2 August 2021
The 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) was held on 2nd August 2021 via videoconference. The Meeting was chaired by Brunei Darussalam under the theme “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper.” We reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to care for its people and prepare for future opportunities and challenges, in order to advance sustainable development for shared prosperity in the region.
Non-Traditional Security Threats
Terrorism and Violent Extremism
Recognising the importance of a collective and comprehensive approach to address terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism and radicalisation, we expressed our continued support for the ASEAN Plan of Action to Prevent and Counter the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism (PoA PCRVE) 2018-2025 and encouraged the continued implementation of the Work Plan of the PoA PCRVE (Bali Work Plan) 2019-2025 through cross-sectoral and cross-pillar cooperation by all relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies/Organs/Entities, as well as Dialogue Partners and External Parties.
We reiterated the importance of cross-sectoral and cross-pillar coordination to combat illicit drug activities in the region and reaffirmed our commitment towards a drug-free ASEAN and a zero-tolerance approach towards illicit drugs. We stressed the importance of implementing the ASEAN Work Plan in Securing Communities Against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025 (ASEAN Work Plan 2016-2025) and noted with appreciation the progress of the ongoing Mid-Term Review of ASEAN Work Plan 2016-2025.
Trafficking in Persons
We reaffirmed our collective commitment to combating trafficking in persons in a more holistic manner through cross-sectoral and cross-pillar coordination. We noted progress in the implementation of the Bohol Trafficking in Persons Work Plan (2017-2020), which involved nine ASEAN Sectoral Bodies, and looked forward to the final review of the Work Plan and its way forward.
We expressed concern over the irregular movement of persons in the Southeast Asia region. We noted that criminal groups had taken advantage of the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit vulnerable groups. We acknowledged the close connection between irregular movement of persons, trafficking in persons, and smuggling of migrants. We reaffirmed the need for ASEAN Member States’ coordinated responses in addressing the issues of trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and related transnational crime, including irregular movement of persons.
We welcomed the progress in ASEAN cybersecurity cooperation and reaffirmed our commitment to building an open, secure, stable, accessible, interoperable, and peaceful ICT environment in ASEAN in view of the rapidly growing threats in the cyber sphere. Noting the transboundary and cross-cutting nature of cybersecurity, we welcomed the establishment of the cross-sectoral and cross-pillar ASEAN Cybersecurity Coordinating Committee (ASEAN Cyber-CC), which held its Inaugural Meeting in November 2020 and welcomed the proposal to develop a Regional Action Plan on the Implementation of the Norms of Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace to facilitate ASEAN Member States in prioritising the implementation of the 11 norms based on their readiness and interests. We recognised the role of cybersecurity activities and training programmes of the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (ASCCE) in Singapore and the ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre (AJCCBC) in Bangkok in complementing existing ASEAN efforts in cybersecurity capacity building.
Peace and Security
We reaffirmed the importance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as the key code of conduct in governing inter-state relations in the region and as a foundation for maintaining regional peace and stability. We remain committed to further promoting the principles embodied in the TAC and emphasised the importance of all High Contracting Parties in fulfilling their obligations under the Treaty. We looked forward to the accession of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to the TAC. We also welcomed the growing interest of non-regional countries to accede to the TAC, on the basis of respect for and in conformity with the purposes and principles of the TAC.
We congratulated the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) on the occasion of its 15th anniversary and in this regard, welcomed the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration in Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the ADMM Towards A Future-Ready, Peaceful and Prosperous ASEAN and the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration by the ADMM-Plus in Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the ADMM on Promoting A Future-Ready, Peaceful and Prosperous ASEAN. We were pleased to observe further progress in ASEAN defence cooperation. We looked forward to the contribution of the ASEAN Cyber Defence Network (ACDN) and the ADMM Cybersecurity and Information Centre of Excellence (ACICE) in safeguarding our cyber space. The ACDN aims to link the cyber defence operation centres of ASEAN Member States to promote and enhance a secure and resilient cyber space through greater collaboration. The ACICE will strengthen cooperation between defence establishments against disinformation and misinformation. We noted that the ADMM recently performed a stocktaking exercise and adopted the Concept Paper on ADMM’s External Engagements, which are aimed at affirming ASEAN Centrality and strengthening the working processes in the defence sector. We commended the decision of the Post-Implementation Review of the annualisation of the ADMM-Plus to continue the annual convening of the ADMM-Plus which underscores the importance of ADMM and ADMM-Plus as the region’s main multilateral platforms for practical defence and security cooperation and strategic dialogue. We also commended the ADMM-Plus commitment to maintain ASEAN’s leading role in the shaping of regional security architecture. We acknowledged the defence sector’s continued commitment and contribution to ASEAN’s collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the ASEAN Centre of Military Medicine (ACMM), the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defence Experts and the ASEAN Military Medicine Conference (AMMC).
We noted the development of ASEAN cooperation on law and legal matters, undertaken by the ASEAN Law Ministers’ Meeting (ALAWMM) and the ASEAN Senior Law Officials’ Meeting (ASLOM) in supporting the ASEAN Community-building agenda and strengthening a rules-based ASEAN. We also welcomed the finalisation of the Terms of Reference of the ASLOM Working Group on ASEAN Extradition Treaty and looked forward to the progress on the development of an ASEAN Extradition Treaty.
We looked forward to the 1st Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Central Authorities on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (SOM-MLAT) to be convened by Brunei Darussalam in the last quarter of 2021 to discuss various issues in ensuring the effective implementation of the MLAT and strengthening the AMS capacity to combat transnational crimes.
We welcomed the outcomes of the 7th and 8th Annual Meetings of the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM) in November 2020 and July 2021 respectively, that discussed ways to enhance cooperation among the nuclear regulatory bodies and further strengthen nuclear safety, security, and safeguards in the region. We also welcomed the progress of the implementation of the Practical Arrangements (PA) between ASEAN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Cooperation in the Areas of Nuclear Science and Technology and Applications, Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards, signed in September 2019 through the convening of relevant activities and initiatives.
We reiterated our commitment to preserve the Southeast Asian region as a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and free of all other weapons of mass destruction as enshrined in the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty) and the ASEAN Charter. We stressed the importance of the full and effective implementation of the SEANWFZ Treaty, including through implementing the Plan of Action to Strengthen the Implementation of the Treaty on the SEANWFZ (2018-2022). We reaffirmed our commitment to continuously engage the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) and intensify the ongoing efforts of all parties to resolve all outstanding issues in accordance with the objectives and principles of the SEANWFZ Treaty. Our ASEAN experts could explore ways to bridge the differences, including the possibility of engaging with the NWS experts. We look forward to the submission of the biennial SEANWFZ Resolution through the First Committee to the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
We noted ASEAN-IPR’s activities with relevant ASEAN Bodies’ and ASEAN External Partners to promote the culture of peace and moderation in ASEAN. We encouraged the ASEAN-IPR to find innovative solutions to ensure its sustainability and activities. We also noted ASEAN-IPR’s continued support for ASEAN Women for Peace Registry (AWPR) to implement the ASEAN Leaders’ Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security.
We welcomed ASEAN’s efforts in promoting and empowering women’s participation and leading roles in peace and security in the region, particularly the launch of the ASEAN Regional Study on Women, Peace and Security. The Regional Study reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to gender equality, women’s leadership, and women’s role and participation in implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. We noted the role of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) in the development of an ASEAN regional plan of action on the WPS Agenda, and looked forward to the implementation of the other recommendations of the Regional Study by other relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies, where appropriate. We noted Member States’ initiative to promote the WPS Agenda in the region through the support of the Southeast Asian Network of Women Peace Negotiators and Mediators in convening the Regional Forum of Women Peace Mediators and Negotiators in June 2021.
We commended the role of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) as a centre of excellence in promoting ASEAN's efforts to address the issue of explosive remnants of war (ERW) for interested ASEAN Member States and raise awareness of the danger of ERW among affected communities. We welcomed the convening of ARMAC’s hybrid workshop on "Achieving Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Landmine/ERW Affected Countries" in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in July 2021.
We noted the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/75/239 emphasising in the Preamble, the universal and unified character of the 1982 UNCLOS, and reaffirming that the Convention sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out and is of strategic importance as the basis for national, regional and global action and cooperation in the marine sector, and that its integrity needs to be maintained.
We welcomed positive developments in maritime cooperation among ASEAN Member States, including through continued constructive dialogues on issues of common interest and concern under the ambit of ASEAN-led mechanisms. We encouraged ASEAN Member States to intensify cooperation in promoting maritime security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight, addressing transnational crime at sea, creating conducive environment for peaceful settlement of disputes, ensuring marine sustainability, providing humanitarian assistance to persons and vessels in distress at sea, combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, promoting maritime connectivity and commerce, strengthening marine scientific research, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, the relevant Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the relevant instruments and conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
We noted with satisfaction the successful convening of the 10th ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) and 8th Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) held in December 2020, and reaffirmed the role of the AMF and EAMF in promoting maritime cooperation in the region through dialogue and consultation. Taking into account the cross-cutting nature of maritime cooperation, we encouraged stronger coordination among ASEAN cross-sectoral bodies and other relevant ASEAN mechanisms to avoid duplication of efforts.
We congratulated the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) on its progress and achievements in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in the implementation of its Priority Programmes/Activities over the past years on human rights, including in areas such as women, children and persons with disabilities, as well as migrant workers. AICHR’s work in the context of public health and recovery response to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially its consideration for the needs of the vulnerable groups, was highly commendable. We also appreciated the AICHR’s efforts to remain responsive and adaptive in rolling out its priority programmes strategically focused on human rights and other cross-sectoral issues. We tasked our Senior Officials to continue working on the implementation of the decision made by the 52nd AMM on AICHR and looked forward to the establishment of the Panel of Experts. We noted the proposal from AICHR to hold an ASEAN Human Rights Dialogue 2021 in September 2021.
We noted the development of the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework for tracking implementation progress of the AICHR’s Five-Year Work Plan 2021-2025. Moving forward, we encouraged the AICHR to continue its efforts to fully and effectively discharge its mandate and functions, particularly in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms of the peoples of ASEAN, and to reinforce its cooperation with external partners and regional entities while retaining its public outreach and communications through the AICHR website and social media to engage all members of society in contributing to the building of a people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community.
We are encouraged by the forward-looking development of the PED on the development of the Work Plan on the Implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce 2021-2025, which aims to advance effective implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce over the next five years both at regional and national levels, thus paving the way for ASEAN to transform itself into a leading digital community. We also looked forward to the complete ratification, and timely entry into force of the ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce. We reiterated the importance of finalising the Regional Action Plan on the Implementation of the Norms of Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace to enable ASEAN to be forward looking in this emerging area.
We also supported the PED on Circular Economy that is geared towards the achievement of a resilient economy, resource efficiency, and sustainable growth in the region. We noted the development of the Framework for Circular Economy for the AEC, which aims to provide clear and strategic direction to the AEC work on circular economy, and look forward to its adoption later this year. We noted how potential areas of cooperation on sustainable development and clean and renewable energy, among others, can complement the AEC work on the circular economy. We also looked forward to the PEDs specific to advancing ASEAN energy and minerals cooperation that seek to respond to the emerging opportunities and challenges of ASEAN's continuing efforts towards energy security and energy transitions in line with the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025, including through cooperation with the ASEAN Centre for Energy as well as the responsible development of the region's mineral resources amidst the increasing intensity of minerals demanded by the modern digital age, low carbon recovery and growth, and sustainable development in accordance with ASEAN Minerals Cooperation Action Plan (AMCAP) 2016-2025. Towards accelerating energy transition and strengthening energy resilience, we were pleased to note the positive progress made in the implementation of the APAEC Phase II 2021-2025. To highlight the regional energy transitions and energy security agenda, we looked forward to the adoption of the Joint Declaration on Energy Security and Energy Transition.
We commended the tremendous efforts by ASEAN tourism sector in implementing creative and innovative solutions, such as utilising digital technology, to aid the tourism sector’s resilience amidst the pandemic and to ensure that the tourism sector is responsive and can be safely reopened. We look forward to the implementation of the Post-COVID19 Recovery Plan for ASEAN Tourism as one of the PEDs. We also noted with appreciation the development of an ASEAN Guidelines for Hygiene and Safety for Workers and Communities in the Tourism Industry as part of the ACRF to instil trust and confidence in the resumption of travel to Southeast Asia. These initiatives would help rebuild the ASEAN tourism industry, a major driver for regional economic growth and social advancement, to be more sustainable, inclusive and resilient.
AEC Mid-term Review
We welcomed the launch of the Report of the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025 and are pleased to note the good progress made in the implementation of the 23 sectoral work plans in the Blueprint. Acknowledging the significant contribution of the AEC to ASEAN’s Community-building process, we look forward to the early and effective follow up by AEC sectoral bodies on the recommendations in the MTR as we enter the second phase towards achieving the AEC’s 2025 goals.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
We welcomed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement that was signed in November 2020 amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. We recognised the significant contribution that the RCEP could make to the overall post-pandemic economic recovery, expansion of regional trade and investment, job creation, and inclusive global economic growth and development. We noted the progress of the preparatory work for the entry into force of the RCEP and looked forward to its completion. We reaffirmed our commitment to expedite respective domestic ratification procedures to have the RCEP Agreement enter into force as targeted in early 2022.
We welcomed the successful conclusion of the negotiations on the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (AE CATA) at the Extraordinary ASEAN-EU Senior Transport Officials Meeting held on 2 June 2021, which would help bolster air connectivity and economic development between ASEAN and Europe. We also welcomed the adoption of the first set of ASEAN-wide COVID-19 operational guidelines by the 26th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting held on 24 November 2020 for the protection and safety of passengers and operational air crew, as well as cleaning and disinfection of aircraft, aiming to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, restore passenger confidence, and support the safe resumption of aviation activities in ASEAN.
Agriculture and Forestry
We noted that sustainable food production and resilient agricultural practices, including sustainable production of vegetable oils, are essential to the attainment of the SDGs by 2030 and will contribute to the regional and global effort towards economic recovery and green growth. We welcomed the convening of the First Meeting of the Joint Working Group on Palm Oil between the European Union and Relevant ASEAN Member Countries to continue promoting mutual understanding on the sustainable production of vegetable oils and address the challenges in this sector in a holistic, transparent, and non-discriminatory manner. To this end, we reaffirmed our support for the relevant Member States to promote collaboration and sustainability efforts and practices in the vegetable oil sector.
We looked forward to the early establishment and operationalisation of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Animal Health and Zoonoses (ACCAHZ) to provide a comprehensive, integrated, and concerted regional approach that will coordinate national approaches in animal health and zoonoses measures.
We also welcomed the launch of the Singapore-Thailand real time retail payment system cross-border linkage which is a tangible milestone for payments connectivity in supporting ASEAN’s digitalisation drive and enabling financial inclusion in the region. We look forward to further expanding this bilateral linkage into a network of linked retail payment systems across ASEAN.
Social Welfare and Development
We reaffirmed our commitment to fostering cooperation in social welfare and development aimed at raising the standard of living, especially for the poor and vulnerable groups in ASEAN and seeking the active involvement of all sectors of society. In this regard, we noted the progress on the initiative of the ASEAN Outstanding Social Welfare and Development Awards (AOSWADA) by the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD) which will serve as a platform to foster sustained partnerships and cooperation among non-government organisations, civil society organisations, and the private sector in ASEAN.
We reaffirmed our commitment to advocate gender equality and ensure meaningful participation of women and girls in the region’s social and economic development. We welcomed the launch of the ASEAN Gender Outlook in March 2021.
We commended ASEAN’s efforts and Member States’ initiatives on women empowerment and the convening of the first ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit with the theme “Women’s Role in Building a Cohesive, Dynamic, Sustainable, and Inclusive ASEAN Community in a Post-COVID-19 World” in November 2020. We also commended the continued efforts and contributions of the ASEAN Women’s Entrepreneur Network (AWEN) in strengthening entrepreneurship capacities and skills for women in ASEAN.
We noted with appreciation the recent adoption of the ASEAN Workplan on Education 2021-2025, and look forward to its implementation, which reaffirms the principles of quality, equity and inclusion in education and is anchored on a lifelong learning framework encompassing different stages and modalities of education and catering to the needs and contexts of all learners. We also reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to collectively improve access to digital connectivity and skills to support teaching and learning, and to ensure inclusion and equity, harness partnerships with the private sector, and empower children and young people to shape the digital transformation of education in the region.
Human Resource Development
We welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council’s Rules of Procedure and the finalisation of its inaugural medium-term work plan to be noted at the 38th ASEAN Summit. We took note of the completion of the Regional Report on Human Resources Development Readiness in ASEAN and implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on Human Resources Development for the Changing World of Work.
We underlined the importance of strengthening labour market information in the region to promote more evidence-based policies. We were therefore pleased to note the data updating of the ASEAN Informal Employment Statistics and the first data collection for the monitoring framework of the ASEAN Roadmap on Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2025. We further noted the completion of the Regional Study on Labour Productivity in ASEAN launched in February 2021, which led to the exploration of the establishment of a regional labour productivity index for ASEAN.
Youth and Sport Development
We looked forward to the establishment of the ASEAN Youth Academy in Brunei Darussalam as an institution dedicated to the youth of ASEAN that enables knowledge exchange and skills development through hands-on experience and direct interaction with ASEAN officials and experts. We noted with satisfaction the completion of the study on ASEAN Awareness, Values and Identity in the context of the fifth domain of the ASEAN Youth Development Index and looked forward to the launch of the report by the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth (AMMY).
We congratulated the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Sports (AMMS) for the adoption of Terms of Reference (TOR) of the Technical Working Group for the Preparation of ASEAN’s Joint Bid for the FIFA World Cup 2034 (TWG-FWC) and looked forward to the convening of its first meeting. We also welcomed the potential expansion of sports sectoral cooperation with our Dialogue Partners. In reaffirming our commitment to promoting the protection of the integrity of sport by preventing doping and promoting a commitment to the concepts of ethics in sports and fair play, we also looked forward to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ASEAN and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Environment and Transboundary Haze Pollution
We underscored our resolve and commitment towards building a resilient community with the capability and capacity to adapt and tackle climate change. We reaffirmed our commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances. In this regard, we look forward to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
We recognised the potential interlinkages between biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and zoonosis, and committed to using the momentum to engage relevant sectoral bodies to integrate biodiversity into responding to COVID-19 and preventing future public health emergencies and pandemics. We noted a series of initiatives and programs coordinated by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), including effectively managing protected areas, improving species conservation, enhancing ecosystem restoration, and promoting natural capital integration. We affirmed our support to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and endeavoured to promote the restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems resources through the ASEAN Green Initiative with the planting of 10 million trees in the region in 10 years beginning in 2021. We looked forward to the launch of the Investing in Sustainable Natural Capital in ASEAN Status Report this year, which will be the basis for developing an ASEAN Natural Capital Roadmap.
We noted the enhanced regional cooperation in addressing transboundary issues such as marine litter and haze pollution control. We encouraged enhanced regional cooperation to address marine debris, and welcomed the launch of the ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States (2021–2025) which provides specific policy and programme recommendations to tackle marine plastic debris.
We noted that transboundary haze pollution, arising from land and forest fires remains a major concern in the region. We reiterated our commitment to the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) and the Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation to achieve a Haze-Free ASEAN. We commended the progress of the ASEAN Peatland Management Strategy (APMS 2006-2020) and welcomed the commencement of the formulation of the next APMS. We note the ongoing Final Review of the Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation Towards Transboundary Haze Pollution with Means of Implementation and look forward to receiving its recommendations. We are also pleased to note the progress of the haze and peatland programmes/projects, namely: Sustainable Use of Peatland and Haze Mitigation in ASEAN (SUPA) and Measurable Action for Haze-Free Sustainable Land Management in Southeast Asia (MAHFSA). We noted the progress towards the finalisation of the Establishment Agreement and Host Country Agreement of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control (ACCTHPC) and looked forward to its operationalisation, which will facilitate faster and effective implementation of all aspects of AATHP to address transboundary haze pollution in the ASEAN region. We stressed the importance of remaining vigilant and noted the ongoing preventive efforts to minimise any possible occurrence of transboundary smoke haze during periods of drier weather. We looked forward to the final reviews of the APMS and the Roadmap to evaluate the achievement of a haze-free ASEAN.
Disaster Management and Emergency Response
We welcomed the launch and the implementation of the AADMER Work Programme 2021-2025 and to advance ASEAN’s priorities and capabilities in managing disasters in the region and realise ASEAN’s aspiration to be a global leader in disaster management by 2025 as set in the ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management. We noted the ongoing review of the Financial Rules of the ASEAN Disaster Management and Emergency Response (ADMER) Fund to enhance ASEAN’s disaster funding and resource mobilisation mechanisms by looking beyond traditional funding sources to establish a self-sufficient fund, such as the potential establishment of a suitable platform for members of the public to contribute towards ASEAN’s disaster response efforts. We looked forward to the adoption and launching of the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on Adaptation to Drought 2021-2025 to implement the ASEAN Declaration on the Strengthening of Adaptation to Drought adopted on 17 November 2020. We noted the importance of Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Regional Warehouse and Satellite Warehouses in disaster management. We reaffirmed the importance of promoting a whole-of-ASEAN approach in disaster management, including through strengthening the Joint Task Force to Promote Synergy with other Relevant ASEAN Bodies on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (JTF on HADR). We reaffirmed our commitment to continuously enhance ASEAN’s capacity in implementing the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response through supporting the AHA Centre, and appreciated the work of the AHA Centre.
We reaffirmed our support for a more visible and enhanced role of ASEAN to support Myanmar by providing humanitarian assistance, facilitating the repatriation process, and promoting sustainable development in Rakhine State. We stressed the importance of the voluntary return of displaced persons in a safe, secure, and dignified manner, in accordance with the bilateral agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh. We further underscored the importance of efforts to addressing the root causes of the conflict in Rakhine State. We reiterated our appreciation to the Secretary-General of ASEAN for his efforts in leading the implementation of the recommendations of the Preliminary Needs Assessment (PNA) which has been making progress. We appreciated the contribution from ASEAN Member States and some external partners in supporting ASEAN activities, including the prioritised projects in Rakhine State to facilitate the repatriation process and to promote inclusive and sustainable development, including through providing basic services and creating livelihood opportunities for the displaced persons. We also looked forward to the conduct of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) when conditions allow and encouraged the Secretary-General of ASEAN to continue identifying possible areas for ASEAN to effectively facilitate the repatriation process.
We noted with satisfaction the encouraging progress in ASEAN’s relations with our Dialogue Partners, Sectoral Dialogue Partners, and Development Partners through the existing frameworks, Plans of Action, Practical Cooperation Areas, and development cooperation programmes based on mutual interest and benefit. We acknowledged with appreciation the contribution of these partnerships to our ASEAN Community-building and development cooperation efforts. We also welcomed the support of our partners for the priorities of ASEAN in 2021 under the theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”. We agreed to further strengthen partnerships and cooperation with our external partners, thus contributing to the continued efforts towards the realisation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and our proactive response to challenges, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and opportunities thereon.
We took note of the growing interest from countries and regional organisations outside of the region in developing stronger collaboration and substantial cooperation with ASEAN, including through applications for formal partnerships with ASEAN. We affirmed the importance of pursuing an outward-looking policy and agreed on the need to reach out to new potential partners based on shared interest, constructive engagement, and mutual benefit which could contribute to ASEAN’s Community-building, regional integration and development cooperation efforts. We also welcomed the increased engagement between the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN and ASEAN’s partners, including through the 95 Non-ASEAN Ambassadors Accredited to ASEAN (NAAAs). We also welcomed the role of the 54 ASEAN Committees in Third Countries and International Organisations in promoting ASEAN’s interest and forging partnerships in the respective host countries and international organisations.
We agreed to accord the United Kingdom the status of Dialogue Partner of ASEAN in view of its individual relationship with ASEAN as well as its past cooperation and engagement with ASEAN when it was a member of the European Union, in accordance with the Guidelines for ASEAN’s External Relations (2014) and the List of Criteria for Dialogue Partnership (2021). We looked forward to the ASEAN Secretariat’s recommendations on the modalities of engagement including arrangements on coordinatorship.
We agreed to commence a comprehensive review of the moratorium on new dialogue partnerships, in conjunction with the work of the ASEAN Community Vision Post-2025, with the objective to enhance the ASEAN Community and advance ASEAN’s relations with external parties based on the principles of strengthening ASEAN Centrality, openness and inclusivity as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, the TAC and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
We look forward to the convening of the 24th ASEAN-Japan Summit, 22nd ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit, the 18th ASEAN-India Summit, the 9th ASEAN-U.S. Summit and the 1st annual ASEAN-Australia Summit to be held in October 2021. We also look forward to the convening of the 24th ASEAN-China Summit to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, and the 4th ASEAN-Russia Summit to mark 30 years of ASEAN-Russia relations and 25 years of Dialogue Partnership to be held in October 2021 back-to-back with the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits, and the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan of Action to Implement ASEAN-Russia Strategic Partnership (2021-2025).
ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partners and ASEAN Development Partners
We noted the good progress made in the ASEAN-Switzerland Sectoral Dialogue Partnership, ASEAN-Norway Sectoral Dialogue Partnership, ASEAN-Turkey Sectoral Dialogue Partnership, ASEAN-Germany Development Partnership, ASEAN-Chile Development Partnership as well as the ASEAN-France Development Partnership and ASEAN-Italy Development Partnership. We welcomed the adoption of the Practical Cooperation Areas for ASEAN-Chile Development Partnership 2021-2025 and Practical Cooperation Areas for ASEAN-Norway Sectoral Dialogue Partnership 2021-2025 and appreciated the ongoing support of these partnerships for ASEAN’s Community-building efforts. In this regard, we look forward to the holding of the individual Trilateral Meetings between the ASEAN Chair, the Secretary-General of ASEAN and Norway, Switzerland and Turkey respectively to explore opportunities for further cooperation and exchanges on issues of mutual interest.
Regional and International Organisations
We reaffirmed the importance of multilateralism and underscored the importance of ASEAN’s partnerships with other external partners such as regional and international organisations, including the United Nations to address global concerns, pursue shared goals and complementary initiatives, and promote sustainable development for the benefit of our people. In this connection, we welcomed the convening of the 11th ASEAN-U.N. Summit held via videoconference in November 2020. We also welcomed the contribution of Viet Nam, as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and took note of the convening of the High-level Open Debate on “Cooperation between UN and regional organisations in enhancing confidence-building and dialogue in conflict prevention and resolution” in April 2021.
We were pleased to note the positive progress made in the implementation of the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between ASEAN and the United Nations (2021-2025). We reaffirmed our commitment to intensifying cooperation in the implementation of the Complementarities Roadmap and effectively realizing the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
ASEAN Plus Three
We reaffirmed the importance of the APT cooperation framework in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the East Asian region. We underscored the need to further strengthen and deepen functional cooperation under the APT framework, which plays a key role in regional community building in East Asia, with ASEAN as the driving force. We agreed to further enhance APT cooperation in wide-ranging areas through the implementation of the APT Cooperation Work Plan 2018-2022 and the EAVG II Recommendations. In this regard, we looked forward to the development of a successor Work Plan (2023-2027), which will serve as a principal guide in enhancing the APT process and identifying new areas of cooperation over the next five years. We were committed to further strengthening APT cooperation in response to emerging challenges and ensuring the effective implementation of the APT Leaders’ Statement on Strengthening APT Cooperation for Economic and Financial Resilience in the face of Emerging Challenges which was adopted at the 23rd APT Summit in November 2020. We are committed to promoting APT cooperation in post-pandemic recovery, including by strengthening mental health cooperation in a post-COVID-19 era and in this regard, welcomed the proposed issuance of the APT Leaders' Statement on Cooperation on Mental Health Amongst Adolescents and Young Children at the 24th APT Summit in October 2021.
East Asia Summit
We reaffirmed our commitment to further strengthening the EAS as a Leaders-led forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability, and economic prosperity in the region. In this regard, we were committed to ensuring the effective follow-up on the Ha Noi Declaration on the 15th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit, which was adopted at the 15th East Asia Summit in November 2020, to further strengthen the EAS process, sustain its strategic value and relevance as well as enhance its responsiveness to fast-changing developments in the regional and global context. We agreed to further enhance EAS practical cooperation under the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2018-2022). We also looked forward to the development of a successor Plan of Action for the next five years (2023-2027), building on the existing Plan of Action’s areas of cooperation, and current issues and challenges. We also highlighted the need to strengthen EAS collaboration, based on the principle of ASEAN Centrality, in response to emerging issues and challenges that affect peace, stability and prosperity in the region, as well as the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as mental health, and in facilitating a sustainable comprehensive recovery. In this regard, we welcomed the proposed issuance of the EAS Leaders Statements, namely the EAS Leaders’ Statement on Mental Health Cooperation, EAS Leaders’ Statement on Economic Growth Through Tourism Recovery and the EAS Leaders’ Statement on Green Recovery: Advancing Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Future, at the 16th EAS in October 2021. We welcomed the continued discussions and efforts to strengthen the EAS, including through, among others, the regular engagement of the EAS Ambassadors’ Meeting in Jakarta to discuss implementation of the Leaders’ decisions as well as exchanging information on regional development cooperation initiatives and security policies and initiatives, and discussions on the evolving regional architecture.
ASEAN Regional Forum
We reiterated the importance of the ARF as a key platform for dialogue and consultation on regional political and security issues of common interest and concern. We noted with satisfaction the progress of cooperation in the ARF, and commended the provisional measures undertaken to ensure continuity of cooperation and operations of the ARF amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We were pleased to note that the ARF has continued to further enhance its effectiveness and maintain its relevance in the evolving regional security architecture, including its work on cyber security and promoting the youth, peace and security agenda. In this regard, we encouraged follow-up actions to streamline and enhance the efficiency of the ARF based on the agreed Guide to ARF Processes, Procedures, Practices and Protocol. We welcomed the implementation of the ARF Hanoi Plan of Action II (2020-2025) and looked forward to further discussions on developing a post-2025 vision for the ARF. We also looked forward to the adoption of the ARF Statement on Preventing and Combating Cybercrime and the ARF Joint Statement on Promoting the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda at the ARF to be adopted during the 28th ARF.
ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific
We reaffirmed the objectives and principles of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which provides a guide for ASEAN’s engagement in the wider Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. We noted that various ASEAN sectoral bodies, ASEAN Political-Security Community and the ASEAN Economic Community pillars, had discussed the implementation of the Outlook. We further noted the ADMM-Plus’ recognition of ASEAN’s leading role in the shaping of regional economic and security architecture, by promoting close cooperation through ASEAN-led mechanisms, under the guiding principles reflected in the ASEAN Charter, the TAC, the Bali Principles, and reconfirmed in the AOIP. We agreed that ASEAN-led mechanisms, including ASEAN Plus One mechanisms, the EAS, the ADMM-Plus, and the ARF could serve as useful platforms for dialogue and cooperation to implement the Outlook. In this regard, we encouraged external partners to support and undertake cooperation with ASEAN, in accordance with the principles contained in the Outlook, on the four identified key areas, namely maritime cooperation, connectivity, UN SDGs 2030, economic and other possible areas of cooperation, through practical projects to promote mutual trust, mutual respect, and mutual benefit through ASEAN-led mechanisms, thereby contributing to peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
Timor-Leste’s Application for ASEAN Membership
We noted the progress made in preparing for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillars (ASCC) Fact-Finding Missions (FFM) to Timor-Leste. We looked forward to the convening of the FFMs, when circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic allow, and to the outcomes of the FFMs, after which a comprehensive assessment of Timor-Leste’s application for ASEAN membership would be developed. In this regard, we welcomed the effort of the AEC and ASCC in moving this forward by holding virtual interfaces with Timor-Leste’s sectoral counterparts to prepare for their FFMs. In line with the APSC FFM, we reaffirmed our commitment to continue exploring ways to provide capacity building assistance to Timor-Leste, especially through participation in non-policy making activities in ASEAN. In this regard, we looked forward to the ACC’s endorsement of the Guidelines for Timor-Leste’s Participation in ASEAN Activities for Capacity Building Purposes, and the accompanying Matrices of ASEAN Non-Policy Making Activities for Timor-Leste’s Participation for Capacity Building Purposes, and their implementation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Bandar Seri Begawan BD 2710
Phone: +673 2261177
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org /
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was founded on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined ASEAN on 7 January 1984