The sixth ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) opened in Hanoi on September 24 with 700 delegates from people’s organisations in ASEAN member countries taking part.
Addressing the opening session, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan reviewed the development of Vietnam and ASEAN over the past 15 years since the country joined the regional bloc.
Stressing on the role of people in building an ASEAN Community of peace, stability, development and sustainability, Deputy PM Nhan said he hoped delegates at the forum will not only discuss and give recommendations to the governments of ASEAN countries, but also reach a consensus on measures to promote cooperation amongst people’s organisations in the region, contributing to the successful building of a people-centred ASEAN community.
He said he hoped the delegates will use this opportunity to learn more about Vietnam, the history of its people’s struggle for national liberation, as well as achievements and challenges.
The forum is expected to increase mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between people’s organisations from Vietnam and others in the region as well as between the Vietnamese and international friends, he said.
The Chairman of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisation (VUFO) Vu Xuan Hong, who on behalf of Vietnam’s people’s organisations, also asked to strengthen solidarity, friendship and cooperation among regional organsiations, describing it as one of the forums main targets.
Professor Francisco Nememzo from the Philippines National University said that ASEAN needs to build close relationships between its people’s organisations to overcome the negative impacts of the global liberalisation. The model will help to link regional countries together, he added.
The delegates convened the forum’s first plenary session entitled “Building the ASEAN Community: Opportunities and Challenges” right after the opening ceremony.
The sixth ASEAN People’s Forum, which takes place from September 24-26, will include six plenary sessions and 16 discussions, focusing on economic integration and cooperation; children; agricultural and rural development; climate change; natural resources, energy; disabled people; enhancing women’s powers and gender equality./.