The Second Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network took place in Manama, the Kingdom of Bahrain, with more than 300 participants from around 60 delegations, including Speakers and Deputy Speakers of their respective national parliaments, as well as 8 inter-parliamentary organizations.
The participants of the Second Conference were welcomed by Ms. Sahiba Gafarova, Speaker of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Chairperson of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network. Before proceeding to the items on the agenda participants observed a minute of silence in tribute to the victims of the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.
Ms. Sahiba Gafarova recalled that the initiation of the NAM Parliamentary Network based on the decision of the Heads of States and Governments at the NAM Summit Meeting in Baku in October 2019 is one of the substantial outcomes of the efforts made by Azerbaijan, current Chairing State of the NAM. Chairperson stated that in line with the initiative of H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and incumbent Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, the NAM Parliamentary Network was established on the sidelines of the 143rd IPU Assembly in November 2021 in Madrid. Ms. Gafarova underlined that the First Conference of the Parliamentary Network held in Baku in June 2022 and attended by more than 400 delegates from over 40 parliaments, as well as 8 inter-parliamentary organizations became a crucial milestone in the development of the organization. During the Baku Conference the Statute on Working Modalities of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network and the Baku Declaration were adopted, and the official logo and flag were approved. The Conference also elected the Chairperson and three Vice-Chairpersons of the Parliamentary Network for the three-year tenures.
In the opening speech, Ms. Sahiba Gafarova stated that during the period after the First Conference she had taken part in several inter-parliamentary platforms, including the G20 Parliamentary Speakers' Summit and the Summit Meeting of the NAM Contact Group against COVID-19. Chairperson underlined that in her speeches she paid significant attention to promoting the Network's ideas and purposes. The advancement of the values and principles of the Non-Aligned Movement through strengthening solidarity and cooperation and developing institutional dialogue with other organizations were the highest priority as well.
Chairperson informed the participants of the Conference that the Network has already elaborated mechanisms of cooperation with such inter-parliamentary institutions as the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, the Arab Parliament, the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States, the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic States and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, and has also acquired the observer status in these structures.
Ms. Gafarova stated that as part of awareness raising activity the members of the Parliamentary Network Secretariat attended the monthly ambassadorial meetings of the NAM states at the UN Office in Geneva and the UN Headquarters in New York. Chairperson Gafarova informed that the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan has formed parliamentary friendship groups with additional 16 parliaments of the NAM Member States which reflects the aim of continuing the strengthening of cooperation with all member parliaments.
Ms. Gafarova mentioned that the Second Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network is dedicated to the issue of “Parliamentary support to the national and global efforts on post-pandemic recovery”. Chairperson of the Parliamentary Network recalled that the Summit-Level Meeting of the NAM Contact Group in response to COVID-19 on post-pandemic recovery was held on March 2, in Baku, Azerbaijan.
This was yet another proactive initiative of H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and incumbent Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, to ensure that resolute steps were taken regarding matters pertaining to the post-pandemic recovery. Ms. Gafarova stressed that one of the most practical outcomes of the Summit-Level Meeting was the declaration by H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev two Global Calls to support the post-pandemic recovery in Africa and Small Island Developing States. As the first donor Azerbaijan has allocated 1 million US dollars for both Global Calls in line with this initiative.
Ms. Sahiba Gafarova highlighted that with the aim of supporting and promoting these two Global Calls within the NAM and globally through parliamentary means, the Azerbaijani chairmanship of the Network has proposed the establishment of Parliamentary Support Group to the initiatives put forward by the NAM Chairmanship on post-pandemic global recovery. Chairperson Gafarova also expressed her belief that it would ensure an input of parliamentarians in addressing the issues of concern for our countries.
Further, NAM PN Chairperson emphasized the problem of neo-colonialism, which is another important issue requiring attention. Whilst the NAM has always been unanimous on this issue, France’s rejection of the unquestionable sovereignty of the Union of Comoros over the island of Mayotte as well as violation of the rights of the New Caledonian people and other peoples in the French overseas territories shows that this dangerous tendency is, actually, on the rise. Ms. Gafarova highlighted that the NAM parliaments should stand firm against any act in such a disgraceful strain and unite efforts with the governments of Member States in dealing with it.
The Second Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network also focused on exchanging views on further institutionalization of the organization. Ms. Gafarova recalled that in her speech at the Baku Conference she had emphasized that the institutional development of the Network would be an ongoing process. Thus, taking into consideration the communications received from a number of Member Parliaments, the Azerbaijani Chairmanship proposed several amendments to the Statute on Working Modalities. It is believed that developing and improving working methods of the Network further is an important component of its institutional formation and effective operation.
In conclusion of her speech, the Chairperson shared with the participants of the Conference her firm belief that the Parliamentary Network is on the way to becoming an important asset for promotion of the ideals and principles of the NAM, multilateralism, dialogue and interparliamentary cooperation.
The Second Conference continued with the statements of the heads of delegations. All delegates thanked Azerbaijan for the high level of organisation of the Conference, brought up the successful Azerbaijani chairmanship of NAM and underlined the importance of the steps taken towards the institutional development of its Parliamentary Network. Besides, there were comments and suggestions as to the Organisation’s eventual activities and development.
The decisions on “Establishment of Parliamentary Support Group of the NAM Parliamentary Network to the initiatives put forward by the NAM Chairmanship in support of post-pandemic global recovery”, “Granting observer status to the international parliamentary organizations at the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network” and “Amending certain provisions of the Statute on Working Modalities the Working Modalities of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network”, as well as the Manama Declaration were passed at the Conference.