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Asian forum targets AIDS
( 2002-10-18 16:47 ) (1 )

Critical issues such as sustainable development, AIDS and gender partnership have topped the agenda of the ongoing seventh general assembly of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development.

The 186 parliamentarians and representatives from across the world pledged that their parliaments will play bigger roles in addressing these problems.

Li Honggui, a member of the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee under the National People's Congress, said Asia is facing an unprecedented challenge of how to achieve sustainable development in the context of rapid economic development and the continuing growth of population.

Asia accounts for three-fifths of the global population and its economy constitutes one quarter of the world economic aggregate.

"Co-ordinated development among population, natural resources, environment and ecology is the essential objective of sustainable development," Li said.

"By slowing down population growth, the pressure of population on resources and environment can be reduced. A lot of funds can be saved to be diverted to programmes on poverty alleviation, environmental protection and education."

Li suggested Asian governments incorporate population programmes into sustainable development strategies, promote the empowerment of women, invest more in reproductive health and family planning, and strengthen international co-operation and exchange in this regard.

Philippines' congressman Sen Juan Flavier said parliaments in each county should shoulder responsibility to educate people on AIDS awareness and prevention.

"We all have direct approaches to our people and it is important to spread scientific ideas about AIDS/HIV," said Sen.

Participants in the assembly suggested that the Asian forum should list AIDS prevention as its priority in future discussions and exchange.

Addressing gender issues in Asia through parliamentary action was another heated topic for Thursday's sessions.

Liu Bohong, director of the Women Research Institute under the All-China Women's Federation, said the development of women has a critical bearing on the harmonious and sustainable development of the economy. Liu called for regional co-operation across the world to realize gender equality.



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