We, the Labour Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), gathered today in Manila to reaffirm our commitment to the aims and purposes of the Association and to the ASEAN Vision 2020 adopted in Kuala Lumpur in 1997, commit ourselves to intensify our unity in purpose, recognising our cultural
diversity, particularly resolute in our cohesiveness and harmony in the area of work and human resources development.

We welcome the rapid integration of ASEAN, through various initiatives such as ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), ASEAN Investment Area (AIA), and ASEAN Framework Agreement in Services (AFAS), which will make the labour market in ASEAN more integrated and robust. We are committed to ensure that our labour force will be prepared for, and benefit from, economic integration in ASEAN.

We believe that people are at the heart of this development process in the ASEAN region, and that our peoples continue to be Southeast Asia’s most vital resource.

We aspire to bring about a better quality of life and productive employment for all of them through sustainable economic growth and social progress.

ASEAN should make further progress as a cohesive and caring society committed to enhancing the quality of life and well-being of its people, especially those in the vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors.

We, therefore, commit to strengthen the social pillars of ASEAN by promoting the full potential and dignity of workers. We shall achieve this by striving to ensure that people in Southeast Asia enjoy sustainable livelihood in a climate of freedom, equity, and stability, and are capable of harnessing technological innovations and opportunities presented by regionalisation and globalisation.

We shall work closely with workers, employers, civil society, and other organizations to provide a favourable environment for economic growth and employment creation, as a key strategy to accelerate economic recovery and growth.

We shall give priority to capacity-building in order to develop productive, competent and competitive workforce. This will enable the people of ASEAN to meet the changing job demands and challenges in the face of the integration of regional and global labour markets.

We shall work toward a technologically competitive ASEAN, capable of harnessing both cutting-edge and indigenous technologies. For this purpose, we shall develop qualified and trained manpower, and establish strong networks among training and human resources development institutes as well as centres of excellence.

We shall prepare ourselves to meet the challenges of the emerging knowledge-based economy by working closely to facilitate the free flow of knowledge, share best practices and experiences, and take advantage of new technologies to achieve sustainable growth and more equitable development.

In all these endeavours, we pledge to abide by our commitment to providing productive employment and adequate social protection through innovative and culturally appropriate programmes. We shall encourage people participation, tripartite partnership, and social dialogue to achieve these goals.

ASEAN Labour Ministers
Mission Statement


We, the Labour Ministers of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), firmly committed to the realisation of our Vision, hereby resolve to achieve the following:

  • To set the appropriate policy environment that fosters employment creation;

  • To promote the development of a productive, competent and capable workforce by investing in their training, education and skills upgrading;

  • To share knowledge on labour market policies and information, skills standards, experiences and best practices on lifelong learning, innovative schemes of employment generation, social protection and social security practices;

  • To enhance national capacities to assess and effectively deal with the social impact of trade and investment liberalisation and globalisation;

  • To share experience on skills training, trainers’ training, human resources development planning through close coordination of work programmes in each country; and

  • To promote and foster regional cooperation and collaboration in HRD and skills upgrading so that capacities in ASEAN could be strengthened to achieve sustained economic growth and social progress.

Manila, Philippines
11 May 2000