PAM 12th Plenary Session – Bucharest 15-16 February 2018 : 3rd Standing Committee

PAM 12th Plenary Session – Bucharest 15-16 February 2018 : 3rd Standing Committee
3st Standing Committee adopts Reports and Resolutions on Migration and the Protection of Cultural Heritage.
PAM Vice-President, Hon. Belal Qasem (Palestine), chaired the presentation of the works of the 3nd Standing Committee on Dialogue among Civilisations and Human Rights and activities of 2018, at the 12th Plenary Session being held in Bucharest on 15 -16 February.
The Session was also addressed by H.E. Ionaş Florin Urcan, PAM Roving Ambassador, Mr. Vicent Garcés Ramón, President of the Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly Foundation, and through a video message, Mr. Gianni Magazzeni, Chief of the UPR Branch of the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights - OHCHR.
In his introduction to the debate, Hon. Belal Qasem briefly went through the activities of the 3nd Standing Committee in the last 12 months. 
PAM has focused, together with Human Rights on other selected crucial issues relating to migration, education, dialogue among cultures and religions, and countering violent extremism. 
With reference to Migration, Hon. Qasen recalled that the Assembly has provided a major contribution, as a regional organization, to the drafting process of the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This was specifically requested to PAM by the President of the UN General Assembly both in New York and to the PAM Secretary General during a bilateral meeting in Bratislava in August 2017. 
In particular, the Assembly co-organized, together with IPU and the Parliament of Malta, a high-level Parliamentary conference on “Promoting better regional cooperation towards smart and humane migration across the Mediterranean”, held in Valletta, Malta, on 16-17 November 2017. The conference was useful to prepare a strategic parliamentary contribution to the UN consultation process on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. 
The outcome of the meeting was shared at the UN preparatory stocktaking meeting of the intergovernmental conference, which took place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on 4-6 December 2017. 
Furthermore, a number of PAM delegates will attend and contribute to the 2018 Parliamentary Hearing on Migration, which will take place at the United Nations in New York on 21-23 February 2018, jointly organized by the UN and the IPU. The Parliamentary hearing will provide an additional opportunity to discuss migration as a global phenomenon and to build a comprehensive parliamentary perspective on key questions related to migration.   
The Assembly will also contribute to the major debate that the International Organization for Migration will organize in New York on 26-27 March in view of the works of the global compact.
Hon. Qasem added that PAM also plans to organize, jointly with the Pan-African Parliament, a special parliamentary hearing in November either in Morocco or Turkey, at the eve of the UN Global Compact conference, dedicated to the Mediterranean and Sahel regions. 
In terms of priorities and subjects, to be discussed during future activities of the Standing Committee, one of the priorities remains to invest in youth and education. “This is the best way to fight radicalization and extremism, as strongly reiterated during the PAM Parliamentary meeting of the Parliaments of the 5+5 Dialogue held in Algiers”, Hon. Qasen said. This subject will be also the focus of the event celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Fez Program, which PAM will hold in Morocco. Moreover, the Assembly strengthened its cooperation with the Academic Platform members, by participating and contributing to various events organized by Universities and academic institutions. 
Another priority is to pay special attention, in all PAM’s activities, as agreed in the past, to gender related issues, especially because women and children are the most vulnerable individuals in communities in situations of war and civil strives.
In this regard, as done for the adoption of the Global Compact on Migration, PAM should engage more and contribute to the discussions and negotiations on the UN Global Compact on Refugees, which is being developed in parallel to that on Migration. A major event on the subject, as the one organized in Valletta on migration, would be useful to address the Syrian refugees’ exodus, as well as the long-standing and unresolved plight of Palestinian refugees, who were also forced to leave Syria due to the conflict. 
The protection of cultural heritage remains relevant in the working plan of the Committee. In this regard, a report and resolution on the subject will be presented soon and submitted for adoption. PAM is also planning to strengthen its cooperation with UNESCO, ISESCO, the Council of Europe, and other international organisations. 
“I sincerely think and hope that, on these specific issues, national parliaments and national delegations could give their contribution to the improvement of cooperation and solution of these delicate but very current questions”, Hon. Qassem concluded.
The 3st Standing Committee Session then proceeded with the discussion and vote on two Reports and Resolutions, namely “The Mediterranean dimension of a Global Compact on Migration”, prepared by Hon. Badreddine Abdelkafi (Tunisia); and “Protection of cultural heritage in the context of armed conflicts”, prepared by Hon. Gabriela Canavilhas (Portugal).  Following an open and constructive debate among the delegates, the two Reports and Resolutions were adopted.// 
issyued 0on: 17.02.2018
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