An enhanced ASEAN Secretariat is a critical cornerstone, in ASEAN’s projected engagement and integration into the global community.

The strengthening of the Secretariat is a critical issue and deserves a stand-alone meeting among the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, said Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr Marty Natalegawa.

“ASEAN’s role in the global community of nations requires a strong ASEAN Secretariat,” he explained.

ASEAN Secretary-General, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, made a presentation at the 44th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Bali.

The presentation centered around the Secretariat’s corporate service, and its influence on strengthening ASEAN’s unity and centrality; its impact on promoting ASEAN cooperation with external parties; as well as its role in supporting ASEAN stakeholders, and its public outreach efforts.

To illustrate his proposal, Dr Surin said a stronger Secretariat will result in even better project management – both internally and externally with ASEAN partners. Another area is the critical support for ASEAN’s operations. One example is the unit supporting the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights, or AICHR.

“As AICHR embarks on the next phase of its operations, it is critical that it receives adequate support to help it function effectively,” said Dr Surin.

The full proposal will be presented to ASEAN Leaders at the 19th ASEAN Summit, which will be held in Bali this November.