Ha Noi, 29 October 2010
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon, said that the United Nations (UN) is keen to continue working on its shared achievements with ASEAN, and to move forward with new areas of partnership. “The UN and ASEAN have long shared the goal of building a more stable and prosperous world. The UN is strongly committed to building on the achievements and exploring new areas of cooperation,” he said.
The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, said the fact that ASEAN and the UN share many common objectives together further reinforces the need for a stronger partnership. “The UN is one of our most important partners when it comes to international cooperation. The first two ASEAN-UN Summits have helped ASEAN to forge a strong relationship with the UN. ASEAN is excited to explore further avenues of working together with the UN for the benefit of ASEAN’s 590 million citizens.” The first Summit was held on 13 February 2000 in Bangkok, while the second was held on 13 September 2005 in New York.
The partnership between ASEAN and the UN can be traced back to 1977 when ASEAN conferred Dialogue Partner status to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that year. To date, UNDP remained the only non-country Dialogue Partner and multilateral aid organisation to be accorded this status. Three decades later, ASEAN and the UN signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on ASEAN-UN Cooperation on 27 September 2007 that encourages both parties to cooperate on matters of mutual interest.
A year earlier, the UN adopted a monumental resolution (A61/46) on 4 December 2006 to grant ASEAN the status as a UN observer, which would allow ASEAN to participate in the annual sessions and the work of the General Assembly. As a result, last month, ASEAN participated in the meetings of the 65th regular sessions of the General Assembly in New York on 14 September, during which both ASEAN and the UN discussed the preparations for today’s 3rd ASEAN-UN Summit in Ha Noi.
During the Summit, a new publication by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), “ASEAN & The UN: Striving Together”, was launched by Mr Ban and Dr Surin. Ms Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of ESCAP, praised ASEAN for its achievements so far. “To its credit, ASEAN has made steady progress on several fronts but many development gaps remain and there are new imperatives for ASEAN to address them sooner rather than later,” she said. She added that just as the UN has ground its mission on the ideals of its Charter, ASEAN is now on its path to strengthening itself around an agreed set of principles and understandings.
The UN, through various resolutions, has renewed their commitments to further increase contacts and engage ASEAN in its work. ASEAN has sectoral bodies which work directly with the various UN agencies which play a pivotal role in assisting ASEAN in a wide-range of activities in political-security, economic and socio-economic areas.
“ASEAN is younger than the UN but the ASEAN Member States have benefited a lot from the partnership, because ASEAN and the UN share the same dream and the same vision,” concluded Dr Surin.
At the Summit, the Leaders of ASEAN and the UN welcomed the adoption of the “Joint Declaration on ASEAN-UN Collaboration in Disaster Management” and agreed to prepare and implement the “ASEAN-UN Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management 2011-2015″.