The meeting in Geneva is approaching and since our latest meeting in Bali I have been involved in a number of issues that I would like to tell you about in this letter. On the ASGP website you can find a convocation letter to the Geneva meeting and miscellaneous information including a draft agenda, etc.
- The schedule for the Geneva meeting is, as you will have seen from the draft Agenda which we sent out with the convocation letters, crowded. A large number of members have submitted suggestions for Communications and it may not be possible to accommodate all of them, although we will try our best. This is a welcome sign of the continuing high level of commitment on the part of the members of the ASGP to the work of the Association and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking you all for your continued support. The final Agenda will be decided in the course of the first plenary meeting, which will take place on Monday 8 October at 10.00 a.m. Members of the Executive Committee will meet on the Sunday before at 3.00 p.m.
- There are some questionnaires published on the website. They take forward matters which have been previously discussed and will, I am sure, result in a useful survey of current practice. I hope that you will have time to send in a reply in advance of the meeting in Geneva, as they will add to the value of our deliberations.
- As mentioned in the convocation letter we plan to devote a day to Communication and Parliament (planned for Monday 8 October). I hope that this will develop thinking in this increasingly important area of parliamentary life. One of the chief benefits of the ASGP is its ability to reflect current developments in a rapidly changing context; our deliberations will be a vital contribution to planning our individual responses to the challenges created as a result of the high expectations of the public and politicians whom we serve.
- Last year the ASGP held a joint conference with The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on the relationship between parliaments, parliamentary TV channels and public broadcasters. The event attracted some 180 persons from 78 countries. This year we will hold a similar conference on Thursday 11 October (The World e-Parliament Conference 2007 – Challenges and benefits of ICT in parliamentary processes). The Conference is organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP), through the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament. The conference is aimed at parliamentarians, Secretaries Generals and parliamentary staff and officials (legislative staff, IT administrators, knowledge managers and librarians). I hope that many colleagues attending the ASGP meeting may be able to stay one more day to attend this important conference.
- On 20 July I visited the IPU Headquarters in Geneva to discuss common issues for our cooperation. Some of these issues are mentioned below.
- The first issue of the Global Report on ICT in Parliament is being prepared by the Global Centre on ICT in Parliament, which is a joint initiative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Report will present emerging trends and practices on how ICT is being used by parliaments, and will be complemented by a series of data compiled on the basis of a worldwide survey on the use of ICT by legislatures. The survey has been sent to presidents of all parliaments/chambers. The deadline for responses is 30 September 2007. The assistance of members of the ASGP in this regard is greatly appreciated. A copy of the survey can be downloaded in English, French and Spanish from the website of the Global Centre at: www.ictparliament.org/globalsurvey. The survey can be completed in hard copy, electronic format or online.
- I would also like to inform you about a research project that aims to create new knowledge about induction and professional development programmes for parliamentarians. The project is being carried out by the IPU in partnership with an academic team at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). An invitation to participate in this project has been sent to all Secretaries General, via the Secretaries of the national IPU groups. The deadline for responses to the questionnaires was 7 September 2007, but I hope that you can reply in any event. More information can be sent on request from Mr. Andy Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in Geneva in what looks like being a fascinating discussion of a range of subjects.