Vice National Assembly Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong is joining her counterparts from the nine other ASEAN nations at the 33 rd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in Lombok, Indonesia.

Observers from Australia, Canada, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the European Parliament, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Russia, India and Belarus also attend the event which takes place from Sept.17-22.

Prior to
AIPA 33, Truong Thi Mai, a member of Vietnam’s National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee and Head of the NA’s Committee for Social Affairs gathered at a meeting for women parliamentarians from AIPA (WAIPA).

On addressing the conference, AIPA President and the Speaker of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, Marzuki Alie, welcomed ASEAN’s women parliamentarians at AIPA 33 and confirmed the key role ASEAN women parliamentarians play in general and ASEAN women in particular in national construction, defence and development and educating future generations in the context of ASEAN building a community of peace, stability, democracy and prosperity.

Alie emphasised the double challenges to ASEAN member countries, namely completing the UN Millennium Development Goals and the goals set by the ASEAN community’s three main pillars, politics-security, economics and socio-culture.

However challenges remain as there is a development gap between ASEAN member countries, including discrimination and gender inequality and a difference in empowerment for women in ASEAN member states as well as in urban and rural areas.

The deleg
ates discussed issues that will step up cooperation amongst ASEAN member nations to fulfil their MDGs, enhance the capacity of rural women and consolidate the role of women parliamentarians in devising pro-women policies.

At the event, Mai said that Vietnam still faces challenges in hunger eradication and poverty reduction, reducing the mortality rate in mothers and children and maintaining its MDGs in the context of the increasing negative impacts of climate change.

Vietnam totally supports initiatives that raise the capacity and role of women parliamentarians in increasing pro-women policies and gender equality in economics, healthcare and education, she said.

Promoting cooperation within ASEAN member countries in devising pro-women policies and gender equality can be implemented through ministerial conferences or the ASEAN Committee on the protection and promotion of women and children’s rights.

She confirmed the import
ant role and active contributions made by rural women in each nation’s efforts to reduce poverty. Raising rural women’s roles, position and capacity is also an important task in social development and essential for removing barriers and prejudices to women, she added.

Vocational training and suitable livelihoods for rural women help them to educate and nurture their children better, which, she said, is a good way of ensuring sustainable development and achieving the country’s MDGs.

adopted a resolution to help ASEAN member states increase their coordination when implementing the MDGs roadmap, to narrow the development gaps between ASEAN member states. It was also in favour of a resolution on the role of women parliamentarians in enhancing pro-women policies in the fields of economics, health and education.-VNA