Forum to discuss new initiatives on ASEAN future vision: Deputy FM

April 22, 2024 - 14:04
Nearly 400 delegates have registered to take part in the forum, with government leaders and ministers from ASEAN countries are scheduled to deliver speeches.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Đỗ Hùng Việt. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The ASEAN Future Forum 2024 (AFF 2024), which will take place in Hà Nội on April 23, is expected to create a platform for stakeholders to contribute ideas and initiatives on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s future vision, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Đỗ Hùng Việt has said.

This is a forum exclusively for ASEAN, of ASEAN, and for its people, where all stakeholders will share new initiatives to help ASEAN leaders devise strategies and visions for the group in the coming time, helping to bring practical benefits to people, he said in an interview granted to the press.

“While other forums may cover various topics, have different geographical scopes, diverse contents, and involve different participants, none of them have ASEAN as the central theme, aligning with the desire to promote ASEAN's central role.”

Nearly 400 delegates have registered to take part in the forum, Việt said, noting that government leaders and ministers from ASEAN countries are scheduled to deliver speeches. They include Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone of Laos – ASEAN Chair 2024, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, Brunei Minister of Foreign Affairs Erywan Yusof and ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will send pre-recorded messages to the forum.

Many leading regional and international scholars have also confirmed their attendance, including former Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa and former Singapore Minister of Foreign Affairs George Yeo.

A summary of opinions to be raised at the forum will be sent to ASEAN high-ranking leaders through official channels. The bloc's proposals are also expected to be forwarded to the UN as one of its contributions to preparations for the UN Summit of the Future in September.

“On the forum's website, we have opened a section called "Voice of the ASEAN People" with the hope of attracting many contributions from ASEAN citizens, various sectors within ASEAN, regarding the forum's discussion topics”, Việt said.

In addition to plenary sessions, there will be a business session on how to optimise development opportunities amidst the current digital transformation. It will be co-chaired by PM Chính and his Lao counterpart Sonexay, with the participation of experts and enterprises of Việt Nam, ASEAN and partner countries.

Việt said the session will offer a chance for businesses to look into advantages, difficulties and opportunities in the context of digital transformation, build new networks, and seize the opportunities brought about by digital transformation for their business operations.

The official stressed that rapid, sustainable and people-centred development is an issue of common concern of the world and all ASEAN countries. This is a basic and essential need of ASEAN given many economic difficulties as well as non-traditional security challenges such as climate change, natural disasters or epidemics, and supply chain disruptions.

To this end, the forum will examine how to harmonise between development and environmental protection and climate change response, to ensure social security, as well as to place people at the centre of all development-related decisions of each country and the region as a whole.

As one of the biggest multilateral diplomatic events hosted by Việt Nam this year, the forum once again demonstrates Việt Nam's desire to contribute more to regional cooperation and promote its core role in regional and international collaboration, he said.

“I believe this forum will be successful and will set the momentum for us to continue hosting the forum for many years to come. In this regard, I highly appreciate the preparation efforts, close coordination among relevant agencies in organising, reception, logistics, media, so that we can be confident in the successful outcome of this important event.” — VNS