Wednesday, November 23, 2011

19th ASEAN Summit

The 19th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, gathering heads of state or government from 10 ASEAN member states – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam – was held in Bali (Indonesia) on November 17–19. The summit, themed "ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations", is chaired by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
After some 12 months of intense meetings and activities, which left a new landmark in ASEAN's history, Indonesia handed over the chair of the group to Cambodia today.
Visibly proud of what Indonesia's achievements over the past year, President Yudhoyono handed over the symbolic gavil to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. The simple but dignified ceremony was heralded by a short video of the highlights of ASEAN 2011.
For many delegates in the audience – particularly the exhausted staff of the ASEAN Secretariat – it was a moment of nostalgia, relief, and pride, as they were reminded of the activities which they had slogged for.
Bali Declaration
Leaders of the 19th ASEAN Summit stressed high political determination and the allocation of necessary resources to implement on schedule the process to build the ASEAN Community on three pillars. They also stressed the fully implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, which is important in the process to build a consolidated ASEAN Community by 2015, considering it a leading priority in the cooperation within ASEAN and between ASEAN and its partners.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asked ASEAN to continue boosting cooperation and proper investment in such fields as narrowing the gap of development, promoting security, energy, and food security as well as boosting cooperation to effectively deal with emerging challenges, namely climate change, maritime security, environment, the sustainable use of water sources of rivers, especially the Mekong river to contributing to sustainable and uniform development in the region.
On ASEAN Connectivity, the PM stressed the significance of the full implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity in the process of building the ASEAN Community by 2015, saying that this continues to be the top priority in ASEAN cooperation as well as cooperation between ASEAN and its partner countries.
The Vietnamese prime minister added: “The group needs to efficiently implement agreements and commitments on trade liberalization, facilitation of goods and services transactions, investment and people-to-people exchanges, an initial study on implementation of ASEAN Travel Cards for ASEAN citizens, as well as special immigration desks for regional citizens at international border gates of the member countries.”
The Bali Summit addressed a broad range of issues impacting the region such as global economy, G20 Summit, disaster management, climate change, food and energy security, regional integration, among others, and adopted several outcome documents, including the Bali Declaration on ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations.
Foreign Ministers’ Meet
The ASEAN foreign ministers have agreed on the need for talks with Beijing over the South China Sea dispute.
After the meeting, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said that ASEAN seeks dialogue with China over the maritime issue. He also said the foreign ministers were encouraged by Myanmar's attempts at reforms, as Napyidaw says it will release more prisoners under an amnesty deal.
ASEAN-UN Engagement
At the fourth ASEAN-UN Summit, the ASEAN leaders and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reviewed the implementation of the decisions of the previous summit, which took place in Hanoi in October 2010.
The ASEAN leaders spoke highly of the support of the UN and its agencies for ASEAN in building the Community, realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), strengthening regional connectivity, narrowing the development gaps and boosting the development of subregions, especially the Mekong Subregion, improving the capacity to cope with climate change and natural disasters, reduce poverty and prevent diseases as well as boosting the reasonable and sustainable exploitation and use of water resources.

No comments: