UN ready to aid Asean for a better future
James Kon

THE United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, yesterday outlined four areas of cooperation for Asean and the UN to produce tangible results for the future. The cooperation is on regional connectivity, sustainable development, human rights and peace as well as security.

On the Asean Connectivity in the field of transport and close-border movement, he said, “(It) is critical to the objective of more essential relation and to spread prosperity, as well as close the development gap within and among Asean member countries. I am pleased that our regional commission ESCAP has helped Asean develop its regional connectivity master plan. UN collaboration will continue as Asean works toward establishing the Asean Community by 2015.

“We also stand ready to support efforts to improve energy security and management of shared resources such as water,” he added.

On sustainable development, he said, “Asean countries have made impressive progress toward most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and we will continue to work with Asean to achieve all the MDGs. This is imperative as we work together to define a shared vision for the post 2015 period. UN is eager to share the voices of Asean nations and work together to implement new bold sustainable agendas. Poverty eradication must be our priority and sustainable development as our guide and principle.”

On the new agendas, he said, “(It) must be bold and ambitious but yet simple in design, supported by new partnership in development. It must be universal in nature and yet responsive to the complexity needs and capacity of each individual countries.”

We must protect the planet’s resources and emphasise on sustainable consumption and protect production as well as support actions on climate change.

Climate change, he said, “is a threat to the development and prosperity of all nations. The region is highly vulnerable to weather related disasters and I send my sympathy to Cambodia and the wider regions who have been affected by the recent floods and severe storms. Therefore UN will continue the support for disaster management. This is one of the advance areas of UN cooperation with Asean and is working closely with the Asean Coordination Centre for Humanitarian Assistance for this issue.

“Ultimately, we can only prevent climate disaster by addressing climate change. We must do everything we can to keep global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius above the pre-industry level. To do that, we need to finalise the global climate change agreement in 2015. To add to the momentum of this, I will convene a climate summit in September 2014 and I hope that all leaders of Asean will be able to participate,” he expressed.

Meanwhile the Asean region is one of the most diverse in the world representing many great cultures, faiths and traditions. Peace and sustainable development for all the people in the region depend on harmonious relations among the communities and nations.

He said, “We must avoid divisive effects of rising inequality. UN stands ready to work with Asean to promote human rights for stability and development. I welcome Asean commitment in implementing the Human Rights declaration in accordance to international standard.”

On the fourth area, which was peace and security, Ban Ki-moon said, “The UN is working with Asean countries to fight corruption, transnational organised crimes including drugs and human trafficking, terrorism and other non-traditional security threats. Multifaceted peacekeeping is another area of collaboration. UN welcomes the opportunity to work with the Asean Institute for Peace and Reconciliation that will be launched soon. We also welcome the establishment of Asean Regional Mine Action Centre in Phnom Penh.”

The United Nations Secretary-General also applauded the various efforts to resolve tensions and conflicts in the region. - Borneo Bulletin (11 October 2013)