Việt Nam amazing host for the Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians: IPU President

September 18, 2023 - 12:28
President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Duarte Pacheco spoke to local media on the outcomes of the 9th Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians that was held in Hà Nội last week.
Portuguese member of parliament, President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Duarte Pacheco. — VNS Photo Nhật Hồng

President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Duarte Pacheco spoke to the media on the his impressions of the organisation efforts and the outcomes of the 9th Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians that was held in Hà Nội in September 14-18.

Could you share with us your main impressions about the 9th Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians hosted by Việt Nam?

It was a very positive conference. Of course, we know that when Việt Nam decides to organise something, it will be a success, because the commitment of the host is amazing and so they prepared everything in all details. Then we have also the commitment from so many parliamentarians around the world. More than 300 came from abroad, more 200 from Việt Nam, so we have a participation of 500 young members of parliament (MPs), we've never had something like that. It shows that politicians are able to work together to find solutions to the problems of the world – climate change, narcotic trafficking, or trafficking of human beings, but also to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals.

And they were very, very important discussions. Amazing statements from many of them with good experiences best practices but also to talk about mistakes that happen because only if we know that is it possible to avoid to commit some mistakes of a country. We need to learn from each other. It was very fruitful assembly of young parliamentarians.

This is also the very first time that a global conference of young MP adopted a declaration or a statement (Conference Statement on "The role of youth in accelerating the achievement of the SDGs through digital transformation and innovation"). What do you think about the meaning of it?

It means that people came here from around the world, not just to meet, not just to discuss, but with a concrete objective, that we have concrete actions to take. And now they have a commitment to implement it. Because otherwise it will have a discussion everyone will learn. But it is now more than that, this final declaration will give a very concrete actions that each one needs to carry out and try to implement in their own countries, and they had this promise and IPU will follow up the implementation of this very important declaration.

So what are your impressions about the young MPs of Việt Nam and also the youth of Việt Nam?

Especially, on the first day before the beginning of the assembly, I was very impressed by the presence of many young people, but allow me to say they are very mature, not just at realising problems, but also appointing solutions. Because to point out the problem is easier, but point towards a solution means that someone makes a reflection, study the issue and tries to promote something and to present something and I saw that since the first time I came here.

And also, it was very interesting to see that your parliament and your leadership are not just talking about participation of youth. They have their wish, but after it they gave concrete space for them, because in many cases, we have leaders that talk about it, but after it nothing happened. It is not the case in Việt Nam.

And you have in your parliament, one of the, I guess, highest representation of young MPs in the world, maybe because that Việt Nam has a young, dynamic society – because we know that when we are talking about youth, everywhere, but especially in politics and in parliament, they will come with new energy, the wish to change, to better. They are not just sitting there. They wish to do things, they wish to have concrete actions, they wish to have results. And so maybe, also because of so many young MPs in your parliament, you have also a very dynamic society.

Through the organisation of this conferenc, what do you think about the role of Việt Nam in the international society, and also the contribution of the Việt Nam National Assembly in the IPU?

We always say when we have assemblies of our meetings, Việt Nam is there – not just to be there, but to give concrete contributions, to ask questions, to try to change things, try to get results. And so, it is not just participating, it’s an active participation. But also your Chairman of the National Assembly has put another issue on the table. We have finished this one conference, he [Chairman of the National Assembly of Việt Nam Vương Đình Huệ] said we could organise another one – Why not the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, it's something that happened in IPU every five years when there are 80 speakers from five continents, and he wishes to host it and so the role of Việt Nam at the international level will increase.

Especially it was very interesting when I met with His Excellency [Chairman Huệ], I said we just have one condition, the host country needs to provide visas to all members that wish to come and he responded "of course we will do it because we are friends of everyone, we don't have enemies," “Welcome!”. And also this shows that at the international level, you are a state, a country [that is] open to everyone and also this way you will increase your vault at international relations.

Regarding the theme of the conference, Việt Nam will pose an initiative to create a network of young MPs for innovation to accelerate the implementation of SDGs. So what do you think about this idea?

Again, this is something that we will appreciate at our next General Assembly in Angola, next October. It is a positive – for me it's positive – but of course, the decisions are not mine, this is a decision of the General Assembly. We need to wait for the results, because each country is free to vote, but I think it is a positive proposal because we need to have – as his excellency said – implementation.

And digitalisation also is relevant, but not just to talk about it, but we need to have concrete implementation. And so that's why to have a network – that will follow what is being done what everyone is doing – may be relevant. Also, every country knows that someone is watching and tries to understand what each one is doing, maybe everyone wishes to be nicer to the picture and they’ll implement things as quick as possible.

Following all of the sessions and all the discussions of this conference, do you want to send a message to the young MPs around the world to promote their role in the technology and innovation sector to accelerate the implementation of SDGs?

Allow me to say I will give two things.

The first for the young people and especially for the young MPs: Please do not give up too quickly. We need to do to build a better world, especially for them. Because my generation will be here 10-20 years. It’s life, that’s it. Young people, we hope that they will be here more 50 or 60 years. And so it means that what we decide today will influence the future, their families and their grandchildren, and that's why they should have an active role, and the young MPs should try to bring all young people participating because otherwise it will be others that will decide for them. They should be involved. And innovation and youth, I see both as two faces of the same coin. Because young people is very open to innovation, they are very open to change, to digitalisation of the economy of the digitalisation of society. They are about open for that. And so they are both faces of the same coin. It's easier to talk about with these issues with them.

And the second message is not for young people, it is for the leaders of the world. Please give space for the young. Leaders of the world, work with young people with young MPs, give space for them. We will have a better life for all. Please do it. — VNS