The New Tough Challenges to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda

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  • Ho Chi Minh City, 25th March, 2015The New Tough Challenges to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda

    From: Lai Thu Truc (Ms), Vietnamese Citizen

    To:    H.E. Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury,

    President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

    Copy to:

    • H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nation
    • H.E. Mr. Nguyen Sinh Hung, President of the Vietnam National Assembly
    • H.E. Mr. Truong Tan Sang, SRV President
    • H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, SRV Prime Minister
    • H.E. Mr. Tran Van Hang, Head of the Vietnam National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee
    • H.E. Mr. Hoang Huu Phuoc, Vietnam National Assembly Representative and Foreign Affairs Committee Member

    H.E. Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury,

    President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

    Your Excellency:

    I am Lai Thu Truc (Ms.), a citizen of Vietnam, residing in Ho Chi Minh City.

    As encouraged by my respectful mentor H.E. Mr. Hoang Huu Phuoc, the XIII Vietnam National Assembly Representative, cum-Member to the Vietnam National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee, a non-communist party member and an independent electoral candidate, on confidently entrusting my constructive opinions and proposals not only to the leaders of the State and the Communist Party of Vietnam but also the leaders of international institutions and diplomatic missions, on issues of global concerns as a responsible global citizen, I wish to present to Your Excellency the following opinion on the new tough challenges to the sustainable development goals for your kind perusal, with reference to the thematic aspect of IPU132’s “The Sustainable Development Goals: Turning Words into Action”.

    As mentioned in the Rio+20 outcome document of “The Future We Want” the Sustainable Development Goals should be coherent with and integrated into the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015, and the development of these goals should not divert focus or effort from the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals1. The “Turning Words into Action” theme of IPU 132 is therefore in terms with the UN’s agenda in this regards.

    However, from the six key future challenges2 stated in the United Nations Development Strategy Beyond 2015, there may arise other much tougher challenges as follows:

    A- Mis-interpretation of Human Rights:

    1)  Whilst reaffirming the importance of respect for all human rights, the Rio+20 outcome document fails to specify what are really embodied within the so-called “human rights” either alphabetically or prioritically, and even the crucially important issues of say the right to development, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to food, the right to rule of law, the right to gender equality, the right to women’s empowerment, etc., naming just a few, are deliberately put after the wording of “including” thus having the connotation of lesser importance to the un-listed.

    2) At the incredibly fast development of information technology, the freedom of speech aspect of “human rights” has been already included in those actions of free expressions via internet, blogs, media forums, and the like, and – in Vietnam’s cases – via direct conversation and contact with people of authority at places of people’s reception abundantly established throughout the country at administrative premises of all levels, be it central or local, ministerial or provincial, and of branches of the ruling Communist Party or even offices of lowest administration levels.  Freedom of  speech cannot – and should never more – be simply understood as a simple and out-dated privileged intertwining of shouting in street demonstration, with or without loud-speakers.

    3) As well-proven the world over and putting aside the riots and unrest arising deliberately or undeliberately from street demonstration, even the peaceful street demonstrations create problems to shop-owners and even street-vendors whose daily earnings however petty they may be are definitely affected which to some extent further threaten the government’s efforts towards the Goals of Sustainable Development.

    4) And last but never the least, no one can easily deny the fact that a street demonstration of freedom of speech of human rights is totally different from a gathering of mobs for rioting, looting, or overthrowing a government. Encouraging or supporting – even through verbally and not financially – a street demonstration to lead to a social unrest to overthrow a government can never be a decent work of righteous people whose true concerns are on a sustainable development cause.

    In view of above, I would suggest that the IPU-132 need further identify or update the norms of “human rights” in its documentation as a helpful move to assist the best practice of governance of the IPU state members, eliminating any negative doing to take advantage of the non-definition of “human rights” to manoeuver unrests to the society.

    B- Engaging Major Groups and Other Stakeholders:

    Whilst totally supporting the underscoring that the sustainable development requires the active participation of all major groups of say women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, the scientific and technological community, and farmers, as well as older persons and persons with disabilities 3, I believe the IPU 132 would provide concrete and detailed framework commitments for whatever materialization relating to farmers, older persons and persons with disabilities could be, particularly at developing and under-developing countries whereat the vocal propagandas remain words and words only.

    C- Obligations Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea:

    Though the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is recognized as an important institution for a sustainable development the world over, the full implementation of obligations of State members under the convention remains unsolved, and once such argument goes uncurbed the conflicts may affect the sustainability of the global development. The IPU 132 should address concretely on the measures to handle the non-conformities rather than leaving this in a general mentioning of rhetorical courtesy.

    D- The Cyber Warfare

    The cyber warfare is of course a matter to handle of the Defense Ministry of each country; however, the scopes of The Future We Want and the United Nations Development Strategy Beyond 2015 could go to naught if the problem of a cyber attack is not fundamentally and effectively tackled with. The cyberly destruction of  hospital records systems, sanitary water supply system, industrial management systems, electrical distribution networks, transportation service systems, and banking systems, naming just a few, has a vast and fast affect to the stability of governance regionwide or worldwide, and even the existence of humankind if the attack is at nuclear sites. The IPU 132 is therefore required to draft a comprehensive master plan to full cooperation among its State members as the defense-related matter cannot be totally beyond and remain unaffected to the economic, political, social scopes of any sustainable development plan.

    With all due respect I hope the above contents would be taken into consideration by Your Excellency and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

    I wish to also hereby to express my gratitude which I owe to H.E. Mr. Hoang Huu Phuoc for his kind reading of my draft of this letter for improvement of my English presentation.

    Respectfully yours,

    Lai Thu Truc

    Phone: 84-8-903 380 207


    Mailing Address: MYA Business Corporation, 399B Truong Chinh, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


    1 & 3 The Future We Want. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 27 July 2012. Ref. A/RES/66/288. Retrieved from on 25 March 2015.

    2 Naming: (1) profound transformation of the age structure of populations, (2) growth accompanied by persistent inequalities at the global and national levels, (3) increasing environmental pressures, (4) instabilities of global markets, (5) inadequacies of governance, and (6) global aid architecture becoming more complex and fragmented.

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