MANILA, 12 November 2017 – The 31st ASEAN Summit will officially begin tomorrow in Manila as President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines hosts his fellow Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The agenda of the Summit will cover political and security, economic and socio-cultural matters which ASEAN would like to address in order to bring about inclusive, sustainable and equitable development for all peoples of the ASEAN Community.

President Duterte will lead the opening ceremony slated tomorrow at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. After their plenary, the 10 Leaders of ASEAN will have a series of meetings spread over two days with the Heads of State/Government of its Dialogue Partners and will also engage the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Further, with five decades of its own history and a long track record of cooperation with its partners, commemorative summits will be held during the two-day Summit, including the 40th anniversaries Commemorative Summits with the United States, Canada and the European Union. An anticipated highlight of this Summit is a meeting of the ASEAN Leaders and their counterparts from countries participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations.

During this Summit, the Leaders will take up issues such as the rise of radicalisation and violent extremism, global and regional economic outlook, economic integration, women empowerment, migrant workers, malnutrition, climate change, youth and poverty. The ASEAN Leaders are expected to adopt a number of declarations and statements that will provide impetus for national and regional actions meant to address these issues.

The ASEAN Leaders are also scheduled to meet with the region’s industry leaders representing the ASEAN Business Advisory Council. There will also be a meeting with the business community from East Asia.

“ASEAN has achieved much over the past 50 years. While we have been hard at work to continuously strengthen cooperation and coordination mechanisms, challenges remain. ASEAN must continue to be vigilant and stand united to address various issues the region faces by maintaining ASEAN centrality when coming up with collaborative solutions to address common challenges, and continuing with our community building efforts,” said Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN.

The 31st ASEAN Summit is the second Summit that President Duterte hosts during Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship in 2017. The first Summit in April was attended by ASEAN Leaders, while the second Summit is also attended by the Leaders of ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners.

ASEAN was established 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 its membership with the inclusion of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam. The ten Member States established the ASEAN Community in December 2015 with a goal of bringing more opportunities and benefits to the peoples in the region.

The ASEAN Summit is ASEAN’s highest policy-making body. Singapore will hold the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2018.

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