IPU-132: An imprint in Vietnam’s diplomatic history


National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung beat the gong to kick off the 132nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU-132) at the National Assembly House in Hanoi on March 28.

The IPU-132 has great historical and diplomatic significance to Vietnam, representing the Vietnamese National Assembly’s willingness to integrate intensively and extensively to the international community as a responsible member of the global parliamentary union.

In his welcome remarks, State President Truong Tan Sang said over the past 36 years, Vietnam has stood shoulder by shoulder with other IPU members in efforts to strive for common goals on sustainable development, democracy promotion, human right protection, gender equality, children’s rights and other fundamental rights.

Thanks to its 30-year Doi Moi (Renewal) process, Vietnam has risen from a low-income country to a development partner with a dynamic economy and an attractive destination to investors, he noted.

As the host of the IPU-132, Vietnam wishes to work together with other IPU members and the United Nations to build and implement sustainable development goals (SDGs) for a brighter future of humans.

As an active and responsible member of the IPU and other international organisations, Vietnam will do its utmost to, together with the international community, build a world of peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity, he said.

The country also intends to address disputes, including those relating to the East Sea, by peaceful means on the basis of international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and agreements reached by regional countries, he added.

IPU President Saber Chowdhury spoke highly of Vietnam’s thorough preparations for the large-scale diplomatic event, affirming that people’s wellbeing is given a focal position in discussions in the event and pointing to the need to carry out SDGs.

UN Secretary-General Special Adviser Anina J. Mohammed read UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s message which noted that proposed SDGs must not leave anyone behind and that parliaments could support and facilitate discussions on how each country sees its future sustainable development.

When delivering an opening speech, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung said the IPU-132’s theme “The Sustainable Development Goals: Turning words into action” is extremely important at a time when the 15-year 2000-2015 implementation of Millennium Development Goals is about to finish and the United Nations is to adopt an agenda for post-2015 development.

“At this assembly, we, therefore, take responsibility for discussing carefully roles, tasks, and measures of national assemblies and parliaments, to turn ‘words into action’, expedite SDGs, and deliver messages carrying strong commitments of world parliament communities in implementing productively SDGs,” Chairman Hung said.

He emphasised the need to raise awareness and rally social resources, including financial and technical ones, for the implementation and supervision of SDGs contents.

The Chairman expressed his belief that the IPU-132 will accomplish designed agendas, reach a high consensus on adopting the Hanoi IPU Declaration that would present big issues discussed and constitute commitments made by the IPU and its member parliaments to pushing for the development programme after 2015.

He said the document with a clear message on parliament role in implementing the post-2015 development programme that will be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2015 will be a practical contribution to the next phase of development of the international community.

After the opening ceremony, Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung hosed a banquet in honour of participants in the IPU-132.
The IPU-132 brought together over 160 participating international delegations, including those from IPU member parliaments, associate members, and foreign organisations.

Participants will attend 70 sessions, discussing and adopting several draft resolutions on cyber warfare, water governance, and international law in relation with national sovereignty.
It has been nearly 60 years since Vietnam’s National Assembly began to consider joining the IPU in 1957, including more than 20 years seeking international integration. In the past 35 years, since Vietnam became an IPU member, its NA delegation have always attended meetings of the IPU Assembly in a proactive and responsible manner, making active and effective contributions to this global inter-parliamentary forum.
Through the IPU , Vietnam’s National Assembly has established and strengthened bilateral relations with parliaments of other countries. Attending IPU activities is always a top priority of the National Assembly’s diplomatic policy. Vietnam’s National Assembly once assumed the chairmanship of the IPU’s Asia-Pacific geopolitical group and ASEAN+3 group in 2006 and 2010 respectively. At the IPU Assembly in October 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland, the representative of the Vietnamese National Assembly was elected for the first time to the IPU Executive Committee. As a member of the IPU Executive Committee, Vietnam had an opportunity to make direct and substantive contributions to IPU activities as well as shared tasks of the international community.
The 132nd Assembly takes place at a critical time for both the IPU and Vietnam. The IPU is actively re-organising its structure and operations to meet the increasingly higher demands of the people around the world in a more effective manner. These days in the capital Hanoi, there have been numerous meetings where participants have discussed a wide range of issue both global and national, from internet security, water management and international law to national sovereignty, human rights, gender equality, healthcare for mothers and children and HIV/AIDS, among others.
2015 is regarded as a key year where the international community, of which Vietnam is a part, will summarise and evaluate the result of the implementation of Millennium Development Goals and discuss formulating Sustainable Development Goals for the post-2015 period. The main theme of IPU-132 accurately reflects the common concerns of parliamentarians and responsibility of law-makers in shaping the new development framework for the world. The theme “Sustainable development goals: Turning words into action” is an initiative put forward by the host country and endorsed by IPU leadership and member countries.
The 132nd Assembly of the IPU is an important milestone in the diplomatic history of Vietnam, particularly in 2015 as Vietnam marks the anniversary of many significant events.
Hosting the IPU-132 for the first time is an opportunity for Vietnam to learn and share experiences with international friends while introducing and promoting Vietnam’s achievements in its open diplomatic policy. The successful organisation of this event is not only a chance for the people and National Assembly of Vietnam to express friendship, solidarity and cooperation with the world’s people and parliaments but also an opportunity for Vietnam to affirm its position as well as participatory and responsible role in global issues.
After nearly one year of thorough preparations and close cooperation with the IPU Secretariat, Vietnam is entirely ready for the opening of the 132nd IPU Assembly and to welcome international delegates./.
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