ESCAP and ASEAN reaffirm commitment to strengthen cooperation in the region

18 April 2017

ESCAP and ASEAN reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation and collaboration within the framework of the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership Agreement, at a series of meetings between the UN System, the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives in Jakarta on 18 April 2017.

The meetings reviewed implementation of the first ASEAN-UN Plan of Action (2016-2020), since its adoption by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and the UN Secretary-General prior to the 8th ASEAN-UN Summit in Vientiane in September 2016. The meetings focused on current engagement and proposed activities of the five-year Plan of Action within the areas of political-security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation, as well as cross-sectoral collaboration.

The Plan of Action is a key instrument for advancing engagement between ASEAN and the United Nations to realize the goals of the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It covers cooperation between the two organizations 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.

On behalf of the United Nations Regional Coordination Mechanism of Asia-Pacific (UN RCM) and its 34 members, ESCAP Deputy Executive Secretary Mr. Kaveh Zahedi emphasized that the United Nations is working at a time of extraordinary opportunity, as exemplified by the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. Mr. Zahedi stressed that there are clear complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda that can be harnessed to promote solutions across the economic and socio-cultural pillars including through the complentarities initative led by the government of Thailand.

All parties reiterated that the synergies between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda have the potential to foster comprehensive regional solutions through building resilience to disasters and climate change and eradicating multidimensional poverty, as well as promoting sustainable management of natural resources and sustainable consumption and production.

Key focus areas for economic, socio-cultural, and cross-sectoral cooperation outlined by ESCAP and ASEAN included: deepening regional integration in trade facilitation, 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, in order to improve the lives of the people in the region.