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Wednesday, 09 July 2014 22:38

From 10-11 June 2014, the ASEAN Foundation and the UNDP Indonesia organised the ASEAN Forum on South-South Technical Cooperation (SSTC) to explore how this framework can encourage ASEAN cities to collaborate among themselves to take advantage of regional integration in view of the ASEAN Community being established in 2015. The forum had the intention of promoting networking and mutual cooperation towards realising the ASEAN's motto of "One Vision, One Identity, One Community".

 

During the forum, some concerns were raised about the lack of understanding among people in the ASEAN region about their countries joining a single market, which was described as a hub for trade, investments, and services. While delivering her presentation, Madame Siti Nugraha Mauludiah, Director of Technical Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, answered the concerns by emphasising the importance of ASEAN regional integration wherein ASEAN Economic Community was one of the pillars.

One of the presenters, Mr. Achmad Rofi'ie from the Non Aligned Movement – Centre for South-South Technical Cooperation (NAM CSSTC), highlighted that the NAM member countries had enhanced capacity building to achieve their development goals to attain a sustained people-centred development and to participate more actively in the process of globalization. Mr. Rofi'ie further mentioned that the SSTC would bring benefits in the strengthening of the voice and of the bargaining power of developing countries in multilateral negotiation forums as well as the use of experience and existing capacity and the development of new capacities in developing countries.

While Dr. Kamolrat Intaratat, a presenter from Thailand, spoke about the important role information and communication technology (ICT) could play in strengthening ASEAN Connectivity. Mr. T. A. Choesni from the Indonesian National Development and Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) mentioned about the relevance of ASEAN within Indonesia's SSTC where Indonesia supports ASEAN priorities focusing on ASEAN Member States that would need support moving towards the ASEAN Economic Community 2015, the Initiatives for ASEAN Integration (IAI), and the development of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. He stated that Indonesia SSTC could provide support to regional issues pertaining to connectivity, food sustainability, energy, and disaster management.

The second day of the forum provided an avenue for the regional participants representing provincial governments and relevant regional NGOs to exchange knowledge and views from their respective cities and areas that to be translated into real cooperation among cities in the region with active participation from the NGOs. The discussion focused on three thematic areas, namely agriculture, tourism, and disaster management.

At the end of the thematic session, the city representatives agreed to have some potential collaboration on three main issues discussed. Many of the participants expressed shared interest in developing partnership and experience sharing on the issues. They also agreed that the collaboration among the local governments was one important factor that would eventually support the ASEAN Community at the regional level. At the end, through event like this, it was hoped that local governments would be seen as the engines and drivers of development that would have the foremost capacity to lead their people in welcoming the ASEAN Community.

This two-day event, consisting of public seminar and a closed thematic forum, attracted over 100 attendees. The first day was a seminar for public invitations while the thematic group discussion on the second day involved only participants from Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand at the provincial level with a regional NGO based in Malaysia.

Source: ASEAN Foundation

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 July 2014 22:40