Bhutan hosts Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA)

The APA standing committee will be discussing on nine resolution passed by the members 

l Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu


For the first time, Bhutan will be hosting the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Standing Committee meeting, beginning August 31 till September 2, 2017 at the Convention Centre, Thimphu.

Bhutan’s recognition as a strong culturally and socially endowed country is reflected in the theme, which is “Social and Cultural Affairs.”

The Speaker of Bhutan’s National Assembly (NA) who is also the vice chair of the social and culture affairs of APA, Jigme Zangmo, in a press conference on August 24 here, said that Bhutan has been participating in numerous meetings as one of the member parliaments of APA since 2013.

He further mentioned that as a small country, the ability to host such an event showcases that size does not matter and that Bhutan can do whatever other countries do. “It is a success, a milestone,” he said, as participants from 42 member countries and 16 observers will be participating in the event. He said that the reason for choosing the theme is to showcase the country’s rich tradition and culture to the world.

“Sharing our unique and rich diversity of culture, tradition and languages to our friends abroad will be a contribution to the world,” he added.

The speaker further mentioned that many people in the world have heard and knows about Bhutan’s unique tradition and culture. “However, most of them have not seen and experienced it and this APA meeting will be an opportunity for Bhutanese to present the country to the world,” he said.

He further mentioned that this will also help to promote the tourism and hospitality industry of the country, which will lead to generation of additional income.

During the two day conference, members will discuss the draft resolutions on nine areas, such as measures to promote cultural diversity and protect cultural heritage in Asia, Asian integration through information and communication technology, collaboration on health equity in Asian and protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers in Asia.

Discussions will also be held on the Asian parliamentarians fight against corruption, APA women parliamentarians and promoting inter faith dialogue and harmony among different religions and faiths in the world. The meeting will also focus on legal and legislative cooperation in combating smuggling of cultural items and effective cooperation in combating illicit drug trafficking in Asia.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo mentioned that after this APA meeting, Bhutan’s image as a strong social and cultural country will spread and culminate into increased number of people knowing about Bhutan’s rich culture and heritage. “At the same time, Bhutanese will also be enlightened with the knowledge of world heritage and culture,” he said.

Underlining that culture should be projected and preserved, he said that beside the event, there will also be excursions and a series of cultural activities for the parliamentarians to showcase “the rich Bhutanese culture and traditions.”

APA was established in 1999 to promote peace and regional cooperation to strengthen human rights protection and democracy. The last meeting was held at Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, where the assembly had passed eight resolutions.

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