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1.1: This report is presented to you, distinguished members, pursuant to Article 16 of the Associationís Rules of Procedure, which stipulates that:

"The Secretary-General shall prepare the annual report in which he presents the Associationís activities and achievements, as well as the developments connected to the affairs of member councils. The report shall be adopted as a basis for general discussion for the Councilís Meeting."


1.2 As you may recall, when the Secretary-General and his two Assistants were elected in September 2004, it was planned that the Secretariat should be opened from January 2005. Unfortunately, for reasons, which the Chairman communicated to all members before the end of the year, 2004, the Secretariat could not resume business until May 2005. I am therefore presenting to this Council, a rťsumť of our activities in the General Secretariat, from May to October 2005 and the proposals for the coming year, 2006, in accordance with the above quoted Rules of Procedure of the Association.




This report accordingly covers:


Activities in the Secretariat during the period, May to October Ģ2005

Proposals for 2006, and

Observations by the Secretariat on the socio-political and economic events in the regions of Africa and the Arab World during the period.




I have the pleasure to report that the Shoora Council of Yemen and the Yemen Government leased the Secretariat building for our use. They procured and installed state-of-the-art office equipment and furniture in the Secretariat. I wish to inform you, distinguished members, that my observation is that, the Yemen Government and the Shoora Council of Yemen have received the Headquarters of this Association, with very warm, open hands and they are doing everything within their powers to ensure the growth of this Association. I plead with you not to end this meeting without sending a resounding note of gratitude to the Government and the Shoora Council of Yemen through our most sagacious Chairman, His Excellency, Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, the Speaker of Shoora Council of Yemen.




4.1 We moved into the General Secretariat of the Association on Monday 23rd May 2005 and immediately wrote to several sister organizations in and outside Africa and the Arab World to inform them of the opening of our Secretariat and our readiness to receive messages and other communications. Among these were, the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Conference, the Inter-Parlimentary Union, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Pan African Parliament, the Arab Parliamentary Union, the ASEAN Parliamentary Association to mention only a few. The Chairman signed our application for membership of the Inter-Parliamentary Union but they responded to inform us that the Union is for only national parliaments. We have since then, written several letters to member senates and councils. Firstly, we wrote to inform all members about the opening of the Secretariat. Subsequently, we wrote to convey our observations on the Accounts of the Association. We also wrote to forward a form for the website of the Association. In addition, we wrote to convey information about the postponed Council Meeting in Sanaía, the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference of Speakers of Parliaments, held in New York, and this meeting to mention only a few.


4.2 We observed during this period, that only a couple of member councils/senates responded to our enquiries and other communications. In this regard, I wish to express gratitude to the Senate of Namibia, the Shoora Councils of Qatar and Jordan. There was hardly any letter we wrote to which they did not send a reply.


4.3 I would therefore request council members to endeavour to either open offices or designate officers in your council secretariats to handle correspondence with regional Parliamentary Secretariats. It appears to be the only way we can maintain regular exchange of communication with our member councils or senates. On our headed papers are shown our telephone and fax numbers, post office box number and e-mail address. It is thus easy to reach our secretariat by different modes of communication. As you may be aware, Article 16 of the Rules of Procedure also enjoins member councils, to communicate to the General Secretariat of this Association, affairs and developments concerning them, which the other members should share at a council meeting of this nature, either to enrich or develop their experiences and systems or to collectively seek solutions where the issues involved are problematic.




5.1 I should mention with regret that upon resumption of duty, we made contacts with the Senate of Namibia, which had, in April 2004, opted to host the 2005 Conference. The Namibian Senate responded that for budgetary constraints, they would not be able to host the conference. After further fruitless efforts, to get a venue, the Shoora Council of Yemen elected to host this Meeting. This Council Meeting is a necessity for the future activities of the Association. Without it, there would have been no forum, in accordance with your statute, for agreeing on the activities of the Association for 2006.


5.2 For the purpose of the Conference and the Council Meeting, I wish to draw membersí attention to Article 13(a) to (c) of the Rules of Procedure, which concern the Council Meeting. In summary, the provisions state that the Council Meeting shall be convened, at least once in a year, in a member state (country), rotated in alphabetical order of the membership.


5.3 Secondly, it states that the meeting shall be held at the second-half of each calendar year. It is also stated therein that the Chairman of the Council shall have the right to call for an extra-ordinary session if the need arises.


5.4 Article 5 (1) to (3) of the Statute of the Association state in summary, that the Association shall hold its annual conference, in one of the member countries, according to alphabetical order, otherwise in a member country, which offers to host the meeting. Article 7 of the Rules of Procedure states that "the conference shall be convened at the time and place determined by the council whenever the conference deems it appropriate to consider the issues proposed by the council."


5.5 The unavoidable deduction from these provisions is that the meeting of the council should take place at the second-half of the year, which is from July to December and it is the business of the Council Meeting to decide the time and place of the conference following alphabetical list of the membership. There is therefore, the possibility of both the Council Meeting and the Conference taking place in the same country, if the alphabetical order of the same list of members is to be followed. But whereas the Rules of Procedure has specified that the Council Meeting should take place between July and December of any year, there is no mention of when the conference should take place.


5.6 In order to keep this Association in the calendar of its members, at least, twice in a year, we recommend, that this Council Meeting should consider fixing the time of the conference in the first-half of the year and the venue shall be rotated among the members in alphabetical order from ĎAí to ĎZí in accordance with Article 5(1) to (3) of the Associationís Statute. On the other hand, we propose that the Council Meeting should be held at the Headquarters of the Association yearly in line with the practice of other international organizations.




After studying the Associationís Statute and the Rules of Procedure as presented in 2004, we have attempted a review of these guiding principles of the Association, in order to make the document more elegant in reading and assign to the Secretariat, its traditional roles as practised by similar organizations. The adjustment for the Rules of Procedure is marked Annex 1, while the adjustment for the Statute is marked Annex 2. It may be time consuming for me to go through these proposals in this presentation. Since they are attached herewith, I propose that one of the committees to be set up by this Meeting should study these proposals and report to the plenary. (Committee one)




7.1 We have presented at Annex 3, a self-explanatory financial report of the Association based on the statement given by the Associationís bankers. It will be seen that during the year, a total sum of $233,763.22 was contributed by the members. Our total expenses came to $203,340.00. The balance in the Account as at 30th October 2005 is $30,423.22


7.2 Enquiries came from several countries about the authority for the payment of $5,000, in addition to the $10,000, which was agreed to, at the September 2004 Council Meeting. We have explained, as we know, that the payment of the $5,000 by all members was agreed to at the conference held in April 2004 and the information was circulated to the members by the provisional office, located in the office of the Chairman before the September 2004 Council Meeting. In other words, members were urged to pay the $5,000 before or at the September 2004 Council Meeting. Several members actually paid at that time. When the Council Meeting of September 2004, could not allocate the proposed 2005 Budget, it was resolved that every member should contribute a flat rate of $10,000. In summary, therefore, it means that every member senate or council was expected to contribute $15,000 between 2004 and 2005.


7.3 We wish to express gratitude to all the members for your efforts to pay the contributions. As at date, only two countries have been unable to remit their contributions to the Associationís Account. Three countries have a balance of $5,000 to complete their contributions, while two countries still have a balance of $10,000. We therefore, urge you, distinguished members to endeavour, to ensure that contributions are paid as early as possible, to enable the General Secretariat to undertake necessary activities.


7.4 At present, as a result of inadequate funds, the General Secretariat is unable to engage necessary experienced staff or represent the geo-political zones of the Association in the Secretariat. We do not have a vehicle for distribution of mails and local running in the city. The Secretariat is unable to exchange visits with sister organizations or attend international parliamentary meetings. We cannot embark upon researches on socio-political and economic developments in the regions or engage consultants. We urge you, distinguished members to endeavour regularly to remit approved contributions to the Secretariat. As a new organization, your General Secretariat needs to be heavily supported even by donations from members or other bodies.








8.1.1 In furtherance of Articles 33 and 37 of the Associationís Rules of Procedure, which list among the aims and objectives of the Association, the promotion of meetings among member councils and the promotion of joint action, advancing cooperation and exchanging expertise as well as discussing issues of common interests within the national and international spheres, we have proposed a study visit exchange programme for the consideration of this distinguished council. The scheme is to enable member senates and councils to visit one another, share experiences, compare notes and rub minds on Parliamentary activities and the democratic environment and structures in which they are operating.


8.1.2 We believe that in this way, members will appreciate more keenly, the problems, advances and the needs of one another, be it in technical, professional and administrative areas. Eventually, assistance will be rendered where necessary and cooperation will be extended. The proposal is self-explanatory and we can only highlight that a visiting delegation should spend about 3 days with the host assembly and the delegation should consist of not more than 4 Senators or Council Members in this first phase. The visit is recommended to commence from the first week of February 2006 and end at the third week of March 2006. (Annex 4)






It is proposed that this Council should confirm the venue for the Conference of 2006 to be held in April. In order to commence operating the Statute, it is suggested that if there are no major obstacles, the alphabetical rotation of the conference venue starting from ĎAí be initiated from 2006.


8.2.2 Perhaps, it is necessary to restate here that a host country is not obliged to shoulder responsibility for membersí hotel bills. All that would be needed from the country are:


(a) Booking hotel accommodation for members

(b) Provision of Protocol staff for delegates

(c) Provision of adequate security

(d) Provision of Meeting venue

(e) Provision of temporary offices for the Secretariat

(f) Provision of support staff for the conference and

(g) Provision of vehicles if the Meeting venue is far from the hotel.



It is proposed that we shall have a retreat for members in a member country that will be willing to host the event. This will take place between May and June. It is proposed that four (4) Senators/Council Members from each country should attend the retreat in this first phase. The Secretariat will work out the details with a notable Non Governmental Organization (NGO) concerned with the propagation of democratic norms and parliamentary studies.


8.2.4 Once more, we have to emphasize that the responsibility expected of a host country will be as stipulated in paragraph 8.2.2.


8.2.5 The purpose of the retreat is to bring member Councils/Senates together in a relaxed environment where, with the collaboration of experts in Parliamentary Studies, members will be able to review their activities and attitudes as Statesmen and Parliamentarians, at the apex level, in respect of national policy process. You will also discuss the contribution of parliaments to nation building and international relations with a view to consolidating the position of ASSECAA as the voice of Africa and the Arab World in inter-regional dialogues from the parliamentary perspective.






8.3.2 We propose to hold a workshop for the Administrative Heads of Member Senates/Councils between July and September in a member country that will be willing to host the event. The intention is to bring together the Secretariats of members to enable them rub minds, share experiences and expertise and enrich their working knowledge. We shall collaborate with a renounced NGO in this exercise to make it a salutary experience.


8.3.3 Once more, the host country is expected to assume only the responsibility outlined in paragraph 8.2.2






8.4.1 We propose that the venue for Council Meeting should be made permanent in Sanaía, Yemen which is the Headquarters of the Association in line with the practice of similar international organizations. The Council is invited to state the month for the meeting.


8.4.2 The schedule is important to enable the Council to review activities for the past year, approve the budget for the following year and appraise the activities proposed for the coming year.


8.5 We propose that a committee should be empanelled by this Council to study the proposed activities for 2006 and report to the plenary. (Committee two)


8.6 Attachment 4 is a proposal from the President of House of Counselors of the Kingdom of Morocco suggesting activities for the Association in 2006 and beyond. The proposals in the main coincide with ours and the document is hereby attached for the consideration of this Council.


9.0 2006 BUDGET


9.1 We present to you, distinguished members our budgetary proposals for 2006. As I mentioned earlier, the Secretariat is not working in 2005 on the basis of a funded budget. In preparing this 2006 Draft Budget, we made contacts with sister organizations in and outside the regions of Africa and the Arab World. We have considered their organizational charts, their ages, their membership and their aims and objectives vis-ŗ-vis that of the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World. We realize that ASSECAA is a very young organization, barely taking its initial steps for establishment. Accordingly, we have considered it necessary to adopt an organizational chart with minimum staff strength.


9.2 The Budget is presented in 4 sub heads namely:


(1) Personal Emolument: A total sum of $485,200 is proposed under this sub head. The sub head deals with the salaries and allowances for a total number of 26 employees including the Secretary-General and the two Assistant Secretaries. We have tried to keep the salaries of staff low in comparison with the salary structure in similar organizations in the region in view of the fact that ASSECAA is a new organization though we have to shop for expert staff in the same market with other organizations.


(2) Recurrent Expenditure: This is the sub head for meeting the cost of daily operations of the General Secretariat and other expenses that recur from year to year. The sum of $171,000 is proposed under this sub head.


(3) Acquisition and Renewal of Assets: This subhead covers provisions for durable capital assets. As I said in the opening paragraph, the Shoora Council and the Government of the Republic of Yemen have acquired the Secretariat Building and the Office Equipment and Furniture for the Association. Accordingly, no provision is made in this budget for the procurement of office equipment and furniture. The sum of $78,000 is therefore requested for furniture and requisite in the residences of the Secretary-General and his two Assistants and to purchase utility vehicles for the Secretariat. At present, the Secretary-Generalís private car is used by the messengers and clerical staff for all official errands. Also included in this sum is the provision for computer hard and software supplies.


(4) Programme Expenses: The sum of $150,000 is proposed in this sub head to cover the expenses for the production of conference materials, official travels, seminars, researches and consultancy, information programmes and press relations as well as remuneration for temporary conference staff.


(5) End of Service Benefit: The sum of $20,000 is proposed under this sub head, as an emergency provision should the General Secretariat record sudden death during the year. At present, it is not expected that the Secretariat should pay retirement benefits.


9.3 The total budget for 2006 stands at $904,200.




10.1 We have studied the Budget Allocation Formula of other organizations such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, Inter-Parliamentary Union, African Union, and The Organization of Islamic Conference etc. Our finding is that most international organizations relate their allocation of budget to the United Nations assessment of member countries with necessary adjustments and adaptations.


10.2 Further, we have equally discovered that in the allocation of budgets, member countries hardly pay uniform dues. We have considered, the age of ASSECAA, the necessary activities it should undertake in order to serve practical useful purposes to its member councils/senates and the people of Africa and Arab World at large.


10.3 Accordingly we have, following the United Nations assessment of 2004, split the membership of the Association into 4 groups.


10.4 The first group comprises seven countries whose 2004 United Nations assessments were over $500,000. We propose that this group should share approximately 54.02% of the Budget, which is a contribution of $70,000 each.


10.5 The second group comprises three countries whose 2004 United Nations assessment were between $100,000 and $499,000. We propose that the group should share approximately 19.24% of the Budget, by the contribution of $58,000 each.


10.6 The third group comprises three countries whose 2004 United Nations assessments were between $50,000 and $99,000. We propose that this group should share 13.03% of the Budget by the contribution of $40,000 each.


10.7 The fourth group comprises six member countries whose 2004 United Nations assessments were between $10,000 and $49,000. We propose that this group should share 13.03% of the Associationís Budget with a contribution of $20,000 each.


10.8 The total budget stands at $904,200. If all the members remit their contributions, according to the above proposal, a total sum of $904,000 will be realized which is 99.32% of the Budget. We therefore, invite the distinguished Council to note the moderate budget proposed by the General Secretariat for 2006 as well as the allocation formula and approve these to enable the Secretariat undertake effectively the activities it has outlined for the year, establish its Website and recruit necessary staff for its operations.


10.9 Attached to the draft budget for membersí attention are:

a. An extract of the United Nations assessments for 2004 (Annex 1) to the Budget.

An extract of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Budget for 2005 (Annex 2) to the Budget.


10.10 I should mention, distinguished members, that by the end of August, I informed the Nigerian Senate that considering the balance in the Associationís Account, if we do not receive any other contribution, we shall not be able to pay salaries beyond October. I informed them of their proposed contribution according to the draft budget; and requested them to send at least $50,000 to us to enable us continue in office until this Council Meeting. As a result of this request, Nigeria has sent $50,000 into our Account as part of their 2006 Budget Contributions and the bank acknowledged receipt of the money on Monday, October 31, 2005.


10.11 We propose that this distinguished Council should have a committee to study the two proposals namely, the Budget and the Contribution formula and report to the plenary. (Committee three)






11.1.1 During the month of July, the international media showed worrisome pictures of children and mothers dried by hunger and areas devastated by famine and drought as well as attack of locusts in Niger Republic. They therefore, appealed for food aid to the country by other countries and international organizations.


11.1.2 The Chairman of the Association, His Excellency, Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, graciously acceded to circulate urgent letters to the members of the Association, urging you to endeavour to persuade your Governments to send aids to Niger Republic. We found that one of the fundamental factors that inspired the formation of this Association was the desire of the founding fathers, to strengthen the efforts in Africa and the Arab World to fight against poverty, famine and under-development in all its formsÖ.


11.1.3 Subsequently, we received, heart-warming information from the Kingdom of Morocco and the State of Qatar indicating that they had sent assistance to Niger Republic. We urge that other members who have done anything in this direction should equally inform the General Secretariat for record and general information purposes. As you are aware, situations of this nature, occur in Africa and the Arab World from time to time. Therefore, this apex Parliamentary Association of the highest legislative chambers in the region should, from time to time rise to the occasion whenever the need arises. The parliaments represent the people and the parliamentarians are close to their constituencies. It stands to reason that the voice of the parliament should be heard whenever the population is in distress.






11.2.1 Your Excellencies formed this Association, with one of the objectives as, the deepening of the awareness of democratic values and concepts and the promotion of the role of civil society organizations and protection of human rights. However benevolent a military dictatorship may be, its existence subverts constitutional and democratic order and replaces them with marshal order. From that point of view, it can be stated that the spirit of this Association cannot feel comfortable with a military government. On Wednesday 3rd August 2005 some military officers overthrew the constitutional government in Mauritania. As a result, this Association has lost a very active member with effect from that date. We propose that since this Association has made no specific pronouncement on the situation in Mauritania, this Council should examine developments since then.


11.2.2 We present to Council as Attachment 3, a paper submitted by the Assistant Secretary-General in charge of African Affairs, Monsieur Seydna Aly Ould Hanana from Mauritania. He has appealed to the Council to retain the seat of Mauritania in the Association to enable the Military Council in Mauritania to concentrate and conclude the task of reformation of the socio-economic and political structures in Mauritania and to return the country to the status of a dynamic democratic nation. The programme is for two years. We seek the Councilís resolution in this matter.




11.3.1 The world has been watching with numbing shock, the daily flow of blood on the streets of Baghdad. At the end of a 4-year gruesome war, it was thought that the causes of conflict had been eliminated and that Iraq would settle down for peaceful and steady reconciliation and reconstruction. The present situation dashes all that hope. Instead of movement towards reconciliation and reconstruction, the world is faced with daily bloodshed from bombings. Some news media use the term "War in Iraq". In the absence of a declared civil war, there is no certainty about the identity of the combatants in Iraq. Consequently, continuous questions are being raised from New York to Beijing. Who are the combatants in Iraq? When will the blood letting stop? What are they fighting for? Above all, does the United Nations not have a process of reassessing its projects in view of subsequent developments and opinions.


11.3.2 Lately it is being discussed in the international media that the first accusation against Iraq concerning the development of nuclear weapons was not based on empirical facts. A successful referendum has just been conducted and the new constitution has been accepted by the majority. Yet there is no reduction in the spate of death and bombings in the streets. We propose that this Council should set up a committee to deliberate on:


(1) The situation in Mauritania

(2) The Situation in Iraq


11.3.3 Attachment 2 is a review of the crisis in Iraq from the 1980ís to date presented to aid this Councilís deliberation on the matter.




12.1 In July, we forwarded to all member countries, a comprehensive form for completion to enable the General Secretariat open a website for the Association. We stressed that the information was urgently needed in view of the arrangements, which we had completed towards setting up the website. As at the date of writing this report, only Algeria, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Nigeria have made returns to the Secretariat. We urge members to complete the forms and return them to the General Secretariat. Internet has become the indispensable communication system in the world and an asset by which important and legitimate organizations can be ascertained. ASSECAA cannot be left behind.




On Monday, 5th September 2005, we signed a Headquarters Agreement between the Association and the Republic of Yemen. The Agreement establishes the Headquarters of ASSECAA in Yemen with all the immunities, privileges and responsibilities pertaining to diplomatic missions and international organizations in the Republic, accruing to both our Headquarters premises and the officials of the Association, in the performance of their duties. The Minister of Foreign Affairs signed for the Government while the Secretary-General signed for the Association.




14.1 We have communicated with the following countries that we have learnt; either have bicameral legislatures or are about to establish it:


Republic of South Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa)

Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)

Republic of Rwanda

Republic of Camerouns

Republic of Botswana; and

Republic of Tunisia

Republic of Sudan


14.2 The Council of Provinces of South Africa has already remitted $10,000 to the Associationís Account. We received a letter of apology from them regretting their inability to be with you, distinguished members at this meeting but they promised that they would cooperate with the Association on all decisions reached by this meeting. In fact South Africa and Botswana, according to the records, were present at the Rabat meeting of June 2002.


14.3 The Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa has written to apply for membership of the Association and we invited them to this meeting. Attached, as Attachment 5 is a copy of their letter. They however phoned to state that due to other commitments, they would not be able to attend this meeting. We have got responses by telephone from others that they are processing approvals for them to join the Association. We are also watching developments in Zimbabwe as we have learnt that they have amended their constitution to establish a senate.




15.1 Distinguished Members, we have worked for only six months before this report. I have no doubt that if you approve the budget and fund it, we shall be able to engage qualified and experienced staff, conduct researches and utilize consultancy services, in the work at the General Secretariat. It will enable ASSECAA to achieve its set aims and objectives for the good of its members and provide a platform at the apex parliamentary level, from which the voice of Africa and the Arab world could be heard in inter-regional dialogues. At present, apart from the Secretary-General and his two Assistants, we have in the General Secretariat only two bilingual Secretaries and one Accounts Clerk. The Shoora Council of Yemen posted one typist and one protocol officer to us. We have had no funds to engage relevant staff in order to commence necessary activities. We believe this situation will change after this meeting.


15.2 Our objective in the General Secretariat is to ensure that within the next few years, all the member councils in this Association will have legislative competence and technical ability for processing national policy measures. We are convinced that democratic norms can be absorbed and emulated through interaction and studies. There is no doubt that the legislature is the symbol of democracy in any nation. It stands to reason therefore that a country is democratic to the extent that an assemblage of its citizens (the legislature) has the legal authority and technical ability to deliberate and agree on the measures that form the principles by which the country is governed.


15.3 As distinguished members are aware, the complexity of modern governments, politics and world socio-economic, political and cultural order make it imperative for modern legislatures to be deliberately involved in matters concerning the legislations, administration, economic well-being, cultural development, health, international relations and social well-being of their countries. This Association will accordingly seek, in the near future; to study the efforts at AIDS eradication in Africa and the Arab world, the areas of practical economic cooperation, avenues for socio-political conflict reduction, strategies for cultural evolution, enhancement of respect for human rights and encouragement of women in public affairs.


We need to attract the right personnel to the Secretariat of the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World.


Thank you.




November 9, 2005