Thailand's Role in Strengthening ASEAN beyond 50: Inclusivity, Human Security and Sustainable Development

BANGKOK, June 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- On the occasion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 50(th) anniversary, Thailand, as a co-founder of the ASEAN, aims to strengthen ASEAN by promoting Inclusivity, Human Security and Sustainable Development.

The key ingredient to ASEAN's past success and a critical factor in ASEAN's bright future is its people, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand, stated. So it is on people where the ASEAN Community should focus its efforts. Therefore, Inclusivity, Human Security and Sustainable Development are important priorities that ASEAN should undertake to make an even better and stronger ASEAN for the next generation.

The first priority is Inclusivity, ASEAN should encourage the participation of people and groups, from all walks of life and from all regions, in community-building.

Thailand attaches such importance to bringing ASEAN to the people and the people to ASEAN. The country launched a program to build "ASEAN Libraries" in over twenty provinces nationwide. It has included various organizations and groups, from youths to civil society organizations, in a regular dialogue to develop ASEAN's policies.

In addition, Thailand has translated key ASEAN documents into braille, in Thai and English, as well as developed audio-tapes, that will allow a wider segment of the population to have access to information about ASEAN. After all, ASEAN is a Community for all, not for just a few.

For an ASEAN Community, people must be protected and nurturedas it is the most important resources. In so doing, Human security is the second priority that ASEAN should pay high attention to. People should have access to sufficient food, water and other resources for them to have productive lives and live in dignity. That is why ASEAN stresses the development of human resources, from youths to the labour force, from migrant workers to a growing active ageing population. This can fulfill their potentials and contribute to a more dynamic and resilient ASEAN Community.

Moreover, the welfare of the people must also be protected from the challenges of illicit drugs, human trafficking, and pandemics, amongst others. Through Thailand's initiative, we have made progress in trying to create a drug-free ASEAN, and the ASEAN NARCO Centre in Bangkok will be an important tool to help achieve this goal. Thailand is also taking the lead to enhance the welfare of the elderly and giving them the tools and opportunity to become a key part of the society. That is why we have launched an "Active Ageing" initiative that will help promote the human security of our ageing population. Indeed, Thailand is one of the few countries in the world to have a Ministry on human security.

Last but not least, the sustainable development should also be promoted as it is not only a global commitment but also an important regional responsibility. For Thailand, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been at the top of its national policies. Thailand believes that sharing experiences and learning from one another could help countries achieve the global goal of SDGs. That is why 'turning vision into reality' on sustainable development was the main goal of our G77 Chairmanship last year and a main goal of Thailand in ASEAN now.

In February 2016, Thailand was honoured to be assigned as ASEAN's coordinator on sustainable development issues. One of our priorities is to promote the complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Since then Thailand has been working closely with other ASEAN Member States and friends outside of ASEAN, especially the United Nations and the World Bank, to synchronize efforts to meet both regional and global goals together.

ASEAN would have to focus on developing catalysts at the regional level that cut across the various sustainable development goals (SDGs) and better enable all of us to achieve several SDGs at the same time.

In summary, ASEAN will need to continue its people-centered agenda, beyond its fiftieth anniversary, if it wishes to continue to be relevant. Because without the active participation of the people, without the engagement of this ultimate stakeholder of ASEAN in its policy-making, ASEAN itself will be left behind -- and the people of Southeast Asia will turn elsewhere.

Together, ASEAN countries can work to promote Inclusivity, Human Security, and Sustainable Development in the ASEAN Community -- so that all may have a voice, and no one is left behind.

For more information, please contact:

Department of ASEAN Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand Tel. +66 2203 5000 ext. 14431

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