APPF-26 final plenary session approves Hanoi Declaration
The Hanoi Declaration of a New Vision for Asia–Pacific Parliamentary Partnership, along with 14 other resolutions and the APPF Joint Communique, were approved at the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum-26’s final plenary session in Hanoi on January 20 afternoon.
Vietnam delegation signs the Joint Communique at the closing session of the Asia Pacific Parliament Forum. (VNA/VNS Photo Trong Duc)
Under the chair of Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, the participating APPF members also adopted a number of amendments to the APPF Rule of Procedure related to making the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians a permanent feature of the APPF.
The session also approved the selection of Cambodia as host of the 27th annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF-27), which is scheduled for January 2019 in Siem Reap. The Vietnam National Assembly will hand over the APPF chair position to its Cambodian counterpart in May 2018.
Fourteen resolutions passed at the session, including those on promoting gender equality; economic growth and free trade; as well as joint actions on climate change responses; supporting micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the digital age; as well as parliamentary diplomacy for peace, security and prosperity in the region, and in the world.
At the forum, all heads of delegations signed the APPF-26 Joint Communiqué.
Delegates affirmed the need to promote dialogue and joint action to address non-traditional security challenges, including food security, energy security, and the sustainable management of resources. They also called for increased efforts to prevent and combat terrorism, extremism and strengthen dialogue between cultures and religions.
In her closing speech, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said the APPF is committed to continue promoting a comprehensively connected Asia-Pacific, a trade system based upon free, equal, transparent and inclusive principles for mutual benefits of all people, to ensure that no one is left behind.
"In line with the results of previous conferences, the APPF-26 is an important next step in the implementation of the principle, as the purpose of the Forum was set out in the Vancouver Declaration and the New Tokyo Declaration. The resolutions that were adopted, as well as the discussions, have shown the important role that parliaments play in the process of implementing international commitments to ensure peace, stability, security and sustainable development, for the benefit of the people in the Asia-Pacific region," said Ngan.
"At present, regional states are facing traditional and non-traditional security issues, together with the challenges of the quality of development in each country," she said.
“These issues posed an important requirement for APPF to reform to adapt to the situation, and to develop a strategic vision. Peace, stability and security are solid foundations for sustainable development. No single country can, itself, address the problems of inequality, poverty, illiteracy, international terrorism, transnational crime, or extremist ideology,” she said.
“Thus it requires closer cooperation between states and parliaments in strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies,” she said, adding that, in terms of economic and trade, APPF is an open, supportive, complementary, and integral mechanism of APEC.
The APPF-26 shows the necessity of turning words into actions, calling on support from developed countries for their developing peers in the implementation of the U.N. agenda on sustainable development toward 2030 and the Paris Agreement, she noted.
NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (black long dress) and delegates. (Photo: NDO/Duy Linh)
Speaking at the event, Mohammed Ouzzine, Vice President of the Parliament of Morocco, said the Moroccan parliament believes that APPF comes as an important forum that annually brings together parliamentarians from a vibrant and dynamic region, which is becoming a major economic grouping of nations on the international level, in terms of trade investment and sustainable development.
The adoption of the Hanoi Declaration is a success of the APPF-26, Ngan stated, adding that it succeeds other APPF declarations and defines a new vision for the Asia–Pacific Parliamentary partnership after 25 years of development.
In the future, the APPF needs to continue refreshing its agenda and strengthening cooperation with multilateral institutions, such as APEC and other cooperative mechanisms, the top Vietnamese legislator suggested.
The Hanoi Declaration noted the remarkable achievements APPF has attained in its 25 years of development, while acknowledging that the APPF is at a critical juncture, and the Forum needs to reform to better serve the needs for dialogue and cooperation among members, and for increased contributions to international and regional multilateral cooperation. Through the declaration, participants also reaffirm their commitment in reforming APPF for the Forum to become more adaptive to the fast-changing regional and global landscape./.