|Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) Tòng Thị Phóng delivers speech at the first plenary session of the 38th AIPA General Assembly (AIPA-38) which opened in Manila, the Philippines, on Saturday.— VNA/VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
MANILA — Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) Tòng Thị Phóng suggested measures to promote the role of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) at the first plenary session of the 38th AIPA General Assembly (AIPA-38) which opened in Manila, the Philippines, on Saturday.
Phóng said 2017 is a special year, marking the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN and 40 years since the AIPA’s inception.
The AIPA-38 takes place amid complex global and regional developments such as territorial disputes, terrorism, pollution, epidemics, climate change, and growing trade protectionism, which have impacted security, unanimity and economic growth in Southeast Asia, she said.
In that context, the AIPA, along with ASEAN, should uphold the spirit of solidarity and unanimity and respond to challenges that threaten peace, security and stability in the region while contributing to the building of the ASEAN Community, Phóng noted.
For both ASEAN and AIPA, bilateral co-operation must be reformed in a more effective manner, focusing on promoting the ASEAN Community’s development on all three pillars so the Community can maintain peace, stability and sustainable growth in the region, she said.
Co-operation should concentrate on enhancing ASEAN’s solidarity and improving the awareness of the ASEAN Community; and bringing into play ASEAN’s central role in the regional architecture, the official said.
She asked the AIPA, together with ASEAN, to work to raise public awareness of AIPA’s importance, activities and capacity in contributing to building the ASEAN Community.
The AIPA should boost parliamentary diplomacy’s role in diplomatic activities among ASEAN members and between ASEAN and the bloc’s partners. It should increase the effectiveness of law-making co-operation to facilitate ASEAN co-operation in all spheres. The assembly needs to provide ASEAN governments with solutions to achieve the bloc’s targets, according to the official.
Phóng proposed that the AIPA promote ASEAN’s central role in the region through upholding the grouping’s principles and standards and compliance with international law, strengthening member parliaments’ connectivity, and reinforcing ties with other parliamentary co-operation mechanisms.
The Vietnamese legislative leader called for improved efficiency of meetings between AIPA representatives and ASEAN leaders to bolster co-ordination between parliaments and governments of the nations.
It is also necessary to improve the AIPA’s operations, including improving co-ordination mechanisms between the AIPA Secretariat in Jakarta and AIPA secretariats in member countries, as well as between the AIPA Secretariat and the ASEAN Secretariat, she added.
The AIPA-38 is taking place from September 16-19 with representatives from the 10 ASEAN member countries and 11 observer nations attending.
The AIPA members are set to discuss several critical issues, including the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, co-operation in solving food security-related issues, and better health care for female workers. — VNS