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IPU-132 adopts Ha Noi Declaration as assembly ends

Update: April, 02/2015 - 09:34
Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung (centre) gives a speech at the closing ceremony of the five-day Inter-parliamentary Union general assembly conference. — VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI — Delegates from 133 countries and 23 international and regional parliamentary organisations yesterday wrapped up the five-day Inter-parliamentary Union's (IPU-132) general assembly by adopting the Ha Noi Declaration and several resolutions that impact on global peace.

The declaration of the Inter-parliamentary Union, themed Sustainable Development Goals: Turning Words into Action, was approved by parliamentarians after reviewing emerging sustainable development goals and considering how parliamentarians can achieve them. It will be submitted as an official document to the United Nations General Assembly in September.

The event included 67 sessions that discussed cyber warfare, gender equality, sustainable development, the threat of terrorism - and water governance.

IPU-132 also adopted several resolutions. They were titled Cyber warfare: A serious threat to peace and global security, Shaping a new system of water governance: Promoting parliamentary action on water, International law as it relates to national sovereignty, non-intervention in the international affairs of States and human rights.

Parliamentarians also adopted a resolution on "combating the threat of terrorism conducted by organisations such as Boko Haram against innocent civilians, in particular women and girls".

Speaking at the closing session of the IPU-132, Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung said that the adoption of the declaration involved all parliamentarians.

It reflected the expectations and commitments of the IPU and its member parliaments in the implementation of sustainable development goals, which the United Nations was working on, he said.

The event also said it was the responsibility of parliaments to provide new sustainable development goals, he added.

At a press conference, Hung noted that all IPU-132's activities were organised in the spirit of friendship, solidarity and co-operation.

"The discussion theme of Sustainable Development Goals: Turning Words into Action was an important and essential topic, which received the high consensus of parliamentary leaders, parliamentarians and IPU-132 guests," he said.

Hung said that IPU committees had adopted all four important draft resolutions on cyber warfare, water governance, national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of States and human rights, and anti-terrorism.

"The success of IPU-132 proved the increasingly active role of IPU and also helped solve global challenges and shape the development of mankind," he said.

IPU President Saber Chowdhury said the 132nd IPU Assembly focused on solutions for issues rather than defining them.

"Previously we talked about problems, we described the problems and would try to add parliamentary dimension to those problems. What we have in Viet Nam is a new trend within the IPU to actually look at solutions instead of just talking about problems.

"I think that reflects the change that we want to focus more on outcomes rather than process oriented.

"And when we look back on IPU work 10 years from now, we would like to identify the Ha Noi assembly as the place where we had changes in mindset and changes in perspectives," he said.

"In everything that we do, the central thoughts are about the people - the human rights of people, the human security of people and the human well-being. When we talk about translating words into actions, this is really what we are talking about.

"With each resolution adopted, we, as representatives of the people, wish to transform lives of people worldwide," said Chowdhury.

After the closure of IPU-132, several "tweets" mentioned about the success of the event.

The IPU Parliament tweeted: "Many thanks and congratulations to Viet Nam for a memorable IPU 132 assembly. A great job well done!"

Meanwhile IPU President Chowdhury tweeted: "Deep and sincere thanks Viet Nam Parliament and people for great IPU assembly."

Sideline meetings

Participants at IPU-132 yesterday attended different interactive debates to discuss democracy in the digital era and review the improvement of children's livelihood.

Held by the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights, the debates were part of preparations for a resolution to be finalised at the 133rd IPU Assembly in Cartagena, Colombia, in November.

Discussion participants considered the digital era to be vastly expanding opportunities to foster democracy and to promote progressive outlooks on democracy and human rights locally and globally.

However, they said this posed a potential threat to privacy and individual freedoms, and therefore to democracy itself as extremist groups employed digital communication techniques to spread propaganda against human and national values.

During the discussion, member states presented solutions to simultaneously protect democracy and citizen privacy.

The delegates also attended an interactive debate yesterday to review the improvement of children's livelihood around the globe since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was ratified 25 years ago.

Participants pointed to achievements in ensuring children's rights along with challenges to ending violence against children. They said all countries must protect the physical and mental health of children.

Nguyen Dac Vinh, First Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee and Chairman of the group of young Vietnamese National Assembly deputies, valued efforts by the UN and IPU parliaments in promoting the CRC implementation around the world and in their respective countries.

He said that CRC implementation was encountering an array of difficulties as children around the world still faced labour exploitation and violence, and did not have sufficient access to medical and educational services.

Vinh suggested countries enhance experience exchange in protecting children's rights, increase investment in child-related initiatives, and promote studies on related issues.

Active contributions

During the event, the Vietnamese delegation actively contributed to discussions on important resolutions.

According to Chairman of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organisation, Vu Xuan Hong, eight of Viet Nam's nine proposals were included in the newly-adopted resolution on cyber warfare, considered a serious threat to peace and global security.

The Vietnamese representatives suggested the IPU issue a joint statement calling for stronger commitment from all nations to avoid the use of cyber warfare, and called on the United Nations to build an international convention ensuring cyber security and safety.

Viet Nam also actively contributed to the adoption of a draft resolution on international law relating to national sovereignty and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and human rights. This was done at a meeting of the IPU Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights.

Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly Law Committee Le Minh Thong, who represented Viet Nam at the event, said the resolution was debated during the previous IPU Assembly but was not passed due to a lack of consensus.

At the discussion by the IPU Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade, head of the Viet Nam National Assembly Committee for Economic Affairs, Nguyen Van Giau, suggested member countries review the law on water resources and relevant legal documents; examine national strategies, programmes and projects on water resource management; and allocate funds.

Additionally, he said it was important to popularise the resolution to State agencies, social organisations and people to boost regional and international relations in water management.

A number of recommendations from Vietnamese delegates were introduced at a series of other functions, such as the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians, the Forum of Young Parliamentarians, the conference of the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments, and the conference on achieving the Beijing vision.

Viet Nam pledged to maximise its efforts to increase female involvement in political spheres, combat gender inequality and violence against women and children and integrate gender-based issues into the legal system. — VNS

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