May 15, 2008

UNPO Hosts De facto States Conference in EU Parliament

UNPO today [15 May 2008] hosted the conference Opening the World Order to De facto States, in the European Parliament in Brussels.  


With the support of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), Nonviolent Radical Party (NRP), and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD), the event brought together officials from unrecognized Governments with the main aim to create and sustain permanent mechanisms of involvement and consultation of unrecognized state entities in the International Community. A selected group of academics among officials, experts, and representatives of de facto states addressed a broad range of issues relating to unrecognized states, such as Abkhazia, Somaliland and Taiwan.   


The conference included a series of addresses by representatives of de facto states and academic experts, as well as some at times very frank questions and comments from the audience, which included MEP’s, diplomats, UNPO Members and media.


The first panel of the conference addressed the international dimension of de facto states, with each speaker approaching the function and practice of de facto states under International Law and in the International Community.  


Later, the second panel approached specific issues affecting de facto states, especially concerning health care issues, economics and security. Again, the speakers were comprised from a range of different sources, including academic, officials and political experts. Topics of interest included the challenges surrounding formal trade agreements, obtaining financial assistance from international institutions, and reducing security risks. 


Finally, the third panel addressed the question of Democracy and Good Governance in de facto states, and the challenges faced to preserve these ideals. This portion of the conference focused on the complexities of maintaining human rights standards, a strong civil society, and a working level of democracy in states that are politically isolated and unrecognized.


The fascinating, long over-due conference concluded with the adoption of the UNPO Declaration on De facto States by the de facto states representatives and speakers present at the conference and a strong resolve from all present to continue with consultations involving between de facto states and between de facto states and sovereign states in the future.


To read the text of the UNPO Declaration on De facto States please click here.