VIENTIANE, 23 September 2014 – Taking on the theme “Strengthening Parliamentary Cooperation in the ASEAN Community Building,” the 35th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) was held on 15-19 September in the capital of Lao PDR. It was attended by six Speakers and four Deputy-Speakers of AIPA Member Parliaments, Chairs of Committees of the respective parliaments, and eight Observer Parliaments from Australia, Belarus, People’s Republic of China, India, Japan, Russia, Republic of Korea, and Timor Leste.
H.E. Pany Yathotou, President of the National Assembly of Lao PDR, and President of the 35th AIPA, presided over the General Assembly. In her welcome remarks, she underlined that this year’s theme is pursuant to the current environment where all ASEAN Member States are expediting their efforts towards the establishment of an ASEAN Community to ensure the maximum benefit of the peoples of ASEAN. She further recognised the improvement of coordination between ASEAN and AIPA through the interface between ASEAN Leaders and AIPA, the participation of the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat in AIPA activities, as well as information sharing between ASEAN and AIPA.
H.E. Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of Lao PDR, acknowledged the importance of AIPA’s role in bridging the peoples and governments of ASEAN – considering issues related to the rights and interest of peoples, developing and harmonising legislations among Member States, and considering the ratification of ASEAN agreements.
H.E. Dr AKP Mochtan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, welcomed AIPA’s commitment in the ASEAN community building process, and underlined the importance of demonstrating ASEAN and AIPA’s cooperation to the people so they can appreciate better the symbiotic relationship and contributions of AIPA. Among the suggestions made were to accentuate the name of ASEAN in relevant AIPA activities, and joint activities between the ASEAN Secretariat and AIPA Secretariat.
Throughout the course of five days, Committees on Political, Economic and Social matters deliberated and produced various resolutions for parliamentary cooperation and contribution to the ASEAN community-building through the three ASEAN Community Pillars. Moreover, the Women Parliamentarians of AIPA (WAIPA) aimed to strengthen women parliamentarian’s roles in ASEAN community building efforts in the prevention of discrimination and violence against women and children in ASEAN, and women’s leadership in Southeast Asia. Finally, dialogues with each of the 8 Observer Parliaments were also convened under the topic “New Approach for Cooperation Engagement between AIPA Member Parliaments and Parliaments of Observer Countries.”
At its conclusion, the 35th General Assembly adopted 25 documents (including resolutions from various Committees) and heads of delegations of AIPA Member Parliaments signed the Joint Communique of the 35th General Assembly, witnessed by the President and Secretary-General of AIPA.
In her closing statement, the President of AIPA called on Member Parliaments and Observer countries to intensify efforts to disseminate and turn the numerous resolutions produced in the current and previous General Assemblies into tangible policies that would benefit the peoples of ASEAN. As the Presidency is handed over to Malaysia, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malaysia underscored the parliamentarian’s role to touch base, connect, share and deliver to the people and citizens of the region – so they would see and enjoy the ASEAN Community that has been created.
It was the second time for Lao PDR to host the General Assembly, since becoming a member in 1997 of what was then known as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation (AIPO). Back in 2005, the National Assembly of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic hosted the 26th General Assembly (GA).
The Delegates expressed their appreciation to the President of the 35th AIPA General Assembly, President and Prime Minister of Lao PDR, and the people of Lao PDR for their hospitality. The 36th General Assembly will be held in Malaysia on 6 – 12 September 2015.