13th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum
10-13 January 2005
At the invitation of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) was held in Ha Long city, Viet Nam, from 10 to 13 January 2005 with 275 participants from 22 member countries and one observer country. The list of participants appears as Appendix I.
The Executive Committee convened on 9 January 2005 in Ha Noi and approved the Annual Meeting's agenda and program of activities, including a Special Session on the earthquake and tsunami disaster on 26 December 2004, which was held before the first plenary session.
On 10 January 2005, the President, H.E Mr. Nguyen Van An, opened the Annual Meeting by warmly welcoming all participants and wishing them a pleasant stay in Viet Nam. In his opening remarks, the President highlighted the challenges and opportunities for the APPF and called for greater legislative and economic cooperation among APPF member countries. The inaugural ceremony of the Annual Meeting was also welcomed by a performance of Vietnamese artists.
A moment of silence was observed during the inaugural ceremony in memory of the earthquake and tsunami victims.
E Mr. Y. Nakasone, the APPF Honorary President, and H.E Ms. Gu Xiulian, Vice-chairperson of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress and Representative of the host country of the APPF 12, Head of the Chinese delegation, thanked the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam for its hospitality and excellent preparation for the Meeting. They also proposed ways to strengthen APPF's cooperation in the future.
Nguyen Van Quynh, President of the People’s Council of Quang Ninh province, where the Annual Meeting took place, thanked other speakers at the inaugural ceremony for their kind remarks and expressed his Province's honor to welcome the participants to Ha Long - part of the world’s natural heritage.
The Heads of APPF 13 delegations paid a courtesy visit to H.E Mr. Tran Duc Luong, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. The President highly appreciated the increasingly developed APPF cooperation and solidarity, and called to bridge the development gap among APPF member countries and promote regional linkage.
In the Special Session on the earthquake and tsunami disaster, a touching documentary video on severe consequences of the earthquake and tsunami disaster was presented by the Indonesian delegation. Participants expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the countries affected by the earthquake and tsunami, urged greater international and regional support and assistance to the earthquake and tsunami victims and their families, and called for the establishment of an early warning system in the region and elsewhere in the world. Delegations unanimously endorsed a Resolution on Cooperation to Overcome the Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster sponsored by Indonesia, Japan, and Viet Nam.
The Annual Meeting held five plenary sessions. A great number of speakers addressed the plenary sessions. A list of speakers from the plenary sessions appears in the Appendix II.
In the plenary session on item 1: Political and Security issues, delegations shared the view that, despite the ongoing trend of stability, cooperation and development, the Asia-Pacific region faced a number of traditional and non-traditional threats to peace and security such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, transnational crimes, HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and natural disasters.
Participants resolutely condemned terrorism and shared the view that international community should cooperate to effectively address social and political factors that create conditions in which terrorism can flourish such as poverty and widening gap between rich and poor among other aspects. In this regard, participants stressed the significant importance of the economic cooperation for development of countries in the region, thus ensuring regional peace and security. They also supported efforts to strengthen regional security cooperation frameworks such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and other dialogue mechanisms.
Statements delivered at the first plenary session also touched upon such other issues of common concerns as the situation in Iraq, Middle East and Afghanistan; the United Nations reform, the issue of landmines, the abduction (Appendix III) etc.
APPF Parliamentarians expressed their concern over the situation on the Korean Peninsula and urged parties concerned to resume the 6-party talks so as to work out equitable and durable solutions for all sides.
In the plenary session on item 2: Economic and Trade issues, delegations agreed that despite many uncertainties, Asia-Pacific region remained dynamic with high growth rate and greater economic integration. Delegations stressed that the on-going globalization and increasing economic integration brought about both unprecedented opportunities and challenges for all countries. In this connection, participants shared the view that further cooperation among regional countries would promote globalization and concurrently address its challenges.
The Meeting welcomed a report from Chile on the outcome of the 12th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Chile in November 2004 and Viet Nam's presentation on her preparation for the 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Ha Noi in 2006.
APPF delegations acknowledged the important role of the WTO in expediting liberalization of global trade and welcomed the recent positive developments of the July package. They stressed that greater cooperation, taking into account different development levels of members during negotiations, is a vital factor to the success of the Doha Development Agenda, which would benefit all members. Participants unanimously supported an open, equitable and fair multilateral trading system on the basis of accountable, inclusive and transparent trade principles.
Delegations welcomed important progress in the WTO accession efforts of Viet Nam and the Russian Federation, and strongly supported their prompt accession to the WTO.
Participants stressed that great and imminent FTAs/RTAs should be transparent, consistent with the WTO principles and should embody open provisions. They further hoped that FTAs/RTAs take into account the development interests of less developed member nations, and would promote sustainable economic development in the region as well as in the world.
In the plenary session on item 3: Cooperation in Addressing Common Issues in Asia - Pacific, delegations exchanged views on a number of global and regional issues including environment, infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, SARS and bird-flu), transnational crimes, agent orange, resources for sustainable development, and cultural exchanges and dialogues.
Delegations expressed their deep concern over these global issues and acknowledged their interrelationship. Environmental issues are global, affecting security and development of all nations. To address the environmental concerns, there is an urgent need to enhance international cooperation. Delegations stressed the necessity for APPF members to incorporate environmental protection and sustainable development in national development policies, transfer appropriate technologies, encourage the use of renewable energies, implement their commitments and develop an inclusive strategy toward these issues.
On the issue of infectious diseases, the Meeting urged APPF countries to share information and experiences, to strengthen the role of international and regional organizations, to increase coordination and cooperation in research and production of vaccines and to maintain and develop traditional medicines. Delegations called on APPF developed countries to continue providing financial assistance and know-how for developing members.
Participants emphasized the role of cultural exchange in promoting the understanding among nations, thus making contribution to reducing and eliminating clashes among civilizations.
In the plenary session on item 4: Future Activities of APPF, the Annual Meeting unanimously accepted the kind invitation of the Indonesian Parliament to host the 14th Annual Meeting in January 2006, with the venue to be announced later.
The Meeting was briefed on the outcomes of the Technological Working Group meeting held on 12 January 2005. The Group noted with pleasure that all APPF member countries had established national legislature websites. Issues considered at the group's meeting included: maintenance of up-to-date information on the central APPF website and ensuring that the APPF website continues to support the future work of the APPF. The Meeting encouraged APPF members to translate information from the central APPF site to their own sites.
The Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum adopted 22 Resolutions, as follows:
APPF13/RES/01: Resolution on Cooperation to Overcome the Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster (sponsored by Indonesia, Japan, and Viet Nam)
APPF13/RES/02: Resolution on the Peaceful Resolution of the Nuclear Issue on the Korean Peninsula (sponsored by the Republic of Korea, Japan and the United States)
APPF13/RES/03: Resolution on Terrorism (sponsored by Australia, Japan, Russia and Vietnam)
APPF13/RES/04: Resolution on the Middle East Peace Process (sponsored by Japan)
APPF13/RES/05: Resolution on Political and Security Situation of the Asia-Pacific Region and the World (sponsored by Australia)
APPF13/RES/06: Resolution on Actions for Nuclear Disarmament after 60 Years of the Atomic Era (sponsored by Mexico)
APPF13/RES/08: Resolution on 60 Years of the United Nations and its Reform (sponsored by Mexico).
APPF13/RES/09: Resolution on Supporting Efforts Making the ASEAN Regional Forum Progress to the Preventive Diplomacy Stage (sponsored by the Philippines)
APPF13/RES/10: Resolution on the World and Regional Economic Situation (sponsored by Australia)
APPF13/RES/11: Resolution on Application of the Doha Development Agenda (sponsored by Mexico and Vietnam)
APPF13/RES/12: Resolution on Economy and Trade (sponsored by Japan)
APPF13/RES/13: Resolution on the Pacific Maritime Environment (sponsored by Chile)
APPF13/RES/14: Resolution on Support to the Global Agenda of the Small Island Developing States (sponsored by Australia and Mexico)
APPF13/RES/15: Resolution on Support to the Gender Agenda 10 years after the Fourth World Conference on Women, Held in Beijing in 1995 (sponsored by Mexico)
APPF13/RES/16: Resolution on Human Security (sponsored by Japan)
APPF13/RES/17: Resolution on Cooperation for the Prevention and Eradication of Emerging Infectious Diseases (sponsored by Japan, Philippines and Vietnam)
APPF13/RES/18: Resolution on Measures against Global Warming for the Post-Kyoto Protocol Era (sponsored by Japan)
APPF13/RES/19: Resolution on Cultural Exchanges and Cooperation among the Asia - Pacific Countries (sponsored by Viet Nam)
APPF13/RES/20: Resolution on Poverty Eradication and Environmental Protection (sponsored by Viet Nam)
APPF13/RES/21: Resolution on Promoting Religious Tolerance and Cultural Understanding in Light of Combating Terrorism (sponsored by Philippines)
APPF13/RES/22: Resolution on the Protection of Traditional Medicine in the Asia-Pacific Region (sponsored by Philippines)
The Annual Meeting appreciated the Drafting Committee for its efforts to develop a package of significant resolutions and the Joint Communiqué, which contributed to the success of the APPF 13.
The Annual Meeting expressed heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the Viet Nam National Assembly for its outstanding organization and hospitality, especially to H.E Mr. Nguyen Van An, President of the Viet Nam National Assembly for his exemplary Presidency of the 13th Annual Meeting, and Hon. Mr. Vu Mao and Hon. Mr. Ngo Anh Dzung, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Viet Nam National Assembly, in assisting the President, and to the Secretariat and the staff for their hard work and excellent care for all participants, which contributed to the success of the Annual Meeting.