National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung beat the gong to kick off the 132nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU-132) at the National Assembly House in Hanoi on March 28.

The IPU-132 has great historical and diplomatic significance to Vietnam, representing the Vietnamese National Assembly’s willingness to integrate intensively and extensively to the international community as a responsible member of the global parliamentary union.

In his welcome remarks, State President Truong Tan Sang said over the past 36 years, Vietnam has stood shoulder by shoulder with other IPU members in efforts to strive for common goals on sustainable development, democracy promotion, human right protection, gender equality, children’s rights and other fundamental rights.

Thanks to its 30-year Doi Moi (Renewal) process, Vietnam has risen from a low-income country to a development partner with a dynamic economy and an attractive destination to investors, he noted.

As the host of the IPU-132, Vietnam wishes to work together with other IPU members and the United Nations to build and implement sustainable development goals (SDGs) for a brighter future of humans.

As an active and responsible member of the IPU and other international organisations, Vietnam will do its utmost to, together with the international community, build a world of peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity, he said.

The country also intends to address disputes, including those relating to the East Sea, by peaceful means on the basis of international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and agreements reached by regional countries, he added.

IPU President Saber Chowdhury spoke highly of Vietnam’s thorough preparations for the large-scale diplomatic event, affirming that people’s wellbeing is given a focal position in discussions in the event and pointing to the need to carry out SDGs.

UN Secretary-General Special Adviser Anina J. Mohammed read UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s message which noted that proposed SDGs must not leave anyone behind and that parliaments could support and facilitate discussions on how each country sees its future sustainable development.

When delivering an opening speech, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung said the IPU-132’s theme “The Sustainable Development Goals: Turning words into action” is extremely important at a time when the 15-year 2000-2015 implementation of Millennium Development Goals is about to finish and the United Nations is to adopt an agenda for post-2015 development.

“At this assembly, we, therefore, take responsibility for discussing carefully roles, tasks, and measures of national assemblies and parliaments, to turn ‘words into action’, expedite SDGs, and deliver messages carrying strong commitments of world parliament communities in implementing productively SDGs,” Chairman Hung said.

He emphasised the need to raise awareness and rally social resources, including financial and technical ones, for the implementation and supervision of SDGs contents.

The Chairman expressed his belief that the IPU-132 will accomplish designed agendas, reach a high consensus on adopting the Hanoi IPU Declaration that would present big issues discussed and constitute commitments made by the IPU and its member parliaments to pushing for the development programme after 2015.

He said the document with a clear message on parliament role in implementing the post-2015 development programme that will be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2015 will be a practical contribution to the next phase of development of the international community.

After the opening ceremony, Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung hosed a banquet in honour of participants in the IPU-132.
The IPU-132 brought together over 160 participating international delegations, including those from IPU member parliaments, associate members, and foreign organisations.

Participants will attend 70 sessions, discussing and adopting several draft resolutions on cyber warfare, water governance, and international law in relation with national sovereignty.-VNA