Ambassadors and leaders of international organisations talk about Viet Nam's contributions to the development of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and its role in solving global problems.
IPU General Secretary Martin Chungong: Viet Nam is making vigorous contribution to IPU activities.
United Nations, IPU enjoy close working relationship:
UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, Dr. Pratibha Mehta:
The IPU and United Nations have enjoyed a close working relationship since the early 1990s, together contributing to more transparent and accountable international relations and decision-making. The co-operation was institutionalised in two major Conferences of Speakers of Parliaments in 2000 and 2005 in New York.
The ongoing cooperation is grounded in two main institutional mechanisms:
- a Parliamentary Hearing, which is organised by the IPU during the annual autumn session of the UN General Assembly and provides an opportunity for members of parliaments to engage in substantive and interactive debates with UN officials and other stakeholders.
- a dedicated Committee on United Nations Affairs within the IPU, which was established in the Spring of 2007 and has conducted field missions to pilot countries implementing the "Delivering as One" UN initiative at the national level. These missions sought to evaluate progress in ensuring greater system-wide coherence in the UN, including in terms of greater involvement by parliament in the elaboration of national development plans and the monitoring of aid effectiveness.
The IPU and the UN are also implementing activities on priority areas, such as democracy, including strengthening of parliaments, human rights, women's issues, child protection, HIV/AIDS, trade and sustainable development. This collaboration also involves a growing number of UN specialised agencies and programmes.
The IPU Assembly will cover various issues related to peace and security, trade, sustainability and human rights, including cyber warfare, water governance and other topics. There are also forums for youth and women parliamentarians.
Now is a critical time for the development of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the new global framework to be agreed that will build on the work of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire this year. Since last year, the UN initiated a series of consultations and public surveys to hear people's aspirations of a world they want to see post 2015.
In addition, an Open Working Group, which included 70 UN member states, has made recommendations on a set of sustainable development goals. Based on all the inputs and recommendations, the UN Secretary General has produced his Synthesis Report to serve as the basis for negotiations and final adoption of SDGs in the General Assembly in September 2015.
It is therefore timely that the 132th IPU address the role of parliaments in realising and localising the SDGs. This also offers a channel for parliaments to feed-into the final deliberations this year, which will shape the framework for guiding and tracking international development to 2030.
The post 2015 agenda builds on the implementation and unfinished agenda of the MDGs. We may therefore want to review progress towards MDGs, both globally and locally. Some 15 years after the signing of the Millennium Declaration, it is clear that genuine and lasting progress has been made.
Globally, many of the goals and targets have been achieved or are close to achievement. Extreme poverty has been halved, the rapid spread of serious diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria, has been halted, gender disparities in education have narrowed and the prospect of access to improved water and sanitation has become a reality for many.
It is important to clarify that the proposed SDGs are not merely a second round of the MDGs, but are more ambitious and comprehensive. The development landscape has changed considerably. Some challenges, especially climate change and growing inequities between and within countries, have become more pressing.
The draft SDG framework recognises the importance of global public goods and global partnerships between States, but also by engaging various stakeholders including the private sector, parliaments and civil society. The draft SDGs also map out a wider but more grounded development agenda heralding a new way of working and monitoring change. This has implications for national strategic policy making everywhere, including in Viet Nam. A distinct SDG on better governance is set out in the proposals of the Open Working Group.
It's impossible to talk about development and implementation of SDGs without emphasising the role of Parliaments. First and foremost, effective delivery of the SDGs implies parliamentarians become more actively engaged in policy making, especially at the strategic level. This involves going beyond monitoring and evaluating progress, to guiding and mandating reforms, and ensuring overall policy coherence.
Secondly, parliaments need to consider how these functions might be supported and institutionalised within their business processes. While there are many examples from the MDG era of the type of arrangements which might be employed – for example the use of Standing Committees in the Philippines or the MDG resolution enacted in Mongolia – it is important that national law makers build solutions relevant to their own contexts.
Finally, national parliaments have an important role in facilitating partnership working - within and across the state, between ministries and local administrations; but also outside of it – encompassing civil society and the private sector. As the National Assembly in Viet Nam has evolved and been empowered in recent years, business interests, mass organisations and other non-state actors have received a stronger hearing. This should continue under the SDG framework.
The 132th IPU's focus on SDGs represents an opportunity for parliamentarians to debate their role in accelerating and shaping development efforts. I trust that parliamentarians coming to the IPU will participate vigorously and take actions towards achieving dignity for all. — VNS
Since its accession to the IPU in the 1970s, Viet Nam has made vigorous contributions to IPU activities, making efforts to boost relations with the member parliaments around the world. It has held leading positions in the IPU, in the IPU Executive Committee as well as being elected Vice-President of the IPU.
The National Assembly of Viet Nam once assumed the position of chairman of the Asia-Pacific Geopolitical Group and the ASEAN+3 Group within the framework of the IPU General Assembly. Viet Nam has manifested its activeness as a responsible member in all IPU activities, such as boosting peace and development in the world - and enhancing the role and rights of women and children.
Thanks to its contributions to IPU activities, the National Assembly has earned the understanding and support of the international community. Viet Nam will host the 132nd meeting of the IPU General Assembly, an important forum to exchange post-2015 development strategies as well as raising the voice of the group of Asian states in the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Swedish Ambassador Camilla Mellande: IPU-132 promotes the key role of parliaments.
As the world becomes more globalised, organisation and co-operation becomes more important. The issues on the agenda for IPU-132 reflects this very well – sustainable development goals, water governance, international law and cyber security are all issues where international co-operation is a prerequisite for action.
Sustainability issues become more acute each day. The foundation of global co-operation to work on this is there, what is missing is concrete action and here the parliaments play a key role. Cyber warfare is crossing legislative borders and is something we probably will see more of in the future. Access to water is often a source of conflict, as water courses do not respect political boundaries.
One specific issue where the IPU has played an important role is helping raise the number of female parliamentarians in world.
However, this trend has stagnated recently, so the work must continue, both within each national parliament and the IPU.
Danish Ambassador John Nielsen: IPU-132 is a great opportunity for Ha Noi.
The main topic for IPU-132 is how parliaments can turn Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into action. Later this year the Millenium Development Goals will be replaced by the SDGs, which will set the orientation for sustainable poverty reduction the next 15 years.
Against that background, the IPU meeting provides a good opportunity for parliamentarians to discuss these crucial goals for the future, but more importantly, to reach conclusions on how Parliaments can play an active role in implementing these goals.
Compared to the MDG's the SDG's are more universal. They not only focus on developing countries, but also include a commitment set for developed countries. Parliaments can help translate voluntary commitments into enforceable laws and they can, as oversight bodies, hold governments to account for their policy choices.
I hope that IPU- 132 will lead to parliaments assuming more responsibility for implementing Sustainable Development Goals. Environment, climate change and green growth have been a focus area of Danish development assistance to Viet Nam for several years.
Indonesian Ambassador Mayerfas: The IPU-132 Assembly can have a big impact in confronting global problems.
Since we are facing global challenges, actions we take should also involve all citizens. Parliaments, therefore, as representatives of the people, can be a major impact in shaping and ensuring the best policy implementation to confront global problems.
Through IPU-132, there will be an exchange of experience as well as best practice among parliaments throughout the world. I hope the deliberations will not end at the meeting tables, but can be delivered into global action and substantial results.
Australian Ambassador Hugh Borrowman: This is an opportunity to exchange, learn and act.
Viet Nam's own remarkable development achievements in recent decades mean it is well placed to help shape a constructive discussion among parliaments on the theme of sustainable development. It's a topic that has drawn a lot of attention from governments and development institutions in recent years. Viet Nam will now also have the focus of legislators who play a crucial role in creating environments for sustainable development.
Viet Nam's own National Assembly can play an important part not just in promoting sustainable development in Viet Nam and the region, but also as a role model for other parliaments. Earlier in my career, I participated in a number of IPU Assemblies as policy adviser for the Australian delegation. I have therefore witnessed first-hand the spirit and dynamism of an IPU Assembly. I consider it to be an important forum for progressing co-operative efforts to address some of the world's most complex challenges.
I am confident that a spirit of co-operation will lead to useful discussions in Ha Noi. I think the Ha Noi Declaration, a key outcome of the event, will reflect the reality that the people of the world, and parliaments as their elected representatives, have a largely shared vision for the future; one of equality, peace and prosperity.
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Hul Phany: Enhancing co-operation and unification to resolve global common issues.
I firmly believe that the enhancement of global co-operation to resolve common issues will take place in Ha Noi. The presence of so many delegates is aimed at boosting global co-operation to resolve common issues, such as the financial crisis, disputes, terrorism, natural disasters, AIDS, ebola, bird-flu epidemics, nuclear weapon, the increase of the earth temperature and cyber security.
Delegations should not stand back with folded arms. We should co-operate and unify globally to resolve the common issues for a world of peace and stability. As the Ambassador of Cambodia in Viet Nam, I highly appreciate the efforts of Viet Nam in organising this historical event.
Cambodia supported Viet Nam's proposal for hosting the IPU, because during this time, the Parliament of Cambodia was the member of the IPU Executive Committee, the representative of the Asia-Pacific region and the Vice-President of the IPU for one-year term. — VNS