Ha Noi, 15 November 2020 – Brunei Darussalam has taken the symbolic gavel for the ASEAN Chair in 2021 from Vietnam at the closing of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related summits in Hanoi on November 15. With the theme “We Care. We Prepare. We Prosper,” the bloc's next chair will continue to advance the regional recovery and community-building efforts.
Brunei Darussalam’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah revealed the next year’s focus that reflects three priority areas the country plans to promote: (1) Caring for the people and each other’s well-being, (2) Preparing for future opportunities and challenges, and (3) Prospering together as a unified region.
“Although ASEAN is a prosperous region with a growing economy and improved connectivity, the region has faced financial crises, energy shortages, natural disasters and climate change,” The Scoop quoted the sultan as saying.
“The severe challenges to global activities brought about by the [coronavirus] has also shown us that ASEAN must continue to strengthen ASEAN solidarity and centrality to overcome them,” the sultan said, adding that in today’s polarized world, ASEAN must continue to advance together.
The sultan emphasized that ASEAN was formed over fifty years ago with a vision for a better and more peaceful future based on the shared understanding that ASEAN as a whole, is greater than the sum of its parts.
“Integration, unity and solidarity, have and must continue to be, the foundation of ASEAN’s relations in advancing together,” he noted.
The Brunei government has yet to announce how ASEAN-related meetings will take place in 2021, whether they will continue to be held virtually or in-person at some point during the year.
Brunei last held the ASEAN chairmanship in 2013.
According to Article 31 in the ASEAN Charter, the Chairmanship of ASEAN shall rotate annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of member states.
A member state assuming the Chairmanship shall chair the ASEAN Summit and related summits, the ASEAN Coordinating Council, the three ASEAN Community Councils, relevant ASEAN Sectoral Ministerial Bodies and senior officials, and the Committee of Permanent Representatives.
The hosting country shall chair high-ranking and ministerial meetings, promoting the bloc’s interests and prosperity, recommending initiatives and new plans, and ensuring timely response to emergencies for the sake of the bloc.
Jakarta, Indonesia - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia organized the East Asia Summit (EAS) video conference, where virologists and epidemiologists met to identify practical cooperation and formulate strategic solutions to combat COVID-19 (14/10). This International Conference was also attended by economists and policymakers from 10 ASEAN countries and 8 EAS participating countries (PRC, the US, India, Russia, Australia, Japan, ROK, New Zealand), to discuss efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate the recovery of its socio-economic impact.
The International Conference, initiated by Indonesia in collaboration with the ASEAN Chair, Vietnam, aimed to bring together international virologists and pandemic experts to anticipate and share practical experiences in overcoming this pandemic in their respective countries, including efforts to recover the economy in the region.
This International Conference discussed not only strategies for utilizing technological advances in the health sector, especially (for) diagnostics, capacity building for digital-based testing, tracing, and isolation that can accelerate the process of mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but also practical solutions to grow the economy during a pandemic.
The meeting produced an agreement to encourage the strengthening of an increasingly integrated public health system between the EAS participating countries, as well as synergy and cooperation between international health experts and virologists with the government at the national level to build the regional health security and health resilience.
Countries such as the United States, the People's Republic of China, Russia, and Australia have shown appreciation for Indonesia's initiative to encourage comprehensive and practical cooperation synergies in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in a multilateral context.
The results of this meeting are expected to be a solution recommendation for the Leaders of the East Asia Summit Participating Countries, based on the views and thoughts of experts and policymakers to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in a more systematic, practical, and effective manner.
On 15 November 2018, H.E. Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, ASEAN Chairman of 2018, handed officially the ASEAN Chairmanship of 2019 to H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, at the end of the Closing Ceremony of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in Singapore.
The Prime Minister of Thailand announced the theme of Thailand's Chairmanship in 2019 as Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.
The Prime Minister also unveiled Thailand’s logo for the ASEAN Chairmanship which is inspired from Phuang Malai, or flower garland, which is commonly used in Thailand to welcome and honour our guests. Flowers that are put together and arranged into a circle shape, represent the people of the ASEAN Community and their collective cooperation to drive forward together the ASEAN Community. Ten tassels hanging from the Malai symbolise the ten ASEAN Member States. They collectively form the shape of an upward arrow, representing their striving together in Advancing Partnership for Sustainability, which is the theme of Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship, towards a people-centered ASEAN Community, that leaves no one behind and looks to the future. The logos theme colour is inspired by the colour of purple mangosteen, Thailand’s Queen of Fruits.
The Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, as the ASEAN National Secretariat of Thailand, together with the Faculty of Decorative Arts, Silpakorn University, and network universities, organised the ASEAN Chairmanship Logo Competition during June to September 2018. The competition specified as a requirement that the design submitted must reflect the theme of Thailands ASEAN Chairmanship as well as a reflection of Thai culture in a contemporary manner. The winning design was chosen by the Prime Minister as Chair of the National Committee on the Preparations for Thailands ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019.
As host, Thailand will use the logo in all of the ASEAN meetings, at all levels, as well as in its promotional media and various activities to raise awareness of ASEAN throughout the year starting from 1 January 2019.
JAKARTA, 20 November 2017 – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, the Ambassadors of the 18 East Asia Summit (EAS) participating countries in Jakarta, collectively referred to as the East Asia Summit Ambassadors’ Meeting in Jakarta (EAMJ), planted mangrove seedlings at the Taman Wisata Alam Angke Kapuk (Ecotourism Mangrove Park) in North Jakarta. The activity was jointly organized by the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat.
H.E. Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN and Chair of the EAMJ, led the mangrove planting and was joined by over 100 representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia, Nature Conservation Agency of Jakarta and volunteers from the ASEAN Youth Organisation. The event reiterated EAS countries’ commitment to the global environmental agenda through the protection, conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources, in line with the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In her remarks, Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso, stressed the importance of the EAS as a Leaders-led, ASEAN-centered forum which addresses the major challenges, including environmental degradation, that confront the region. The EAMJ, she emphasized, is tasked to see to it that Leaders’ statements are translated into action, and environmental awareness through the mangrove planting event is one such on-ground example.
Mr. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) highlighted that ASEAN is home to one-third of the world’s mangrove forests and expressed the hope that the event will “raise the awareness of the peoples in the region on the importance of mangrove ecosystems and the need for collective action to conserve it in order to contribute to climate change mitigation and disaster risk reduction, for a low carbon, disaster resilient region.”
In his remarks, Dr. Hillman Nugroho, Director-General of the Watershed and Forest Directorate of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF), expressed his appreciation to the EAMJ on their initiative to promote mangrove ecosystem rehabilitation and noted that it “reflects the growing awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as critical for people’s well-being.” He also shared that the initiative is very much in line with President Widodo’s call for every individual to plant 25 trees in their life.
Prior to the mangrove planting, Executive Director Roberto Oliva delivered a compelling presentation that further highlighted the importance of mangrove forests, not only for the ASEAN region, but also for the global environment.
The EAS is a regional leaders’ forum for dialogue and cooperation on broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability, and economic prosperity in East Asia. The 18 EAS participating countries are the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America.