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Statement of the Association of the Southeast Nations for the General Debate of the Second Committee 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly

Monday, 08 October 2018
H.E. Mr. Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Philippines
UN Headquarters, New York


Congratulations, Mr. Chair, on your election as Chairperson of the Second Committee.

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the ten (10) member states of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN), namely, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam and my country, the Philippines.

We align ourselves with the statement of Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr. Chair,

ASEAN is an economic powerhouse in an increasingly integrated region proud of its history and cultural diversity. ASEAN Member States are all experiencing dynamic and impressive strong growth, with GDP growth rates expected between 3% to 8% over 2017-2021. It is the sixth largest economy in the world, with a combined GDP of about $2.4 trillion; and is projected to be the fourth-largest economy by 2050. With a population of over 600 million, ASEAN is also the world’s third largest market, with some 67 million households forming part of the “consuming class.” This figure could double to 125 million by 2025. In addition, the region has a young population, a growing middle class and is experiencing increasing urbanization.

In our continued pursuit for stronger regional integration, connectivity and growth, ASEAN remains committed to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and its underlying principle of leaving no one behind.

Within this context, I wish to provide this meeting updates on ASEAN’s recent achievements: UNGA 73- ASEAN Statement-General Debate (Second Committee)

1. Concrete steps towards the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision for a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN. Singapore’s Chairmanship of ASEAN focuses on the themes of ‘resilience’ and ‘innovation,’ and is working on specific initiatives such as the ASEAN Agreement on e-Commerce and the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework. These efforts ensure that ASEAN remains competitive and prosperous by managing and harnessing digital technologies and by equipping its citizens with the right skills and capabilities. They also promote and uphold a rules-based regional order that allow ASEAN to better deal with emerging security challenges such as cyber security, transnational crime and terrorism;

2. Concrete steps to develop regional smart cities ecosystem. At the inaugural ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) meeting held on 08 July 2018 in Singapore, the Network endorsed the ASEAN Smart Cities Framework for smart city development which considers the specific needs and potential of each city, as well as its local and cultural context;

3. Promotion of complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We wish to inform, in this regard, of the proposal by Thailand, the incoming Chair of ASEAN, to establish an ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue in Bangkok in 2019 to promote research and studies and enhance capacity building on sustainable development while serving as a platform for policy dialogue between ASEAN and its external partners including the UN;

4. Substantive progress in the implementation of the Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry 2016-2025 to enhance trade facilitation and ensure food security, food safety, better nutrition and equitable distribution. ASEAN has adopted the ASEAN Public-Private Partnership Regional Framework for Technology Development in the Food, Agriculture and Forestry (FAF) Sectors to increase collaborative investment in sustainable technology development, adoption and dissemination throughout the whole value chain in the FAF in ASEAN;

5. Continuing efforts of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on Education (SOM-ED) and the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting (ASED) to support the implementation of the ASEAN Work Plan on Education (2016 – 2020), which aspires to provide inclusive educational opportunities for all ASEAN citizens. ASEAN’s on-going work at all levels of education from early childhood to higher education and technical and vocational education and training and lifelong learning for all learners contribute to the development of a stronger ASEAN Community;

6. Substantial progress in the implementation of the ASEAN Post-2015 Health Development Agenda for 2016-2020 through the four ASEAN Health Cluster Work Programmes focused on promoting healthy lifestyles, responding to all hazards and emerging threats,  strengthening health systems and access to care and enhancing food safety;

7. Strengthened cooperation to promote sustainable development through, among others, development of circular economy, the use of renewable energy, sustainable and integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate, sustainable management of natural resources and reduction of waste, and conservation of biodiversity;

8. ASEAN is finalizing the ASEAN Strategic Plan on Environment (ASPEN) 2016-2025, which would serve as the guiding document for ASEAN cooperation on environment. ASEAN also convened the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action (SAMCA) and the Expanded SAMCA (ESAMCA) on 10 July 2018, towards full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement;

9. Strengthened collaboration and coordination among management stakeholders and other sectors, through the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre), to operationalize the “ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region.” The ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management constitutes, in this regard, an important step toward greater coherence in ASEAN-UN engagement on disaster risk reduction and management.

Mr. Chair, ASEAN strongly believes that the Second Committee is a crucial platform for consensus building in the UN. We therefore urge all Member States to continue to uphold this principle as we proceed with our work.

Thank you.