The event, held between September 14-18, gathers nearly 500 delegates, including 300 international delegates from 70 IPU member parliaments and international organisations, making it the biggest one since the conception of the Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians.
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Vo Van Thuong, and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh have sent congratulatory bouquets to the conference.
The co-chairs of the opening ceremony included Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, IPU President Duarte Pacheco, Permanent Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Tran Thanh Man, IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong, Member of the UK Parliament and President of the IPU Forum of Young Parliamentarians Dan Carden, Chairman of the Vietnamese Young Parliamentarians Group Nguyen Anh Tuan, Member of Parliament from Namibia and member of the Leadership Team of the IPU Forum of Young Parliamentarians Emma Tangi Muteka, and representatives from the IPU Secretariat.
The delegates will be discussing experiences and ideas under the theme “The role of youth in accelerating the achievement of the SDGs through digital transformation and innovation,” with three main sessions: “Digital Transformation,” “Innovation and Startups,” “Promoting Respect for Cultural Diversity in Support of Sustainable Development.”
The conference takes place as political, economic and societal upheavals have set back the progress of fulfilling Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitments and climate change response in many countries. The trends of digital transformation, green transition, and innovation are increasingly given priority and promoted around the world.
Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam, in the opening address, said the organisation of this conference affirms Vietnam’s “active, proactive, and responsible participation in the IPU” and highlights “Vietnam’s priority and concern for youth and global youth-related issues of today.”
The Vietnamese top legislator also quoted President Ho Chi Minh, the late founding father of Vietnam, in saying that “Youth is the future master of the nation. The prosperity or decline of the nation largely depends on youth.”
“Young people are the driving force and the bearers of “historical responsibilities” in the international integration and national development efforts of each country as well as global prosperity,” Chairman Hue said, asking the young parliamentarians to utilise their intelligence, youth, creativity, and enthusiasm to contribute positively to the success of the conference.
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue asked the delegates to pay attention to five key points:
First, what needs to be done and how to comply with and uphold international law and the United Nations Charter, as a crucial condition for the maintenance and nurturing of peace, cooperation, and sustainable development.
Secondly, the role of developed countries, international organisations, business communities, and youth in addressing global issues such as sustainable and secure digital transformation, just energy transition, adaptation to climate change, and robust promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Thirdly, making people and businesses truly the centre of all policies in the development process, both as the objective and as the motivation and fundamental resources.
Fourthly, leveraging the values of culture and human beings in sustainable development, promoting the respect for cultural diversity in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and enhance cooperation in innovating the operation of the economy, increasing labour productivity, and creating new momentum for economic growth. At the same time, this will help government agencies become more transparent and efficient on the digitalisation path, narrowing the development gap, and ensuring national sovereignty and individual privacy in cyberspace.
Fifth and lastly, Chairman Hue also proposed that the IPU explore the establishment of a global network of young parliamentarians dedicated to innovation, allowing them to exchange experiences and learn from one another.
IPU Duarte Pacheco in his remarks thanked the Vietnam National Assembly for “providing an exceptional setting for the IPU meeting,” and expressed his appreciation towards Vietnam’s “commitment to leading by example on youth empowerment.”
“While we are behind with the SDGs, we are supercharging progress in technology. We need to link this progress in technology with the work being done to achieve the SDGs. Digitalisation and innovation are important opportunities.”
He also urged the responsible use of technology and innovation. “Technology should not force us into a one-size-fits-all model. Our global community has many traditions, languages, and perspectives. This diversity makes our lives richer and can also take us to greater innovation When we combine the power of technology with cultural diversity and ethics, we open up creativity and problem-solving.”
“As members of parliaments, we must promote inclusivity, intercultural dialogues, and respect for diversity as drivers of sustainable development and peace.”
Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU, underscored the the significant roles of young parliamentarians, and the young people that they represent, can play.
“You can be a driving force for progress, injecting fresh perspectives, energy, and innovative solutions into parliamentary processes. Sharing practices, amplifying your voices on the issues that concern you most, and better connecting you to youth, is what this Conference is all about.”
He remarked that the young’s “passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to accelerating the SDGs through digital transformation and innovation are a guiding light for us all.”