“We have worked closely together at an intergovernmental level for many years. We are now hoping to add a stronger parliamentary dimension to this collaboration. Observer status in AIPA – the ASEAN nations’ parliamentary assembly – would enable us as parliamentarians to share experience with our colleagues in ASEAN and to work together on questions that are important to all democracies,” said Tone W. Trøen, President of the Storting.
Both the President of the Storting and Elin R. Agdestein (H), head of the Storting’s Asia delegation, addressed the AIPA General Assembly online on the morning of 8th September.
“Building trust between nations and parliaments, at a time of major global challenges, not least the COVID-19 pandemic, is more important than ever,” said Ms Trøen.
Ms Agdestein emphasized the importance of inter-parliamentary cooperation in uncertain times.
“The world is currently facing a range of problems that no individual nation or region has the power to solve by itself,” said Ms Agdestein. Among those she mentioned were climate change, COVID-19, political upheaval and rising protectionism within international trade.
“By working together, we can build trust and support the efforts to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, reinforce global institutions and the rules-based international trading system,” she continued.
AIPA stands for “ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly”. AIPA comprises the following member states: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
ASEAN is a union of ten Southeast Asian nations whose objective is to strengthen economic, social and cultural relations. ASEAN has a total population of approximately 600 million. When viewed as a whole, it is the seventh largest economy in the world. ASEAN is a very important trading partner for Norway. Cooperation was formalized in 2015 when Norway and ASEAN entered into what is termed as a sector dialogue partnership.
‒ One of our key partners
Ms Agdestein also made the point that the Storting’s collaboration with AIPA should be directed towards areas in which Norway and ASEAN already cooperate closely, such as ocean management, the blue economy, renewable energy, peace and security, and gender equality.
AIPA is already a key partner to us. And we look forward to strengthening the partnership even further,” she said.
The decision about whether or not the Storting will be invited to be a permanent observer at the ASEAN nations’ parliamentary assembly will be made on Thursday 10th September.
Watch the speeches by Tone W. Trøen and Elin R. Agdestein: