JAKARTA, 31 August 2020 – Today, ASEAN held a Cross Sectoral and Cross Pillar Consultation on the Narrative of ASEAN Identity.

Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak, and Chairs of the ASEAN Sectoral Bodies from the three ASEAN Community Pillars attended the meeting to discuss the development of the Narrative of ASEAN Identity.

In his opening remarks Dato Lim said, “In order for ASEAN to gain wider traction, we need to go beyond promoting the understanding of ASEAN. ASEAN needs to develop a sense of belonging and ownership among its 660 million people.’’

‘’To achieve this goal, we need to develop a sense of “we-ness” by providing a narrative that addresses fundamental questions such as “Who are we? What do we stand for? and What does ASEAN mean?,” concluded Dato Lim.

In her remarks, Minister Marsudi stated that, “ASEAN Identity must become the soul that binds ASEAN as it progresses as one family. This is particularly important as ASEAN transforms itself from a society into a community, with shared values and common vision. In the coming years, the ASEAN Identity must be streamlined into the workplans of all the sectoral bodies from the three pillars of ASEAN.”

Further, Deputy Secretary-General Kung Phoak urged the sectoral bodies to continue to be proactive in mainstreaming ASEAN Identity. He said, “this is just the beginning. We foresee more discussions and engagements with our sectoral bodies to understand how we are to celebrate and operationalise ASEAN Identity.”

The idea to develop the Narrative of ASEAN Identity was first introduced following the adoption of the Yogyakarta Declaration on Embracing Culture of Prevention to Enrich ASEAN Identity by the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts in October 2018.

As 2020 is the Year of ASEAN Identity, Senior Officials Meeting for Culture and Arts (SOMCA) discussed and supported the development on the Narrative of ASEAN Identity at the 15th SOMCA in September 2019. The Narrative of ASEAN Identity draft has also been discussed with civil society organisations during the Virtual Consultative Meeting held on 25 August 2020.

The narrative will be the main deliverable of the 2020 Year of ASEAN Identity and one of the key deliverables of Viet Nam’s Chairmanship, to be adopted by the ASEAN Leaders at the 37th ASEAN Summit in November 2020.