|National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân and head of the National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations Nguyễn Văn Giàu take a photo with APF female parliamentarians. — VNS Photo Khánh Dương|
HÀ NỘI — Enhancing women’s role in politics, business and increasing the number of female parliamentarians in French-speaking countries is high on the agenda of two important meetings of the Francophone Parliamentary Assembly (APF) which convened in Hà Nội on Tuesday.
This is the first time Việt Nam has hosted two APF events at the same time – the Network of Women Parliamentarians and the Committee on Education, Communications and Culture.
More than 70 delegates from APF member countries are attending the three-day event.
Lydienne Epoube, president of APF’s Network of Women Parliamentarians, said that one major concern for the APF and the network was children’s rights to birth registration and civil status records.
“In recent years, APF has put this topic on the agenda and paid special attention to the consequences of no birth registration and civil status records on the rights of women and girls,” she said.
This time in Hà Nội, the network and the APF’s Committee on Education, Communications and Culture would hold a joint meeting to share information and propose a joint statement about this issue to be submitted to the APF, she said.
Didier Berberat, chairman of APF’s Committee on Education, Communications and Culture, said the Sustainable Development Goal No 4 – inclusive and equal quality education – would be hard to achieve if people, especially women and girls, did not have their birth registered and civil status recorded.
“We’ve also noticed recently that the position and role of the French language in international organisations have faded. To encourage French studies and use, it is necessary to grant more scholarships and remove travel barriers among French-speaking students,” he said.
He took the chance to praise Việt Nam’s active role and commitment in APF, saying “Việt Nam’s subcommittee is a pillar of APF Asia-Pacific”.
Speaking at the opening session, Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân said: “Việt Nam highly values APF’s role in international activities demonstrated through initiatives and the implementation of inter-parliamentary co-operative programmes, helping foster inter-parliamentary friendship, solidarity, making contributions to inter-parliamentary diplomacy and raising the position and voice of parliamentarians in regional and global issues.”
The APF and French-speaking countries played an important role in Việt Nam’s external policy. Việt Nam supported the APF’s orientation towards peace, democracy, diversification of language and culture, solidarity, collaboration and development, Ngân said.
She highlighted the significance of solidarity and cooperation between French-speaking countries and global community.
The two meetings were an opportunity for APF parliamentarians to discuss measures to enhance the diversification of language and culture, and the preservation of traditional cultural values in the context of globalism. Their discussion would also look towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to hunger and poverty reduction, education quality and livelihood improvement, gender equality, children protection and care, she said.
Established in 1967 in Luxembourg, APF members have grown from 23 to 87 in 2018.
Việt Nam became an APF observer in 1974 and an official member in 1991. The country has demonstrated its active and responsible role by taking the chairmanship of APF Asia-Pacific in 2015-17, and becoming a member of steering council of the Women’s Parliamentarian Network from 2017 to 2019. From 2019-21, Việt Nam will be vice chair of APF. — VNS