Officials of the 10 ASEAN capitals pose for a photo at the meeting (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – Governors and mayors from ASEAN countries’ capitals discussed and shared experience in developing peaceful and worth-living capital cities at their fourth meeting in Vientiane, Laos, on November 15.

With focus on the commitments and responsibility of the ASEAN capital cities towards an integrated association , the participants mulled over the building of the capitals into worth-living cities; public security in the capitals; traditional cultural heritage preservation and promotion and tourism development; and cooperation in enhancing workforce and mutual support.

They agreed that developing the ASEAN capitals into worth-living cities is important as the capitals are the centres of political, economic, cultural and social activities and also gateways to the world of each nation.

Security in the ASEAN capitals is critical, particularly ensuring local residents’ security and safety in terms of traffic, fire-fighting, agriculture, and food. Meanwhile, tourism development and promotion is a prioritised issue that will help with the socio-economic development of the capitals and their countries.

During the formation of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, the regional capitals are also required to preserve cultural heritage and increase cultural and information exchanges among its dwellers, officials said.

Addressing the meeting, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Quoc Hung said urbanisation is an inevitable trend in the ASEAN nations, including Vietnam, and it has caused common problems.

Like many other cities during the period of “hot” development, Hanoi, with a population of 7.3 million, has been facing challenges mainly posed by its big population, he noted.

Hung said his city wants to work with other ASEAN capitals to share knowledge and experience in various aspects, especially in smart city development, environmental protection, and climate change impact mitigation.

At the event, the Hanoi delegation chaired a discussion about public security of the ASEAN capitals and delivered a speech on this topic.

Concluding the meeting, the ASEAN capital chiefs signed the Vientiane declaration in which they vow to share experience and support each other in building the ASEAN capitals into worth-living cities. The document also affirms their commitments on closer cooperation in the matters tabled at the fourth meeting.

The Philippine capital city of Manila will host the next meeting of governors/mayors of the ASEAN capitals in 2017.-VNA