On November 28, the Inaugural Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network was held in Madrid, Spain, upon the initiative of H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Ms. Sahiba Gafarova, Speaker of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan, opened the inaugural meeting attended by up to 200 representatives from nearly 50 countries.
Ms. Sahiba Gafarova, Speaker of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan, opened the Inaugural Meeting. She welcomed the participants by stating that the Inaugural Meeting would be a foundation for establishing the parliamentary dimension of the cooperation amongst the NAM Member States – the dimension that had remained unexplored for 60 years. The aim that the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement had in mind when they built this forum sixty years ago was to promote peaceful coexistence and sustainable development of all nations in full compliance with the Bandung Principles. Their far-reaching wisdom and determination resulted in the establishment of an international platform, the second largest group of states worldwide after the United Nations, aiming to unite like-minded members of the international community.
The Speaker of the Milli Majlis has talked about the current extremely difficult times for the humanity. The mounting political tensions and crises accompanied by negligence to international law, continuous rise in discrimination, racism and xenophobia, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on socio-economic conditions, climate change, and other challenges of universal concern have necessitated the mobilisation of global efforts, in the spirit of multilateralism, international cooperation and solidarity.
At the meeting, Ms. Sahiba Gafarova recalled the successful global initiatives put forward by H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Incumbent Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, on behalf of the Movement in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Speaker noted that those initiatives have gained well-deserved international sympathy and support.
Organizing a summit-level meeting of the NAM Contact Group in response to the COVID-19 crisis, establishing a consolidated database on the basic humanitarian and medical needs of NAM Member States in their fight against the pandemic, convening the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on COVID-19, and adopting UN Human Rights Council resolutions on the equitable, affordable, timely and universal access to the COVID-19 vaccines for all countries are only a few examples of the measures undertaken. Most recently, on 17 November 2021, upon the initiative of the NAM Member States, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the unfair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines with the majority of votes.
The Speaker emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic had once again demonstrated that the challenges we face can rapidly fluctuate. The situation we face has brought forward the need in maintaining the cooperative spirit bonding the executive and legislative authorities of our countries. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, parliaments have passed laws to address its negative effects on the population, thus ensuring that the government can take appropriate response measures.
The Speaker emphasised the importance for the legislatures of the Non-Aligned Movement Member States to complement internationally the efforts that the executive authorities of their respective countries were making in a such critical situation.
The Speaker of the Milli Majlis emphasised that it was important in such a fateful international situation that the legislatures of the Non-Aligned Movement Member States would complement internationally the efforts that the executive authorities of their respective countries were making. Ms Gafarova has also stressed the need to reinforce and promote the principles and values of the Non-Aligned Movement. Ms. Sahiba Gafarova brought to the attention of the participants of the event that at the summit meeting of the organization held in Baku on October 25-26, 2019, the heads of states and governments made a decision to expand and deepen the interaction and cooperation with the parliamentarians of the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement. During its chairmanship based on these concepts, Azerbaijan has taken the initiative to establish the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network, recognizing that parliamentarians can play an important role in fully and effectively observing the fundamental principles of the Movement.
Moreover, the Speaker has indicated that the established Parliamentary Network would contribute to the dissemination and promotion of information about the ideas and principles of the Non-Aligned Movement among the member states and peoples of the organization. The organization could also serve as a platform for cooperation between parliaments of Member States and the Network would create an opportunity for the exchange of parliamentary experience in the field of peace, security, human rights, and development, as well as ensure parliamentary support to the implementation of commitments and obligations undertaken by the NAM Member States pursuant to the declarative documents of major NAM events. It was further stated that the institution would provide a forum for the input of parliamentarians in addressing the issues of common concern and be an additional driving force for the spread of multilateralism.
At the event, Ms Sahiba Gafarova stressed that this Network, in addition to serving the aforementioned values and missions, would create continuous relations with other international parliamentary structures, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). It was announced that the next event of the Parliamentary Network would be held in Baku next year.
Concluding her speech, Ms. Sahiba Gafarova informed the audience of the procedural documents and working methods of the NAM Parliamentary Network and wished the Inaugural meeting success.
The Inaugural Meeting went on with Ms. Sahiba Gafarova, Speaker of the Milli Majlis, acting as a moderator.
Mr. Duarte Pocheco, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, speaking at the meeting, called for the exchange of experience and further expansion of bilateral relations. He touched on the importance of assessing global problems and finding solutions together. In this regard, the foundation of the NAM Parliamentary Network is yet another opportunity to do that. This is a new platform for dialogue, cooperation, and strengthening democracy.
IPU Secretary General Mr. Martin Chungong, in turn, noted that the Parliamentary Network would contribute to affirming peace and stability worldwide, adding that it was especially necessary to intensify the dialogue of legislatures and tap the whole power of parliamentary diplomacy now that the world was facing the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, he highlighted the importance of the creation of the Parliamentary Network.
Heads of delegations have given their statements in the following order:
Ms. Puan Maharani, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia
Mr. Mustafa Şentop, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye
Mr. Asad Qaiser, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Mr. Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Namibia
Mr. Agni Prasad Sapkota, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Parliament of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Mr. Enaam Mayara, President of the House of Councillors of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco
Mr. Ali Nikzad, First Deputy of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Mr. Mohammad al-Shaddadi, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Republic of Yemen
Mr. Karim Abdel Karim Darwish, Chairman of the Foreign Relations of the House of Representatives of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Mr. Sanjay Jaiswal, Member of Parliament of the Republic of India
Mr. Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Speaker of the Council of the Federation of the Russian Federation
Mr. Mehmet Süreyya Er, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking Countries (TURKPA)
Mr. Adel Bin AbdulRahman AlAsoomi, President of the Arab Parliament
Mr. Asaf Hajiyev, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC)
Mr. Yolanda Ferrer Gomez, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Assembly of the Republic of Cuba.
They all emphasized the significance of the establishment of the NAM Parliamentary Network and wished the organisation success.
At the end of the meeting, the “Madrid Declaration” on the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network was adopted.
The reception included a concert programme by Azerbaijani performers.