The 14th annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF-14) ended in Jakarta, Indonesia, last week, with the issuance of a joint declaration.
The declaration emphasised the importance of enhancing bilateral and multilateral cooperation among APPF member nations in political, security, economic and trade, cultural and social, and environmental areas.
According to the source from the National Assembly, the six-day meeting approved 24 major documents covering a wide range of areas, including poverty reduction, energy security, dialogue between religions, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, and cooperation in the fights against terrorism, trans-national crime, corruption, human trafficking, bird flu and natural disasters.
The meeting passed a resolution urging all concerned parties to take part in research and exploration in the East Sea (South China Sea) for mutual benefit and the maintenance of peace and friendship in the region.
Regarding anti-terrorism, the meeting agreed to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation in various forms such as exchanging intelligence information and freezing the financial resources of terrorist groups.
In addition, participants pledged to increase cooperation among APPF members to prepare for a possible human bird flu pandemic.
They called upon the international community to mull over a sound mechanism to compensate poultry-farmers in developing and less-developed countries for their losses.
The APPF is a loosely-structured and non-exclusive forum of national parliamentarians who participate either as delegates of their parliaments or in their personal capacities.
Founded by the former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, it seeks to provide opportunities for national parliamentarians of the Asia Pacific region to identify and discuss matters of common concern and interest and to highlight them in a global context; to deepen their understanding of the policy concerns, interests and experiences of the countries of the region.
It also seeks to examine the critical political, social, and cultural developments resulting from economic growth and integration; to encourage and promote regional cooperation at all levels on matters of common concern to the region; and to play the roles of national parliamentarians in furthering in their respective countries a sense of regional cohesion, understanding and cooperation.
The APPF acts to promote greater regional identification and cooperation with particular focus on: cooperation for the further advancement of peace, freedom, democracy, and prosperity; open and non-exclusive cooperation for the expansion of free trade and investment, and sustainable development and sound environmental practices; and non-military cooperation, which gives due consideration to issues relating to regional peace and security.
The founding charter of the APPF is the Tokyo Declaration, a document signed by 59 parliamentarians from fifteen nations, which sets up the basic structure of the organization.