Lao NA President puts forth three proposals at AIPA-42 hinh anh 1Delegates at AIPA-42 (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – President of the National Assembly of Laos Saysomphone Phomvihane delivered a speech at the first plenary session of the 42nd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-42) via a videoconference on August 23.

Expressing his support for the theme “Forging Parliamentary Cooperation in Digital Inclusion towards ASEAN Community 2025” of AIPA-42, Saysomphone said it will further contribute to the implementation of the ASEAN Digital Master Plan 2025 and ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation (APSTI) for 2016-2025.

Amid challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters in the region and the world, he highly appreciated the timely measures undertaken by ASEAN, notably the convening of the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting held in April 2021 in Jakarta, Indonesia, during which the ASEAN leaders reaffirmed their commitment to respond to the pandemic in a timely and effective manner.

According to the Lao NA President, information and communication technology is one of the fastest growing fields in innovative technological development in this modern era, which plays an important role and serves as an essential tool for effective and efficient governance, socio-economic development, international relations and others. It has also contributed to the joint effort of narrowing the development gap between developing and least developed countries.

To this end, Laos developed a National Strategy on Scientific and Technological Development (2013-2020) and Vision 2030, and integrated them into the ninth Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2021-2026).

At the same time, the Lao Government is concurrently working on the drafting of a Digital Economy Development Strategy for 2021-2025 that aims to alleviate poverty, create economic equilibrium and enable the country to integrate into regional and global economy. Laos has also put in place the National Policy on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that aims to encourage organisations and sectoral bodies within society to apply advanced technologies to improve the efficiency of governance, public service and economic growth.

To realise a resilient and innovative ASEAN Community, AIPA member parliaments must strengthen cooperation in science and technology research and development, and enhance joint coordination with a view to ensuring an equitable access to digital technologies for all in the society and promoting public-and-private participation in this important endeavour, he stressed.

Importantly, it is a need to implement and synergise the ASEAN Digital Master Plan 2025 and ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation (APSTI) 2016-2025 with their respective national policies and legislation, he added./.