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Impetus for sustainable development
On April 1, hundreds of Vietnamese and international journalists gathered at the My Dinh National Convention Centre in Hanoi to witness a very important event: the successful conclusion of the IPU-132 under the theme ‘Sustainable Development Goals: Turning Words into Action’, achieving meaningful outcomes for the future development of the world. Being held in Hanoi for the first time, the event attracted the participation of leaders of National Assemblies and parliamentarians from around the world. They discussed and adopted the Hanoi Declaration during the last plenary session, which covered results of the IPU-132’s discussions, reflecting the vision, commitments and actions of member parliaments for sustainable development, for the interests of people and nations, and for enhanced global co-operation.
Plenary sessions and thematic sessions of the IPU-132 focused their discussions on hot topics relating to the use of water resources; international law, the protection of national sovereignty and human rights; improving the health of women, adolescents and children; and democracy in the digital era and the threat to privacy and individual freedom, among others.
It can be seen that all member states of the IPU reaffirmed their vision of people-centred sustainable development based on the respect of all human rights, to eradicate poverty in all its forms, and eliminate inequalities, thus empowering all individuals to exercise their full potential. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to fully observe the Charter of the United Nations and international law. In addition, the event also provided a good opportunity for all member countries to share their ideas and experience in order to solve problems related to sustainable development, social harmony, the preservation of cultural identity, environmental protection, and others.
From the Hanoi Declaration, the first task of over 160 member countries is to continue to realise the responsibility of fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, building a development agenda after 2015 in order to create a momentum for the sustainable development of each country as well as international economic integration and co-operation. Gender equality and women’s empowerment was at the top of the agenda at the IPU-132. IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong emphasised that 2015, which marks 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on gender equality and women’s empowerment, is a key year to look back at what has been done and renew commitments in the field.
He noted that despite global efforts to tackle related issues, the rate of women in leadership positions remains low. By January 2015, only 22% of the world’s parliamentary seats were held by women and only 19 countries had women serving as Head of State or Government. He expressed his hope that the gender issue would take a significant place in the world agenda and called for male world leaders, particularly those in Parliaments, to play a greater role in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
IPU leaders and many international parliamentarians were impressed with the fact that 25% of deputies in the Vietnamese NA are women as well as the country’s commitment to raise this figure to 30% in the coming years. When addressing the 21st Meeting of the Women Parliamentarians at the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Hanoi on March 28, Chairman of the Vietnam National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung, who was elected President of the 132nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU-132), stressed that the Constitution and the Law on Gender Equality of Vietnam recognised equal rights for both male and female citizens in all areas of society.
Realisation of development goals
Delegates at sessions of the 132nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU-132) have agreed on the necessity of improving the role and responsibility of parliaments in promoting the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next 15 years, as well as focusing on the role and missions of parliaments to turn words into action for realising the SDGs.
The lawmakers also recommended increasing the role of parliament and parliamentarians via promulgating, amending and supplementing legal documents relevant to SDG implementation, as well as in making decisions on socio-economic development agenda and the national budget to realise the SDGs.
IPU President Saber Chowdhury said the success of the IPU-132 expands partnership among IPU members. He also spoke highly of Vietnam’s preparations for IPU-132 and showed his positive impression of contribution made by Vietnam NA’s committees to fulfilling contents of the Hanoi Declaration.
The adoption of the new post-2015 development agenda and its sustainable development goals in September 2015 will afford a unique opportunity to meet global challenges, using a universal, integrated approach that will apply to all countries and link poverty eradication to sustainable development.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Sung said the Hanoi Declaration will be submitted to the Summit of the United Nations General Assembly this September, laying a foundation for parliaments to suggest ideas to realise SDGs, contributing to peace, friendship and cooperation among countries, parliaments and advancing the next development step in the international community beyond 2015.
Good weather in Hanoi in recent days created favourable conditions for the organisation of important activities during the IPU-132, as well as dozens of important bilateral activities between the Vietnamese NA and parliaments from other countries and international organizations. NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung and top leaders of the Party and State hosted receptions for many international delegations, including those that had supported Vietnam during the resistance wars for independence and freedom in the past, as well as in the national construction and defence cause today.
Gong echoes in Dien Hong Conference at Ba Dinh historic square will forever resound with the success of the IPU-132, leaving fine impressions on international friends, members of parliaments from 133 countries and 23 international and regional parliamentary organisations.