Vietnamese National Assembly and practical initiatives within AIPA 41 hinh anh 1NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - With several initiatives, the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41), hosted by Vietnam under the theme of ‘Parliamentary Diplomacy for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN’ from September 8 to 10, is a significant milestone of the 14th National Assembly’s foreign relations during its term as the AIPA chair, as the COVID-19 pandemic is raging on in the region and the world.

First online General Assembly in AIPA’s history

According to Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations Nguyen Van Giau, organising the AIPA 41 is among the crucial tasks of the Vietnamese NA during its chairmanship term in 2020.

The General Assembly of the AIPA is the biggest event in the chairmanship term of any AIPA member parliament, which gathers legislative leaders of all the ASEAN member countries.

However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has been raging the whole world, it was impossible to organise a physical AIPA General Assembly. Therefore, the Vietnamese NA, as the AIPA Chair in 2020, actively switched to teleconference in response to the pandemic.

Nguyen Manh Tien, Vice Chairman of the NA's Committee for External Relations and head of the AIPA 41 information sub-committee, said the timely switch showed the Vietnamese NA’s flexibility, responsibility and determination in fulfilling its role as the AIPA Chair in 2020.

Also, by successfully hosting all meetings within AIPA-41 via teleconference, Vietnam has proved its technical capacity, in particular digital and internet requirements, Tien added.

This initiative was warmly welcomed by AIPA members.

Chuan Leekpai, President of the National Assembly of Thailand, said the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a global health security threat to humanity throughout the region. “In the most difficult moment, the Vietnamese parliament has made every effort not only to deal with the spread of COVID-19 but also to hold three significant AIPA conferences,” he said, adding that the success of AIPA would not have been possible without excellent management by the AIPA staff of the Vietnamese NA.

Chairman of the Lao National Assembly's External Relations Committee Eksavang Vongvichith spoke highly of this initiative, saying that the Vietnamese NA has been exerting all-out efforts to prepare for the AIPA General Assembly. He said though the pandemic has been posing a remarkable challenge to the organisation of AIPA 41, hosting the General Assembly in the form of teleconference was a timely and wise initiative by the NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and other leaders of the Vietnamese NA.

Deeper engagement of young parliamentarians to AIPA

A resolution on organising annual meetings of young parliamentarians of AIPA under an initiative by Vietnam was approved by the Committee on Organisational Matters of the AIPA 41 on September 9, 2020.

Previously, such an idea was first initiated by NA Chairwoman Ngan in her remarks when assuming the role of the AIPA 41 chair. It had been reiterated in ASEAN Leaders' Interface with Representatives of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly as well as ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Youth within the 36th ASEAN Summit.

During the first ever unofficial meeting of young parliamentarians of AIPA on September 8, young parliamentarians contributed valuable ideas on promoting the participation of young parliamentarians in building the ASEAN Community in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on all spheres of the socio-economic life in the ASEAN member countries.

The meeting proved effectiveness of an official forum for young parliamentarians within the AIPA.

Permanent Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnamese NA Tong Thi Phong highlighted the important role of young parliamentarians who represent nearly 220 million young people in ASEAN.

The young parliamentarians are an important factor to connect youngsters and promote their participation in building the ASEAN Community and realising the goals of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 through the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth for 2016-2020 and the following years, Phong said.

Secretary General of the Cambodian National Assembly Leng Peng Long spoke highly of Vietnam’s initiative to include the discussion of the establishment on the agenda of AIPA-41.

He stressed the necessity for parliaments to issue policies dedicated to youths so as to create favourable conditions for them to get engaged in their national development.

Delivering a speech at the unofficial meeting of AIPA young parliamentarians, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Kung Phoak expressed appreciation to the Vietnamese NA for initiating the meeting.

The official stressed that it is essential for young parliamentarians to lead the people to gain from the regional integration.

2020 marks the third time that the Vietnamese National Assembly has assumed the chairmanship of the AIPA and organised its General Assembly. This is an occasion for Vietnam to perform its role and responsibility in the AIPA and for the country’s NA to enhance its reputation as an active and responsible legislative body. It also promotes Vietnam’s position in the region and the world, especially in the context of the unprecedented pandemic./.