Inter-parliamentary activities

Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF)

The idea to establish an inter-parliamentary cooperation organisation in the Asia-Pacific Region, which emerged in Japanese political circles in the early 1990s, was realised with the formation of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF).

The APPF founding meeting took place in Tokyo in January 1993. The participants adopted the Tokyo Declaration that determined the main areas of the forum’s activities. The following goals of the APPF were proclaimed: expanding cooperation between participants in the interests of peace and stability, promoting trade and investment, developing regional cooperation in such areas as environmental protection, countering trans-national crime and terrorism, cultural and academic exchanges, etc.

At present the APPF has 27 member countries: Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

The APPF holds plenary meetings every year, generally in the middle of January.

Preparations for meetings and management of the forum’s activities in the period between sessions are conducted by the Executive Committee. The Committee consists of eight members that are elected on the basis of regional representation. The Committee is headed by the APPF President who represents the parliament of the host country of the forum’s regular meeting. The President serves from May in the year preceding the annual meeting until April following this event. The 12th meeting (Beijing, 2004) instituted the position of the Honorary President of the APPF. Former Prime Minister of Japan Yasuhiro Nakasone was elected Honorary President of the APPF for his contributions to the forum. Earlier he continuously headed the APPF Executive Committee.

Russia joined the forum in 1993. The delegations of the Federal Assembly regularly take part in its work. Russia hosted two plenary meetings – the 15th in Moscow on 21−25 January 2007 and the 21st in Vladivostok on 27−31 January 2013.

The Moscow meeting adopted 20 resolutions, of which Russia co-authored seven: “Combatting terrorism, illegal drug trafficking and transnational organised crime,” “Joint efforts to strengthen peace and to promote cooperation in North East Asia in view of the nuclear testing conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” “Energy security,” “Dialogue of civilizations and interfaith dialogue,” “Cooperation in disaster management and emergency response,” “Joint efforts in combatting pandemic diseases,” and “Securing peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region: the path to a multipolar world.”

Fourteen resolutions were approved at the meeting in Vladivostok, seven of which were sponsored by Russia: “Maintaining peace and political stability in the Asia-Pacific Region,” “Trade and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region,” “Development of transport infrastructure,” “Food security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region,” and “Scientific and educational cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region.”

The meeting was also attended by representatives of European parliamentary organisations. There was also a meeting of young MPs.

The regular 24th meeting of the forum took place on 17−21 January in Vancouver. The Russian delegation was headed by Chair of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev. The participants adopted a joint communique and 27 resolutions, including three that were co-sponsored by Russia: “Politics and security in the Asia-Pacific Region,” “Combatting terrorism,” and “Economic and trade cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region.”

Vancouver hosted the very first meeting of the forum’s female MPs, which was devoted to increasing women’s participation in political and public life. The forum decided to hold such meetings annually and to establish a coordinating committee of female MPs.

On 15−19 January 2017, the Russian parliamentary delegation headed by Konstantin Kosachev took part in the 25th APPF meeting in Natadola, Fiji.

The 25th meeting of the APPF adopted a joint communique on implementing the UN sustainable development goals and 21 resolutions, of which five were sponsored by the Russian delegation. They were all supported by the forum without exception.

The draft resolution “Parliamentary cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region” was the most important of them. For the first time the official document of the inter-parliamentary assembly stated clearly that “the use of personal sanctions against parliamentarians of the APPF member states impedes dialogue and cooperation within international forums.”

The resolution “Peace and security in the Asia-Pacific Region” was also adopted fully based on the Russian draft. It emphasised the principles of the indivisibility of security and supremacy of international law, peaceful settlement of disputes and renunciation of the use of force.

The forum also adopted a joint Russian-Japanese resolution on countering terrorism and violent extremism. The resolution proceeded from the unequivocal denunciation of terrorism, as well as recognition of the need to fight terrorism in all its forms regardless of its goals (without dividing terrorists into “good” and “bad”) and to effectively coordinate anti-terrorist actions by all states.

The resolution “Trade and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region” included all the provisions of the Russian draft and some additions from the drafts of Japan, Mexico and South Korea, which we considered suitable. The resolution reaffirmed the importance and dominant role of the universal, rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and fair multilateral trade system based on WTO principles.

Russia’s draft on the role of APPF parliaments in reaching the goals of sustainable development also received support and was combined with the Canadian and Chilean drafts.

The second meeting of women of APPF parliaments was held on the eve of the meeting.

At the 25th meeting Russia joined the supreme body of the APPF – the Executive Committee – where it will remain for four years from April 2017.

The 26th APPF meeting took place on 18−21 January in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The 27th APPF meeting is scheduled for January 2019 and will take place in Cambodia.