Jakarta, 24 March 2011
Good morning Dr Surin, the Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung and dear colleagues from the ASEAN Secretariat,
Thank you all for coming to this Workshop. As some of you are aware, this is a personal project of the Secretary-General. We have been working on advancing stakeholder involvement since Dr Surin started office in 2008, even before I took office. The seeds of this idea we planted in May 2009, when his office organised two brainstorming workshops to gather the views of the staff with the intent of creating an ASEAN Community forum. The idea of the Community forum was to bring together the ASEAN governments and our stakeholders to help us advance the Community, and implement the Roadmap and Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Strategic Framework.
The ASEAN governments face enormous pressure to deliver the aspirations in the Charter and the Roadmap. The idea of the Community forum will help the governments coordinate the resources and goodwill to help them realize their vision. Interaction among the different stakeholders will facilitate the exchange of ideas, which will produce greater outcomes than if the governments were to work alone.
Following these brainstorming sessions, ASEC held a workshop later in November 2009, titled “ASEAN Secretariat Symposium on Methods of Stakeholder Involvement in Regional Organisations”. Experts on four regional organizations, the European Commission (EC), Norwegian Child and Youth Council (NORDEN), MERCOSUR and the South African Development Community (SADC) shared their experiences on engaging with stakeholders in their regions, and together with participants, exchanged ideas on the methods of engagement. We learnt about the different models of engagement that exist in the different regions in the world. Later on in the Symposium, the participants also drew up a list of projects that they would be interested in implementing.
We are grateful to the Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung Regional Office in Asia for supporting us. They have vast experience working on promoting engagement, and interacting with
regional organizations around the world. Coming from Europe, they can also help us understand Europe’s integration experience.
The purpose of today’s workshop is to discuss ideas from the recently published report “Constructive Engagement: Building a People-Oriented Community”, exchange views on the recommendations, and identify possible entry points for constructive engagement with stakeholders from the perspective of the ASEAN Secretariat. The idea of the governments engaging with stakeholders is consistent with Indonesia’s commitment to enhance ASEAN’s engagement with stakeholders during its chairmanship. They have informed us that they want to play a lead role to encourage other member states to form partnerships with their people.
Following my remarks, Dr Surin Pitsuwan will explain his own personal vision for ASEAN, and why the Secretariat plays a crucial role at the centre of the interest groups and the ASEAN governments. After this, the Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung will introduce the report. Participants will then deliberate on recent developments and exchange views on their perspectives of stakeholder involvement across sectors and their role in building the Community. Participants will identify current trends, and further deepen their discussions in small groups.
I hope you will all work together with FES to realize the objectives of this workshop. The workshop will only be meaningful if you take what we have learnt to the sectors. Once again, I would like to thank FES for the support. I would also like to thank the staff of the Secretariat for your participation.