THE United Nations Secretary-General called on ASEAN dynamism and engagement to help achieve new development goals after 2015 during the 5th ASEAN-UN Summit held yesterday.
Ban Ki-moon, in his address to ASEAN leaders, called for the 10 countries to push forward new "bold and ambitious" sustainable development goals after 2015 the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
"You have a tremendous opportunity to position ASEAN for the 21st century," said Ban, adding that ASEAN must set new standards for equitable growth and sustainable development in the region and beyond.
He then highlighted the four areas where the ASEAN and UN partnership could produce tangible results as that pertaining to Regional Connectivity, Sustainable Development, Human Rights, and Peace and Security.
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On connectivity, he said that UN collaboration will continue to support ASEAN connectivity. He also said the organisation is ready to help improve energy security and management of shared resources such as water.
Speaking on sustainable development, Ban noted that while ASEAN showed impressive progress on realising the MDGs, there are still developmental gaps in some member states. He said the UN is eager to work with all the ASEAN nations so that goals can be achieved across the board.
Commenting on post-2015 plans, he said poverty eradication should be a priority in the new agenda with sustainable development as its guide and principle.
"The new agenda must be bold and ambitious, yet simple in design and supported by a new partnership for development. It must be universal in nature, but responsive to the complexities, needs and capacity in individual countries."
[For more on summit stories, follow our 23rd Asean Summit coverage here.]
Sustainable consumption to protect natural resources and safeguard against climate change was also stressed.
The Secretary General then extended invitations to all leaders across government and non-government sectors to a 2014 Climate Summit at the UN. The summit makes way for a "legal agreement on Climate Change" aimed for 2015.
Ban hoped that all ASEAN leaders will attend the summit saying he would discuss with the president of the General Assembly to ease ASEAN participation at the meet.
Ban then reiterated that the UN human rights agencies stand ready to assist the implementation of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.
While commending ASEAN member states' efforts in improving their human rights records, he emphasised the post-2015 agenda must also be rights-based, inclusive of the rights of women, young people and marginalised groups.
With ASEAN being one of the most diverse regions in the world, he said the success would depend on the harmonious relations between the various groups. "We must avoid the divisive effects of rising inequality, which often evolve along ethnic or religious lines," he said.
Lastly for peace and security, Ban stated that the UN is ready to help ASEAN fight non-traditional security threats from terrorism to transnational organised crimes.
The secretary general remained concerned about the ongoing communal violence in Myanmar, but commended the country for making "unprecedented" levels of reforms. He stressed their reform will only succeed if all groups in the country are safe and secure in the realisation of their human rights.
On ASEAN and UN relations, he said that it was time for the two organisations to enhance their liaisons and reiterated plans to establish a secretariat liaisons office in Jakarta. He also asked that a road map to implement an ASEAN-UN comprehensive partnership for 2014-2015 be drafted between the ASEAN and UN secretariats.
In a press conference held after the summit, Ban commended His Majesty the Sultan and Yang-Di Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as well as Brunei's role in strengthening ASEAN-UN relationships over the past year.
He also said the UN is working hard with Myanmar to adopt reconciliatory policies and improve the ongoing communal violence situation in the country that will chair the ASEAN Summit next year.
The Brunei Times
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