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Vietnam demonstrates commitment and responsibility to ensure AIPA success
Hai Yen 21:13, 2021/08/26
Taking part in the AIPA-42 in the virtual format during the pandemic has a significant meaning as this was the first multilateral foreign affairs activity of Vietnam’s 15th National Assembly.

The 42nd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) has wrapped up after three working days [August 23-25], with Vietnam showing strong commitment and responsibility to ensure the event’s success.

Strong engagement

In his welcoming remark to the AIPA-42 General Assembly, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc noted this year’s theme of “Forging parliamentary cooperation in digital inclusion towards ASEAN Community 2025”, induces stronger cooperation among parliaments in ASEAN, with an aim to better realizing the role of legislative bodies, together with executive branches,  to push the digital transformation process forward and ensure digital inclusion among country members.

 NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue at AIPA's closing ceremony. Photos: VNA

“During this difficult and challenging period, parliaments via their AIPA platform would provide the much-needed support for governments’ efforts to lead ASEAN through obstacles and realize the goal of building ASEAN Community by 2025,” Phuc added.

Throughout working sessions under the 42-AIPA, Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Vuong Dinh Hue conveyed a strong message on Vietnam’s commitments in the path towards prosperity. In this context, Vietnam’s NA has been actively working in tandem with other parliaments in the region to support governments in the process of socio-economic development and the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the first day of the AIPA-42, Hue put forth five key points for further discussion.

Firstly, removing legal barriers and improve the quality of online public services to develop e-government, while providing support for the people and businesses in gaining fair access to digital services.

Secondly, narrowing the digital development gap between countries and enhancing digital skills in less developed regions, in turn ensuring equal and sustainable development among ASEAN countries.

Thirdly, mobilizing social resources to promote the digital ecosystem via a public-private partnership, and establishing incubators for digital firms and startups.

Fourthly, supporting initiatives on cyber-security, data privacy, and building public trust in the digital economy.

Fifthly, enhancing cooperation and experience sharing in the development and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and other medicines, while giving governments more powers to respond to the pandemic in a more flexible and efficient manner.

At the first session of Vietnam’s 15th National Assembly, a resolution was adopted to provide the Vietnamese Government with unprecedented instruments to fight the pandemic, even steps that have not been regulated or go against existing legislation.

 AIPA-42 President Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib gives his speech at AIPA's closing ceremony.

AIPA working on current and future challenges

Chairman of the NA Committee for External Relations Vu Hai Ha told the Vietnam News Agency that country members have responded positively to proposals from Vietnam’s delegation, especially in the issues of cyber security protection or job creation for women in the post-Covid-19 pandemic.

“Taking part in the AIPA-42 via teleconference during the pandemic has a significant meaning as this is the first multilateral foreign affairs activity of the Chairman and other senior delegates of the 15th NA,” stated Ha, adding this would help realize the diplomacy vision of the country’s 13th National Party Congress.

“Vietnam’s NA is committed to further strengthening cooperation among members of the AIPA on the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and getting fair access to vaccines,” Ha stated.

Women’s empowerment is a priority on the AIPA agenda and also an issue that Vietnam has been pressing on, President of the Vietnam Women’s Union Ha Thi Nga expressed her delight on the AIPA’s approval of a resolution on women’s empowerment during the post-pandemic.

“This is particularly important as the pandemic, on the one hand, is the catalyst to accelerate digital transformation, but on the other hand is posing huge challenges for women, as many are lacking IT skills and inexperienced to work in an international environment,” Nga told the Vietnam News Agency, not to mention side effects of social networks could make women and girls more susceptible to becoming victims of cybercrimes.

In this context, Nga noted Vietnamese women could share their experience with regional peers as they have been fully committed to anti-pandemic efforts for the past two years.

Nga raised the importance of having a mechanism to help women access information and better understand the State’s support policies.

“In addition, governments should offer support for women to narrow the gender gap in digital technologies, especially in e-commerce or hi-tech farming,” Nga added, saying these are steps to ensure digital inclusion in each country.

Among key steps, Nga expected authorities to continue raising public awareness and changing people’s perception of digitalization and the digital economy; providing training and supporting programs for people and businesses; identifying shortcomings, difficulties, and barriers of each population group in accessing digital technologies.

Reflecting on the success of AIPA-42, Speaker of the Legislative Council of Brunei Darussalam and AIPA-42 President Pehin Dato Abdul Rahman Taib in his exchange with the Vietnam News Agency highlighted efforts of the Vietnam NA to hold the previous AIPA under the online format, an approach which has been taken by Brunei for this year’s event.

Amid serious Covid-19 situation in the region, the fact that AIPA members have gathered showed everyone concern and interest to deal with both current and future challenges for the eventual goal of prosperity for all, he noted.

Vietnam’s NA became a member of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO), AIPA predecessor, on September 19, 1995.

For the past 26 years, the NA has been actively contributing to the development of AIPA and helped strengthen cooperation and friendship between Vietnam and other ASEAN countries, as the bloc is working towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community by 2025.

Under the AIPO/AIPA framework, Vietnam has had opportunities to hold dialogue with other partners, including Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the European Parliament on issues of mutual concern.

The NA has also shared experiences and support for new AIPA members to fully integrate into the organization and in cooperating for the hosting of AIPA in these countries.

Vietnam has been the host country for AIPO 23 (September 8-13, 2002) and AIPA 31 (September 19-25), and AIPA 41 (September 8-10, 2020).

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