Thailand as ASEAN Chair Will Focus on Sustainability of Things
As the ASEAN Chair in 2019, Thailand would focus on Sustainability of Things (SOT), which means sustainability in all dimensions, said Dr Suriya Chindawongse, Director General of ASEAN Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand in a public forum, ‘Thailand’s ASEAN Chair: Challenges Ahead’ held in Bangkok on 12 February 2019 by the Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS) and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) at the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University.
Dr Chindawongse added that in their capacity as ASEAN Chair, Thailand would encourage advancing partnerships in sustainability with multiple stakeholders, including its dialogue partners.
In preparation for the Chairmanship, Dr Chindawongse has asked ERIA to prepare a study to envision the next 20 years of the ASEAN Community and to provide recommendations on the measures that ASEAN should take to prepare for those future scenarios. ERIA’s Senior Policy Fellow Dr Ponciano S. Intal, Jr. presented the key findings of the study entitled ASEAN Vision 2040: Stepping Boldly Forward, Transforming the ASEAN Community. The report will be forwarded to other ASEAN members for further discussions regarding its recommendations.
Dr Chindawongse expressed his appreciation for ERIA’s work on the study. Furthermore, he underlined ASEAN’s long-term objective to promote a people-centred ASEAN Community that leaves no one behind and that looks toward and is prepared for the future. He added that in so doing, ASEAN will become more effective in addressing the challenges within ASEAN and implement its decisions in a timelier manner.
‘This will enhance ASEAN’s strategic value-added and make it a dynamic partner in promoting win-win cooperation that would increase strategic trust and benefits in the region,’ he said, adding that the ASEAN Community must also be able to play a proactive role in promoting a peaceful and prosperous Asia–Pacific region.
Ms Chotima Iemsawadikul, Director of the Bureau of ASEAN Economics, Department of Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Commerce, explained Thailand’s Priority Economic Deliverables based on global trends such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a balance of national and regional agendas, and the Prime Minister’s interests particularly on environmental issues like bioenergy and renewable energy. While new themes are included, some deliverables are the continuation of past achievements, such as ‘ASEAN Digital Integration Framework’ and ‘ASEAN Single Window’. According to Ms Iemsawadikul, one of the deliverables that Thailand would strive to achieve by November this year is the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), regardless of the outcome of the upcoming general election in Thailand.
The audience consisted of 110 people of various backgrounds such as diplomats, academics, students, and journalists. Ms Gwen Robinson, Senior Fellow of ISIS Thailand and the Editor-at-large of the Nikkei Asian Review, moderated the discussion. Mr Kavi Chongkittavorn, Senior Fellow of ISIS Thailand and Senior Communication Advisor of ERIA, was one of the speakers.