Chairman’s Statement of the 11th ASEAN-United Nations Summit
The 11th ASEAN-United Nations (UN) Summit was held on 15 November 2020 via videoconference. Below is the full text of the Summit's Chairman's Statement.
1. The 11th ASEAN-United Nations (UN) Summit was held on 15 November 2020 via videoconference. The Summit was chaired by H.E. Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and attended by Heads of State/Government and High Representatives of ASEAN Member States, and H.E. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN. The Secretary-General of ASEAN was also in attendance.
2. We highlighted the vital importance of ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership in our efforts in addressing global and regional concerns, pursuing shared goals and complementary initiatives, and promoting peace, prosperity, human rights and sustainable development for the benefit of people of ASEAN. We reaffirmed our unwavering commitment in upholding multilateralism and a rules-based international order, as we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the UN this year, and as we aim to further enhance our longstanding partnership. In this regard, we welcomed the role of Indonesia and Viet Nam as non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and noted the briefings made by Secretaries-General of ASEAN and the UN at the UNSC on “Cooperation between the UN and Regional and Subregional Organisations in Maintaining Peace and Security: The Role of ASEAN” at the UN Headquarters in New York in January 2020, which contributed towards strengthening relations between the United Nations with regional organisations in general and of ASEAN-UN relations at the international level, in particular.
3. We were pleased to note the further strengthening of the Comprehensive Partnership between ASEAN and the UN, as marked by the depth and breadth of our cooperation across the three ASEAN Community pillars and with the completion of the first ASEAN-UN Plan of Action (2016-2020). We looked forward to enhancing our cooperation under the new ASEAN-UN Plan of Action (2021-2025) which includes areas of cross-sectoral cooperation such as climate action, gender mainstreaming and cybersecurity, which would continue to contribute towards the realisation of a people-centred ASEAN Community that ‘leaves no one behind’. We emphasized that the cross-sectoral impacts of the pandemic will require the adaption of joint activities in the Plan of Action in order to support comprehensive and multisectoral recovery, in the context of efforts towards achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
4. We recognised the unprecedented challenges posed by the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and underscored the importance of enhanced international cooperation in addressing the challenges as well as in strengthening joint efforts for robust pandemic recovery and other public health emergencies (PHE). We further recognized the importance of strengthening the capacity of ASEAN and existing regional mechanisms to optimize their operations and enhance regional preparedness and health security, through coordination and cooperation with external partners and international organization. We underlined the importance of developing vaccines that are global, public goods, which would be safe, effective, accessible and affordable to all, as well as maintaining resilient, open and connected regional supply chains and supporting a sustained economic recovery of the region. The UN Secretary-General expressed gratitude to ASEAN for its strong support of the COVAX Facility Initiative.
5. ASEAN Leaders also took note of the UN Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on the Impact of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia and his appeal for a global ceasefire to promote global peace in the midst of the pandemic. The UN Secretary-General renewed his Appeal to ASEAN Leaders and encouraged an end to continuing conflicts in the world, including in ASEAN, to enable governments and communities to fully focus on combatting COVID-19. ASEAN Leaders appreciated the briefing made by the Director-General of the WHO at the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 in April 2020, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)’s efforts to engage ASEAN on the impact of COVID-19 through the SDGs framework, and the UN’s participation in the High-Level Dialogue on ASEAN Post-Pandemic Recovery in July 2020. Overall, we commended the efforts of the UN and WHO in leading the global response against COVID-19 and support the UN’s call for urgent and coordinated action against the pandemic. In this regard, ASEAN welcomed the UN’s technical support to promote inclusive, resilient, and sustainable recovery in the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. ASEAN Leaders also appreciated the participation of the Director-General of WHO at the 37th ASEAN Summit and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate on Inclusive Finance Development at the first ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit, which were both held on 12 November 2020.
6. ASEAN Leaders welcomed the UN’s contribution to the progress made in enhancing ASEAN’s capacity in the area of preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention, undertaken through its collaboration with the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (ASEAN-IPR) and the ASEAN Women for Peace Registry (AWPR). We welcomed the successful convening of the seventh ASEAN-UN Workshop – Fifth Regional Dialogue on ASEAN-UN Cooperation on Political-Security Cooperation (AURED V) under the theme “Focused Collaboration in Support of the ASEAN-IPR”, which was co-organised by Viet Nam and the UN in December 2019. We welcomed ASEAN’s efforts in advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the UNSC resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and acknowledged the UN’s participation at the WPS Webinar in July 2020 as well as at the ASEAN Ministerial Dialogue on Strengthening Women’s role for Sustainable Peace and Security in September 2020 and the ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit on 12 November 2020. We looked forward to the convening of the 2nd ASEAN-UN Training on the Law of the Sea, including the 1982 UNCLOS with interested ASEAN partners and the international conference on “Women, Peace and Security: Strengthening women’s role in building and sustaining peace: from commitments to results” to be co-organized by the UN and Viet Nam in December 2020 as well as joint activities being planned between ASEAN and the UN including to advance the Youth, Peace and Security agenda in ASEAN.
7. The UN Secretary-General appreciated the support of ASEAN with regard to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and recognised the role of nuclear-weapon-free-zones as regional approaches to strengthening the nuclear disarmament and non proliferation regimes in the consolidation of international efforts towards peace and security. The UN Secretary-General expressed appreciation to the ASEAN Leaders for ASEAN’s endorsement of the Action-for-Peacekeeping Agenda and the current contribution of approximately 5,000 military and police peacekeeping personnel from ASEAN Member States, including the growing number of women peacekeepers, deployed in 10 global UN peacekeeping operations. We also welcomed the strengthened collaboration through the Triangular Partnership Project on peacekeeping engineering training for troop contributing countries in the region. We also looked forward to further technical, financial and advisory support between the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) and the UN, including through sharing of knowledge and best practices from global and regional perspectives, to address humanitarian aspects of landmine and other explosive remnant of war issues in the region as well as the world at large.
8. We emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights in the region, including increased engagement between the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the UN, including the sharing of good practices and international human rights mechanisms. In this regard, we are pleased to note the convening of the 2nd AICHR-UN Interface in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2019 and looked forward to the upcoming convening of the 3rd AICHR-UN Interface Meeting on 25th November, including sharing of experiences of safeguarding human rights in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. We encouraged the AICHR and the UN to continue exchanging capacity building initiatives to protect and assist vulnerable groups, especially women, children and persons with disabilities, ensuring that the highest priority is given to the right to health in our response to the crisis caused by COVID-19. We looked forward to future AICHR and UN collaboration and continued annual exchanges on business and human rights as well as the upcoming meeting organised by AICHR and the UN on Human Rights Due Diligence in Business which will take place in Bangkok on 1-2 December. The UN Secretary-General welcomed the ASEAN Leaders’ recognition of stigmatisation and discrimination as problems associated with COVID-19 and proposed joint activities within the framework of COVID-19 recovery and the ‘Culture of Prevention’ agenda to help address the problem.
9. We agreed to enhance our collaborative efforts in combatting the increasing threat of transnational organised crimes, violent extremism and terrorism in the region and welcomed the UN’s continued support, particularly in sharing global practices and technical expertise with ASEAN in, cybercrime, and cyber-related threats, international economic crime, trafficking in persons, illicit drugs, infringement of intellectual property rights, as well as wildlife and timber. The Meeting noted the importance of addressing the issue of irregular movements and the UN Secretary General reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to support the development of regional strategies to address irregular maritime movements in the region. We noted that the UN remained committed to actively support ASEAN’s work to advance the ‘Border Management Cooperation Roadmap’ and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s continued support to the Border Liaison Office (BLO) network as well as efforts to increase women’s participation in law enforcement forces in the region, together with UN Women. We also noted the successful convening of the first regional conference on child online protection, co-organised by the UNODC and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in February 2020. ASEAN recognized the importance of working with the UN, including through the UN Alliance of Civilisations to promote a culture of peace and dialogue, deepen trust and understanding.
10. We reaffirmed the importance of global, regional and national cooperation to address the threats and challenges posed by terrorism and violent extremism as well as comprehensive and ‘all-of-society’ approaches to counter-terrorism and the prevention of violent extremism, in line with the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action for Preventing Violent Extremism. We noted the UN’s commitment to providing technical support in the implementation of the Work Plan of the ASEAN Plan of Action to Prevent and Counter the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism 2019-2025 (Bali Work Plan) through the UN Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) and relevant UN partners.
11. ASEAN Leaders acknowledged the UN’s support towards ASEAN’s continued efforts to pursue further economic cooperation and integration both within the region and in the global economy as well as efforts to create effective operational and regulatory frameworks for a more competitive ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). We recognised the need for strengthening our collaboration in areas such as trade facilitation, energy connection and interconnectivity within and beyond the region, as well as digital economy, strengthened support to an ASEAN Consolidated Strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution financial technology and e-commerce. We reaffirmed UN’s support for ASEAN’s efforts in narrowing the development gap within ASEAN and to enhance ASEAN’s competitiveness as a whole and achieve ASEAN integration through the implementation of the IAI Work Plan IV (2021-2025) as outlined in the ASEAN-UN Plan of Action. The UN Secretary-General indicated that the UN would continue to collaborate with ASEAN to help address employment issues. We also noted our collaboration on transport connectivity, which aims to enhance transport infrastructure, networks, and operations and in support of the implementation of the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (2016-2025). We also looked forward to UN support for the ASEAN Sustainable Urbanisation Forum planned for 2021.
12. We recognised the importance of cooperation between ASEAN and the UN in promoting a competitive, resilient and sustainable food, agriculture and forestry sector that contributes to equitable and inclusive growth. We are pleased to note that cooperation on this front has been further promoted, including through the implementation of the Work Programme of the ASEAN-Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Cooperation on Agriculture and Forestry (2019-2024) as well as the endorsement of the FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme on Scaling up agroforestry in the ASEAN region for food security and environmental benefits.
13. ASEAN appreciated the UN’s continued support in furthering efforts to achieve energy security in the region through joint study and publications. We welcomed the collaboration between the ASEAN Centre for Energy and the UN ESCAP in addressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
14. We agreed that strengthening ASEAN-UN cooperation in disaster risk reduction, disaster management and emergency response remained a priority towards building a safer and disaster-resilient ASEAN Community and our efforts on this front could be spearheaded through the new Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management (2021-2025) (JSPADM IV). We noted that upon the finalisation of the ‘Interoperability Roadmap’, which supports the strategic and operational interoperability between the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and ASEAN, we would continue working on key priorities areas on this front, including by providing support for the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre). We affirmed the importance of forging closer collaboration in disaster management and supporting regional and sub-regional capacities in disaster management and emergency response, including for slow onset disasters such as drought, as well as ensuring gender equality and empowerment for women, girls, youth, and children in disaster preparedness and response in the region. We supported ASEAN’s efforts on further promoting sustainable and equitable development across the ASEAN Community including through aligning sub-regional growths with the comprehensive development of ASEAN.
15. We noted that cooperation in addressing climate change and other environmental issues continued to be undertaken, including through the delivery of the ASEAN UN Environment and Climate Change Action Plan (2016-2020) which aims to support the implementation of the ASEAN Strategic Plan on Environment. ASEAN Leaders appreciated the UN’s continued support for ASEAN’s vision for climate resilient Community, including through the development of the ASEAN Climate Finance Strategy, the establishment of the Southeast Asia Network for Enhancing Climate Transparency and CI-ACA as well as our efforts in implementing ‘Empower: Women for Climate Resilient Societies’ in the region. We also welcomed the UN’s support for ASEAN in the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution as well as the Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation. The UN Secretary-General called on ASEAN Member States to drive a zero carbon-emissions pathway, including decarbonising economies, ending new coal infrastructure and investing in renewable energy sources.
16. ASEAN welcomed the support from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for ASEAN in implementing the ‘ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Education for out-of school Children and Youth’ (OOSCY) since its adoption in 2016, particularly through the establishment of the first ASEAN Working Group on OOSCY in 2018 and the development of its accompanying regional action plan in 2019, as well as UNESCO’s support towards the Bangkok Declaration on Advancing Partnership in Education for 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in ASEAN.
17. We recognized that COVID-19 has exposed persistent vulnerabilities and inequalities, including entrenched gender equality that has impacted on the concerning rise of gender-based violence during the pandemic. We encouraged cooperation in support of ASEAN countries for expanding social protection especially for vulnerable groups, including those most impacted by the pandemic. The launch of the Disaster-Responsive Social Protection Guidelines by the ASEAN Secretariat and FAO is a notable example of how ASEAN-UN cooperation can advance this work together at the regional level. We also note the development of the Regional Plan of Action on Implementing the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Ageing: Empowering Older Persons in ASEAN and ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and the implementation of the ‘Women Empowerment Principles’.
18. We shared the importance of pursuing further complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and noted that various initiatives have been undertaken thus far, including a series of symposium on SDGs since 2016 as well as the development of the Complementarities Roadmap. ASEAN Leaders also looked forward to the UN’s continued support for ASEAN in this regard, including the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) and the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD).
19.We welcomed the enhancement of ASEAN-UN cooperation on capacity building and sharing of best practices on cybersecurity, including through the ASEAN Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (ASCCE) and ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre to support the implementation of the voluntary, non-binding norms for responsible State behavior outlined in the 2015 report of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security.
20.ASEAN welcomed the UN’s support, including through the World Intellectual Property Organization, for ASEAN’s implementation of the ASEAN Intellectual Property Rights Strategic Action Plan (2016-2025) and Intellectual Property Rights initiatives, priorities, goals and objectives cited in the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework Action Plan 2019-2025, and the ASEAN Innovation Roadmap 2019-2025 and its Implementation Plan.
21. We discussed international and regional issues of common interest and concern. The UN Secretary-General welcomed ASEAN’s support to diplomatic efforts to find a sustainable resolution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, reaffirming that the UN remained prepared to support cooperation with ASEAN towards that end. We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea. We underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety. We encouraged the substantive negotiations towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS within a mutually-agreed timeline. We also stressed the importance of undertaking confidence building and preventive measures as well as practical and mutually-beneficial cooperation to enhance, among others, trust and confidence amongst parties. We discussed the situation in the South China Sea, and reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, the importance of non-militarisation, exercise of self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability and avoidance of actions that may further complicate the situation, as well as to pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
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