ASEAN and the United Nations (UN) today reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening their comprehensive partnership based on the implementation of the five-year Plan of Action (POA) to Implement the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between ASEAN and the United Nations (2016-2020), and enhancing complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Complementarities Initiative).

The ASEAN-UN Ministerial Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and was attended by H.E. Mr. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN, H.E. Dato’ Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, as well as senior officials of ASEAN and the UN.

The Meeting took note of the Joint Report by the ASEAN and the UN Secretariats on the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership for the period from September 2018 to August 2019, and commended the significant progress made across a broad range of activities under the first five-year POA (2016-2020) which was adopted in September 2016. The Meeting welcomed efforts by ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and the UN in developing concrete and specific action lines. As the Plan of Action (2016-2020) will expire next year, the Meeting encouraged ASEAN Member States and the UN to implement the remaining 7 percent of action lines by the end of 2020. The Meeting also underlined the need to focus on new priority areas for the new Plan of Action (2021-2025) to enhance cross-sectoral cooperation, gender mainstreaming and cooperation on the Complementarities Initiative.

The Meeting welcomed the significant progress of ASEAN-UN cooperation, particularly in cross-sectoral cooperation, and reaffirmed its commitment to taking forward the Complementarities Initiative, including in areas such as minimising the adverse impact of climate change; building resilience and strengthening cooperation in disaster risk reduction, emergency response and management; alleviating poverty; tackling inequalities; narrowing the development gap; fostering sustainable economic growth; building effective institutions to achieve equitable, sustainable and inclusive development; promoting sustainable human capital development and women’s empowerment; enhancing infrastructure connectivity; and developing smart cities; building capacity in public-private partnership models and development of green Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); promoting sustainable consumption and production; promoting sustainable management of natural resources; exploring further collaboration in fisheries, marine debris, forestry, food safety, nutrition, energy security; and enhancing social protection and promoting decent work for all. The Meeting also looked forward to the launch of the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD) in Thailand and the notation of the Complementarities Roadmap by ASEAN Leaders and the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit in Bangkok in November 2019, and looked forward to enhanced cooperation between ASEAN and the UN in sustainable development in 2020, which marks the 5th year of implementing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Meeting reaffirmed its commitment to further enhancing cooperation in preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention, including the collaboration with the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (ASEAN-IPR). The Meeting also noted the importance of collaboration between ASEAN Centres, including the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) to enhance capabilities on disaster risk reduction and management, the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) to improve livelihood of our peoples and promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity for coordination with regional and international organisations in the conservation of ecosystems and the sustainable use of biological diversity, which are important factors in mitigating climate change.

The UN Secretary-General thanked ASEAN Member States for their continued and significant contribution of peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping operations, including a growing number of women peacekeepers. The Meeting welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN Women’s Peace Registry and developments in advancing the ASEAN ‘women, peace and security’ agenda. The Meeting looked forward to the forthcoming Seventh ASEAN-UN Workshop – Fifth Regional Dialogue on ASEAN-UN Cooperation on Political-Security Cooperation (AURED V): Focused Collaboration in Support of the ASEAN-IPR on 3-4 December 2019 in Viet Nam.

The Meeting recognised the joint efforts of ASEAN and the UN to foster cooperation to address transnational organised crime, including drug and precursor trafficking, trafficking in persons and wildlife and timber trafficking through strengthening border management cooperation.

The Meeting looked forward to the 2nd ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission for Human Rights (AICHR) – UN Meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Thailand later this year.

The Meeting also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interests and concerns. The Meeting stressed the importance of multilateralism and regionalism, including close cooperation between regional organisations and the UN, which not only help maintain international peace and sustainable security but also address global challenges such as, inter alia, transnational organised crime, terrorism and violent extremism, trade tensions, disruptive technologies, climate change and natural disasters, and poverty alleviation. The UN reaffirmed its continued support for ASEAN Community-building and ASEAN centrality amidst the evolving regional architecture. The UN looked forward to ASEAN’s contributions to the maintenance of regional and global peace and security with Indonesia and Viet Nam as members of the UN Security Council in 2020. The Meeting also reaffirmed the importance of adherence to the rule of law and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The UN Secretary-General welcomed ASEAN’s participation in the Climate Action Summit and highlighted the need to foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development.

The Meeting also looked forward to the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit, which is scheduled to be held on 3 November 2019 in Thailand.