Chairwoman of the Vietnamese NA, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, speaks at a recent meeting in Hanoi concerning the preparation work for the APPF-26. (Photo: VNA)
The APPF made its debut on March 15, 1993 with the aim of building trust among parliaments in the region via the enhancement of dialogues between parliamentarians in the Asia-Pacific region, thereby contributing to regional peace, stability and prosperity.
To date, the APPF has become an important inter-parliamentary forum, with the participation of 27 member parliaments, including many powers such as the United States (US), Russia, China, Japan, Canada and Australia. Especially, in the current context of extensive globalisation, together with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the APPF has demonstrated its role as a crucial dialogue and cooperation mechanism among countries in the region, manifested through some main points as follows:
Firstly, as a representative body that directly reflects voters’ voice, the parliament can exchange and hold dialogues with the intergovernmental cooperation mechanism in order to ensure that the public opinion is taken into account in the implementation of foreign policy. Therefore, the APPF cooperative mechanism contributes significantly to expanding the formalism of countries’ foreign policy, whilst acting as a place to show the voters’ voice and wishes on specific policy issues.
Secondly, the APPF offers a platform for parliamentarians in the region to meet, discuss and seek new approaches to address issues of regional nations’ concern or the differences that can scarcely be handled by countries’ Governments via other channels of cooperation. Through the APPF mechanism, countries in the region can find appropriate cooperative solutions.
Thirdly, parliaments’ deeper involvement in international affairs is seen as an inevitable part of globalisation. More and more issues that require parliaments to consider have originated from the development of international relations. In fact, the expansion and acceleration of foreign affairs of Governments in international organisations have also raised the issue of strengthening inter-parliamentary organisations in order to both support and promote external activities, and strengthen supervision.
Being fully aware of the importance of the close bond between Vietnam and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, over the past 20 years, the Vietnamese NA has made constant efforts to actively and responsibly contribute to the APPF forum’s common concerns. Following the success of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting 2017, the Vietnamese parliament will go on to host the APPF-26. The hosting of the APPF’s annual meeting aims to actively implement Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification, multilateralism, active and proactive international integration, maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, creating favourable conditions for the cause of national construction and protection, and strengthening Vietnam’s position and prestige in the region and in the world,” as set at the 12th National Party Congress. The hosting of the APPF-26 is a significant milestone in the external relations work of the NA (14th tenure), contributing to accentuating the Vietnamese State’s diplomatic achievements. The conference will also be an opportunity to strengthen bilateral diplomacy between the Vietnamese NA and other parliaments in the region and around the world. This is the second time that the Vietnamese NA has hosted the APPF Annual Meeting, following the organisation of the APPF-13 in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province in January 2005, which has demonstrated the Vietnamese parliament’s role and responsibilities in the APPF, whilst transmitting a strong message and an image of a renovated, dynamic, active and responsible Vietnamese parliament.
This APPF-26 holds an important mission in orientating APPF member parliaments towards a vision for the forum and a common future for all sectors with the contribution and creativity of member parliaments, aiming to bring practical benefits to all nations and people. With the theme of "Parliamentary partnership for Peace, Innovation and Sustainable Development,” parliamentarians from Asia Pacific countries will discuss orientations for the forum concerning the key issues as follows:
Firstly, the forum will promote parliamentary diplomacy for peace, security and prosperity in the region and in the world. Parliamentarians will debate important issues related to peace and security in Asia-Pacific, such as the Korean Peninsula situation, maritime security and cybersecurity, with a focus on working out measures to consolidate friendly and cooperative relations, and emphasising the central role of parliamentary diplomacy.
Secondly, the conference will hear the results of the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and discuss economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, whilst sharing parliaments’ views and contributing to the region’s joint efforts towards expanding trade and investment cooperation, peace, stability, prosperity and sustainable development.
Thirdly, the APPF will facilitate cooperation in order to enhance joint action in response to climate change, as well as resources for sustainable development, whilst also promoting cultural and tourism cooperation in the region.
Fourthly, the forum will discuss initiatives to improve the substantive efficiency and the role of the APPF towards peace, cooperation and development in the region as well as throughout the world, focusing on promoting partnerships for sustainable development and growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
Within the framework of the APPF-26, the APPF meeting of women parliamentarians will focus on the theme of "Promoting gender equality for sustainable development and common prosperity”. Gender equity is the no. 1 goal of the 17 sustainable development goals and one of the top priorities for all nations. It is also a benchmark used to evaluate social development and progress.
Finally, in order to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the APPF’s establishment and development, marking a new development stage of the forum, the Vietnamese NA has proposed the draft "APPF Hanoi Declaration – New vision of Asia-Pacific parliamentary partnership”. The Declaration will ensure the legacy of the APEC and match with the declarations having been adopted by the APPF, in order to emphasise the commitments of member parliaments for common goals and interests.
As the host of the APPF-26, the Vietnamese NA is responsible for joining member parliaments to optimally promote the role of the APPF in catalyzing and binding the parties, and to establish its position as a partner with an important voice at other multilateral cooperation forums in the region and in the world. Through hosting the APPF-26, the Vietnamese NA wishes to continue affirming the country’s foreign policy of diversification, multilateralisation and international integration, to be a reliable friend and partner of the international community, and to join APPF member countries to foster a stable, dynamic and cohesive Asia-Pacific community for peace, innovation and sustainable development.