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Vietnam: COVID-19 a call to action on climate change

07:48 | 21/08/2020

To advance parliamentary actions towards the urgency of climate change, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan made several proposals at the virtual fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.

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vietnam covid 19 a call to action on climate change
The Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament is being organized virtually by the Inter-Parliament Union (IPU) in cooperation with the Parliament of Austria and the United Nations on August-19-20. Source: MONTSAME

The conference is held by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the United Nations, and the Austrian Parliament under the theme of the leadership of parliaments in realising multilateralism more effectively.

The conference, in which Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres participates, discusses issues of health, climate, economy, science and technology, as well as the participation of women and youths in political and parliamentary work, issues of democracy and the changing role of parliaments in the 21st century, in addition to improving governance and combating terrorism and extremism.

More than 250 participants including UN representatives and over 150 speakers, members and specialists of the parliaments have been invited to the conference aiming to strengthen international parliamentary cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and climate and economic crisis facing humanity.

The World Conference of Speakers of Parliament is organized every 5 years in cooperation with the UN.

The conference was initially scheduled to be held in Vienna, Austria under the theme “Parliamentary leadership for more effective multilateralism that delivers peace and sustainable development for the people and planet”. However, it has been postponed until 2021 due to the global outbreak of the pandemic. Therefore, for the first time, the Speakers met virtually to discuss the measures to be taken by parliaments on a wide range of issues, including the pandemic and global governance, sustainable economies and climate emergencies.

Opening the conference, IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron said the function is being held in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this is also a chance for thoughts towards a common goal of more vigorous recovery and reconstruction for a better future.

At the opening session, UN Secretary-General Guterres stressed the emergency of the pandemic, pointed out concerns and, at the same time, proposed actions and solutions for the situation.

"We have surpassed 21 million cases and 770,000 deaths – and the toll continues to grow and even accelerate in some places," he said.

"As we strive to overcome one crisis, we have an opening to address another – and steer our world onto a more sustainable path....Quite simply, how the world recovers from COVID-19 is a “make-or-break moment” for the health of our planet," Guterres stressed.

vietnam covid 19 a call to action on climate change
NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attend fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament on August 19. Photo credit: Hoang Quynh

In her address at the seminar on “Stepping up parliamentary action: The climate change urgency”, NA Chairwoman Ngan agreed that climate change has become ever more urgent, particularly as the world is being severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The National Assembly of Vietnam has been working closely with the Government in responding to climate change via improving the legal framework on environmental protection and prioritising resources for implementation of the programmes on climate change response and sustainable development,” she said.

“Vietnam has always strictly adhered to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement,” the leader stressed, expressing her hope for enhancing cooperation with other countries, thereby contributing to collective endeavours in responding to climate change.

To advance parliamentary actions towards the urgency of climate change, she made several proposals, such as parliaments should continue taking vigorous actions via the legislative role and function in ratifying international instruments on climate change response, strengthen collaboration with the IPU, and consider implementing the recommendations in the IPU’s Parliamentary Action Plan on Climate change in accordance with each country’s development level and needs.

Parliaments should promote policies on economic restructuring towards sustainable development, green economic growth and circular economy in order to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. Besides, parliaments should maintain appropriate resource allocation, enhance oversight and take further measures in response to climate change.

Moreover, she said international organisations and developed countries should increase support for developing ones in responding to climate change, particularly amid the complex evolution of COVID-19./.

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