Meeting of ASEAN parliament leaders adopts important documents
A joint communiqué and 26 resolutions were adopted at the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-41) which wrapped up on September 10.

A joint communiqué and 26 resolutions were adopted at the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-41) which wrapped up on September 10.

The General Assembly, which was held for three days via teleconference for the first time in its history, saw a large number of delegates from 30 member parliaments, observers and international organizations.

There were nearly 400 delegates including 230 parliamentarians. Eleven presidents of the 10 AIPA member parliaments attended sessions.

Addressing the event’s closing ceremony in Hanoi, Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, who is also AIPA-41 President, said: “The success of AIPA-41 is the active participation of delegates via teleconference in spite of limited time while member countries are giving priority to COVID-19 pandemic containment and economic recovery.”

Representatives from parliaments of ASEAN member countries and observers spoke highly of careful preparations of Vietnam as host of the event, contributing to a successful AIPA-41, Ngan said.

“The General Assembly is a step ahead for AIPA to implement its guidelines and targets, including promoting solidarity, understanding and close cooperation between parliaments of ASEAN member countries and accompanying the governments in building a community for peace, stability and people’s interests,” the top NA leader said.

Resolutions approved at the General Assembly and discussions highlighted the role of AIPA in making commitments to ensure regional peace, security, prosperity and sustainability, toward the interests of every person in the ASEAN Community, Ngan said.

She underlined traditional and non-traditional security challenges facing the region and the world, saying that AIPA should enhance solidarity and parliamentary diplomacy, and adhere to international law, the Charter of the United Nations and ASEAN Charter in order to build a cohesive and responsive ASEAN Community.

The NA Chairwoman stressed that sustainable peace and security are foundations for long-term and prosperous development. Therefore, AIPA has always upheld the enhancement of partnership and dialogue with ASEAN at various levels, she said, adding that AIPA supports ASEAN in signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership this year and welcomes the establishment of an ASEAN fund for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AIPA 41 is held in the form of a video conference amidst the COVID-19 pandemic__Photo: VNA

For the first time during annual AIPA general assemblies in the past three years, the AIPA’s Committee on Political Matters held a session and reached consensus on six resolutions, Ngan told reporters at the press conference following the closing ceremony.

According to the top parliamentarian, the topics discussed at AIPA-41 were practical, especially solutions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic economic recovery.

Participants agreed on the role of AIPA parliaments in supporting governments to implement post-pandemic recovery plans.

Regarding promotion of regional security and peace, delegates highlighted the importance of complying with international rules, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (known as East Sea in Vietnam), and working toward the adoption of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea to ensure peace, security and safety in the East Sea.

The joint communiqué emphasized the priority of AIPA and ASEAN which is to put people at its core, listen to people’s voice and focus on addressing difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in order not to leave anyone behind.

“Vietnam’s initiative to organize the meeting of AIPA’s young parliamentarians has been welcomed by member countries. The initiative affirms the role of the youth in general and young parliamentarians in particular in policymaking of each country. Young parliamentarians play an important role in engaging in ASEAN Community building.

“From now on, at every AIPA annual general assembly, there will be a forum of young parliamentarians which represents one-third of ASEAN’s population to deliver their thoughts and aspirations to lawmakers,” Ngan said.

Besides AIPA-41, in the year of AIPA Presidency, the Vietnamese NA successfully organized a series of activities including the meeting of AIPA-ASEAN high-level leaders, the third meeting of AIPA Advisory Council on Dangerous Drugs, and a conference on parliamentary partnership on educational and cultural cooperation for sustainable development.

“Along with the success of external activities this year such as Chairmanship of ASEAN 2020, AIPA Presidency and becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the successful organization of AIPA-41 has made contributions to consolidating the position and prestige of Vietnam in general and Vietnamese NA in particular in the global arena. Activities conducted during the year of AIPA-41 Presidency, especially organization of the General Assembly, are highlights in external activities of the Vietnamese NA in the 14th tenure.”

Also at the closing ceremony, NA Chairwoman Ngan transferred the 2021’s Presidency of AIPA-42 to Brunei Darussalam.

She noted that AIPA attaches great importance to strengthening partnership and dialogue with ASEAN on various levels and looked forward to physical meetings to be held next year during Brunei Darussalam’s Presidency.

Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib, Speaker of the Legislative Council of Brunei Darussalam, said the council had started making arrangements for the 42nd AIPA General Assembly in Bandar Seri Begawan next year.

He pledged the utmost commitment to put in the best effort during their AIPA Presidency in spite of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During our presidency of the 42nd General Assembly of AIPA, we look forward to working closely with the AIPA Secretariat as well as AIPA member parliaments to continue building on good work in the past in ensuring the realization of AIPA’s visions and aspirations.

“I would like to seek support and cooperation from speakers and parliamentarians of AIPA member parliaments as well as our dialogue partners and relevant stakeholders toward the success of our AIPA Presidency,” he said.

The AIPA-41’s closing ceremony witnessed the admission of parliaments of Morocco and Norway as new AIPA observers.

ASEAN parliaments appreciate Vietnam’s AIPA Presidency

Chairwoman of the Lao NA Pany Yathotou said the most outstanding result of AIPA-41 was the building of solidarity within AIPA, and Vietnam as the host played an important role in this regard.

“AIPA-41 demonstrated the Vietnamese NA’s high sense of responsibility, creativity, capacity, and experience in organization,” the top Lao legislator said.

She said all participating parliaments highly valued Vietnam’s organizing capacity given the complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pany Yathotou went on to say that the country has made every effort to fulfill its AIPA Chairmanship role, adding that it employed good consultation mechanisms with other AIPA member parliaments, helping accelerate the ratification of resolutions.

She also said issues on the agenda were significant for the region and met the aspirations of ASEAN residents.

The spirit of the meeting will be upheld in reality, with attention paid to cooperation with governments in implementing resolutions adopted by ASEAN leaders, especially those regarding the fight against the pandemic, she said.

The Lao NA will also continue with its role in making laws that serve as a foundation for the realization of the resolutions, she noted.

Meanwhile, Puan Maharani, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia, said she fully appreciated Vietnam’s efforts in hosting the first-ever virtual AIPA General Assembly.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Vietnamese NA for hosting AIPA-41 despite the challenges that we are all facing due to the pandemic and hope that this year’s General Assembly could become an effective platform for AIPA member parliaments to exchange best practices, build political will, strengthen capacity, and foster collaboration among parliaments and parliamentarians on curbing the pandemic as well as to find best solutions to other important regional issues”, the Speaker said.

“The fact that the AIPA General Assembly went very well despite being conducted online is an accomplishment on its own. In the past, many might think that this kind of level of international event would not be doable online. However, today AIPA has proven that we can adapt to development and that AIPA is well prepared for the future,” she said.

The Speaker of the Legislative Council of Brunei Darussalam said a notable achievement of the General Assembly this year was the resumption of the meeting of the Committee on Political Matters.

Vietnam’s AIPA Presidency, under the leadership of Vietnamese NA Chairwoman Ngan, deserved to be commended, Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib said, adding that the Vietnamese NA has successfully demonstrated its steadfast commitment and dedication as well as upheld its duties and responsibilities in convening the AIPA General Assembly and bringing AIPA member parliaments together.- (VLLF)

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