Implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint

41. We welcomed that the AEC has completed the third phase of implementation of the AEC Blueprint (2012-2013) and has now moved on to the fourth and final phase of implementation (2014-2015).

42. We appreciated further efforts and progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN Strategic Transport Plan 2011-2015, especially on key transport initiatives which include the ratification of the ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASAM), Open Skies agreements, ASEAN Single Shipping Market (ASSM), Singapore-Kunming Rail Link (SKRL), ASEAN Highway Network (AHN) and facilitation of cross-border movement of goods and passengers by road vehicles. We welcomed the conclusion of the Study on Formulating an ASSM Implementing Strategy and the 8 th Package of Commitments on Air Transport Ancillary Services under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services.

43. We noted the completion of the Mid-Term Review of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2010-2015 which shows that ASEAN is on track to meet most of the key targets set out in the said plan of action. We welcomed the good progress of ASEAN power grid interconnection projects including the two priority projects between Peninsula Malaysia and Sumatra in Indonesia , and between Sarawak in Malaysia and West Kalimantan in Indonesia as well as the signing of the Instrument to extend the Memorandum of Understanding on the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline until 20 May 2024 . We looked forward to the 32 nd ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting and related Meetings which will be held on 22-24 September 2014 in Vientiane , Lao PDR.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
44. We further noted the good progress made towards completing the ASEAN Information and Communication Technology Master Plan 2015 (AIM 2015), especially in the area of digital inclusion which will allow ASEAN citizens to take part in social-economic development processes. We recognise the need to further intensify cooperation to make ICT a key enabler for the region’s social and economic integration.

45. We welcomed the continued strong efforts to deepen and integrate our capital markets, and the on-going efforts to further liberalise our financial services sub-sectors. We were encouraged by the bigger role undertaken by ASEAN in macro-economic policy communication and took note that the region’s stability has also been encouraged by the strengthening of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) as the regional financial safety net.

Food, Agriculture, and Forestry
46. We also appreciated the significant progress to enhance ASEAN’s long-term competitiveness and sustainable development of ASEAN’s food, agriculture and forestry products, through developing and implementing ASEAN best practices, including the initiative to establish an ASEAN certification and accreditation mechanism to support their implementation which will bring benefits to farmers in this region.

47. We noted that for 2013, ASEAN received 99.2 million visitors or an increase of 11.73% from 2012. The implementation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2011-2015 has been progressing well with 75% of the measures for 2013 having been duly completed. These include the completion of 144 toolboxes for hotel divisions; the ASEAN Tourism Qualification Equivalent Matrix, which will serve as key references for tourism industry and training institutions in delivering the programme under the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Tourism Professionals; and the development of comprehensive tourism standards for green hotel, homestay, spa services, public toilet, clean tourist city and community based tourism, and their certification processes that will help to enhance the quality of human resources, services and facilities in the region.
48. We welcomed the progress in engaging our +1 FTA partners. ASEAN has just commenced FTA negotiations with Hong Kong in July 2014. Separately, we welcomed other efforts to enhance economic cooperation with our Dialogue Partners.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
49. We acknowledged that the AEC must continue to be able to benefit the community at large, particularly the SMEs, entrepreneurs and the youth. To this end, we reiterated the need to provide special attention towards supporting the work in these areas. We were encouraged to note that the SME Working Group is developing an ASEAN Benchmark for SME Credit Rating Methodology and working on the establishment of SME Service Centres with Sub-regional and Regional Linkages in ASEAN Member States by the end of this year.

Information Outreach
50. As 2015 approaches, we are aware that information outreach will be key towards the success and inclusiveness of the AEC. In this regard, we would need to undertake more effective communication with our ASEAN citizens and to this end, we welcomed the publication of the AEC Booklet “Thinking Globally, Prospering Regionally – The ASEAN Economic Community 2015” prepared by the High-Level Task Force on ASEAN Economic Integration (HLTF-EI).

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
51. We noted the progress of negotiations since May 2013 on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which plays an important role in strengthening the regional economic architecture and fostering equitable economic development. We welcomed the successful conclusion of the fifth round of negotiation of RCEP in June 2014 in Singapore and looked forward to the 2 nd RCEP Ministerial Meeting to be held on 27 August 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar , during the 46 th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting . We expressed our aspiration on the timely conclusion of RCEP negotiations in accordance with the RCEP Leaders’ Joint Declaration on the Launch of Negotiations for the RCEP as well as its Guiding Principles and Objectives.

Implementation of the ASCC Blueprint
52. We welcomed the significant progress in the implementation of the ASCC Blueprint. We looked forward to the acceleration of the implementation of the remaining action lines under the ASCC Blueprint in order to realise a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN Community.
53. We reiterated our commitment to enhance the well-being and livelihood of the peoples of ASEAN by providing them with equitable access to opportunities for human development, social welfare and justice as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter.

54. We stressed that it is important to ensure a balanced agenda for development and environment protection so that we can achieve our development goals without sacrificing the opportunities of our generations to come. In this regard, we commended the efforts and valuable contributions by the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Environment (AMME) and its sectoral bodies by playing a pivotal role in promoting environmental protection and sustainable development through the implementation of the ASCC Blueprint. We looked forward to the 15 th Informal Ministerial Meeting on Environment, which will be held in Vientiane , Lao PDR, on 30 October 2014. We also encouraged continued and enhanced efforts with regard to exploring potential new areas of cooperation with Dialogue Partners and regional/international organisations to implement existing ASEAN initiatives on environmental sustainability.
55. We expressed our satisfaction on the progress of cooperation in the area of environmental conservation. We welcomed the progress of activities and programmes in ensuring environmental sustainability which includes, among others, (i) the ASEAN Programme on Sustainable Management of Peatlands Ecosystem (2014-2020), (ii) the ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan (AEEAP) 2014-2018, (iii) the ASEAN Action Plan on Joint Response to Climate Change, and (iv) the Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity. We also noted the valuable contribution by ASEAN’s external partners in the implementation of activities and programmes towards achieving environmental sustainability.

56. We noted that transboundary haze pollution remains a concern in the region. In this regard, we agreed to further intensify regional and international cooperation including those under the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP), particularly to promote efforts among ASEAN Member States to ensure the full and effective implementation of the zero burning techniques in land clearing. We acknowledged that the ASEAN Sub-regional Haze Monitoring System (HMS) is a useful tool to assist in monitoring and internal enforcement actions against irresponsible parties contributing to fires. We urged the MSC countries to take the necessary action in order to operationalise the HMS. We looked forward to Indonesia ’s early ratification of the AATHP.

A SEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)
57. We noted the conduct by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) of a Workshop on the Review of the Agreement on the Establishment of the ACB with stakeholders on 21-22 July 2014. We recognised the role of the ACB as a regional centre of excellence dedicated to the promotion of regional collaboration on biodiversity conservation.

Climate Change
58. We emphasised the need for the full implementation of the ASEAN Action Plan on Joint Response to Climate Change to realise the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Joint Response to Climate Change by all ASEAN Member States, and encouraged further cooperation in response to climate change through information sharing, consultation, cooperation programmes and collaboration in international negotiations and forums, where appropriate. We appreciated the Working Group on Climate Change for its efforts in the implementation process of the Action Plan and encouraged the Working Group to finalise the text of an ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change for consideration for the Leaders’ adoption at the 25 th Summit .
59. We emphasised the importance of strengthening the resilience of the ASEAN Community to the impacts of climate change by effectively implementing the ASEAN Climate Change Initiative (ACCI). We looked forward to the UN Climate Summit to be held in New York in September 2014, and reaffirmed the importance of adopting at COP-21 a new global agreement applicable to all Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Migrant Workers
60. Recognising the contribution of migrant workers to both society and economy of ASEAN, we reiterated the importance of safeguarding the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals, including the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers, in accordance with national laws, regulations, and policies . In this regard, we urged the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) to facilitate the timely finalisation of the zero draft of an ASEAN instrument on the protection and promotion of migrant workers’ rights.

Rural Development and Poverty Eradication
61. We reiterated the importance of implementing on-going projects under the endorsed Framework Action Plan on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (2011-2015), which is aimed towards ensuring sustainable rural development, robust rural economic growth and poverty alleviation. In this regard, we agreed to promote the development path through green economy and green growth.
62. We looked forward to the convening of the ASEAN Forum to Promote Best Practices in Sustainable Rural Infrastructure Development on 25-28 August 2014 in Kuala Lumpur . The forum will serve as an avenue to share best practices on sustainable rural infrastructure development and reflect on country-level initiatives, progress and challenges in efforts to develop the rural areas through infrastructure. We also noted the proposals for the two projects to be spearheaded by the Philippines , namely “Food Security and Price Spikes: Stocktaking of Responsive Social Protection Policies for the Vulnerable Poor” and the “ASEAN Regional Capacity Development to Enhance Accountability of Local Government in Delivering Social Protection Program through Community Driven Development.”

63. We underlined the need for continued strengthening of various measures to promote cooperation in regional health development. In this respect, we encouraged health officials to intensify efforts for the effective implementation of health-related work plans set out under the ASEAN Strategic Framework on Health Development (2010-2015).
64. Recognising the heavy burden of Non-Communicable Diseases to the socio-economic development of our region, we encouraged relevant sectors to implement the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases in ASEAN which was adopted at the 23 rd ASEAN Summit on 9 October 2013.
65. We reaffirmed our commitment towards the establishment of (i) the ASEAN Risk Communication Resource Centre (RCRC) to provide training and research in risk communication, to support efforts in managing health emergencies; and (ii) the ASEAN Risk Assessment Center (ARAC) which will serve as a coordinating centre on risk assessment in ASEAN to provide risk assessment output and scientific opinion to assist in the management of food safety issues of common interest to ASEAN.

66. We emphasised the importance of promoting culture as a pillar of sustainable development and supported the integration of culture in development policies and strategies at the local, national, regional and international levels. To this end, we noted the on-going work by the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts to formulate the Hue Declaration on Culture for ASEAN Community’s Sustainable Development.
67. We highlighted the importance of culture as a vital element in building an ASEAN identity and unifying force for ASEAN Community building. We therefore underscored the importance of formulating the ASEAN Awareness Campaign in cultivating our common identity through the adoption of national and regional communication plans.
68. We underlined the importance to promote ASEAN identity through fostering of greater awareness of the diverse culture and heritage of the region. In this regard, we encouraged respective officials to further promote cultural exchanges and cooperation as well as strengthen cooperation in information sector.

69. Recognising that our youths are the future of ASEAN, we stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation to promote education for youth. We welcomed the recently completed Inaugural ASEAN State of Education Report which provides an overview of the education landscape in ASEAN and the continued implementation of the two regional youth volunteer programmes; namely: the ASEAN Youth Volunteers Programme (AYVP) and the ASEAN Young Professionals Volunteers Corps (AYPVC). We also recognised the potential of youth in contributing towards the ASEAN community building process, and the importance of encouraging greater awareness of ASEAN through different platforms to promote dialogue and people-to-people exchanges. In this respect, we welcomed Malaysia ’s intention to organise the ASEAN Youth Leaders’ Summit in 2015.

Science and Technology
70. For ASEAN to remain competitive in this dynamic global environment, ASEAN needs to cultivate the innovative culture among our peoples. In this regard, we looked forward to the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation (APASTI 2015-2020) by 2014.

71. Sports provides the opportunity for greater people-to-people interaction. In this regard, we encouraged respective officials to implement the Vientiane Declaration on Sports Cooperation in ASEAN and looked forward to a work plan to implement the declaration.

Social Welfare and Development
72. We welcomed the Strategic Framework on Social Welfare and Development (2011-2015), which aims to address the pressing issues relating to elderly people, persons with disabilities, children and family development and noted the implementation of the projects and activities under the Framework.

Cross-cutting issues
73. We also called for the leadership that will be needed for defining distantly regional positions and strengthen ASEAN centrality in the areas under its purview-in an increasingly complex environment with cross-cutting issues by leveraging the diverse institutions and highly networked sectoral bodies.

74. To ensure the success of ASEAN integration and a competitive and resilient ASEAN Community, we underscored the importance of the full implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) which would promote economic growth, narrow development gaps, and promote deeper social and cultural understanding and greater people mobility. We appreciated the continued efforts of the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC) in monitoring and facilitating the implementation of the MPAC.
75. We encouraged the ACCC to work with National Coordinators and relevant Sectoral Bodies in exerting greater efforts to mobilise appropriate resources including financial and technical ones, utilise the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF) as well as develop Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) as a model for financing infrastructure projects. The development of a set of Principles for effective PPP frameworks would enable the efficient harnessing of private sector expertise and supporting governments in obtaining attractive infrastructure investment in the region.

76. We looked forward to the 5 th ASEAN Connectivity Symposium with the theme "Catalysing Public-Private Partnerships to Finance ASEAN Connectivity" which would be held in Myanmar in September this year and the ACCC PPP Networking Forum: Towards an ASEAN PPP Agenda in Manila , the Philippines , on 16-17 December 2014. We noted the on-going work of the ASEAN-PPP Programme, the PPP Guidelines and the Scoping Study on Risk Mitigation Instruments towards building the capacity of ASEAN Member States in preparing and delivering PPP projects. We called for the continued support of Dialogue Partners, external parties and the private sector to contribute to the implementation of the MPAC.

Timor-Leste’s Official Application for ASEAN Membership
77. We were encouraged by the progress by the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG) in the consideration of all relevant aspects related to the application by Timor-Leste, as well as its possible implications on ASEAN, and agreed to explore the possibility of Timor-Leste’s participation in ASEAN activities within the context of its need for capacity building.