Vietnam Conforms to ‘Sustainable Development Agenda’ in IPU’s Hanoi Declaration

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The successful conclusion of 132nd Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) hosted by Vietnam for five days from March 28 to April 1  indicates that the country has come of age in diplomacy and has been well integrated into the international system. The Assembly in Hanoi had the major theme of ‘Sustainable Developmental Goals: Turning Words into Action’. With a multitude of conferences and meetings to be organized before the IPU Parliamentarians could come out with their final declaration was indeed a herculean task. And evidently, the organizational skills and acumen that went into conducting the event without a hitch by Vietnam has been well appreciated by the participating parliamentarians and their countries.

The sustainable development agenda is a much cherished objective shared by people of all nationalities or for that matter is an aspirational goal of entire humanity. It is also the most significant part of United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Therefore, it has rhymed very well with the delegates from 133 countries and 23 international and regional parliamentary organizations that attended the IPU meeting in Hanoi.  Not only the member parliaments committed to   achieve sustainable development goals but also they vowed to protect common interests and work towards maintaining prosperity around the world.

The IPU President Saber Choudhury observed that Vietnam has taken the opportunity as host of the IPU-132 to demonstrate the country’s hospitality and growing development as well as to promote its history and culture to international friends. The focus of attention of IPU encompassed implementing the commitments made in the fields of water resources, cyber security and international law. These were seen as critical issues that would impact the economic growth in the coming years.

The Parliamentarians of the 132nd Assembly committed themselves to work for and promote people-centered sustainable development agenda that took into account removing poverty and eliminating inequalities, realization of human rights and empowerment of individuals. Besides conducting the event smoothly Vietnam   also received accolades for being an exemplary model in terms of poverty reduction, disaster mitigation, sustainable development and its progress in matters pertaining to climate change.

Another important facet of the deliberations by assembly’s was meetings of various organizations, including standing committees on peace and international security; on finance and trade; on United Nations affairs and meeting of women parliamentarians as well as forum of young parliamentarians of the IPU which focused on relevant subjects and reached a consensus on the agenda. Speeches of participants also underlined the needs for close cooperation between state members’ assemblies and countries and reinvigorate the roles of assemblies in the implementation of "The goal of sustainable development, turning words into actions".

The Vietnamese representatives called for a stronger commitment from all nations to avoid the use of cyber warfare, and urged the United Nations to build an international convention ensuring cyber security and safety.  Contribution by Vietnamese representatives to the adoption of a draft resolution on international law relating to national sovereignty and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and human rights was quite significant. Vietnam is also making more   efforts to increase the female involvement in political spheres, combat gender inequality and violence against women and children and integrate gender-based issues into the legal system. Success of IPU-132 and Vietnam’s role in the same was not only lauded by the President IPU but also found positive resonance with the other attendees.  Vietnam played an important role in the agenda, preparations, session discussions and sideline events. The logistic efforts required for such a gargantuan event were mind boggling but Vietnam was able to handle the same very efficiently and effectively. Without doubt the event also contributed towards strengthening relations between the National Assembly of Vietnam and other parliaments. 

Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung observed that the IPU-132 will be useful for the Vietnamese NA in policymaking and oversight of important national issues. The Vietnamese approach to IPU was geared towards promoting bilateral and multilateral relations. The event also exhibited Vietnam’s continued stress on positive external policies that were outlined during the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam.  

India, the largest parliamentary democracy in the world was represented by the Speaker of Indian Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan. She also took the opportunity to meet s a number of top leaders of Vietnam, including the General Secretary of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and Chairman of National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung. They exchanged views on how to strengthen their   bilateral relationship and add more weight to the   strategic partnership between the two countries. Vietnam also backed India’s Act East policy and comprehensive connectivity with Southeast Asia.   Sumitra Mahajan was very appreciative of the way the IPU was organized and conducted by Vietnam.

Both sides agreed to the need for the Indian legislature to back stronger partnerships across economics, trade, investment, tourism, science, technology, education and training, national defence and security, people-to-people exchanges, and cooperation at multilateral platforms.

Hosting of 132nd IPU Assembly by Vietnam is a significant diplomatic event that reflects the capabilities of Vietnam; a number of ideas and proposals that were thrown up at the deliberations now need to be converted into action.  

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Author: Brig (rtd) Vinod Anand