Kuala Lumpur, 21 June 2011
The second meeting of the Committee of the Whole discussed ways to strengthen coordination linkages among ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and to overcome challenges in implementing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint.
The meeting, chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for AEC, S. Pushpanathan, provided a platform for various Sectoral Bodies under the AEC to update each other on progress, achievements and challenges, as well as to discuss cross-sectoral cooperation and collaboration and promote concerted efforts towards timely and effective implementation of the AEC Blueprint. Mr Pushpanathan informed the meeting of developments on the ASEAN Charter, AEC Council and AEC Scorecard; as well as set key expectations for the Meeting.
“In order for this meeting to have fruitful outcomes, discussions should be frank, in-depth and open. It should focus on improving cooperation, coordination and collaboration on cross-sectoral matters. At the same time, it should look into greater engagement of the private sector and other stakeholders for exchange of views on the implementation of the AEC Blueprint,” he said. He further stressed that with the AEC Blueprint implementation measures entering the fourth year, Sectoral Bodies’ joint efforts are increasingly needed to resolve cross-sectoral issues and as such this meeting is very timely to discuss the way forward.
Chairs of the AEC Sectoral Bodies and the ASEAN Senior Economic Officials agreed that aside the need for greater cross-sectoral consultation, it was also important to step-up outreach activities to enhance awareness on the initiatives and goals of the AEC among stakeholders including consumers, private sector, non-governmental organisations and peoples of ASEAN. The meeting also underscored the importance of harnessing the energy of the private sector—through sector-specific engagement, active participation of ASEAN SMEs and coordination at the regional and national levels.
The meeting was also updated on the enhancement of the AEC Scorecard and the Mid-Term Review of the AEC Blueprint, as well as the need for various sectoral bodies to be fully engaged in the process. The outcomes of the meeting will be forwarded to the AEC Council.