A meeting of the standing committee on social and cultural affairs of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) adopted 10 resolutions the second day of the meeting.
The adoption of the resolutions followed two days of vigorous deliberation among more than 100 parliamentarians from 21 countries, including 12 parliamentarians from Bhutan.
The resolutions cover a wide range of issues of mutual interest such as culture, information technology, health equity, migrant workers, corruption, woman parliamentarians, inter-faith dialogue, smuggling of cultural objects, drug trafficking, and humanitarian aid to Asian countries going through humanitarian crises.
The National Assembly Speaker, Jigme Zangpo, said the meeting was very successful and special for the country. The participants expressed admiration for His Majesty The king for his exemplary leadership, adoption of the Constitution, devolution of power to the people and preservation of Bhutanese culture.
Initially, there were nine resolutions and Russia proposed the 10th one.
The Secretary General of the APA, Dr Mohammad Reza Majidi, said that the members learned many lessons from The King and people.
“The Parliament of Bhutan is one of the active members of the APA,” he added.
The 10 resolutions of the standing committee will be submitted to APA’s executive council and further to the 10th Plenary for the final adoption.
During the opening ceremony, Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay said that Bhutan was privileged to welcome and host the biggest gathering of parliamentarians to discuss social and cultural issues.
Lyonchhen highlighted the importance of cultural discourse by the parliamentarians in the context of crucial roles parliamentarians played in society. However, he pointed out how grand ‘ambitions’ that such conferences came up with in the region were often forgotten afterwards, often due to bilateral differences.
In the closing remarks, Chairperson of the National Council, Dasho (Dr) Sonam Kinga, said building friendship and partnership among the Asian countries was crucial for no country could walk into the future in isolation.
He said that the meeting was the beginning of many such multilateral parliamentary meetings and interactions.
The Chairperson shared a story about the high level of support Bhutan enjoyed during its admission bid to the United Nations in 1971. He named a number of Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Bahrain, Pakistan, and Syria that supported Bhutan’s membership to the UN on account of its natural beauty, rich culture and traditions. “These countries were not referring to Bhutan as an economic power but as a country rich in culture and traditions,” he said. “The very subject we have been discussing in this meeting.”
The newly elected chair of the standing Committee, Speaker Jigme Zangpo, said the meeting was truly a meeting of minds. “This is going to benefit the 4.4bn people in all the Asian countries and beyond,” he said.
The APA meeting is hosted by the Parliament of Bhutan and attended by delegates from as far as Bahrain, Russia, Turkey, Cyprus, Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait.
Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu