Recalling the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II) to establish an ASEAN Community for the purpose of ensuring durable peace, stability and shared prosperity with a view to realising an ASEAN Community that is open, dynamic and resilient;

Emphasising that sustainable development could be achieved by addressing environmental protection, economic growth, and socio-cultural development in an integrated and coordinated manner;

Recognising that effective environmental and natural resources management, and sustainable utilisation of these resources are critical to alleviate poverty, promote healthy living, reduce the incidence of diseases, and enhancing economic growth in the ASEAN region;

Cognisant of the need to effectively address global and regional transboundary issues related to the environment without impinging on the competitiveness or growth of the region;

Affirming that the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) provides an effective framework for international and regional cooperation based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities; and
Affirming that ASEAN Vision 2020, the Hanoi Plan of Action, and its succeeding Plans of Action, among others, provide the regional framework for ASEAN cooperation in response to emerging needs and international developments.

We, the Ministers responsible for environment of the ASEAN member countries, do hereby:

Task the ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment to contribute actively in the process of formulating the Vientiane Action Plan, particularly on concrete and realistic strategies, and measures in addressing problems associated with environmental degradation and transboundary pollution, with a view to achieving the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community which envisages a Southeast Asia bonded together in partnership as a community of caring societies.

Reiterate strong commitment and resolve to fulfill the obligations in the WSSD, and to meet the Millennium Development Goals and achieve meaningful cooperation in the ten priority areas* as agreed at the Seventh Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment.

* The ten priority areas as agreed are global environmental issues; land and forest fires and transboundary haze pollution; coastal and marine environment; sustainable forest management; sustainable management of natural parks and protected areas; freshwater resources; public awareness and environmental education; promotion of environmentally–sound technologies and cleaner production; urban environmental management and governance; and sustainable development monitoring and reporting, and database harmonisation.

Call upon the developed countries to fulfill their commitments made in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, particularly in providing financial resources, enhancing capacity building, and promoting technology transfer to developing countries;

Welcome the entry into force of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution on 25 November 2003, and resolve to further enhance cooperation under the Agreement;

Endeavour to conclude by 2004 the ASEAN framework agreement on access to, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of, biological and genetic resources, in order to sustainably manage the rich biodiversity resources of ASEAN;

Adopt the revised ASEAN Declaration on Heritage Parks, which now includes all ten members of ASEAN, and resolve to further enhance cooperation through the mechanisms provided by this Declaration;

Acknowledge the valuable contributions made by the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, and agree to further enhance its role by reviewing its management structure and programmes and providing necessary support for the continued sustainability of the Centre, and note the expression of appreciation of the participating member countries to the European Union for its financial support for the first phase and welcome its continued support for the second phase;

Adopt the Framework for “Environmentally Sustainable Cities” in ASEAN to address the challenges of environmental sustainability;

Adopt the ASEAN Long Term Strategic Plan for Water Resources Management to meet the needs in terms of health, food security, economy, and environment;

Recognise the need to expeditiously implement the ASEAN Marine Water Quality Criteria;

Acknowledge the importance of promoting environmentally sound technologies for effective environmental management and economic growth through appropriate regional mechanisms as envisaged in the Hanoi Plan of Action by the year 2004;

Agree to work towards a plan of action with a definite timeframe to harmonise environmental policies, legislation, regulations, standards and databases, taking into account national circumstances of member countries;

Agree to pursue the idea of creating an ASEAN Environment Fund and task the ASEAN Secretariat in consultation with the ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment to develop the modalities for setting up such a Fund;

Express appreciation to dialogue partners, international and regional organisations, and other countries who have collaborated with ASEAN in promoting sustainable development initiatives; and call upon these partners and other prospective partners to enhance their collaboration; and

Commit to enhance cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea under the ASEAN +3 Framework, through regular policy dialogues and programmes of common interest at the ministerial and senior official levels.

Done at Yangon, Myanmar on the eighteenth day of December in the year two thousand and three.