ASEAN - Diplomatic hub in Asia-Pacific
Speech by Ambassador Sjahril Sabaruddin (of Indonesia to SA) Chairman of the ASEAN Pretoria Committee on the occasion of the 44th Anniversary of ASEAN
PRETORIA, 22 AUGUST 2011
His Excellency Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila, Director General of the Department of International Relations and
Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa,
Excellencies Ambassador and High Commissioners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, on behalf of my colleagues, Ambassadors and High Commissioners of ASEAN missions in Pretoria, I would like to convey to you a very warm welcome to our joint reception on the occasion of the 44th Anniversary of ASEAN Day which falls on the 8th of August 2011.
The 44th Anniversary of ASEAN in 2011 brings new meaning and new phase for ASEAN cooperation. Today, ASEAN is already a strong and increasingly mature organisation, and it has transformed itself tremendously. ASEAN is a stable, coherent organization and is recognized as one of the successful regional organisations in the world. Therefore the ASEAN Day celebration this year heralds such a historic and eventful transformation of ASEAN.
ASEAN has adapted to the ever-changing regional and global circumstances. ASEAN elevated its mission by committing itself to political, security and economic cooperation. Through its various dialogue mechanisms, and like no other regional organisation, ASEAN has emerged to become an indispensable diplomatic hub in the Asia-Pacific. This has placed ASEAN in a very strategic position, to be a mover and shaker in regional affairs. ASEAN has also demonstrated its economic resilience, in the face of the global financial crisis.
Distinguished, Ladies and gentlemen,
The ASEAN economic is predicted to grow between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent this year, which is higher than the world average of 4.5 percent. The overall population of ASEAN is already more than a half a billion, half of which is the new middle class. ASEAN has a combined GDP of USD 1.5 trillion. This development shows that ASEAN is a worthy economic partner of any other region in the world, and an emerging hub of vigorous global economic cooperation.
ASEAN has developed also assets that are relevant to global issues, namely it has ample forest, natural resources and commodities, it has huge population with dynamic youth, it is a region with extremely diverse religious and ethnic make-up,and it is open societies which embrace moderation.
Currently, the eyes of the world are directed towards ASEAN. This reality has to become inspiration of ASEAN to work even harder; to attain ASEAN Community in 2015, and make the partnership between ASEAN more contributive in resolving global issues. ASEAN has increasingly ability to speak with a collective voice in international fora. This enhances its capacity to contribute to the resolution of global issues.
The participation of ASEAN Chair in the G-20 Summits to share ASEAN’s rich experiences in managing regional economic integration and cooperation is strong signal of recognition of ASEAN by G-20 regarding the ASEAN’s role in the new world economic structure. This participation of ASEAN Chair in the G-20 Summit highlights the active role of ASEAN in joining efforts with other countries in addressing international issues to ensure the recovery and sustainable development of the world economy.
Distinguished, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year, Indonesia is holding the ASEAN Chair and ASEAN theme is ’ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations’. This particular theme is in support of the success of ASEAN Community envisaged to be by 2015. The establishment of ASEAN Community in 2015 will create a bigger responsibility for ASEAN. The association will be required to boost its collective contribution in managing various global issues and challenges. This will act as positive contribution to the global nations.
Distinguished, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me once again on behalf of my colleagues – the ASEAN Ambassadors and High Commissioners – thank all of you for your presence at our joint reception to celebrate our ASEAN Day.
HAPPY ASEAN DAY.