HÀ NỘI — The virtual Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament wrapped up on August 20 with the adoption of a declaration on parliamentary leadership for more effective multilateralism that delivers peace and sustainable development for the people and planet.
The declaration states that speakers of parliament stand with their fellow parliamentarians and citizens at a defining moment in global history.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a health emergency of unprecedented global proportions, affecting all manner of peoples, societies and economies. The pandemic knows no borders: it is an unprecedented crisis, whose impact is felt at all levels. The pandemic has evolved into one of the greatest challenges we face as a community of nations since the Great Depression and the Second World War.
They emphasised the significance of “strengthening multilateralism and international solidarity,” which is “more important than ever before” to address the global health crisis.
“In response to the pandemic, we must make sure that medical expertise and critical supplies are deployed where they are needed the most, and that strong steps are taken in such key areas as prevention, detection, testing, treatment and tracing. Efforts need to be redoubled to share information, exchange experience and best practice, and pursue international co-operation on testing methods, clinical treatment, vaccines, and medical research and development.
“We call for greater support for developing countries, which have weaker public health systems and face more challenges in taking the recommended medical and financial measures to respond to the COVID-19 crisis: helping them build capacity must be a priority,” they agreed.
The speakers of the parliaments affirmed that the immediate priority is to prevent the world economy from falling further into recession.
“We need to enhance international macroeconomic policy co-ordination and maintain global financial markets, while protecting jobs and salaries, and making sure that all sectors of the economy can function.”
They underscored that it is not only urgent but also possible to tackle climate change in a meaningful way.
They also urge all warring parties to cease hostilities, comply fully with international law, humanitarian law and the principles of peaceful coexistence, and open a precious window for diplomacy under the leadership of the United Nations.
The declaration also mentioned humanitarian efforts in recognising and implementing the Global Compacts on migration and refugees; gender equality; the crucial role that young people should assume in parliaments and all State institutions; the crucial importance that all parliaments be able to fulfil their constitutional role so that people are included and have a voice in decision-making.
Participants at the conference asked the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to present the declaration to the United Nations in the context of the UN75 Summit.
The Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament was held on August 19 and 20 under the theme of the leadership of parliaments in realising multilateralism more effectively.
It was joined by over 115 of the world’s top legislators.
Members of parliament, diplomats, scientists and representatives of multilateral organisations discussed international parliamentary co-operation during the two-day event to address the challenges facing a COVID-19 world, including access to health, social and economic inequalities and the climate emergency.
Experts urged the legislators to hold their governments to account in their health and economic responses to the pandemic. They called for parliaments to listen to the science, to allocate more money to strengthen public health, to support healthcare workers, and to invest in greener research.
Several speakers issued a clarion call for emission reductions and efforts towards a carbon-neutral economy. They stressed that parliaments have the power and duty to translate key international commitments – like the Paris Agreement on climate and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – into national legislation and policy.
The conference also included a special session on countering terrorism and violent extremism on the eve of International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism on August 21.
Vietnamese Chairwoman of National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân delivered a speech at the seminar on “Stepping up parliamentary action: The climate change urgency”.
The World Conference of Speakers of Parliament takes place every five years. Organised in co-operation with the United Nations, its objective is to reinforce the parliamentary dimension of global governance. — VNS