What exactly did the Asean Summit work on—and achieve?

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President Rodrigo Duterte, speaking for the Philippines, chair of the recently-concluded 31st Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, gave his summary statement at the conclusion of a series of meetings among the 10-member regional trade and political bloc. Apart from enumerating the Acts of Asean in Manila, Duterte highlighted in his statement the various documents that comprise the outcome of the summit following the bloc’s 50th Founding Anniversary

From left: Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia President Joko Widodo and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith join hands during a family photo before the 31st Asean Summit in Manila on November 13, 2017.

Here are their salient points:
• Asean Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers

o Subject to, or in accordance with, laws, regulations, and policies of the Receiving State, migrant workers
■ may be visited by their family members;

■ have the right to hold their own passports and original government-issued work and personal documents;


■ have rights no less favorable than those applied to nationals of the Receiving State when they are committed to prison or placed in custody pending trial or while detained for any other reason;

■ have the right to file their grievances with the relevant authorities of Receiving States and/or seek assistance from their respective embassies, consulates, or missions located in Receiving States;

US President Donald Trump speaks with President Duterte before the opening ceremony of the 31st Asean Summit.

■ have the right to freedom of movement in the Receiving State;

■ have the right to access information on matters pertaining to their employment and employment-related conditions from relevant authorities, bodies, and/or recruitment agencies of Sending and Receiving States;

■ have the right to be issued an employment contract or proper documentation by relevant authorities/bodies and/or employers with clear and basic terms of employment;

■ have the right to fair treatment in the workplace;

■ have the right to adequate or reasonable accommodation;

■ have the right to fair and appropriate remuneration, regardless of gender; and, if they leave the Receiving State, should not lose their rights to benefits arising from their employment;

■ have the right to transfer their earnings and savings in any modes of transfer in accordance with laws and regulations on currency transmission in the Receiving and Sending States;

■ have the right to file a complaint or make a representation under the law relating to labor dispute in the Receiving State against termination of employment and/or breach of an employment contract in the Receiving State, and subject to the national laws, regulations, and policies relating to immigration, be allowed to continue staying in the Receiving State pending the disposal of his or her case; and, if the decision on appeal is favorable to the migrant worker, he or she shall be entitled to any relief for loss of his or her rights arising from the employment contract; and

■ have the right to join trade unions and associations.

• Asean Declaration to Prevent and Combat Cybercrime
o Asean has resolved to strengthen the commitment of member states to cooperate at the regional level in preventing and combating cybercrime through the following measures:
■ acknowledge the importance of harmonization of related laws;

■ encourage Asean Member States to explore the feasibility of acceding to existing regional and international instruments in combating cybercrime;

■ encourage the development of national plans of actions in addressing cybercrimes;

■ strengthen international cooperation among Asean Member States;

■ enhance cooperation and coordination among Asean bodies and other relevant national agencies or organizations in dealing with cybercrime;

■ strengthen capacities of each Asean Member State in addressing cybercrime;

■ promote cooperation among Asean Member States on community education and awareness; and

■ enhance cooperation between Asean Members States and its Dialogue Partners, as well as relevant agencies and organizations at regional and international levels.

Asean delegates watch the performance of the Philippine Ballet dancers during the opening ceremony of the Asean Summit in Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila.

• Asean Declaration on Innovation
o In order to strengthen the impact of science, technology and innovation (STI), Asean will
■ recognize the opportunities and benefits arising from innovative startups and disruptive technologies that enable transformation across sectors of society;

■ promote and reward innovative businesses and firms that generate employment opportunities by carrying collaboration, capital investment, and cross-border transactions through digital technologies;

■ stimulate innovation literacy as well as the continuous development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Information Communications Technology (ICT);

■ enhance the policy and regulatory environment for Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs);

■ foster a hospitable and dynamic intra-Asean policy environment for innovative research and technology transfer;

■ harness STI to facilitate the realization of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals;

■ encourage the establishment of reginal networks of joint research, capacity-building, and innovation initiatives; and

■ promote the use of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) system.

• Action Agenda on Mainstreaming Women’s Economic Empowerment in Asean
o The Action Agenda will encourage each member state to

■ address the barriers that impede maximizing women’s full economic potential in the areas of:

■ finance, information access, and markets;

■ human capital development and leadership; and

■ innovation and technology;

■ promote women’s participation and skills development in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), including ICT;

■ invest in programs which provide enabling environments for the women-run MSMEs to prosper;

■ increase women’s representation and leadership in the workforce at the executive and managerial positions;

■ encourage public and private sector collaboration for advocacy, networking, and outreach purposes; and

■ consider organizing an annual Asean Women’s Business Conference

• Asean Leaders’ Declaration on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR): Combating AMR through One Health Approach
o The Asean leaders commit to develop an Asean strategic plan to combat AMR with the following key priority areas:
■ a national plan adopting the One Health approach to combating AMR;

■ promoting awareness and advocacy;

■ strengthening training and educational programs for relevant professionals and students;

■ strengthening the regulatory systems, pharmaceutical and food supply chain management, health financing mechanisms, and agricultural value chain management to ensure equitable, timely and sustainable access to safe, efficacious, affordable, and quality antimicrobials; and environmental management of antibiotic residues and impacts;

■ implementing antimicrobial stewardship programs and infection prevention, control and treatment measures at all levels of health care and the community;

■ enhancing regulatory mechanisms toward a no-prescriptions, no-antibiotic sales; phasing out the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animals in the absence of risk analysis;

■ strengthening national and regional capacity to encompass research and development of new antimicrobials and other alternatives, diagnostic health technologies and vaccines; and

■ engaging all relevant stakeholders and partners in the implementation of the Asean strategic plan to combat AMR.

• Asean Leaders’ Declaration on Disaster Health Management
o The Asean leaders declare to
■ strengthen close coordination and collaboration with relevant Asean Sectoral Bodies and other partners in enhancing capacities of Member States and the region that facilitate rapid deployment of regional and national medical relief, maintain continuous health services and perform disease surveillance that serve to reduce morbidity due to injury and other non-communicable and communicable diseases in the disaster-affected population, including the health impact of climate change;

■ support the development of relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Regional Collaboration on Disaster Health Management;

■ encourage the development of national SOP;

■ strengthen all-hazard health emergency and disaster risk management programs;

■ promote public and private investment in disaster risk reduction;

■ endeavor to build hospitals and health facilities that are safe, resilient, and capable of delivering medical care and life-saving services during and after a disaster;

■ strengthen the cooperation and enhancement of active academic networks to conduct research and extract lessons learned from Disaster Health Management in multiple events and countries;

■ enhance national and regional capacities, including the establishment of Regional Disaster Health Training Centers, and designed simulation and joint operations;

■ increase efforts to operationalize financial resources to fill in gaps in national responses; and

■ Call on development partners, including the UN system, other relevant inter-governmental regional organizations and other stakeholders, as well as Asean Sectoral Bodies to support the implementation of the Declaration.

• Asean Leaders’ Declaration on Ending All Forms of Malnutrition
o The Asean leaders declare to
■ expand and intensify efforts to engage with relevant sectors to accelerate the adoption of coherent policies, interventions, and nutrition-enhancing actions;

■ formulate a multi-sectoral regional framework and strategic plan aimed at ending malnutrition;

■ scale up evidence-based nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific actions and interventions that target the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;

■ commit to increase public and multi-sectoral investments to improve nutrition and ensure healthy diets; and

■ strengthen human and institutional capacities

• Asean Declaration on the Adoption of the Asean Youth Development Index (YDI)
o Realizing the need to measure youth development as a concrete basis in formulating youth policies and programs through the overall definition of the youth landscape and the collection of youth-related data to determine areas that need greater attention and further investment, Asean declares that it is
■ adopting the Youth Development Index;

■ affirming its commitment to sustain the initiatives of the Asean YDI through the collection and management of youth data;

■ pursuing and providing all necessary support and assistance to realize the goals and objectives of the YDI;

■ promoting the use of the YDI in the formulation of responsive and relevant policies and programs that will address youth issues and concerns in Member States; and

■ encouraging the provision of resources for the continued expansion of opportunities for the youth, informed by the results of the implementation of the YDI.

• Asean Declaration on “Culture of Prevention” for a Peaceful, Inclusive, Resilient, Healthy, and Harmonious Society
o Asean agrees to
• Promote a culture of prevention for a peaceful, inclusive, resilient, healthy, and harmonious society by focusing on:

• Understanding the root causes and consequences of violent extremism and other forms of violence and deviant behaviors at individual, organizational and institutional levels through risk assessment, research, forecast, early warning, and other evidence-based methods;

• Adopting a mindset change from a reactive to a preventive approach;

• Inculcating shared values such as peace, harmony, intercultural understanding, the rule of law, good governance, respect, trust, tolerance, inclusiveness, moderation, social responsibility, and adversity;

• Developing effective upstream preventive policies and initiatives; and

• Support the following thrusts of a culture of prevention, in conformity with the principles of the Asean Charter, as follows:

• Promoting a culture of peace and intercultural understanding;

• Promoting a culture of respect for all;

• Promoting a culture of good governance at all levels;

• Promoting a culture of resilience and care for the environment;

• Promoting a culture of healthy lifestyle; and

• Promoting a culture supporting the values of moderation.

• Asean Declaration on the Gender-Responsive Implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals

o Asean commits to
■ Enhance the Member States’ capacity in strengthening national and sub-national sex-disaggregated databases and analyses on all Sustainable Development Goals;

■ Collect, manage, analyze, disseminate and ensure access to high-quality, reliable and timely data disaggregated by sex, age, and socio-cultural and economic characteristics relevant in national contexts;

■ Strongly encourage the monitoring and evaluation of existing policies, plans and programs on women and girls;

■ Reaffirm the need to mainstream a gender perspective and analysis, which may include targeted actions and investments, and gender-responsive budgeting in the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs of all relevant sectors in the three Asean Pillars for the Asean Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

■ Encourage more investment to close resource gaps;

■ Promote women’s equal access to and full participation in decision-making bodies and mechanisms involved in the implementation of all goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and

■ Promote the engagement of men and boys and agents and beneficiaries of change in the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls as strategic partners and allies in the elimination of all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence;

■ Encourage Asean Sectoral Bodies to engage and establish mechanisms for engagement with women’s groups and organizations, in joint efforts to ensure the gender-responsive implementation of policies and plans, and for the systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the Asean Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and

■ Support the development and implementation of gender mainstreaming initiatives across all sectoral bodies in the three Asean Pillars.

• Asean Joint Statement on Climate Change to the 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC-COP-23)
o Asean agrees to
■ Call upon developed country Parties to provide the means of implementation to Asean Members States and other developing country Parties to enhance ongoing protection and sustainable management, as well as conservation of biodiversity, ecosystems, and landscapes

■ Strengthen the Asean rapid response capacity in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, to be more efficient and effective through existing mechanisms under the Asean Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), given the extreme vulnerability of Asean Member States to climate change;

■ Stress the need to strengthen support for Asean and other developing country Parties to implement adaptation measures in the agricultural sector, recognizing the important role of agriculture in ensuring food security and providing adaptation co-benefits, and the consideration of agriculture in the relevant UNFCCC work streams;

■ Call upon developed country Parties to honor and fulfill their existing mitigation commitments as well as financial support commitments of US$100 billion per year under the Convention during the pre-2020 period, in order to support Asean and other developing country Parties in further enhancing sustainable development, mitigation, and adaptation efforts under the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) as entrenched in the Convention;

■ Call upon developed country Parties to enhance ambition on adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building and transparency of support during the pre-2020 period; in particular, through the ratification by all Parties of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, and the implementation of the outcome of the Bali Action Plan;

■ Encourage Parties concerned to expedite the provision of the means of implementation in accordance with the Paris Agreement in accordance with their domestic procedures;

■ Call upon developed country Parties to expedite the provision of the means of implementation in accordance with the Paris Agreement under the Convention, consistent with the principles of CBDR-RC, to enable Asean and other developing country Parties to pursue mitigation and adaptation efforts that support the implementation of nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and their Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV);

■ Urge the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to facilitate and promote direct access of the fund by Asean and other developing country Parties, and to accelerate the operationalization of predictable and equitable results-based payments for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Asean, and to enhance organizational rapid response capacity, and technology transfer;

■ Call for the operationalization of the Adaptation Fund (AF) under the Paris Agreement, in order for it to continue providing direct access funding for the adaptation efforts of Asean and other developing country Parties;

■ Call upon developed country Parties to enhance support for ongoing efforts to promote low-carbon and climate-resilient cities in Asean another developing country Parties; and

■ Call upon all Parties to UNFCCC to continue working effectively and in good faith on developing mechanisms, modalities, procedures, and guidelines toward the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

• Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace, and Security in Asean
o Asean states that it will
■ Promote a culture of peace and prevention that educates and empowers people, detects and prevents armed conflicts, and sustains peace through a cross-sectoral, comprehensive, and integrated approach;

■ Commit to continue addressing the root causes of armed conflicts such as poverty, discrimination, gender, inequality, social injustice, as well as economic and social exclusion of persons and communities vulnerable to and at risk of radicalization, violent extremism, and terrorism;

■ Pledge to promote gender equality and reduce social inequalities between men and women in our societies as a way to longstanding peace and prosperity;

■ Encourage the integration of gender perspective in all conflict-prevention initiatives and strategies, and ensure the full participation of women in peace processes;

■ Encourage the inclusion of the women and peace and security agenda in policies and programs for the protection of women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence before, during, and after armed conflict, and the creation of greater and wider spaces for participation in peacebuilding and post-reconstruction processes;

■ Build the capacity of women peace-builders either as mediators, negotiators and/or first responders at the regional, national, and local levels;

■ Commit to engage men and boys with the broader women, peace, and security agenda.

■ Leverage the role of regional inter-governmental organizations and development partners to support the implementation of global obligations and commitments in advancing the women, peace, and security agenda to better protect women and girls from gender-based violence, discrimination, and social exclusion.

The outcomes of the Summit not only reflect the values of Asean, they also manifest the Philippines’ particular thematic priorities:
1. A people-oriented and people-centered Asean;
2. Peace and stability in the region;
3. Maritime security and cooperation;
4. Inclusive, innovation-led growth;
5. Asean resiliency; and
6. Asean: a model of regionalism, a global player.

The abovementioned outcomes of the 31st Asean Summit will also determine the direction Asean will take in the years to come.

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