Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said country members needed to work harder to make ASEAN directly beneficial and more meaningful to its people as Indonesia officially took over the grouping’s chairmanship from Vietnam on Wednesday.
“Sense and ownership and participation [of people of ASEAN)]are vital. Common benefits must be felt,” said Marty in a remark at the handover ceremony at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.
As a symbol of the change in chairmanship, the Committee of Permanent Representatives of ASEAN (CPR) chair was handed over by Vietnam to Indonesia during the ceremony.
Vietnam’s deputy permanent representative to ASEAN Nguyen Duc Thang handed over a torch replica and a carved wooden hammer, symbolizing the CPR chairmanship, to the Indonesia’s permanent representative to ASEAN, I Gede Ngurah Swajaya.
ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan praised Vietnam for its effective leadership and commendable work last year. He also thanked Indonesia for “its tremendous enthusiasm” in accepting the responsibilities from Vietnam. He hoped to see Indonesia “propel ASEAN further onto the global stage”, using CPR as one of the key mechanisms.
“Indonesia will strive to build on the achievements of Vietnam’s chairmanship and bring our cooperation to a higher plane,” said Marty.
In emphasizing the need to be more people-centered, Marty referred to the possibility of opening up various ASEAN activities to the people through community forums, in the drive toward an ASEAN Community by 2015.
He shared the idea that a community forum could be established for each pillar, to encourage the engagement, participation and contribution by the various stakeholders and constituents, such as the academia, media and other groups of civil society.
Indonesia has laid out three priorities in reaching its goal in ASEAN: significant progress on ASEAN community building, continued ASEAN leadership in the evolving regional architecture, in particular shaping and forming of the enlarged East Asia Summit, and charting a course for the ASEAN community in a global community of nations.
Indonesia picked the theme “ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations”, which includes a post-2015 vision of an ASEAN that has a global outreach and an ASEAN that is much in tune with the global realities.
Quoting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s speech at the closing ceremony of the ASEAN Summit in Hanoi last year, Marty stressed that ASEAN must take an upward trajectory and must continue to adapt, as it enters the second decade of the 21st century.
“ASEAN must continue to enhance, serving as net contributor to solutions of global challenges.” –The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
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