The Storting (Norwegian Parliament) granted permanent observer status to AIPA

The delegation to the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP). From left to right: Ove Trellevik (Conservative Party), Helge André Njåstad (Progress Party), Elin Rodum Agdestein (Conservative Party), Torstein Tvedt Solberg (Labour Party), Åsunn Lyngedal (Labour Party) and Åslaug Sem-Jacobsen (Centre Party). Photo: Storting.​

    On Thursday 10th September, the Storting was granted the status of permanent observer to AIPA, the ASEAN member states’ inter-parliamentary assembly.

   “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. ​ “As an observer, the Storting will be invited to AIPA’s general assemblies and to dialogue meetings with all the countries. This in turn means that we will be able to forge closer ties with a number of important countries for us in Asia, develop a better common understanding, and make important personal connections,” Ms Trøen said.​

    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.

    Elin R. Agdestein and Tone W. Trøen during the web meeting with AIPA’s General Assembly on 8th September. Photo: Storting​

   “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. ​Collectively, ASEAN’s ten member states constitute Norway’s third largest trade partner in services and fourth largest in goods.

    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. 


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