VIENTIANE, 5 September 2016 – The Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will gather in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 6-8 September for their annual meeting. This is the first ASEAN Summit following the formal establishment of the ASEAN Community on 31 December 2015.

The 28th and 29th Summits will be held back-to-back under the Chairmanship of Lao PDR.  The Laotian President H.E Bounnhang Vorachith will grace the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summits and Related Summits, which start tomorrow at the National Convention Centre.

At these Summits, the Leaders will review the progress of implementation of the ASEAN Community Blueprints 2025 in their initial year. The Leaders are expected to provide guidance and directives in addressing the challenges of implementing the Blueprints. ASEAN will also further consolidate its unity and centrality in responding to the dynamic geo-political landscape.

Several important documents aimed to improve the lives of ASEAN peoples will also be adopted highlighting ASEAN’s commitment to realising the people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN in line with the spirit of the ASEAN Charter.

The ASEAN Leaders will be meeting with the Heads of State/Government of the ASEAN Dialogue Partners including Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United States as well as those of the East Asia Summit countries. They will also meet with their counterparts in the ASEAN Plus Three Summit.

The other anticipated highlights in this Summit are the launch of “Visit ASEAN@50” campaign logo – an initiative of the tourism sector, the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 as well as the Third Work Plan of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI Work Plan III). The MPAC 2025 and IAI Work Plan III will form part of the ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together to support the implementation of the three Community Blueprints.

The ASEAN Community is the realisation of the ASEAN Leaders’ vision for the regional grouping to build and achieve community status by 2015. “The ASEAN Community, as a whole, should realise its potentials for its intended beneficiaries.  Following the Community’s formal establishment, the stakeholders will now expect to see concrete and meaningful results from the region’s community building agenda,” said H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN. “While progress has been made in narrowing the development gap among ASEAN Member States, the challenge is to ensure that the regional integration agenda benefits all,” he added.

The ASEAN Leaders will also issue the “ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region.” This declaration emphasises ASEAN’s commitment to respond to disasters as a collective outfit.

An ASEAN Economic Community Symposium 2016 will also be held as part of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2016, with the theme of “Global Megatrends.”

ASEAN was founded in Bangkok, Thailand on 8 August 1967 when the five founding members – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – signed the ASEAN Declaration. Since then, ASEAN has expanded and enlarged its membership with the inclusion of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam. The ASEAN Summit is ASEAN’s highest policy-making body.

This is the second time Lao PDR holds the ASEAN Chairmanship. Lao PDR joined as member of ASEAN in 1997 and held the ASEAN Chairmanship for the first time in 2004.