President of the 19th APPF meeting
Four plenary sessions were held on political and security matters; economic and trade matters; regional cooperation; future work and reform of the APPF. The meeting adopted 17 resolutions based on the topics proposed in 37 draft resolutions by the delegates On January 24, the 19th meeting was officially opened by D.Demberel President of the meeting and chairman of the Mongolian Parliament. He highlighted that the region needs combined regulatory methods and mechanisms to strengthen regional peace and security, intensify nations’ development, ease negative climate change impacts, ensure food and energy security and enhance regional cooperation. A vitally important issue is to satisfy the progressive yet stable economic growth of Asia Pacific countries that can only be achieved with a peaceful and secure environment of the region. Only on this basis can the improvement of people’s lives and management of numerous social problems and disasters caused by global climate change be accomplished. 
The Forum was translated in 7 languages for foreign participants
Mongolian parliamentary governance has been maturing since its establishment 20 years ago. The multi-party parliamentary system has been shaped up and values of market economy, human rights, freedom and democracy have been strengthened. Without a doubt, the ideologies and decisions of previous APPFs have contributed to that process’ said D.Demberel. Mongolia’s President Ts.Elbegdorj sent a congratulatory message to the delegates and also noted the importance of democratic parliament. ‘The Parliament of Mongolia serves the historic and vital mandate to build democratic and open legal relations in our society, and to strengthen and consolidate the country’s independence and our people’s rights and liberties. We strive to perfect our democracy by strengthening the Parliamentary system in our country, by facilitating direct participation of our citizens in the decision-making process of State institutions and by creating and sustaining mechanisms for the people to freely express their opinions during policy-making and law-drafting practices. Our people endeavor to build and develop an open and democratic country, which nurtures a parliamentary system of government, with utmost respect for human rights and freedom, and upholds market economy that leads to sustainable growth and eco friendly development. The honorary chairman of the APPF also sent a special message to the meeting. Prime Minister of Mongolia, S.Batbold delivered the welcoming address, mentioning that expanding and developing friendly ties and cooperation with Asia Pacific countries is among the top priorities of Mongolia’s foreign policy and in this context, Mongolia is actively supporting efforts and policies of the regional countries aimed at strengthening stability and deepening economic integration in the Asia- Pacific region including East and Northeast Asia. Maintaining lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia,  realizing the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and normalization of relations between North  and South Korea are important prerequisites of prosperity and development in the Asia-Pacific region.
With this view in mind, at the 55th session of UN General Assembly in 2000, Mongolia proposed to establish
a dialogue mechanism to discuss the Northeast Asian regional issues. The compelling need of establishing such
a mechanism is ever growing. We congratulate recent developments that eased tensions on the Korean Peninsula and welcome the efforts being made by concerned parties towards resumption of dialogues including the Six-party talks. We ought to demonstrate perseverance to mobilize every available means for the cause of maintaining peace and stability in the region. Six-party talks were originated specifically to pursue this goal. Looking back to regional developments of recent years the question arises whether concerned parties were sufficient enough to show flexibility in their positions. Emerging realities require every party concerned to cast critical views on the actions of their own rather than those of others.’ said PM S.Batbold. At the plenary session on political and security matters in the Asia Pacific region, delegates engaged in wide ranging discussions and proposed  several resolutions on regional peace and security, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, combating terrorism, illicit drug traffic, organized crime, the situation in the Korean peninsula, abduction issues, and the  Middle East peace process.  
A resolution for the situation on the Korean peninsula reaffirmed that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is of great concern, not only for Northeast Asia, but also for the Asia Pacific region and that  constructive engagement of the international  community in the issue of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula benefits the whole peninsula. DPRK and the relevant parties are called upon to take concrete measures towards the implementation of the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and DPRK to take actions to promptly resolve all issues, such as the missile issue and humanitarian concerns of the international community, including but not limited to serious shortages of food, medical and other humanitarian services in DPRK. 
The plenary session also adopted a resolution on the Middle East peace process, urging both the Israeli and Palestinian side to halt the use of force and achieve a durable unconditional cessation of violence.
Human trafficking in the Asia  Pacific region affects 3 individuals  out of every 1000 inhabitants and it is estimated that over 9 million people are victims of traditional and new forms of forced labor in countries. Therefore, a resolution on human trafficking was passed which asked the parliaments of the APPF to  strengthen their justice systems for the purpose of making their actions more efficient, promoting the training of officers, prosecutors and judges as well as the use of standards and procedures that guarantee the physical safety and the privacy of victims of human trafficking. Delegates of the meeting expressed their deep condolences to the people of the Russian Federation and condemned the terrorist bombing at Domodedovo airport in Moscow on January 24, 2011. A resolution on combating terrorism, illicit drug traffic and organized crime called on all APPF member countries to speed up their accession to and full implementation of the UN counter-terrorism related conventions and protocols as well as to strengthen inter-parliamentary regional and international cooperation to improve the national and international legal basis and further promote partnerships between states, business and civil society to prevent and combat terrorism. Following economic interests, the
focus of global political activity is steadily moving towards the region. It is in this region that we observe persisting geopolitical differences, as well as conflicts of interests of many powerful members of the  international community. There are also hotbeds of local conflicts some of which are at risk of potentially becoming global. It should be emphasized that currently there is no integral and coherent architecture for security and cooperation in the Asia and  the Pacific. However over recent years, countries in the region have
increasingly come to understand that peace and stability in this vast area may be ensured only through joint efforts on a non–bloc basis. The very multi polarity of modern international relations essentially provides us with a unique opportunity to shape up a balanced model of economic and political integration in the region’ said chairman of the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the RF S.M.Mironov. At the plenary session on economic and trade matters in the Asia Pacific, delegates discussed the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2010 Report, global economic situation, political response to last economic and financial crisis, promoting economic partnership and free trade, energy and food security. The delegates emphasized that the Asia Pacific region, where 60 percent of the world’s population lives, has huge human, financial, production and technological potential, in addition to rich natural resources. Mongolian MP R.Gonchigdorj said  ‘There is an urgent need for countries  in our region to put comprehensive economic policies in place, promote regional economic integration and trade liberalization when seizing emerging opportunities of economic growth. In doing so, attention needs to be paid to the needs and challenges of small and vulnerable economies, to create equal opportunity for these countries to reap the benefits of these processes. It is important to remove tariff and transport barriers and minimize administrative obstacles in order to expand our regional trade.
These measures will contribute to deal with challenges faced by landlocked and vulnerable economies in particular’. A resolution on economy and trade called upon member countries and their related regions to take
concrete steps toward realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, not only as a means to further  promote regional economic integration in the Asia Pacific region, but also to complement and strengthen the multilateral trading system centered on the WTO in a transparent, fair, and globally beneficial way. 
They recognize that a Free trade area should be pursued as a comprehensive free trade agreement by developing and building on ongoing regional efforts  such as ASEAN+3, ASEAN+6 and  the Trans Pacific Partnership, among others.
Mongolia submitted several draft resolutions independently or jointly among which resolutions on economy and trade; climate change; energy security; cultural heritage, education and science cooperation; Cooperation
in disaster management and emergency responses and food security in the Asia Pacific region were adopted.
D.Enkhbat, Mongolian MP, and leader of the Green Party, noted that because of global climate change, the climate of Mongolia has been changing intensively comparing to global averages. During the past 70  years since 1940, the annual mean temperature of Mongolia has risen by 2.1C and the amount of precipitation has decreased in some areas resulting in more frequent droughts. These strong changes in climate have dramatically adverse impacts on the  ecological system of the country. 
Mr D.Enkhbat said that with a view to expand and strengthen the subregional cooperation on climate change, Mongolia has launched an initiative to hold a Northeast Asia summit on climate change. The delegates realized that there is great potential to cooperate on integrating energy, financial and technological sources available in the Asia Pacific region for the adoption of sustainable energy security and supply and issued a resolution on energy security. Ya.Batsuuri, MP of Mongolia, emphasized in his speech that Mongolia has full potential to supply energy sources to countries in the region. There is only 40-50 years reserve of oil, and 55-60 years reserve  of natural gas left for us globally at today’s consumption level, whereas the coal reserve is good for 200-210 years. Research study results show that coal will be served as the main energy source for 22th century. Coal is the most abundant and primary energy source for our country. The confirmed coal reserve is 150 billion tons. In line with growing private  investment in the coal sector in recent years, Mongolia realizes faster growth in coal exploitation. The amount of coal exports increases year by year reaching 15.2 tons in December 2010 from 2.3 tons in 2005’ said Ya.Batsuuri. He proposed some provisions in the resolution on Energy security, and to initiate and implement projects for regional energy security. In the resolution on energy security sponsored by Mongolia, APPF governments are called on to develop and adopt policies for  favorable  investment, tax and tariffs to attract  fiscal sources for energy infrastructure financing, enhance energy security in the countries of Asia Pacific region and support financial involvement of the international financial organizations and private sector. The resolution also supported APPF Governments cooperation to use renewable and other clean energy sources to increase energy efficiency, create and transfer required innovation and cutting edge technology. At the final plenary session, Japan presented its report on Review of Administration of the APPF and delegates discussed a resolution on  the future work and reform of the  APPF. According to the resolution the member countries of the APPF should consider the aims and priorities  of the forum and the Rules of Procedure. 
APPF was founded in January 1993 and has met each year since then. Delegates of the 19th annual meeting
expressed gratitude and appreciation to Mongolians for their hospitality, presidency of the meeting, and excellent arrangements. The meeting ran with translations in 7 languages. The 20th annual meeting of the APPF will be organized in Tokyo, Japan from January 8-12, 2012. 
source: 'The Mongol Messenger' newspaper



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