AIPA 41: Parliaments, governments join hands to fight pandemic hinh anh 1Chairwoman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan at AIPA-40 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) -
The timely response to COVID-19 by the parliaments of ASEAN member countries has played a significant role in accelerating goals and programmes for regional sustainable development in the future.

Chairwoman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, who is also Chair of the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41), sent a letter in March to chairpersons of AIPA member parliaments calling for joint efforts in protecting ASEAN from the pandemic.

She highlighted solidarity, sharing, and mutual support within the bloc in the face of the coronavirus.

Each AIPA member parliament should join hands with governments in the fight by promoting their role and approving relevant measures and policies proposed by governments, Ngan said.

Vietnam’s NA, together with the support of other AIPA member parliaments, will make every effort to ensure the success of the 2020 AIPA Year, for peace, safety, and happiness of the people and the sustainable development and prosperity of all ASEAN countries and the world, she pledged.

In that spirit, at the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of AIPA within the 36th ASEAN Summit in June, Ngan lauded ASEAN’s joint efforts in coping with the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19.

She backed the implementation of ASEAN initiatives and support to governments in rolling out solutions to bring the pandemic under control.

In the short term, ASEAN should focus resources on improving economic recovery post-COVID-19, maintain commitments made to opening up trade and investment and connecting supply chains, ensure food security and access to medicines and medical supplies at reasonable prices, and assist people and businesses affected by the pandemic, she suggested.

In culture-society, AIPA encourages the timely issuance of policies on education, unemployment, and public health improvements, including the public’s capacity to access vaccines and essential goods, Ngan stressed.

At a meeting on the role of parliaments in international cooperation against COVID-19 in April, Chairman of the Vietnamese NA Committee for External Relations Nguyen Van Giau called on AIPA member parliaments to take a more active role and accompany governments in the pandemic fight through the issuance of relevant polices and measures.

At the 11th AIPA Caucus on August 14, Vietnam urged AIPA member parliaments to continue review and perfect legal frameworks to facilitate trade and ensure the distribution of goods and the smooth operation of regional supply chains.

Member parliaments have committed to accelerating the ratification of regional trade agreements and prioritising efforts to complete negotiations and sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

The countries have also stepped up parliamentary supervision over the implementation of investment and trade commitments, both regionally and internationally, considering this a major tool in promoting economic connectivity within the ASEAN Economic Community and between ASEAN and its partners.

They also focused on infrastructure development, digital connectivity, digital data safety, and digital knowledge and skills, while making the best use of Industry 4.0 to overcome the consequences of economic closures and social distancing amid COVID-19.

At the same time, AIPA member parliaments have intensified regional infrastructure and transport connectivity and cooperation in the Mekong Sub-region and other sub-regions in ASEAN, especially in environmental protection, the development of smart agriculture, and the sustainable use of cross-border natural resources, so as to ensure food, water, and energy security in sub-regions during and post-COVID-19.

Given the adverse impact of COVID-19 in many countries and around the world, coordination between governments and parliaments will contribute to fighting the pandemic and ensuring social welfare, for the peace, safety, and happiness of the people and the sustainable development and prosperity of ASEAN member countries and also the world./.