New ASEAN report further articulates way forward

New ASEAN report further articulates way forward

Top Stories | Feb 9, 2020:

FORUM Staff

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has refined its path forward in an updated ASEAN Political-Security Community Outlook report. With a theme of “ASEAN and Beyond,” the report, released in December 2019, features three essays that focus on partnering beyond Southeast Asia, nonproliferation and disarmament, and promoting peace and reconciliation.

“The essays highlight that ASEAN has made modest contributions in promoting peace and security beyond the four corners of the Southeast Asian region, with partnerships not only among the members of ASEAN but also with countries and organizations outside of Southeast Asia such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union,” the ASEAN Secretariat said. “

In the past year, ASEAN leaders adopted principles to promote cooperation, openness and inclusion. (Pictured: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers, from left: Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, Burmese Foreign Minister U Kyaw Tin, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Brunei Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi pose for a group photo in Nha Trang, Vietnam, on January 17, 2020.)

They also agreed to priority areas for cooperation, which include maritime security, connectivity, sustainable cooperation and economic cooperation, according to the report.

“ASEAN is increasingly putting greater emphasis on cross-sectoral cooperation, knowing too well that issues of today are multifaceted and multidimensional, cutting across ASEAN’s three community pillars, thus requiring ‘whole of society’ approaches, whether in creating opportunities or addressing challenges that come ASEAN’s way,” the report said.

When it comes to cooperation, ASEAN wants to work not only with its 10 member states, but it also wants to build a network of experts who share a vested interest in promoting peace within and beyond Southeast Asia.

“Building a pool of experts and building a network of support would go a well way in further enabling ASEAN both to prevent conflict from arising as well as deal and manage it when it arises,” the report said. “True enough, as is known in ASEAN and the rest of the world, peace is not only about the absence of conflict; it is rather a never-ending process of working for and towards it, which is the essence of peace building where everyone is supposed to play a critical role, to include women.”

To access the full report, click here: https://asean.org/storage/2020/01/ASEAN-Political-Security-Community-Outlook_2019_No2.pdf.

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