SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
On August 14, 2020, the House of Representatives will host the first-ever virtual meeting of the 11th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Caucus. Although the AIPA has convened via teleconference for other previous meetings, the August 14 event shall be the maiden virtual meeting of the AIPA Caucus itself.
With the theme “We Heal As One: Parliamentary Cooperation Towards Mitigating Risks and Strengthening Economic Resilience in the Period of Pandemic,” the meeting aims to deepen the ASEAN coordination on COVID-19 economic and public health response to the pandemic's impact in Southeast Asia.
This would also be the second time that the Philippines will host the AIPA Caucus, with the first held in 2011.
The 11th AIPA Caucus would feature videos and presentations from eight AIPA member parliaments documenting the legislative response of each country to the COVID-19 pandemic. Singapore and Indonesia shall be unable to join the meeting as their parliaments are slated to open on August 24 and August 14, respectively.
In 2020, one of the priorities of the AIPA Caucus is to discuss the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis to the economic stability of ASEAN Member States (AMS). Amid the economic headwinds caused by the pandemic, the 11th AIPA Caucus provides AIPA member parliaments the timely opportunity to conduct dialogues and consultations on reforms that would stimulate economic recovery in Southeast Asia and boost the region’s capabilities to weather similar exigencies in the future.
The 11th AIPA Caucus is a key continuation of AMS cooperation and coordination in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first half of 2020 alone, the AMS have conducted numerous virtual discussions to explore common tools to cushion the impact of COVID-19. In the 26th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) retreat held March 10, 2020, the AMS called for united action to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, with particular focus on fostering supply chain connectivity and leveraging technology and digital trade. The Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 on April 14, 2020 further allows AMS leaders to call for an integrated post-pandemic recovery plan as well as propose an ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund.
The AIPA Caucus was established through the adoption of Res.28GA/2007/Pol/03 during the 28th AIPA General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2007. The AIPA Caucus is mandated to formulate common legislative initiatives, to select, compile, disseminate and exercise harmonization of laws within the ASEAN and to facilitate regional cooperation in their enforcement.
The AIPA was founded in 1977 as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO) by the leaders of the parliamentary delegations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand attending the Third ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Manila. In 2006, delegates to the 27th AIPO General Assembly held in Cebu City reached a consensus to change the organization’s name from AIPO to AIPA. The AIPA member-Parliaments are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Philippines played host to the 38th AIPA General Assembly in 2017.