JAKARTA, 31 March 2016 —The Secretariats of ASEAN and the United Nations reaffirmed their commitment towards strengthening their cooperation to help build a more peaceful and prosperous society at a meeting held at the ASEAN Secretariat yesterday.
This is the 7th Secretariat-to-Secretariat Meeting and the second time it was held in Jakarta since the inaugural Meeting in 2011. It followed the decision by the ASEAN and UN Leaders at the 7th ASEAN-UN Summit in November 2015 to have more regular engagements between the two Secretariats in the ASEAN region aside from the regular annual Secretariat-to-Secretariat meetings in New York.
Cooperation to promote regional and international peace and security is a key feature of the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership and this includes UN’s contribution to activities within ASEAN-led mechanisms namely the ASEAN Regional Forum. Other key areas of common priorities highlighted by ASEAN and the UN include the promotion of human rights; connectivity and integration; economy and development; food and energy security; attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and narrowing the development gap. Other issues such as human development and social welfare; environment; climate change and disaster risk management; as well as culture and education were also discussed.
The issue of terrorism and violent extremism was especially highlighted following the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Lahore, Istanbul, Ankara and Jakarta. In the face of growing global challenges, improving coordination across these sectors was stressed as many regional and global issues are now cross-cutting. The meeting agreed to double its effort to ensure a more coordinated and systematic approach in this partnership.
It was noted that Secretariat-to-Secretariat cooperation is gaining importance and one of its key components is the strengthening of the ASEAN Secretariat which includes UN’s assistance in the development of a reference document system and enhancing the physical security system for the Secretariat’s premise in Jakarta.
The two sides highlighted the importance of the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which was adopted by ASEAN at the end 2015 and by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 respectively. In achieving these aims, the meeting noted the importance of aligning the new Plan of Action (2016-2020) to the blueprints of these two guiding documents. Both sides look forward to the finalisation and adoption of the POA.
Besides the Plenary Session, three break-out sessions were convened for deeper discussion on cooperation in political-security, economic and socio-cultural with the respective Deputy Secretaries-General under the three ASEAN pillars. An interface meeting between the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) and the UN Delegation was also held earlier today.
The meeting, co-chaired by H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, and H.E. Miroslav Jenca, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the UN, was attended by senior representatives from both sides including all Deputy Secretaries-General of ASEAN, four Assistant Secretaries-General of the United Nations namely, the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), the UNDP, UNOCHA and UN Women as well as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNESCAP. Other UN specialised agencies including the UNODC, UNCHR, UNHCR, UNFPA, ILO, IOM and UNESCO participated in the Meeting.