The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted a number of statements on Friday during their meeting in Cambodia’s capital, aiming to further promote cooperation for post-pandemic recovery and to address key challenges together.
The three documents adopted at the meeting included the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the 55th Anniversary of ASEAN, the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on ASEAN A.C.T: Addressing Challenges Together, and the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on ASEAN Connectivity Post-2025 Agenda. The meeting was chaired by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen.
55TH ANNIVERSARY OF ASEAN
According to the relevant statement, the leaders agreed to strengthen ASEAN principles as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter in order to support the group’s continued development into a peaceful, stable, resilient, and economically competitive region.
They agreed to “strengthen ASEAN’s centrality in ASEAN-led mechanisms promoting peace, security, and prosperity, as well as shaping an open, transparent, inclusive, and rules-based regional architecture,” according to the statement.
According to the statement, the leaders pledged to boost the region’s economic growth by pushing for the effective implementation of ASEAN’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and comprehensive economic partnership agreements (CEPs) with external partners, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
They agreed to “intensify efforts to comprehensively address the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 and to rebuild stronger from the crisis in order to maintain inclusive, resilient, competitive, and sustainable growth,” according to the statement.
They also urged ASEAN’s external partners to work together to achieve regional peace, security, stability, and prosperity through ASEAN-led mechanisms and frameworks.
ASEAN A.C.T. : ADDRESSING CHALLENGES TOGETHER
According to a statement, the leaders agreed to promote cooperation and partnerships within ASEAN and with external partners through ASEAN-led mechanisms based on the principles of consultation and consensus, equality, partnership, and mutual respect.
They also agreed to “strengthen ASEAN’s centrality in the regional architecture toward peace, stability, harmony, and prosperity.”
The leaders also pledged to “maintain ASEAN as a region of peace, freedom, stability, and security, where differences and disputes are resolved peacefully, and free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”
They agreed to accelerate ASEAN’s transformation into a highly integrated, competitive, sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous economic region that nurtures innovation and creativity.
They also agreed to increase ASEAN’s participation in the global economy by fully utilizing ASEAN’s existing free trade agreements, as well as to strengthen food security, particularly in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, according to the statement.
AGENDA FOR ASEAN CONNECTIVITY POST-2025
The leaders agreed to advance the “ASEAN connectivity post-2025 agenda,” saying it was critical to promote people-centered approaches, sustainable development, regional integration, and future-oriented policies such as climate resilient and sustainable infrastructure, smart cities, digital transformation, supply chain connectivity, and green growth.
According to one of the statements, they were “determined to foster a caring and sharing, peaceful, prosperous, and seamlessly connected ASEAN Community in order to secure a future ready ASEAN.”
The leaders “agreed that the development of an ASEAN Connectivity Post-2025 Agenda shall be carried out with a whole-of-community approach in a comprehensive, pragmatic, participatory, inclusive, responsive, coherent, and coordinated manner, with the goal of synergizing and complementing connectivity efforts across sectors,” according to the statement.
The regional leaders also agreed to expand their collaboration with the private sector, international and regional organizations, relevant stakeholders, and external partners to support the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and the development of the ASEAN Connectivity Post-2025 Agenda.
According to the statement, they tasked the ASEAN Coordinating Council with overseeing the development of the ASEAN Connectivity Post-2025 Agenda, which would be aligned with the development of the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision.