Founded in 1967, the French-speaking Parliamentary Assembly (FPA) seeks to reflect the multiculturalism of the French-speaking world and its people. It brings together delegates from nearly 90 parliaments or interparliamentary organisations on five continents. Its membership has grown considerably since the early 1990s, with the addition of parliaments from countries in the transition to democracy.
The FPA provides advisory support to the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), whose governing bodies are the Conference of Heads of State and Government Leaders of La Francophonie, the Conference of Ministers of La Francophonie and the Standing Committee of La Francophonie.
Mandate of the FPA
The FPA provides a platform for the exchange of debate, proposals and information on democracy and the rule of law, human rights, multilingualism and cultural diversity.
It explores issues such as political rights and freedoms, states experiencing crisis and post-crisis situations, parliamentary processes, access to education, dissemination of knowledge, conditions for sustainable development, gender discrimination, health promotion and young people's access to political debate. It presents its recommendations to the OIF bodies, to heads of state and government of countries where French is spoken, and to national parliaments. It also holds regular discussions with the governing bodies of the OIF and its operational partners, which are Senghor University in Alexandria, the Association Internationale des Maires Francophones,TV5MONDE and the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie.
The FPA also engages in interparliamentary cooperation and undertakes field missions to support democratic development and the rule of law.
How the FPA works
The FPA operates at both international and regional level, in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.
On an international level, it convenes an annual session each July to address issues debated in advance by its four committees and three permanent networks, i.e.:
- the Political Committee
- the Committee on Education, Communication and Cultural Affairs
- the Committee on Parliamentary Affairs
- the Committee on Cooperation and Development
- the Network of Women Parliamentarians
- the Network against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
- the Network of Young Parliamentarians.
These bodies meet on the margins of the annual session and once a year between sessions.
The FPA is structured by region. The Europe Region holds its annual assembly in autumn, bringing together the various European parliamentary delegations. This conference is preceded in the spring by a meeting of the presidents of the European delegations.
Role of the Swiss delegation
The Swiss delegation has initiated several reports and resolutions adopted by the FPA on subjects such as education, human rights and the rule of law, public health and sustainable development. It is engaged in numerous issues which it continues to monitor in Switzerland and elsewhere, such as crisis education, abolition of the death penalty, combating human trafficking, human rights in the HIV response and the prevention of violent extremism. It also reflects on the challenges and prospects for the French-speaking world, particularly in Africa. To this end, it regularly invites prominent figures from the academic world, associations and international organisations, as well as representatives of the Federal Administration and other public bodies.
Switzerland also chairs the FPA's Committee on Education, Communication and Cultural Affairs and its Pandemic Network.