Joint ASEAN – UN Press Release

JAKARTA, 19 April 2017 – The ASEAN Secretariat and United Nations reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation and collaboration within the framework of the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership Agreement at the Secretariat-to-Secretariat Meeting held at ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta yesterday.

The Secretariat-to-Secretariat Meeting reviewed the implementation of the first ASEAN-UN Plan of Action (2016-2020) since its adoption by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and the Secretary-General of the United Nations prior to the 8th ASEAN-UN Summit in Vientiane in September 2016.

The five-year Plan of Action is a key instrument for advancing engagement between ASEAN and the UN to realize the goals of ASEAN Vision 2025 for a ‘people centered, people oriented’ ASEAN and the UN 2030 Agenda call to ‘leave no one behind’. It covers cooperation between ASEAN and the United Nations in areas such as peace and security, human rights, gender mainstreaming, economic integration, people-to-people connectivity and sustainable development, including climate change and disaster risk reduction among others.

Mr. Miroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the United Nations commented that “ASEAN has evolved to become an indispensable partner for peace and prosperity, not only in the region but increasingly on the global stage.” He added that “the new Secretary-General’s vision of a surge in diplomacy for peace stresses expanded and deepened cooperation with the UN’s regional partners through innovative and results-oriented relationships across the three pillars of the United Nations – peace and security, development and human rights.”

Following the opening session, three separate breakout sessions were held focusing on current engagement and proposed activities in the implementation of the Plan of Action within the areas of political and security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation as well as cross-sectoral collaboration.

On political-security cooperation, both sides recognised the importance of developing comprehensive strategies in the areas of peace and security, the prevention of violent extremism and the promotion and protection of human rights. Participants also discussed transnational security challenges in the region, including calls from UN experts to address the exploitation of regional economic integration processes by transnational organised crime and trafficking networks.

Under economic cooperation, participants reviewed collaboration on deepening regional integration in the areas of trade facilitation; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME); food, agriculture and forestry; energy security and transport connectivity. Under socio-cultural cooperation, the meeting reviewed progress in balancing growth with environmental and social protection, including through actions to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters and climate change. The meeting also underscored the need to address violence in its root causes and further enhance cooperation in all areas with a view to bring direct benefits to the people.

Throughout the discussions, participants highlighted the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation, including tackling gender equality and women’s empowerment and narrowing development gaps. Both sides reiterated that clear complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have the potential to promote comprehensive regional solutions including building resilience to disasters and climate change, eradicating multidimensional poverty as well as promoting sustainable management of natural resources and sustainable consumption and production.

The Secretariat-to-Secretariat Meeting was co-chaired by Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, and Miroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the United Nations. Participation from the ASEAN Secretariat included its Deputy Secretaries-General and ASEAN Secretariat officials. The United Nations was represented by Rashid Khalikov, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; and Kaveh Zahedi, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific as well as regional representatives from UN agencies in the region.

The Secretariat-to-Secretariat Meeting will be followed by an Interface Meeting between the ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives and the UN Senior Delegation on 19 April 2017.