ASEAN Community: “One vision, one identity, one community.” Photo: VNA
At the 27th ASEAN Summit held in late November in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 10 ASEAN countries signed the document bearing historical significance for the whole Association, officially declaring the establishment of the ASEAN Community. The 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 mark an important milestone, confirming the great achievements of ASEAN’s linkage and integration for almost half a century.
The “historic” Kuala Lumpur Declaration
On 22 November 2015, the ASEAN leaders signed the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the “Establishment of an ASEAN Community” on 31 December 2015 in the presence of the leaders of partner countries, dialogue partners of ASEAN, the UN Secretary General and representatives of the businesses and people of ASEAN countries.
The signing ceremony of the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration was a historic event, formally announced to the world the formation of the 2015 ASEAN Community. The ASEAN Community building is a continuous and long process, reflecting the strength of the ASEAN after 48 years of establishment and development to become a strong and closely integrated community in all 3 pillars: political-security, economy and socio-culture with an increasingly high position in the region and the world. The ASEAN Community demonstrates the awareness, shared vision as well as the will and the political will of the member states to strengthen integration at higher levels in order to promptly respond to and seize opportunities, address challenges to the region; formally turn ASEAN into a cohesive community politically and economically which shares social responsibility, creating an important platform for ASEAN to continue strengthening and deepening integration for common interests of all Member States.
The ASEAN Community with a population of over 600 million people, a GDP of USD 2.700 billion is currently the 7th largest economy in the world. It is projected that in the next 10 years, ASEAN will be the 4th largest economy in the world with a GDP of 4,700 billion USD. Given its position and potential, the ASEAN Community will bring into full play its role in the region and the world. The establishment of the ASEAN Community will continue to bring about tangible benefits for citizens and member states, such as creating favorable conditions for market access, reducing costs of goods and services through the elimination of tariff, reduction of unemployment, and facilitation of movement among the ASEAN countries.
The 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration expresses the will, confidence and high determination of the Association which are reaffirm further commitment to the ASEAN Charter, which reflects the desire and collective will to live in a region of lasting peace, security stability, sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and social progress. Confident that the realization of the ASEAN Community has set a milestone in the integration process and will ensure lasting peace, security and resilience in an outward-looking region, with economies that are vibrant, competitive and highly integrated and an inclusive community that is embedded strong sense of togetherness and common identity; underlining our aspiration towards establishing a truly rules-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN Community, where our peoples continue to participate in and benefit fully from the on-going process of ASEAN integration and community building.
The ASEAN Community Vision 2025: Forging ahead together
The ASEAN leaders also adopted the “ASEAN Community Vision 2025: Forging ahead together”, which succeeds the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015). The ASEAN Vision 2025 aims towards a community of unity, peace, stability and shared prosperity; while maintaining ASEAN centrality.
Thus, the ASEAN Political-Security Community by 2025 shall be a united, inclusive and resilient community. Peoples shall live in a safe harmonious and secure environment, embrace the values of tolerance and moderation as well as uphold ASEAN fundamental principles, shared values and norms. ASEAN shall remain cohesive, responsive and relevant in addressing challenges to regional peace and security as well as play a central role in shaping the evolving regional security architecture, while deepening engagement with external parties and contributing collectively to global peace, security and stability.
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2025 shall be a highly integrated and cohesive; competitive, innovative and dynamic; and integrate into the global economy. Undertake to achieve a highly integrated and cohesive regional economy that supports sustained high economic growth by increasing trade, investment and job creation; advancing a single market agenda through enhanced commitments in trade in goods, and through an effective resolution of non-tariff barriers; deeper integration in trade in services, and a more seamless movement of investment, skilled labor, business persons, and capital. ASEAN shall be a competitive, innovative and dynamic community which foster robust productivity growth including through the creation and practical application of knowledge, supportive policies towards innovation, science-based approach to green technology and development, and by embracing the evolving digital technology; promotion of good governance, transparency and responsive regulations; effective dispute resolution; and a view towards enhanced participation in global value chains.
The ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) by 2025 shall be one that engages and benefits the peoples, and is inclusive, sustainable, resilient, and dynamic. Thereby, ASEAN undertakes to realize a committed, participative and socially-responsive; a community that promotes high quality of life, equitable access to opportunities for all and promotes and protects human rights of women, children, youth, the elderly/older persons, persons with disabilities, migrant workers, and vulnerable and marginalized groups; a sustainable community that promotes social development and environmental protection through effective mechanisms to meet the current and future needs of ASEAN peoples; a resilient community with enhanced capacity and capability to adapt and respond to social and economic vulnerabilities, disasters, climate change as well as emerging threats and challenges; a dynamic and harmonious community that is aware and proud of its identity, culture, and heritage with the strengthened ability to innovate and proactively contribute to the global community.
In order to achieve the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN shall realize a community with enhanced institutional capacity through improved ASEAN work processes and coordination, increased effectiveness and efficiency in the work of ASEAN Organs and Bodies, a community with increased ASEAN institutional Presence at the national level. The ASEAN leaders pledged to the ASEAN leaders the resolve to realize a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN of “One Vision, One Identity, One Community.”