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ASEAN: “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”

ASEAN: “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held its 28th and 29th Summit at the National Convention Centre (NCC) in Vientiane, Lao PDR last 06-08 September 2016 with a theme of “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community”. The Summit was attended by heads of State from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.

 H.E. Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of the Lao PDR, chaired the Summits between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, Russia, New Zealand and the United States, ASEAN-UN Summit and the ASEAN Plus Three Summit.


The ASEAN leaders manifested their support and confirmed their commitment on five key elements: 


1. Implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and enhancing cooperation with ASEAN’s external partners.


2. Adoption of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan III and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 both an integral part of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.


3. Signed the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region.


4. Adopted guiding documents in accordance with the eight priorities for ASEAN Chairmanship 2016 and implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.


5. Agreed to intensify ASEAN’s cooperation with Dialogue Partners and External Parties through ASEAN-led mechanisms namely ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus, and East Asia Summit.


The ASEAN Leaders agreed to harmonize and the advancement of their respective views on regional and international issues of mutual interest with emphasis on traditional and non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism and extremism, natural disasters, climate change, irregular migration, human trafficking and other similar security concerns.


During the Summit’s closing ceremony, Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte formally accepted and assumed the chairmanship of ASEAN and vowed to make ASEAN a model of regionalism characterized by being a united, stable and a resilient global community with the interest of the people at its core. In his acceptance speech, President’s Duterte stressed that, “We will pursue initiative and enhance cooperation with global partners to ensure that ASEAN citizens live in peace, stability, security and growth, all the while retaining ASEAN’s centrality, unity and solidarity, we will maintain for all times.” Incidentally, the Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the 10-member regional bloc.


President Duterte in line with his campaign slogan of “Change is coming,” unveiled the 2017 ASEAN Summit theme as: "Partnering for change, engaging the world.”  According to the President, next year’s theme summit reflects the Philippine’s resolve to consolidate ASEAN to enable it to take its rightful place in the international community.


In President Duterte’s congratulatory message to H.E. Thongloun Sisoulith for the success of this year’s conference, he said “You guided us with the timely motto of ‘Turning Vision into Reality for Dynamic ASEAN community.” You ably did your part in deepening integration to move us towards the realization of a rule-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN community.”


Sisoulith confirmed that this year’s conference had “comprehensive and fruitful discussions” on strengthening the ASEAN community. He added that “I trust that under the Philippine’s ASEAN chairmanship in 2017, aside from the celebration of the ASEAN’s 50th anniversary, the ASEAN community will continue to gain new achievements.”


In line with the conclusion of the 2016 Summit and the ASEAN’s motto of “One Vision, One Identity, One Community,” the Partnership of Democratic Local Governance in Southeast Asia (DELGOSEA) reaffirm its commitment and pledged to continuously support in turning the vision of the ASEAN community into realization by extending the benefits of good governance, best practices for the poor and disadvantaged people, ensuring their increased participation in local planning and decision making processes, and thus contribute to the improvement of the peoples living conditions.