ASEAN Law Makers Affirm Support, Partners and Observers Give Their Blessings for ASEAN Community Target in 2015
LOMBOK, 24 September 2012 – After a week of long speeches, intensive discussions, meticulous notes comparison, and serious deliberations, delegates from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Countries concluded the 33rd General Assembly with a well-earned Solidarity Dinner.
Serious and intense legislators finally let their hair down, as each country delegation sang and dance for their fellow delegates, as well as observer countries and organisations, and invited guests. And in equally good spirit of camaraderie, the audience gave every performer a hearty round of applause, complete with loud whistles and cheers.
The evening was not short of glamour. Members of the Women Parliamentarian of AIPA (WAIPA), and spouses of the male delegates turned out in gorgeous Ao Dai, Kebayas, Sarees, and other national dresses.
The dinner is a tradition of the annual AIPA General Assembly, and it is one which delegates enjoy and sometimes “dread”.
“Indonesians and Filipinos are natural entertainers, and they are the “top seeds” of the AIPA entertainers, so we do feel some pressure performing after them,” said a delegate, who obviously does not hail from the “top seeds”.
The event was a well-earned rest and recreation (R&R) for the delegates.
Under the theme “Strengthening the Parliamentarian Roles towards ASEAN Community 2015”, the delegates were focused on the vital role of legislatures in accelerating ASEAN integration efforts and measures to narrow the development gap.
Parliaments are responsible for putting the Ministerial agreements into law, and they form a critical cornerstone in ASEAN’s foundation.
The General Assembly had included Plenary Sessions, Committee Meetings and Dialogues with Observer. Dr Marzuki Alie, the President of AIPA this year and the Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representative was the Chair of the GA.
Reflecting the importance and prominence of ASEAN, the participant of GA was not only confined to delegations from 10 AIPA Member countries, but also attended by observer parliaments from Australia, Belarus, Canada, People’s Republic of China, European Union Parliament, Japan, Republic of Korea an Russian Federation, as well as guests of the host from the ASEAN Secretariat, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), ASEAN Supreme Audit Institution (ASEANSAI), Timor Leste, Pan African Parliament (PAP), Indonesian House of Regional Representatives (DPR RI) and ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN WEN).
The speeches and remarks from the different group of delegates clearly indicated that AIPA is not only expected to communicate the ASEAN vision to the people, many are also counting on them to facilitate early ratification, to enforce and execute the agreements, and to help harmonize legislations and policies in ASEAN. From the series of Committee Meetings, a total of 24 draft resolutions were approved and accepted by the GA.
In the Dialogues with Observers, AIPA and Observer Parliaments, the guests shared ideas and initiatives, as well as enhanced commitments on issues such as “strengthening human resource development and capacity building”; “promoting collaborates research and strategy transfer in agriculture, food and forestry procedure”; “energy issues and environmental aspects”; “strengthening efforts to address climate change adaptation needs”; as well as “increasing Parliamentary Cooperation between AIPA Member Parliaments and Observers”.
The GA also witnessed the handing over of the AIPA gavel by Dr Marzuki, to the incoming President of AIPA, Pehin Dato Haji Isa Ibrahim, President of the National Assembly/Speaker House of Representatives of Brunei Darussalam. The gavel was received by Brunei’s head of delegation, Pehin Dato Hj. Judin Hj. Asar. The 34th GA will take place in Brunei Darussalam on 15-21 September 2013.
*By Danny Lee, Director for Community Affairs Development; & Desi Hanara, AIPA, ASEAN Foundation, AICHR, and Other ASEAN Associated Entities Division; ASEAN Secretariat