Virtual AIPA to cement regional ties

13:33 | 08/09/2020
The 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly will be held virtually for the first time this week, helping to enhance Vietnam’s international prestige.
1508p5 virtual aipa to cement regional ties
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, chair of ASEAN 2020, hosted a dialogue with AIPA representatives within the 36th ASEAN Summit, and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, chair of AIPA 41, attended the dialogue and delivered a message of the AIPA 41 chair, Photo: aipa2020.vn

National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan stated that Vietnam is “determined to successfully organise the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41) on September 8-10 to leave a fine impression on international friends.”

Standing side by side with ASEAN, AIPA plays an essential role in contributing to regional integration and cooperation for the joint development of the bloc’s countries, Ngan added.

“To consolidate solidarity and cooperation among ASEAN, AIPA, and member parliaments will continuously join hands with governments of the association’s member countries in building the ASEAN Community,” she said.

“It will promote its central role in the maintenance of peace and security in the region, and therefore, the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) has decided to choose ‘Parliamentary diplomacy for a cohesive and responsive ASEAN community’ as the theme of AIPA 41.”

In March, NA Chairwoman Ngan sent a letter to leaders of all AIPA member states and the AIPA general secretary, sharing the grief and losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the people of ASEAN. She called on the regional parliaments to uphold the spirit of solidarity in dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Establishment of AIPA

The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) is a regional parliamentary organisation which was formed in 1977 as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO) by the leaders of the parliamentary delegations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand which attended the third ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Conference in the Philippines. In 1995, Vietnam became a member, followed by Laos in 1997, Cambodia in 1999, and Brunei in 2009. At the 27th AIPO General Assembly held in the Philippines in 2006, there was a consensus to transform the organisation into a more effective and closely integrated institution and change the organisation’s name from AIPO to AIPA.

AIPA serves as the centre of communication and information among ASEAN member parliaments. AIPA aims to encourage understanding, cooperation, and close relations among member parliaments as well as observer parliaments and other organisations. AIPA also plays an instrumental role in familiarising the peoples of Southeast Asia with policies aimed at accelerating the realisation of the ASEAN Community.(Source: AIPA Secretariat)

A few weeks ago, the National Steering Committee and the Organising Committee for AIPA 41 launched the website, mobile app, and identity programme of the AIPA Chair Year 2020.

The website, available at aipa2020.vn, and the AIPA 2020 mobile app will provide official news on activities and events held under Vietnam’s chairmanship while enabling the organising board and national secretariats to exchange documents and notifications with members.

NA Chairwoman Ngan noted that, in 2020, Vietnam has taken on the role of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, ASEAN chair, and AIPA chair, adding that all activities within the ASEAN and AIPA chair year have been organised successfully despite the impact of the health crisis.

She underscored that the organisation of AIPA 41 and related activities are a highlight of the foreign relations work of the Vietnamese 14th National Assembly in its role as the AIPA chair for the third time.

Chairwoman Ngan asked the AIPA 41 organising board and its Sub-Committee for Information and Communications to work closely with the AIPA 41 National Secretariat and other sub-committees to add updated information on all AIPA activities and events to the website and app. These moves will highlight Vietnam’s contributions and initiatives during the year, including the organisation of a non-official meeting between AIPA Young Parliamentarians within the AIPA 41 General Assembly.

The legislature leader also co-hosted the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with AIPA representatives in June on the occasion of the 36th ASEAN Summit.

In June and July, the Vietnamese NA successfully chaired the third meeting of the AIPA Advisory Council on Dangerous Drugs and the conference on “Parliamentary Partnership on Educational and Cultural Cooperation for Sustainable Development”. All these events were held online.

Nguyen Van Giau - Chairman, Committee for External Relations National Assembly

1508p5 virtual aipa to cement regional ties

In terms of the relations between AIPA and ASEAN, Vietnam is one of the countries that actively engages in many initiatives. Since the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) began to join AIPA, it has taken positive efforts to boost the relationship between the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO)/AIPA and ASEAN.

During the process of preparing the 23rd AIPO General Assembly in Vietnam in September 2002, the NA’s delegation worked with the secretary-general of ASEAN, underlining the need to establish the relationship between AIPO and ASEAN, frequently exchange documents between both sides, and attend their high-level meetings.

As a result, at the 23rd AIPO General Assembly, for the first time, the deputy secretary-general of ASEAN attended and delivered a speech at a plenum. At the 28th AIPA General Assembly in 2007, the resolution on strengthening the cooperation between AIPA and ASEAN further advanced.

Furthermore, Thailand organised two unofficial meetings between the leaders of the parliaments and governments of ASEAN member states in 2009 within the 16th ASEAN Summit in Vietnam in April. Under the initiative of Vietnam, the first official meeting between AIPA leaders with those of the governments of the states happened on this occasion.

These meetings have since become a periodical event, helping to promote AIPA’s role as an important partner of ASEAN.

The NA has actively been enhancing the relationship between AIPA and the parliaments of ASEAN’s partner nations. In addition, for the first time, NA Chairman Nguyen Van An as AIPA chairman, in 2010 led the AIPA delegation to Japan for a visit this year. He also organised the admission of the Indian Parliament as an observer of AIPA within the 31st AIPA General Assembly in 2010 and assigned NA deputies to partake in study trips in Australia organised by this nation’s Parliament.

As for the AIPA Chair Year 2020, the fact that Vietnam acts as rotative chair of AIPA and ASEAN has and will give the country advantages, contributing to strengthening the country’s position and prestige in the region and the wider world.

The AIPA Chair Year 2020 and AIPA 41 are also a milestone in the external activities of the 14th NA. It contributes to promoting the country’s achievements of state and NA diplomacy.

This will be the third time the Vietnamese legislature will take the role as AIPA chair and organise the AIPA General Assembly, showing its role and responsibility in the Assembly.

Both events are of great importance, as they will offer opportunities to promote the image of the NA among its people and international friends, introduce the country’s socioeconomic development achievements, and Vietnamese cultural colours and people.

The theme of the AIPA chairmanship 2020 is “Parliamentary diplomacy for a cohesive and responsive ASEAN community” which manifests AIPA’s support for ASEAN.

Though the existing pandemic has taken a heavy toll on human lives and economies and is also affecting the AIPA chairmanship 2020, the NA will give its best to weather all difficulties and organise and participate in online meetings and conferences by AIPA, contributing to the success of the country’s AIPA chairmanship 2020.

Over the past 25 years, Vietnam has fully partaken in all AIPA General Assembly meetings since it became the official member of the organisation in 1995. This has reflected the consistent policy of the Party on international integration in synchronously and effectively implementing the legislature’s diplomatic strategy and policies.

By Nguyen Dat

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