The age of community is upon us


FIFTY years after its founding, five decades into “making haste slowly in order to build an association for regional cooperation,” to quote founding father and former Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik, the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is coming into its own and making itself felt, relevant and significant to citizens of its member countries.

Central to the role of Asean is its emphasis on the concept of community.

At the 12th Summit held in Cebu in 2007, a Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an Asean Community was adopted. This community consists of three pillars:
• Asean Political-Security Community;
• Asean Economic Community; and
• Asean Socio-Cultural Community.

Each pillar has its own Blueprint, which, along with the Asean Integration Strategic Framework and Work Plan, comprises a Roadmap for Asean Community.

The Asean community, in keeping with the twin visions of peace and prosperity, is reflective of its founders’ goal of improving the lives of its peoples.

Here are some key achievements of the organization toward the goal of Asean Community:

Asean Political-Security Community
• Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia;
• Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone;
• Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and ongoing discussions on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea;
• Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights;
• Asean Human Rights Declaration of 2012;
• Asean Convention Against Trafficking In Persons Especially Women and Children;
• Asean Convention on Counter-Terrorism;
• Asean Work Plan on Securing Communities Against Illicit Drugs;
• Asean Regional Forum; and
• Asean Center of Military Medicine

Asean flags at the Philippine International Convention Center

Asean Economic Community
Establishment of the Asean Economic Community in 2015 was marked by:
• More open market, with intra-regional tariffs virtually eliminated and formal restrictions in the services sector gradually removed;

• Reduced trade costs;

• More attractive investment regime and a more business-friendly and supportive environment;

• Better connectivity in transportation and other infrastructure networks;

• Asean Trade Facilitation Network;

• Asean Food Safety Regulatory Framework;

• Asean Institutional Framework on Access to Finance for MSMEs;

The Report and Work Program on Starting a Business in Asean
• The Asean Guidelines for Special Economic Zones Development and Collaboration;

• Pakse Declaration on Asean Roadmap for Strategic Development of Ecotourism Clusters and Corridors;

• Sustainable Tourism Award;

• Asean Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST);

• Asean Tariff Finder website;

• Asean Trade in Goods Agreement;

• Asean + 1 Free Trade Agreements;

• Between 2007 and 2015:

• Asean economy 6th largest in the world, 3rd largest in Asia

• Asean total trade increased by US$700 billion, with intra-Asean trade making up the largest share

• In 2015, Asean attracted US$121 billion in FDI, with intra-Asean inflows comprising the largest share

Asean Socio-Cultural Community
• Culture and Information
• Policy Dialogue with Asean Media and Information Sector;
• Asean -Unesco Forum on Safeguarding Underwater Heritage;
• Education, Youth and Sports
• First Asean Youth Development Index;
• Asean Student Mobility Forum;
• Asean University Network Charter;
• Asean Declaration on Strengthening Education for Out-Of-School Children and Youth;
• Women’s Rights, Women Empowerment and Gender Equality
• Progress Report on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality;
• High-level Conference on Social Protection
• Children’s Rights, Social Welfare and Development of Vulnerable Groups
• Cross-Regional Roundtable on the Elimination of Violence Against Children;
• Poverty Eradication and Rural Development
• Regional Study on Social Entrepreneurship;
• Regional Study on Food Security and Price Spikes;
• Labor
• Asean Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers
• Regional Plan of Action to Implement the Vientiane Declaration on Transition from Informal Employment to Formal Employment Toward Decent Work Promotion in the Asean
• Study on Women Migrant Workers in Asean Economic Integration
• Civil Service Matters
• Asean Leaders Declaration on the Role of Civil Service as Catalyst for Achieving Asean Vision 2025
• Environment
• Asean Joint Statement on Climate Change
• Asean Center for Biodiversity
• Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance
• Social Protection Guideline during Emergency Response and Recovery Phase
• Asean Day on Disaster Management
• Health
• Asean Youth Dialogue with Leaders
• Lowered Proportion of People Living on Less than US$1.25 / day
• From 1 in 2, to 1 in 8 over the last two decades
• Reduced Maternal Mortality per 100,000 live births
• From 371.2 in 1990, to 103.7 in 2012
• Reduced Proportion of Urban Slum Populations
• From 40 percent in 2000, to 31 percent in 2012
• Increased Net Enrollment for Primary School Children
• From 92 percent in1999, to 94 percent in 2012
• Increased Proportion of Seats Held by Women in Parliaments
• From 12 percent in 2000, to 18.5 percent in 2012
• Enlisted 38 Asean Natural Heritage Parks and 24 Unesco Cultural Heritage Sites, as of 2015

With 50 Years of foundation behind the Asean, the challenges ahead lie in institutionalizing the Asean Community–and living it day to day.


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