The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders adopted the Bali Declaration on ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations, or the Bali Concord III here on Thursday, which, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty M. Natalegawa said, would help ASEAN act in unison in global matters.
"We have discussed at the session a broad range of issues. We have discussed regional connectivity, the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, the role of ASEAN, and exchanged views regarding international and regional issues," said Marty M. Natalegawa at a press briefing after the signing ceremony.
"Our main result is the Bali Concord III. The signing of the Concord was the start of a process where ASEAN will play an increased role at the global level. For the next ten years, there will be concrete actions and measures so that ASEAN can act in unison in global matters," he said."We are getting where we want to be," he added.
In the Concord, ASEAN leaders affirmed their commitment to adopt a more coordinated, cohesive and coherent ASEAN position on global issues of common interest and concern which would further raise ASEAN's common voice in relevant multilateral fora, and to develop an enhanced ASEAN capacity to contribute and respond to key global issues of common interest which would benefit all ASEAN member states and its peoples.
The ASEAN leaders also affirmed their pledge to bring the ASEAN common platform on global issues into reality by 2020. For this purpose, concerned Ministers will be tasked to follow up and implement the Concord with the coordinating role of the ASEAN Coordinating Council, supported by the concerned sectoral ASEAN senior officials, the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, and a strengthened ASEAN Secretariat.
The Concord is part of three key outcome documents adopted Thursday that also included the Agreement of the Establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center) adopted by ASEAN Foreign Ministers, and the ASEAN Declaration on Unity in Diversity -- Towards Strengthening the ASEAN Community adopted by ASEAN Ministers for Cultural Affairs.
Earlier in the day, the Indonesian President Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the 19th ASEAN Summit with an inaugural speech.
In the speech, the president showed condolences for the major floods that have befallen a number of ASEAN member states, and said the assistance and support extended to victims was solid indication of solidarity among ASEAN countries.
"We gather here today while the world is facing a process of changes that may have widespread impacts on humanity.. In addition to new uncertainties casting a cloud on the world economy, the world continues to be faced with fundamental problems and challenges," Yodhoyono said.
"Amidst these uncertainties, a lot of hope is pinned onto our region. History has tested and proven that ASEAN continues to mature as an association able to create stability and security in the region, elevate its economic strength as well as becoming an increasingly people-centered community," he added.
"I believe ASEAN will be able to contribute in responding to these diverse global dynamics," he stressed.
The president also underlined five main points to be addressed in the coming days, including taking concrete steps to strengthen the three pillars of the ASEAN Community and implement the relevant action plans, fostering economic growth to make ASEAN region more resilient to global volatility, taking on a leading role in designing a more efficient and effective architecture of regional cooperation, maintaining the stability and security of the Southeast Asian and East Asian region, strengthening the role ASEAN globally.
The 19th ASEAN Summit with the theme of "ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations" kicked off on Thursday, gathering heads of state or government from 10 ASEAN member states.
The 14th ASEAN Plus Three, ASEAN Plus One Summits and 6th East Asia Summit will be held in the coming two days in Nusa Dua Bali, Indonesia.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.