The 28th General Assembly
24 August 2007
THE TWENTY-EIGHT AIPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
19 – 24 August 2007
SUMMARY OF STATEMENTS AND RESOLUTIONS
The 28th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) was held from 19 to 24 August 2007 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was presided by H.E. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri DiRaja Ramli bin Ngah Talib, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malaysia in his capacity as the President of AIPA. A Joint Communiqué reflecting the outcome of the General Assembly was signed on Thursday, 23 August 2007 by the Heads of Delegation of AIPA Member Countries.
The President of AIPA, H.E. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri DiRaja Ramli bin Ngah Talib in his Welcome Address said that the hosting of the 28th AIPA General Assembly was a double honour for Malaysia as it coincided with the 50th anniversary of the country’s nationhood and the 30th anniversary of AIPO. He commended AIPA for its commitment to democracy and reiterated the key role being played by ASEAN parliamentarians in consolidating the foundation of the State, sanctifying the sovereignty of the people as an absolute concept, and providing the vital link between the people and the State. He urged AIPA to reposition itself in coping with the challenges and opportunities of regional integration consistent with AIPA’s aspiration to build an ASEAN Community based upon the solid foundation of justice, equality, equal opportunities and respect for human rights. He hoped that a joint determination to work towards building an ASEAN Community will enable the people of Southeast Asia to be truly a part of the ASEAN Community.
The Keynote Address was delivered by the Honourable Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia who later officially declared open the 28th AIPA General Assembly.
The Prime Minister said that the change from AIPO to AIPA was in line with the dynamic changes taking place with the ASEAN countries being on the threshold of transformation from an association of regional countries into an ASEAN Community of nations. The objective of the transformation is to make ASEAN more effective in keeping the peace and stability of the region and make ASEAN more dynamic in supporting the efforts of its members to bring greater prosperity to their respective peoples. To be a true community, the ASEAN Community must be ‘people-centred’. It was therefore timely that AIPA should also be focusing on activities and programmes which would bring ASEAN closer to the people.
The Prime Minister informed the Assembly that ASEAN Member Countries were putting the finishing touches to the ASEAN Charter which he expected would be adopted soon, and advised that AIPA move in tandem. He was convinced that the Charter embodying fundamental principles, goals, objectives and structures of ASEAN cooperation would be capable of meeting the needs of the future ASEAN Community based on three fundamental principles of non-violation of community rules; enforcement of community decisions; and the development as well as adherence to common community values.
He spoke on the significance of the Cebu Declaration of 2007 entitled “Towards One Caring and Sharing Community” which emphasized the need to reduce poverty, protect the rights of children and women, improve education and cherish the environment leading to closer integration by 2015.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed Malaysia’s full commitment towards strengthening ASEAN as a regional organization and achieving its vision of establishing the ASEAN Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community by 2015. He again emphasized the need to further strengthen existing cooperation among AIPA members in order to keep pace with the developments taking place in ASEAN.
STATEMENTS BY LEADERS OF DELEGATION
- Kingdom of Cambodia
H.E. Samdech Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodiastated that Parliament had been mandated to present the common goals of the people for consideration and to seek comprehensive resolutions for peace, stability and prosperity in the region. On the theme of the 28th AIPA General Assembly, “ASEAN Community: A People’s Community”, he was convinced that the representatives of the people of ASEAN shall be in agreement and ready to live under the umbrella of one regional charter to strengthen peace, security, regional cooperation, social justice, economic development and human rights.
- Republic of Indonesia
In his statement, H.E. H.R. Agung Laksono, Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, said that the transformation of AIPO along with the amendment of its Statute is in the common interest of its members to strengthen AIPO in order to respond to the challenges facing the region. He urged AIPA members to remain steadfast at working towards the establishment of an ASEAN Parliament. He acknowledged the importance of the active participation of the parliament of each Member Country and the support of AIPA to realize the ASEAN Community by the year 2015 with its three pillars of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and ASEAN Security Community. On the issue of democracy and the promotion of human rights, he emphasized the need for AIPA Member Countries to encourage Thailand to expedite its general election and to persuade Myanmar to implement fully the roadmap to democracy and national reconciliation.
- Lao People’s Democratic Republic
H.E. Mr. Thongsing Thammavong, President of the National Assembly of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic briefly mentioned the transformation of AIPO to AIPA, and the need to address challenges faced by all members such as the high oil prices, the threat of pandemic diseases, currency fluctuations and global warming. He added that AIPA’s role should conform to ASEAN’s directives and general principles, and that ASEAN’s immediate priorities should focus on boosting economic growth, improving the living conditions of the people, and narrowing the development gap. He expressed appreciation of AIPA’s efforts to regularize AIPA-ASEAN relationship. He referred to the Lao National Assembly’s active participation and contributions to AIPA activities and pledged to further enhance parliamentary cooperation.
- Republic of the Philippines
H.E. Jose de Venecia Jr, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, felt it timely that ASEAN consider an ASEAN Legislature and that AIPA Member Countries should support the establishment of an ASEAN Parliament for inclusion in the ASEAN Charter as part of the vision of an ASEAN Community. He mentioned that Europe, Latin America and Africa already have their regional parliaments. He commended the transformation of AIPO to AIPA. On environmental degradation he mentioned the Philippines’ efforts at managing the problem by a proposal to plant one billion trees in the Philippines and ten billion trees for Southeast Asia to be funded by carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol as well as by national budgets and official development assistance to solve the problem of clean drinking water, irrigation, droughts, floods, and ecological imbalance. He also proposed the creation of an Asian Monetary Fund to augment and complement the IMF considering that Asia’s funds and exchange reserves are now larger than those of the G8 countries. He called upon AIPA Member Countries to initiate cooperative agreements and linkages with the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization led by Russia, Chinaand the Central Asia Republics, as well as the SAARC states of South Asia, to contain terrorists and strengthen the moderates in addition to developing economic joint ventures.
- Republic of Singapore
In his address, the Speaker of the Singapore House of Parliament, H.E. Abdullah Tarmugi, observed that AIPA Parliamentarians have an important role to play in forging closer ties between ASEAN and its peoples as ASEAN moves towards becoming a more people-centred regional entity. He underscored the fact that the grouping involved in the creation of the ASEAN Community is made up of those from diverse political, governing and legal systems. Hence, he felt it necessary that the inspirations and concerns of the peoples of ASEAN, which include the process to establish an ASEAN Parliament, be dealt with using realistic, workable and acceptable solutions, agreed upon by all AIPA members. He was of the view that ASEAN is faced with diverse obstacles which not only come in the form of greater economic competition, but also the threat of terrorism, climate change and hazardous bio-threats. He was of the view that ASEAN would be able to overcome these challenges if Member Countries maintain the resolve and optimism to address these challenges collectively.
- Kingdom of Thailand
H.E. General Charan Kullavanijaya, First Vice President of the Thai National Legislative Assembly stated that for the past 30 years AIPO had been a great avenue for members of parliament to exchange ideas and views in contributing towards ASEAN’s stability and to promote better democratic governments. He reiterated that AIPA’s role should be more relevant after the adoption of the ASEAN Charter which would bring ASEAN to newer heights and better regional integration. The ASEAN Charter, among others, should promote regional stability and the protection of human rights as well as the promotion of a people-oriented community. He stressed that Thailand has always shown firm support and commitment to AIPA, and that Thailand is actively participating with other nations to address global issues such as climate change and human rights.
- Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
In his address, the President of the National Assembly of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Phu Trong said that the General Assembly is a good opportunity to review intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary cooperation. In so doing, AIPA Member Countries could better understand the successes and constraints faced by individual countries so as to facilitate joint efforts towards the common goals set by the ASEAN Leaders. He expressed satisfaction that the drafting of the ASEAN Charter is on track. The Charter is an important step forward to further strengthen regional integration and linkages. He stressed that by working in tandem with their respective governments, the legislative branch of parliament of the ASEAN countries had made considerable contributions towards regional cooperation. He pointed out that regional integration requires closer cooperation between the executive and legislative as well as greater participation of the peoples of ASEAN. He believed that the 28th AIPA General Assembly would come up with more initiatives in that direction, contributing more significantly to the community-building process in ASEAN.
The Head of Delegation from Malaysia, Hon Datuk Lim Si Cheng, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malaysia underlined the importance of social fabric in the process of creating the ASEAN Community. He regarded the problem of poverty as a stumbling block in the creation of the ASEAN Community and referred to the comparative success of Malaysia in overcoming the problem. On this score, Datuk Lim highlighted successes achieved by Malaysia as outlined in the report of the UN Millennium Project in the area of farm productivity, transformation of the Malaysian economy from one of rural agriculture and primary commodity into manufacturing and services as well as achievements in public health, literacy, nutrition, maternal survival and family planning. In the spirit of cooperation towards the betterment of the ASEAN Community, Malaysia is willing to share with all other ASEAN Member Countries its successful experience in the reduction of poverty.
STATEMENTS BY LEADERS OF SPECIAL OBSERVERS
- Brunei Darussalam
The Hon. Pengiran Indera Mahkota Pengiran Anak (Dr) Kemaludin al-Haj, Head of Delegation and Speaker of the Brunei Darussalam Legislative Council in his speech reminded delegates of the need to work closely to address the challenges confronting ASEAN although the Organization had made great strides in the effort to achieve the ASEAN Community by 2015. AIPA as the representative of the people can play a role in helping to realize this vision. This could be achieved through the sharing of information and exchange of ideas on issues of common concerns such as climate change, environmental issues and sustainable development, which are important for the future generation of ASEAN.
- Union of Myanmar
H.E. U Tin Latt, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar representing the Union of Myanmar, expressed confidence that closer cooperation among the representatives of ASEAN parliamentarians and legislative members would promote greater participation of the ASEAN people in the pursuit of building an ASEAN community. The Ambassador also hoped that AIPA would continue to foster greater understanding, cooperation and goodwill among the people of Southeast Asia to preserve peace, stability, resilience and progress in ASEAN. He also expressed confidence that AIPA could play a meaningful role in the efforts to establish a peaceful, prosperous just and equitable ASEAN community.
The 28th AIPA General Assembly unanimously adopted several Resolutions on Political, Economic, Social, Organizational and WAIPA matters as well as Reports on Dialogues with Observer Countries.
The 28th AIPA General Assembly adopted the following resolutions on political matters:
- Resolution on Adopting the Report of the Philippine Delegation on the 12th ASEAN Summit held in Cebu City, Philippines on 13 January 2007.
The Report on the 12th ASEAN Summit by Philippines delegation was adopted without further debate.
- Resolution on the High Level Task Force Report on the ASEAN Charter.
The Report on the Dialogue Session between AIPA and the High Level Task Force on the Drafting of the ASEAN Charter by AIPA Delegation was adopted without further debate.
- Resolution on the Establishment of an AIPA Caucus
The General Assembly concurred to establish the AIPA Caucus as a mechanism to establish regular interaction among AIPA Member Countries and for them to utilize linkages, promote information sharing and exchanges with the mandate to develop common legislative initiatives with the objective of the harmonization of AIPA legislations. The Caucus shall meet as often as necessary as directed by the President of AIPA and its recommendations shall be presented to the AIPA Executive Committee for the consideration and adoption of the AIPA General Assembly.
- Resolution on Harmoni-zation of Laws to Combat the Drug Menace
The General Assembly in recognizing the importance of joint efforts to combat and totally eradicate illegal drug trafficking and their ill effects. It further recognizing the need for an intense drug awareness campaign in all ASEAN countries, the importance of legislations and parliaments in contributing to the prevention and prosecution of drug trafficking as well as the need for harmonized legislation to combat the drug menace; agreed that the AIPO Fact-Finding Committee (AIFOCOM) established in 2001 shall undertake to make an assessment of existing legal frameworks in ASEAN countries as well as give due importance to developing common legislative initiatives to realize the objective of harmonized legislation on combating the drug menace in the ASEAN countries.
- Resolution on Harmoni-zation of Laws to Combat Trafficking in Persons
The General Assembly recognizing the need for parliamentarians to complement current efforts in combating trafficking in persons, urged that the AIPO Expert Working Group proposed under a resolution on Legal Cooperation to Combat Trafficking in Persons adopted at the previous 27th General Assembly be immediately set up to assess existing legal frameworks, develop a regional strategy on legal cooperation including information exchange as well as capacity building, and develop the necessary common legislative initiatives for the realization of harmonized legislations to combat the trafficking in persons.
- Resolution on Regional Maritime Security and Anti-Piracy Cooperation
In recognizing that piracy poses a threat to maritime security which is an indispensable condition for the welfare, security, stability and economic security of the ASEAN region, the General Assembly called upon all AIPA Member Countries to reaffirm their commitment to prosecute perpetrators of acts of piracy and other trans-border maritime related crimes in accordance with their relevant domestic and international laws, enhance bilateral and multilateral maritime cooperation to combat piracy through measures which include the increase of personnel, exchange of information and the conduct of anti-piracy exercises.
- Resolution on ASEAN Extradition Treaty
The General Assembly called upon all AIPA Member Countries to compare notes and exchange information in order to harmonize substantial and procedural provisions of their respective laws on extradition and further urged them to fully support the proposal to formulate an ASEAN Extradition Treaty so as to effectively combat trans-national criminal offences.
- Resolution on Enhancing AIPA’s role and contribution to the ASEAN Charter
Noting that the ASEAN Charter is expected to be adopted at the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore in November 2007, the General Assembly urged the High Level Task Force drafting the ASEAN Charter to make unequivocal, clear and specific mention that AIPA will play a more effective role in legislative, consultation and formulation of an ASEAN Community. The General Assembly recommended that AIPA members be involved in the process of drafting the Charter through close consultations with their respective governments so as to enhance the parliamentary inputs into this historic document, and encouraged AIPA Members to do their best to facilitate the ratification, approval and implementation of the ASEAN Charter once it is adopted by the ASEAN Summit.
The 28th AIPA General Assembly adopted the following resolutions on economic matters:
- Resolution on Food Security and the Right to Food
The General Assembly urged AIPA Member Countries to agree on what food security collectively means and to list all food items important to each country so that regional complementation, integration and cooperation programmes under the auspices of ASEAN can be promoted. In encouraging the allocation of adequate budgetary resources for research and development in agricultural technology to increase food production, the General Assembly called upon AIPA Member Countries to ensure the successful implementation of the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) and to support collaboration with institutions of higher learning on research related to the right to food and food security for the ASEAN region.
- Resolution on Economic Integration
On economic integration the General Assembly encouraged member countries to speed up infrastructure development such as rail-links e.g. Singapore-Kunming, highways, water links, air links and cyber links to facilitate the economic development and integration in the ASEAN region. It further encouraged ASEAN governments to adopt a multi-speed, multi-track and market-friendly plan whereby the more developed member countries could start working together on selected common issues with a view for the less developed to join later.
- Resolution on Narrowing the Economic Gap between ASEAN members
Aware of the need for the more developed countries to assist the less developed, the important role of the ASEAN Development Fund (ADF) in financing programmes to reduce the development gap between ASEAN members, the need to give priority to the financing for infra-structure and human resource development for CLMV countries, and realizing that financial and trade liberalization measures could increase the regional economic capacity that would benefit Member Countries in the long term thus narrowing the economic gap between the original and new Member Countries; the General Assembly urged all AIPA Member Countries to continue to increase intra-ASEAN trade and foreign direct investment by bringing together regional business communities as well as develop economic value chains for the twelve priority sectors. The General Assembly further urged the promotion of cooperation on issues of common concern such as the fight against pandemic diseases and the protection from natural disasters since the worst victims are the marginalized and the poor, and that addressing these issues would positively impact on reducing inequality among Member Countries.
- Resolution on Energy Security
Concerned that the need to secure energy resources will contribute to more intense future rivalry among powerful nations of the world, and convinced that sharing and co-developing new technology for renewable energy sources should be the way forward, the General Assembly called on AIPA Member Countries to encourage greater involvement of the private sector and institutions of higher learning on the development of new technologies for the creation of renewable and alternative energy sources. It also encouraged ASEAN governments to have greater infusion of funds for energy saving programmes and to promote greater awareness among its citizens to conserve energy
- Resolution on Intellectual Property Rights
The General Assembly in reaffirming the importance of cooperation in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the conduct of trade and in the flow of investment among the ASEAN Member Countries, urged AIPA Member Countries to foster and strengthen intellectual property in all fields including administration and legislation, promoting human resource development, public awareness, cooperation with the private sector and information exchanges. It further encouraged Member Countries to position Intellectual Property as a key business infrastructure to strengthen the knowledge economy by facilitating the efficient creation, exploitation, valuation, protection, trading and management of intellectual capital in the conduct of business.
- Resolution on Agricultural Marketing Information System in ASEAN Agricultural Sector
Recognizing that the majority of AIPA member countries are agrarian societies and that dissemination of marketing information through information technology plays a significant role in marketing agricultural products, the General Assembly urged AIPA Member Countries to make available accurate and up-to-date information on their domestic agricultural marketing so that efficient marketing actions could be implemented with the long term objective of lowering the price of agricultural products supplied to all the citizens of ASEAN. The General Assembly further called upon Member Countries to extend their fullest cooperation to ensure the successful implementation of the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) and to make full use of AFSIS to enhance the overall efficiency of the region’s agricultural market. Member Countries were encouraged to also create an environment where marketing information collected could be disseminated in a form accessible to farmers and in accordance to their needs.
- Resolution on Alternative Energy
The General Assembly in recognizing the limited and depleting global reserves of fossil energy and the volatility of world fuel oil prices, surging global energy consumption demands and the race for larger and newer energy sources in meeting the growing economy as well as economic development in ASEAN, called on AIPA Member Countries to create greater awareness on the energy situation and the usefulness of alternative energy as well as the promotion of cleaner and lower emissions technologies. The General Assembly also encouraged greater public and private sector involvement in research, investment, optimum production and utilization of geo-thermal, hydro-power, solar power and bio-fuels from sugarcane, palm, coconut and Jatropha curcas as the renewable and alternative sources of energy for the region. It further urged the governments of ASEAN countries to implement regional energy infrastructures such as the ASEAN Power Grid and the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline to ensure regional energy security besides adopting comprehensive and effective policies and measures on energy security, and to work closely with the private sector and regional partners on research and innovative financing schemes to ensure sustainable supplies of energy and also contribute to global climate change abatement.
- Resolution on Reaffirming the Call for Debt-For-Equity in United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UN-MDG) Proposal to Reduce Poverty by 2015.
In expressing appreciation for the support of the ASEAN leaders at the CEBU ASEAN Summit for the global debt-for-equity anti-poverty proposal especially the initiative to convert part of the foreign currency debt for massive reforestation and water resource development degradation; the General Assembly urged ASEAN leaders to bring this debt-for-equity proposal to the attention of the G-8 countries and the Paris Club for their urgent consideration and positive response.
- Resolution Urging ASEAN Countries to Undertake Studies for the Creation of an Asian Monetary Fund
Recognizing the recent successes of Asian bonds and swap arrangements among me Asian central banks as movements toward an Asian monetary vehicle, the General Assembly urged ASEAN countries to undertake studies leading to the creation of an Asian Monetary Fund whose objectives is to mitigate the negative effects on member countries arising from the shock of any future financial crisis; explore schemes such as currency swaps whereby an ASEAN member hit by foreign exchange crisis could borrow foreign currency from another country to bolster its reserves until the crisis had passed, and provide guidelines so that the ASEAN Monetary Fund will not compete, but will complement and augment the work and function of the International Monetary Fund.
The following resolutions on social matters were adopted by the 28th AIPA General Assembly.
- Resolution on the Role of Parliamentarians in building an ASEAN Community
In acknowledging that it is crucial for the voices of parliamentarians to be heard and duly channeled in the building of an ASEAN Community, the General Assembly appealed to all ASEAN countries to strengthen inter-parliamentary collaborations and participation with a view to enhancing the parliamentarians’ role as an effective vehicle for the pursuit and realization of the vision of an ASEAN Community. The General Assembly also encouraged AIPA Member Countries to provide continued commitment and support for all efforts aimed at promoting greater people-to-people contacts and exchanges, consistent with the objective of building the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community by 2015. The resolution also urged all AIPA Member Countries to formulate appropriate strategies and undertake measures to ensure the continuous active participation of ASEAN parliamentarians in the process of building the ASEAN Community.
- Resolution on Environ-mental Management and Biodiversity Conservation
The General Assembly in noting that sustainable management of the environment and biodiversity conservation is crucial in addressing the problem of environmental degradation and related issues, appealed to all AIPA Member Countries to strengthen cooperation in the effort to promote and implement national environmental laws, agreements and treaties within ASEAN. It encouraged all AIPA Member Countries to continue working towards implementing effective sustainable environmental policies within their respective countries; and urged all AIPA Member Countries to support institutional research and development programmes to enhance awareness and capacity building, and promote institutional networking with other regional and international environmental agencies. The General Assembly further appealed to all Member Countries to adopt a more comprehensive approach in managing environmental pollution, to establish an early warning system, and to form linkages and solicit assistance from the developed countries in the prevention of environmental degradation and the promotion of biodiversity conservation.
- Resolution on Research Cooperation for the Future Direction of AIPA
The General Assembly in acknowledging that AIPA Member Countries need to focus on the elimination of potential conflicts in Southeast Asia as its primary responsibility and to soften the effects of actual conflicts by further strengthening national and regional resilience through closer political, economic, socio-cultural, educational and research cooperation, called on AIPA Member Countries to acknowledge that the changes taking place in the world today and the emergence of the Pacific Rim as the “growth region of the future” have brought about new challenges and opportunities for ASEAN. The General Assembly encouraged all member countries to promote investment opportunities in ASEAN, adopt measures that would attract foreign direct investments into the region, and encourage greater intra-ASEAN trade and investments. It further urged member countries to reaffirm the importance of political, economic, socio-cultural, educational and research cooperation in enhancing the quality of life as well a fostering peace, security and stability in the region.
- Resolution on Educational Cooperation in Human Resource Development among AIPA Member Countries
The General Assembly appealed to AIPA Member Countries to build a strong ASEAN Community through cooperation in education with special focus on promoting educational development to enhance “AEAN-ness”, building a “life long learning society” and “Education for all in ASEAN”, strengthening capacity building through teachers, staff and students exchange programmes, providing scholarships for students from secondary schools to graduate studies in order to harmonize educational standards and prepare for the future ASEAN leadership having common ASEAN values, promote Information and Communication Technology. It also appealed to Member Countries to promote studies on ASEAN in institutions of learning; and strengthen existing network of institutions of learning with a view to ultimately establish the ASEAN University. The General Assembly further urged AIPA Member Countries to establish a working committee to study the proposals and make recommendations at the next session of the AIPA General Assembly.
- Resolution on Food Safety
The General Assembly appealed to all AIPA Member Countries to establish a platform to seek necessary and updated scientific information on risk assessment principles to support the harmonization process of food safety standards in ASEAN countries; encouraged all AIPA Member Countries to share their respective experience and progress in their harmonization efforts by focusing on food safety issues, and urged Member Countries to develop exposure assessment database as well as risk assessment capacity building within the ASEAN region.
- Resolution on Cooperation on Migration and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers
The General Assembly in recalling previous resolutions on the issue of migrant workers; concerned with the abuse, violence, discrimination as well as violation of the rights of migrant workers; recommended the establishment of a Committee to conduct research and comparative surveys of national legislations, regulations and measures in the AIPA Member Countries on migration, identify the possibilities for common legislative initiatives, and report to the General Assembly. The General Assembly further urged AIPA Member Countries to effectively support the work of the ASEAN Committee for the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers; promote comprehensive legislative, administrative and other measures necessary to enhance the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers including to promote fair and appropriate employment protection, payments of wages and adequate access to decent working and living conditions; and provide adequate access to the legal and judicial systems as well as resources and remedies to the victims of discrimination, abuse, exploitation and violence. The General Assembly further urged the implementation of domestic laws in AIPA Member Countries to apply equally to migrant workers and citizens who violate the laws; and reiterated as well as reminded AIPA Member Countries on the creation of legal instruments on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers.
- Resolution on Climate Change as a Regional Challenge
The General Assembly in recalling ASEAN initiatives on energy, environment, climate change and sustainable development, and recognizing ASEAN’s efforts to finalize the process of ratification of the ASEAN Agreement on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution as well as the various projects of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) to preserve and protect biodiversity areas in the region, called on AIPA to establish an agenda on global warming and set goals to lower greenhouse emissions, and formulate AIPA Action Plans and legislative initiatives to reduce the risk of and repercussions from climate change in ASEAN. The General Assembly further urged AIPA Member Countries to work closely to improve environmental management, promote sustainable development and renewable energy, and enhances greater international and regional cooperation on environmental preservation and conservation. It also encouraged greater public and private sector involvement to research and invest in sustainable development and the optimum production and utilization of renewable energy.
- Resolution on Reaffirmation of Resolutions on Prevention of Pandemic Diseases
The General Assembly urged AIPA Member Countries to implement AIPO Resolution 27GA/2006/Soc/02 on Common Legislative Initiatives on Pandemic Diseases and to continuously monitor policies and legislations and conduct surveys of national legislation and regulations on pandemic diseases. It further urged the establishment of comprehensive national and regional pandemic strategies with clearly defined work plans in accordance with the International Health Regulations 2005 adopted by the World Health Organization.
- Resolution on the Planting of One Billion Trees using Carbon Credits under the Kyoto Protocol
The General Assembly encouraged Member Countries to avail of carbon credits embodied in the Kyoto Protocol as a practical step to implement the earlier 27GA/06/Soc/04 resolution on the planting of one billion trees in each country; and urged the relevant bodies of Member Countries to seek the help of dialogue partners in financing their reforestation programme.
Several resolutions on routine administrative matters were adopted. The General Assembly also adopted a resolution on the conferment of the AIPA Distinguished Services Award to Hon. Mr. Tan Soo Khoon, former Speaker of the Singapore Parliament. Other resolutions adopted included the appointment of Dato’ Md. Yusoff bin Md. Zain, a former Malaysian Ambassador as the Secretary General of AIPA, the proposed new Agreement between the Government of Indonesia and AIPA relating to privileges and immunities of the AIPA Secretariat, the amended Agreement on the Establishment of the AIPA Secretariat, the amended AIPA Staff, Financial and Security Rules and Regulations, the increase in the annual contributions by Member Countries, and the increase in the annual donation from Special Observer, Brunei Darussalam. The Singapore delegation announced that the 29th AIPA General Assembly will be held in Singapore from 19 to 24 August 2008.
Women Parliamentarians of AIPA (WAIPA)
Three resolutions were adopted on women matters as follows:
- Resolution on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children
The General Assembly urged AIPA Member Countries to be more committed in creating a gender sensitive environment by modifying the social and cultural patterns of the conduct of men and women through eliminating prejudices and practices based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes and on the stereotyped roles for men. It further urged the review and amendments of all laws in order to eliminate negative practices that discriminate against women and children; and for Member Countries to undertake measures to eliminate all forms of sexual harassment against women and abuse against children. It called upon the media to be more responsible and promote non-stereotyped images of women and men as well as eliminate media presentation that promotes violence against women by educating boys and men to view women as valuable partners in life. The General Assembly also urged all Member Countries to integrate gender-sensitive values and support the active participation of women in all sectors as well as to cooperate across borders on the enforcement of laws protecting women and children against the trafficking of humans.
- Resolution on Women, Poverty and Economic Development
The General Assembly called upon ASEAN and AIPA Member Countries to support the role of women who work from homes as a contributing factor to economic development. It urged the integration of women’s interests and concerns into national economic policies and reforms on the basis of gender equality, encouraged Member Countries to develop and institutionalize gender-responsive policies and monitor gender budget analysis, and also called upon them to promulgate and strengthen laws to ensure that women’s contribution in the unpaid and informal sector are given due recognition and included in the national accounting systems.
- Resolution on Women in Power and Decision-Making
The General assembly urged ASEAN and AIPA Member Countries to raise public awareness on the importance of women participating in decision-making processes at all levels and in all sectors of society through education and developing leadership training programmes for women, especially for young women. It urged Member Countries to formulate and adopt policies to increase participation and representation of women in all commissions, tribunals, local government bodies and statutory bodies set up by governments with the view to achieve equal representation of women in the decision-making processes. The General Assembly further urged Member Countries to promote equal access to women in education, information and communication technology, businesses and economic opportunities, including international trade in order to provide women with the tools that enable them to take part fully and equally in decision-making processes at all levels.
DIALOGUES WITH OBSERVER COUNTRIES
The General Assembly also held dialogues with Observer Countries, namely, Australia, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, the European Parliament, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation. The topics discussed included: Issues of Politics and Security, Economic and Trade Corporation, Environmental Issues, Development Cooperation and the Breakthrough of the WTO Doha Round, Perspectives of the ASEAN Charter in particular from a Parliamentary Point of View, Re-launching of the European Constitutional Process by the Reform Treaty, Pros and Cons of a Free Trade Agreement between EU and ASEAN, Energy Issues and Environmental Aspects, Educational Cooperation, and Parliamentary Exchanges between the AIPA Member Countries and Observer Countries.
The 28th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) held in Kuala Lumpur from 19 – 24 August, 2007 witnessed a strengthened and revitalized comradeship and resolve among AIPA Member Countries to become a more effective and closely integrated institution contributing to ASEAN integration through among other things, undertaking common legislative initiatives with the objective of the harmonization of legislations. The General Assembly also witnessed the firm resolve of AIPA parliamentarians to further champion the cause of an ASEAN Community by the year 2015 and the building-block approach of creating the ASEAN Charter for a better ASEAN of tomorrow.