43rd General Assembly of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly opens with focus on cooperation

November 21, 2022 - 16:00
In a message to the session, the King of Cambodia Norodom Shihamoni said that for ASEAN, the spirit of "advancing together" had always been key to the region’s joint efforts to preserve peace over the past two decades.
National Assembly Chairman Vương Đình Huệ (second left) shakes hand with Cambodia Prime Minister Samdech Techno Hun Sen at the opening ceremony of the AIPA-43. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn

PHNOM PENH — National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vương Đình Huệ on Monday attended the opening ceremony of the 43rd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-43).

The meeting opened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with the theme “Advancing together for sustainable, inclusive and resilient ASEAN”.

AIPA-43 returns to an in-person format after two consecutive sessions held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a message to the session, the King of Cambodia Norodom Shihamoni said that for ASEAN, the spirit of "advancing together" had always been key to the region’s joint efforts to preserve peace over the past two decades.

Consolidated by strong regional and inter-regional cooperation, the peace that ASEAN cherishes has created enormous socio-economic opportunities for the region’s people. The 43rd AIPA General Assembly demonstrated the spirit of solidarity and commitment to overcome challenges to achieve a more peaceful and prosperous future for the region, he said in the message.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, President of the Cambodian Senate Samdech Say Chhum emphasised that as ASEAN nations look to the future together, their collective will would be stronger, though only cohesive actions could direct the region through its diverse challenges.

The 43rd AIPA General Assembly’s theme highlighted the need to act together in the spirit of ASEAN solidarity to tackle all the common challenges.

The parliamentary partnership needs to be strengthened so that the nations realise an ASEAN Community that could benefit all the peoples for future generations, he said.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techno Hun Sen expressed his pleasure that over the past three years, the ASEAN had cooperated to successfully control the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the world is still facing many difficulties and challenges including geopolitical competition, war, trade and economic competition, climate change and natural disasters. These developments threaten people's lives and global security and increase pressure from inflation, and food and energy crises.

The Cambodian PM said that the AIPA-43 contributed to enhancing the common sense of responsibility in responding to changes in the region and the world, and promoting socio-economy towards a prosperous ASEAN.

As the ASEAN Chair this year, he said, Cambodia was honoured to help the ASEAN solve issues in the region, and achieved many remarkable achievements to promote the ASEAN community.

He added that the ASEAN had been giving priority to human resource development, reforming education and vocational training to suit technology development, and enhancing the role of women and youth in promoting economic growth after COVID-19.

Also in the opening session, the President of the Cambodian National Assembly and also the President of the AIPA-43 Samdech Heng Samrin said that the AIPA-43 offered an opportunity not only to strengthen regional cooperation, enhance mutual understanding and trust but also to find possible innovative solutions for the region’s common challenges.

Parliament members should make efforts to ensure that their recovery is comprehensive so that no one is left behind.

Samdech Heng Samrin said that joint efforts were needed to build a sustainable ASEAN, to promote climate resilience, clean energy transition and renewable energy, green investment, green finance and equity.

Legislatures must play an important role in promoting new models of development that balance environmental protection and economic growth.

Samdech Heng Samrin stressed that promoting the participation of ASEAN youth in national and international agendas was very important.

In his speech at the 43rd AIPA, NA Chairman Vương Đình Huệ said the world is seeing global, regional conflicts and non-traditional security issues. 

These challenges require close cooperation, compliance with international laws, peaceful dialogue and responsible actions. 

He said: “In this context, the Vietnamese National Assembly gave high regard to Cambodia as the ASEAN and AIPA Chair in 2022, as well as ASEAN members’ persistent efforts and determination in actions to together respond to the challenges for harmony, peace and prosperity in the region.”

The Vietnamese top legislator also presented five recommendations to the plenary, of which the first priority is the consolidation of ASEAN’s unity and central role in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region. 

He also highlighted promoting the supervisory role of parliaments in the implementation of ASEAN master plans on all three political, economic and socio-cultural pillars. 

NA Chairman Huệ also called for the consolidation and innovation of AIPA’s organisation and actions, strengthening the coordination between legislation and execution among countries, especially in the field of digital transformation and fair energy transition.

He added that gender equality should also be an area of focus, especially in women's empowerment, effective implementation of gender policies and laws, and increasing women’s and the youth’s voice and engagement in legislative and executive bodies. 

He also recommended the promotion of AIPA and ASEAN to the people, stressing the role of young parliamentarians. 

In 2023, Việt Nam will be the host for the Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and hopes to receive support from AIPA and partners, he said. 

NA Chairman Huệ said: “AIPA is a model for regional inter-parliamentary cooperation, contributing to the coordination between agencies representing the will of the peoples of ASEAN countries.

“[AIPA] works with ASEAN governments to address difficulties and challenges by promoting its role in legislation, supervision and creating favourable conditions for resource allocation and strengthening connections with the people.”

In a message to AIPA-43, along with praising its theme, Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said that Việt Nam is committed to participating responsibly in multilateral cooperation frameworks.

Việt Nam’s NA would continue to make strong contributions to the cooperation and development process of the AIPA, for a resilient and sustainable ASEAN Community.

The 43rd AIPA General Assembly will focus its discussions on peace, security, multilateralism and ASEAN centrality; and exchange views on how to strengthen parliamentary diplomacy on maritime security, promote regional stability in Southeast Asia, and boost parliamentary cooperation for inclusive and sustainable economic growth through an integrated approach to the Environmental, Social and Governance criteria.

Delegates are also to discuss gender equality and women's empowerment for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; the enhancement of the role of female parliamentarians in advancing the agenda on women, peace and security; and the promotion of youths’ engagement for a prosperous and sustainable ASEAN community. — VNS