The Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, ongoing for the first time in Hanoi, continued its discussions on March 30 with emphasis placed on the sustainable development, environmental protection and regional and global security.

Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN) Le Luong Minh highlighted challenges and joint efforts of the region to increase sustainability and environment improvement in the development process.

Despite ASEAN’s possession of 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity and 40 percent of all species in the world, according to Minh, the eco-system in the region has been under serious threat in recent years.

The rapid increase of population, fast economic growth and the development gap between countries in the region have been putting huge pressure and caused severe environmental impacts such as water, land and air pollution, environmental deterioration in cities, forest fires, and overexploitation of natural resources and biodiversity.

Minh said that the ASEAN currently are cooperating and working hard on various fields to promote green growth; making efforts to enhance sustainability and improve environment by creating shared standards.

They cooperated in energy, access to energy and sustainability on energy for the whole region, he said.

The action plan during the period 2010-2015 under the theme of turning policies into action and head for a cleaner, more effective and more protected ASEAN focuses on seven key fields, including building ASEAN network of electricity transmission; network of inter-ASEAN gas, renewable energy, new and clean energy, policies on energy in the region; planning on the use of energy for civilian goals.

On environment, ASEAN developed key criteria to make assessments of clean air, water, land and has used these criteria in selecting environmentally friendly and sustainable ASEAN cities since 2008.

Minh said 2015 is the year realising the goal of sustainable development.

He said he hopes the IPU-132 parliamentarians made positive contributions to realising the goals of sustainable development.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh delivered a speech on Vietnam’s foreign policy, underlining peace and security as a prerequisite for sustainable development. Therefore building a sustainable peace based on international law is shared benefits of all nations, he said.

Vietnam always treasures friendship with all countries, especially neighbouring nations, and the role and voice of institutions, multilateral forums on security and development issues in the region and the world, Minh affirmed.

Vietnam’s experience in poverty alleviation and contributions to joint efforts in order to solve food and water security, promotion of sustainable development, gender equality has been appreciated by the UN and international community.

In the region, along with other ASEAN countries, Vietnam is accelerating the process of building the regional community and promotes cooperation among ASEAN countries and dialogue partners to create a sustainably regional architecture based on laws and standards in which ASEAN continues playing its key role.

In order to achieve the goal, all countries need to build up strategic trust and seek long-term solutions for challenges on regional peace and security, especially territorial, sea and island disputes, he stresses.

Vietnam, he said, consistently pursues the principle of respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, opposes actions of using force or threatening to use force, and solves disputes, especially in the East Sea, by peaceful measures based on international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ( UNCLOS ) and the code of conduct in the region.

He stressed the important role of the parliament in each country in fulfilling those goals.

The Deputy PM expressed his belief that in the upcoming time, the Vietnam National Assembly will continue acting as a bridge to promote friendship and cooperation between the NA and people of Vietnam with the parliaments and people of IPPU member nations, contributing to implementing the goals shared by the IPU members.

During the third day of the IPU-132 Assembly, parliamentarians discussed themes relating to the role of parliaments in combating terrorist acts caused by Boko Haram against civilians, especially women and girls.-VNA