|National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan opens the APPF Meeting of Women Parliamentarians which takes place in Hanoi on January 18.
It is reflected by its efforts to strive for gender equality and promote parliamentary ties for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The meeting took place at a time when the world was witnessing substantial and drastic changes and complex security issues, which can impact peace and stability across the globe, including in Asia-Pacific. Despite that, cooperation for peace, security, sustainable development and inclusive growth remains a prevailing trend. The Asia-Pacific region, since the first Annual Meeting of the APPF in 1993, has been the most dynamic engine of the global growth and among those at the front lines of implementing the SDGs.
Vietnam, as a member of the parliamentary community engaging with the SDGs, realised the need to enhance the role of parliamentarians - the people’s elected representatives - and cement cooperation between parliaments to contribute to peace, innovation and sustainable development for almost 3 billion people living in 27 APPF member countries.
Promoting gender equality for sustainable development
Gender equality was again the main topic of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians that kicked off a series of meetings during the APPF-26 in Hanoi from January 18-21. As gender inequality has been one of the most fundamental challenges confronting the region, achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls will require vigorous efforts, including in lawmaking, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.
Initiated by Indonesia at the APPF-23, the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians was first held during the APPF-24 in Canada in 2016 with theme “Women’s participation in public life”.
This year’s host Vietnam initiated debates on promoting gender equality for sustainable development and shared prosperity to address links between gender equality and sustainable development and reflect the determination to “turn words into actions”, inspired by the IPU Hanoi Declaration adopted at the 132nd International Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Assembly in Vietnam in 2015.
Gender equality is a consistent policy of Vietnam as the country’s Constitution and Law on Gender Equality acknowledges equal rights in all aspects for all citizens, men and women alike; and the Vietnam National Assembly has contributed to realizing gender equality goals, said NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in her opening remarks.
“Parliamentarians play a crucial role in translating the SDGs into legislation and policies, and in integrating them into national development plans with country-specific goals.”
“The new development of the agenda is what I qualify as a one-in-a-life-time opportunity for parliaments to deliver on the expectation of the people because it identifies the need and challenges facing the people. And parliaments and parliamentarians who are representatives of the people should be at the forefront of giving concrete actions and taking concrete measures to implement the agenda,” he noted.
“They have to translate this commitment into national policies and legislation. They have to provide the resources for implementing these policies. They have to make sure the governments are held to contribute for the implementation of the commitment.”
Parliamentary partnership is even more important as it creates opportunities for free discussions based on a long-term perspective in consideration of its people, and on specific policies, according to Yasuhiro Nakasone, Honourary President of the APPF.
The Resolution on the Role of the APPF in promoting partnership for sustainable development and inclusive growth in Asia-Pacific, sponsored by Vietnam and Japan, was among 14 resolutions adopted in the APPF-26.
It called on the APPF member parliaments to encourage their governments to initiate roadmaps and propose ideas to realise commitments aimed at sustainable and inclusive growth, including the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the APEC Action Agenda on Promoting economic, financial and social inclusion.