IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron, IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong and former IPU President Saber Chowdhury were in Hanoi recently to attend the 26th session of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, held from 18-20 January 2018.
“If we are to change the world, we have to start through our own communities.” These were the words of Ms. Cuevas Barron, addressing the opening session. Ms. Cuevas Barron pointed to current challenges the world is facing, such as climate change, terrorism and hate speech, challenges that could be faced through partnership, cooperation and diplomacy. She stressed that parliamentarians “have a responsibility to find solutions”. She said that as legislators, parliamentarians had the capacity to ratify the international agreements that their countries had signed up to, improve laws and design better policies. “It is our duty to turn the SDGs and international agreements on climate change and migration into actions. We need to push for better and more implementation. We need to change everyone’s reality if we are to change the world.”
Mr. Chungong and Mr. Chowdhury also addressed sessions of the two-day gathering. Mr. Chungong spoke on the implementation of the SDGs at a session on enhancing joint action responding to climate change. “The SDGs and the sustainable development agenda as a whole give parliaments the opportunity to prove their legitimacy and respond adequately to the challenge of delivering on their peoples’ expectations,” he said. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put parliaments and their members on the map, to prove that they are relevant.”
Mr. Chowdhury, in his address to the first plenary session, stressed the importance of parliamentary diplomacy in bringing people together.
The Hanoi Declaration adopted at the end of the proceedings calls for increased multilateral cooperation, especially in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The Declaration encourages the growing participation of youth, women and indigenous communities in political, economic and cultural spheres. The IPU welcomes the decision to institutionalize a women parliamentarians’ forum within the APPF. The IPU is committed to assisting parliaments in the region in promoting the “responsible parliamentary partnership towards a shared Asia-Pacific community’s future of peace, stability, innovation, interconnected and sustainable development.”