PAM 7th Plenary Session - Malta - Opening Ceremony - Welcome speech by Hon. Jesmond Mugliett, Head of the Malta Delegation to PAM

PAM 7th Plenary Session - Malta -  Opening Ceremony - Welcome speech by Hon. Jesmond Mugliett, Head of the Malta Delegation to PAM
Mr Speaker, Mr President, Distinguished Delegates and Colleagues, Excellencies
It is my pleasure as the Head of the Maltese Delegation to the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly to welcome you to our Island, to participate in this Plenary Session hosted by the Government of Malta. Malta is the natural home of the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, and this for a number of reasons. 
Malta is the natural home of PAM first and foremost because of its long history in elaborating the dream to establish such a Parliamentary Assembly  and bringing it to reality. Malta was one of the pioneers of the Conference of Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean, which conference eventually gave birth to this organisation. The big majority of Mediterranean countries during the inaugural session of PAM in Amman Jordan agreed that Malta was the ideal place to host the PAM secretariat. Since the establishment of this secretariat, Malta has remained active and in the forefront of  all PAM  activities , lending its culture of peace in order to bring together on the same table countries which would otherwise refuse to communicate which each other.
I have had the honour to lead the Maltese Delegation to the PAM for the past four and a half years. It has been my pleasure to see PAM grow, consolidate and extend its remit, notwithstanding its limitations. The political discussions on security, climate change, gender, energy, have been instrumental in getting member states to share their experience, expose their respective expertise and best practices.
During these discussions PAM has made it a point to bring experts from International bodies such as UN, Council of Europe, the Arab League, the World Bank.
PAM has also been very effective in networking with  International bodies for Utility Agencies,  other regional Parliaments, particularly those which are close to the Mediterranean Region.
It has also embarked on initiatives on SME’s, economic growth, sustainable development.
These endeavours have been undertaken notwithstanding the limited budget with which PAM has to work with.   I would not be exposing any secret in saying that the real work of PAM cannot be measured through the budget voted by the individual countries. National Parliaments contribute by funding visits of their MP’s to the various fora, hosting events, meetings of sub committees, task forces and plenaries. For this and on behalf of all of us, I wish to thank all those delegations and National Parliaments which have throughout these years supported PAM’s activities by contributing and funding these events.
It has also been a pleasure to note during these years the recognition that PAM is receiving from International Bodies. I can cite just a few meetings
The meeting held in Malta about two years ago, by the UN committee on the Middle East to establish a way forward, at a time when talks were stalled. It was a pleasure to see here in Malta, on the same table, the Chief Negotiator from the Palestinian Authority and a high official from Knesset.  PAM has an ongoing task force on the Middle East, chaired ably by my colleague Dr George Vella. During my tenure, I have come to learn that the Middle East conflict is probably the biggest challenge which PAM faces daily. Notwithstanding the delicate nature of the matter, PAM manages to retain the trust of the affected parties. I have seen PAM host a meeting for regional parliaments such as our, in order to prepare a common front for the Climate Change Conference which was held in Copenhagen in December 2009.
We have also seen PAM maintaining an effective communications strategy during the Arab Spring, which communication, notwithstanding the delicate nature PAM has transmitted excellently.
During the second Plenary  session held in Malta in 2007, a strategy paper for PAM’s work was published. This strategy was promoted as a Medium Term Action Plan for the years 2008-2012.
This strategy identified the main thrusts of this programme such as
·         Building Partnerships
·         To nurture a debate and dialogue through the work of the standing committees and task forces
·         To reach out to the various existing bodies and communicate effectively
We are at the end of this five year period and I feel that this is the appropriate time to review this strategy and launch another one for the coming five years. The world has changed dramatically in these five years, changes which in certain aspects have been positive but in others negative.  
Looking back the strategy was not over ambitious and PAM has exceeded its objectives, notwithstanding its limited means.   I believe that we can now embark on an exercise to draft another five year strategy,  we can be more realistic given our experiences of these five years. We can be more ambitious, knowing that PAM is now on sound foundations, with capabilities reflecting the wealth of expertise and experience which the member parliaments and the individual members bring with them.
I wish you all a fruitful Plenary Session, here in Malta sincerely hope to see you embarking on this new medium term strategy to make this Assembly a more effective body to bring peace and security to our region.
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