Mediterranean Parliaments meet in Monaco to address regional issues of common concern and launch the ‘Charter of the Mediterranean’

Members of parliament, including Speakers and Presidents of national parliaments from the Mediterranean region as well as representatives from International Organizations and the Civil Society will convene at the 3rd Plenary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean from 13 to 15 November 2008, hosted by the National Council of the Principality of Monaco.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean has established itself as the central platform for parliamentary diplomacy in the Mediterranean. When referring to the Mediterranean many have chosen to speak about pre-existing differences, yet the region represents a unique experience of similarities, common history and overlapping cultures, sometimes seen from different perspectives giving differing point of views.
In June 2006, the 25 countries belonging to the historical Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean (The CSCM process instituted in Malaga, Spain in 1992) decided to go a step further in their relationship by transforming the Conference into a fully-functional horizontal international and autonomous institution where all national parliaments are represented on an equal footing.
In 2008, PAM started to implement the 5 year Strategic Plan adopted by the Plenary Session in 2007 and it was also the first year of activities of the Secretariat, which was set up in Malta.
The 3 Standing Committees, through their Ad hoc Committees and Special Task Forces (STFs) have addressed a number of issues of common interest. The outcome of the meetings, held in cities ranging from Fez to Athens, is a series of reports and resolutions with substantial and concrete proposals for the years to come. The Middle East has figured prominently from a political and humanitarian point of view, but other areas, like Cyprus and the Balkans, have been identified for further investigation and debate. Energy, Cultural and Religious Dialogue, and the regional management of resources (especially water), have all been studied and the actions proposed will be presented in Monaco in November.
The Secretariat is a tangible and concrete achievement for the Parliamentary Assembly since through the institution of their own supporting structure, national parliaments have shown their long-term commitment to cooperation between the regional stake-holders themselves. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean continues to bear the fruit of more than 15 years of collaboration and dialogue on issues of mutual importance.
Other countries and international institutions like Romania, the United Nations and the World Bank have consolidated their relationship with PAM. The Romanian parliament has officially requested its affiliation as an associate member while the IPU and PAM have recently accorded each other observer status. The World Bank has proposed to organize jointly with PAM in 2009 a number of seminars on economic and social issues.
Finally, Monaco will see the launching of the “Charter for the Mediterranean”, the future political manifesto of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean. In the Charter the commitment to the peace, security and prosperity process will be enshrined in the name of the Mediterranean populations, and this will further confirm PAM ‟s role as the legitimate forum of the region‟s own national parliaments. PAM will also launch the „Mediterranean Day‟ to be held every year on the 21st of March.

ISSUED ON: 13.10.2008

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