|AIPA’s 41st General Assembly opening with ASEAN cultural diversity on display|
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|Secretary General and State President Nguyen Phu Trong delivered a welcome speech. (Photo: TG&VN)|
For the first time in history, an AIPA General Assembly has been held virtually due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the theme of the event has received strong support from international delegates, VOV cited.
Lao National Assembly Chairwoman Pany Yathotou voiced her strong support for the theme "Parliamentary Diplomacy for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community" which, as she stated, expresses the AIPA’s desire to further strengthen co-operation between ASEAN member states and partners through parliamentary diplomacy whilst uniting to tackle emerging challenges in the ASEAN region.
|National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan giving an opening speech. (Photo: TG&VN)|
|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivered a speech as the 2020 Chairman of ASEAN. (Photo: TG&VN)|
The Lao politician went on to signal her country’s great appreciation of ASEAN’s timely response measures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, especially those introduced by Vietnam in its role as the Chair of ASEAN 2020. Vietnam hosted the 36th ASEAN Summit, Special ASEAN + 3 Summit, and the Meeting between AIPA and ASEAN leaders via an online format, in which leaders of ASEAN Governments, Parliaments, and partners reaffirmed their commitment to co-operating in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Discussing the general theme of the meeting, Cambodian National Assembly Chairman Samdech Heng Samrin stated that the event’s theme can be considered appropriate as it serves to reflect the bloc’s desire to move towards building a single, united, and resilient community that is capable of seizing upon the opportunities and effectively handling challenges as they emerge.
|This is the first time in history that the AIPA General Assembly has been held online. The online ceremony also demonstrates the flexibility, responsibility, and determination of the National Assembly of Vietnam as Chairman of AIPA 41 and AIPA's member parliaments in overcome difficulties to strengthen the organization's work. (Photo: TG&VN)|
|The AIPA 41 General Assembly is the most important activity in the chairmanship of Vietnam National Assembly. This is the third time the National Assembly of Vietnam hosts the AIPA General Assembly. (Photo: TG&VN)|
|In the framework of the General Assembly of AIPA 41, according to Vietnam's initiate, meetings of the Women Parliamentarians (WAIPA) and the Young Parliamentarians of AIPA will be held. (Photo: TG&VN)|
As the COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented challenges both in economic and social terms, Chairman Samrin called on the individual Parliaments of ASEAN to strengthen their co-operation and solidarity to promote the bloc’s common interests.
Furthermore, the meeting also saw Puan Maharani, Speaker of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, share the view that as the COVID-19 epidemic takes its toll on regional and global economies, the individual Parliaments of ASEAN member states should put forward appropriate policies. This should be done with the aim of cushioning the impact of the pandemic and benefitting both the economy and the livelihoods of citizens throughout the region.
The Indonesian speaker also suggested ways of building trust among nations whilst promoting ASEAN’s central role in settling regional disputes. Indeed, it is imperative to comply with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of countries with sea boundaries.
|The National Assembly of Vietnam held the chairmanship in 2002 for the first time, and in 2010 for the second time. (Photo: TG&VN)|
|Art performances are prepared to celebrate the opening ceremony. (Photo: TG&VN)|
Expressing his honor at participating in the AIPA-41, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Martin Chungong spoke highly of Vietnam’s role as AIPA Chair in 2020 and noted the resonance between the IPU and the AIPA has further benefitted parliamentary diplomacy as it helps the Parliaments of both sides co-operate closely at multilateral forums.
With the world dealing with many crises simultaneously, including the COVID-19 pandemic, parliamentary diplomacy must play an important role in each country’s foreign affairs to ensure all institutions operate effectively and dynamically, according to the IPU President. He therefore suggested that Parliaments strive to fully co-operate across many areas, such as global peace, stability, and on women-related issues.
|The ceremony was attended by distinguished international guests. (Photo: TG&VN)|
|The AIPA 41 General Assembly is expected to pass fundamental documents relating to the preparation and operation of AIPA 42. (Photo: TG&VN)|
At the meeting, Fabrizio Hochschild Drummond, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, stated the great value of ASEAN’s commitments towards the United Nations and multilateralism. Amid the context of global turmoil, he said the interaction between the United Nations and Parliaments will serve an important role, especially in the ASEAN region.
According to the UN official, the US Secretary-General stressed the importance of having a multi-stakeholder, people-centered approach, while also promoting multilateralism in a bid to deliver better results for citizens.
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