Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, friends,
I am absolutely delighted to welcome to the Russian capital all our guests – heads of parliaments, heads of international parliamentary organisations, people’s representatives in the broadest sense of the word, politicians, scientists and experts representing a whole range of different countries.
Your forum is being held for the second time and has already proved its relevance and significance, the absolute relevance and importance of inter-parliamentary interaction and dialogue. The modern world badly needs such broad cooperation, an open and free exchange of views, building trust and seeking mutual understanding.
Its global agenda is complex and controversial. It is filled with great challenges and real threats that do actually exist, the answers to which can and will be effective only if these threats are recognised by the entire international community and if the states wish to discuss and find joint solutions to common challenges in a rapidly changing world.
Its transformation to multi-polarity is already obvious. At the same time, the stubborn unwillingness of some countries to accept this new reality results in an increased confrontation in the world, ignoring international law, and undermining strategic stability. All this hinders collaboration.
I am confident that refocusing the discussion of the updated global development model on concepts such as sovereignty and peoples’ right to adhere to their original path would enable us to reach feasible agreements, and international forums and summits would adopt not only declarations but also binding rules based on the interests of all states and their mutual responsibility.
This should open up fundamentally new opportunities for the entire global community – opportunities for effectively fighting international terrorism and drug trafficking, for ensuring information security, and for removing barriers to trade and technology that are hindering global growth.
What is extremely important – it will help us overcome the enormous inequality in the development of different regions in the world and the migration crisis triggered by that inequality. These are issues facing billions of people on the planet.
The transition of the global economy to a new technological order objectively generates global challenges. In this context, all of us face the need to support sustainable development and guarantee the social and legal protection of individuals.
The duty of all responsible politicians, academics and business people is to comprehend the nature of the technological revolution, the present and the future of the digital age; to coherently and, most importantly, timely deal with such issues as eliminating or smoothing out differences and risks arising during this revolution.
There are many of them. So we need to close the ranks for the sake of using the enormous possibilities offered by technological breakthroughs in various fields in the interests of people.
I would add that digital technology, artificial intelligence, the era of social media and big data will undoubtedly have an impact on politics and parliamentary activity, and on legislative practices; it will open new horizons for expanding direct democracy, direct, interactive participation of citizens in decision-making, and developing legal frameworks from the national to the local level.
In short, new technology can play a huge positive role in enhancing transparency, democratising public and political life, and strengthening democratic institutions – but only if we all keep in mind the most important thing. Digital technology cannot replace freedom; it is the people who are always the source of power. The individual, and their rights, are the backbone and cornerstone of development.
And of course, the most important civilizational task is to protect the planet from environmental and climatic degradation. Speculating on this hot topic, resisting progress, and retracting to outdated and primitive solutions will not help; but finding a real balance between the techno- and the eco-sphere, between nature and human prosperity, quality of life and longevity will.
I believe the parliamentary community has an enormous role to play in consolidating the efforts of countries and peoples for resolving common problems. You possess real, effective levers.
First, legislative regulation has been and will be a basic factor in the world’s ongoing transformations.
Second, you have absolute democratic legitimacy. You are endowed with high authority – to express the will of your nations and, let me repeat, to act and cooperate in the interests of people.
Today, the main mission of parliamentary diplomacy is to promote a unifying constructive agenda, facilitate the harmonisation of economic and humanitarian ties, build up trust between peoples and enhance the responsibility of the world’s parliamentary community for its ability to uphold democratic values.
After all, it is possible to conduct practical and trustworthy dialogue, exchange legislative practices, improve and develop the system of international law only in a sound, strong inter-parliamentary environment.
Your forum fully meets these requirements. Indicatively, your emphases on certain topics and those made at the recent G20 summit and during discussions at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum converge and largely supplement each other.
Promoting sustainable development, making education and healthcare more accessible, strengthening human capital, resolving environmental problems, implementing digitisation and upgrading the labour market are priorities for the entire international community.
These issues may be resolved successfully only in conditions of an open and safe common information space whereby all countries, civil societies and the media are truly interested in disseminating unbiased, honest information and straightforward news.
I know the forum paid special attention to this issue. Let me repeat that consolidation of parliaments in drafting common rules for the exchange of information and its protection are very important for enhancing human rights and freedoms, and establishing and developing a balanced and fair world order.
However, regrettably, we are seeing attempts to monopolise the global information space and misappropriate “the right to the truth.” Incidentally, these trends are expanding at the national level, when some countries actually impose censorship bans and barriers. We believe such bans on a different opinion fundamentally contradict democratic values, the principle of the freedom of speech and, in general, a parliamentary tradition that inherently implies respect for a different opinion or position.
In conclusion I would like to thank all of you for deeming it important and necessary to attend this forum and discuss the multifaceted issues of inter-parliamentary cooperation based on trust and constructive approaches.
Such respectful and productive cooperation makes a tangible contribution to the consolidation of genuine partnership between our countries and peoples.
Let me wish you success in your work today and your activities at home.
Thank you for your attention.