35th AIPA General Assembly (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Established in 1977 as the largest inter-parliamentary cooperation organisation in the region,the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) has made active contributions to the region’s integration process for an ASEAN Community of solidarity, cooperation and prosperous development.

According to National Assembly Vice Chairman Huynh Ngoc Son, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has made big strides over the past nearly five decades.

The group is awaiting the formation of the ASEAN Community slated for the end of this year, he said.

Given this, each AIPA member is tasked with enhancing cooperation and encouraging governments of ASEAN nations to build the ASEAN Community, consolidate solidarity and chart an integration roadmap for the 10-member group in the years to come, Son noted.

The AIPA has ceaselessly consolidated its operations, promoted its role, boosted cooperation among its members and with ASEAN, and helped ASEAN countries build the ASEAN Community on the three pillars of security-politics, economics and socio-culture.

Son stressed the need for legislators to prioritise the completion of legal frameworks for closer regional connectivity while helping governments actualise the ASEAN Vision that aims for peace, stability and prosperity.

Through different tenures, the AIPA has issued hundreds of resolutions on major issues of mutual concern in ASEAN countries, especially those regarding politics, security and trust-building.

The AIPA has contributed to regional politics and security through the implementation of the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality Declaration and support for the establishment of the ASEAN forum at the fourth ASEAN Summit in 1992, as well as the execution of the 1986 Declaration of ASEAN Concord, among others.

In addition, the AIPA issued a resolution on the ASEAN free trade area, which is seen as a push for regional economic development.

Under the resolution, the AIPA members underlined the need for the free trade agreement to lift tariff and non-tariff barriers in the region, attract foreign investment through the establishment of a common market, and encourage ASEAN countries to actively take part in the world economy in a bid to increase intra-bloc trade.

Along with ASEAN, the AIPA has outlined measures to accelerate the realisation of commitments and agreements needed to build the ASEAN Community.

The 24 th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation (AIPO 24) in 2003 also issued a resolution on the need to set up a common legal framework for ASEAN in implementing the free trade area.

The delegates called on AIPA members to promote the formation of the framework and conduct economic reforms to speed up trade liberalisation among ASEAN nations.

They also urged closer cooperation within the bloc to move toward a more equal international trade and economic mechanism, in line with the structure set by the World Trade Organisation.

At the 28th AIPA General Assembly in 2007, the organisation issued another resolution on the role of legislators in building the ASEAN Community.

Meanwhile, during the 36th AIPA General Assembly that took place in Malaysia last September, delegates called on ASEAN member countries to effectively implement resolutions of the UN Security Council regarding anti-terrorism.

They also approved the draft resolutions on enhancing inter-regional cooperation and intra-bloc integration in the fields of trade and industry, narrowing development gaps between ASEAN nations, and increasing the role of parliaments in fulfilling commitments to the post-2015 ASEAN Economic Community.

The AIPA is doubling efforts to support the ASEAN in bringing its Charter into reality and create favourable conditions for the group to complete its roadmaps and action plans.

The organisation also helped ASEAN nations build institutions and improve the capacity of member parliaments.

The AIPA and its members have also inspected and given feedback on the implementation of ASEAN’s major programmes and projects to help the group make necessary adjustments.-VNA