Viet Nam News
MYANMAR — A vital need for new and stronger partnerships to address challenges affecting both continents, such as security, climate change, sustainable development goals, and connectivity was highlighted on the opening day of the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held on November 20-21 in Myanmar.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh is leading the Vietnamese delegation to the meeting, which has the theme “Strengthening Partnership for Peace and Sustainable Development.”
Speaking at the meeting, Minh said that Europe and Asia should continue to be on the frontlines to maintain world peace and stability, promote dialogue, confidence-building and preventive diplomacy and uphold international laws and norms of conduct.
“With extensive international integration and proactive multilateral diplomacy, Việt Nam will continue working closely with ASEM partners for synergizing peace and sustainable development and building a vision for a responsible and responsive ASEM in the next decade,” he added.
As key drivers of economic growth and innovation in the 21st century, Asia and Europe have full ability and responsibility to champion the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Minh said.
The 2030 Agenda not only helps to counter the negative impacts of megatrends, such as population growth, an ageing population and rapid urbanisation, but is also the best way to reduce the threat of conflict and violent extremism, he added.
The meeting will reiterate the commitment to accomplishing the tasks approved at the last ASEM summit held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, last year.
The maintenance and promotion of peace and sustainable development under the heading “Synergizing Peace and Sustainable Development” was the main item on the agenda on the opening day of the two-day meeting.
Delegates also agreed to explore ways to enhance ASEM’s efficiency and connectivity.
The ASEM mechanism provides a unique opportunity for policy makers in Asia and Europe to informally exchange views, share best practices and explore the best ways and means to address global challenges.
The promotion of peace and addressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges in Asia and Europe will be a focus on the morning of the second day.
The meeting will kick-start preparations for the 12th ASEM summit to be hosted by the EU in Brussels in October 2018.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s state counselor and foreign minister, said: “As we are all aware, our world has never been free from crises arising from multiple causes. Today we are faced with a new period of global uncertainty and instability.”
Conflicts take away peace from societies, leaving behind underdevelopment and poverty, pushing peoples and even countries away from one another, she said.
“These challenges have been compounded by the devastating effects of natural disasters which have become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change and lack of adequate concern and care for the environment.”
All countries, even the developed and powerful, have to cope with constraints and difficulties, she said.
“I believe that if policy makers develop a true understanding of each other’s constraints and difficulties, the process of addressing global problems would become easier and more effective.
“We must continue to nurture this partnership and create new connections, not just between governments, but also across the private sector and civil society and of course, people-to-people.”
Partnerships are crucial for the maintenance and promotion of peace and sustainable development, which can only be achieved through collective efforts, she added.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said the global balance of power is shifting, alliances are changing.
“In moments like this, we all need co-operation and partnership more than ever. We believe that climate change is real simply because we are seeing what is happening to our oceans, and tackling it together is a matter of priority for all of us.”
ASEM is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and co-operation between Asia and Europe.
It has 30 European and 21 Asian member nations, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat.
It addresses political, economic, social, cultural, and educational issues of common interest. — VNS