The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean is the forum where the parliaments of the region come together and operate to reach those common objectives towards the creation of the best political, social, economic and cultural environment and conditions for the fellow citizens of the member states.
PAM is a regional interstate organisation, an Observer at the General Assembly of the United Nations and with a specific international juridical status. The Assembly plays a fundamental role as an organisation whose activities are firmly rooted as a complementary asset to the work of other regional and international bodies entrusted with the responsibility to foster security, stability and peace in the Mediterranean.
The organisation was founded in 2005 as a result of fifteen years of cooperation between the countries of the Mediterranean area through the process under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, known as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean. The cooperation was focused on themes of common interest, such as political, socio-economic and environmental issues.
Over a short period, PAM has established itself as the main actor in parliamentary diplomacy in the region, and its commitment to the founding principles and its Charter, is guaranteed by the continued support of all its member parliaments.
Through PAM, political dialogue and understanding between the Member States and their citizens, is strengthened and this is achieved, notably, by:
- fostering and building confidence among Mediterranean States;
- guaranteeing regional security, stability and promoting peace;
- consolidating the endeavours of Mediterranean States;
- presenting opinions and recommendations to national parliaments and governments, regional organisations and international fora.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean has 27 full Member States: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Syria, Macedonia, Tunisia and Turkey. Romania is an Associate Member and partnering states and organisations are: San Marino, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Holy See, United Nations system, Interparliamentary Union, the Arab League, Arab Inter-parliamentary Union, the Arab Parliament, United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, UNESCO, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Ana Lind Foundation, Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUOICM), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Association of the Mediterranean Regulators for Electricity and Gas (MEDREG), Mediterranean Foundation and Euro- Mediterranean University.
PAM as a parliamentary organisation in authentic sense, which operates autonomously from the executive authority of its countries, as well as from other regional organisations that the regional countries' parliaments participate in. It represents a platform for exchange of opinions and reaching of decisions on issues of regional interest, however those decisions are not legally binding, and are in the form of resolutions. As a centre of the regional parliamentary diplomacy, PAM is a unique forum, whose membership is open exlusively for Mediteranean countries, which are represented on equal footing.
The aims of the organisation are directed to overcoming regional problems such as current and frozen conflicts, organised crime, illegal migration, forced migration, availability of energy supplies, changes in sea levels, desertification, pollution of sea, conservation of natural resources and other. These aims are achieved through the adoption of PAM joint recommendations and creation of a cooperation platform for the purpose of finding solutions to these problems.
The work format of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean at the annual level is composed of meetings of working groups and standing committees, joint meeting of three standing committees, which serves as a preparation for plenary session and the plenary session itself. Each working group adopts a report on the topic defined for that year, and it is being followed by the adequate resolution. Plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly is held once a year in some of the PAM members states, and in line with a common agreement reached at the each session. Each national delegation has five members with equal voting and decision-making powers, and those are adopted by consensus (acclamation) after the debate. The Secretariat is headquartered in Malta, Sent Julian.
PAM conducts the bulk of its work within three standing committees: the first standing committee is dedicated to political and security cooperation, the second is focused on economic, social and environmental issues, while the third standing committee addresses dialogue amongst civilisations and human rights issues. The PAM may also set up ad hoc committees or special task forces for particular topics, such as the Middle East, migration, free trade, terrorism, climate change, and others. Even though reports and resolutions adopted by PAM are not legally binding by themselves, they are means of “soft democracy” when it comes to parliaments, governments and civil society in the region.
Furthermore, Parliamentary Assembly is engaged in cooperation with regional academic networks, primarily with regard to promotion of studying the topics of regional interest. In view of that, the Assembly presents “Mediterranean Award” to public figures particularly meritorious in the field of cooperation in the Mediterranean region, and it also established the Day of the Mediterranean – 21 March, as an opportunity to highlight the regional identity and profile of the organisation by organising various celebrations that on this occasion are prepared by national parliaments.