As the Philippines officially kicked off its first event as the Chair of ASEAN, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte opened the important gathering with a speech that further discussed the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” The theme reflects the government’s advocacy to promote cooperation among its ASEAN neighbors and the region’s international partners. It is the vision of the Chairmanship for ASEAN to become a dynamic and vibrant partner, so that ASEAN citizens would continue to live in peace, stability, security, and growth while maintaining ASEAN’s centrality, unity, and solidarity for all times.

Two ASEAN Summits will be held this year wherein ASEAN leaders will discuss the political-security, economic, and socio-cultural development of the ASEAN Community.

The 30th ASEAN Summit in April, involving the ten ASEAN Member States, will take place in Metro Manila, while the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in November, to be attended by leaders and ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners, will be held at Clark Field, Pampanga. Aside from these two major events, there will be approximately 15 Ministerial Meetings, 30 Senior Officials Meetings, and more than 60 Working Group Meetings.

To celebrate the ASEAN 50th anniversary, there will also be commemorative activities, such as the following:

  • Tribute to the ASEAN Founding Fathers that honors the five founding fathers of ASEAN and ideals of ASEAN
  • ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award to recognize champions of biodiversity conservation and sustainable Management in ASEAN
  • ASEAN Youth Social Entrepreneurship Award where one young social entrepreneur from each member state will be recognized

High-level conferences will also be held to discuss and showcase ASEAN’s achievements over the last 50 years.

Six Thematic Priorities for ASEAN 2017

As Chair of ASEAN, the Philippines will steer the direction of regional bloc this year along six thematic priorities.

These six priorities are the result of consultations and planning workshops with all relevant Philippine government agencies.

The lead agencies of the Philippines for the three pillars of the ASEAN Community are the Department of Foreign Affairs for ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC); the Department of Trade and Industry for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC); and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

These thematic priorities are as follows:

(1) A people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN;

(2) Peace and stability in the region;

(3) Maritime and security cooperation;

(4) Inclusive, innovation-led growth;

(5) Resilient ASEAN

(6) ASEAN: A model of regionalism, global player.

In the coming months, these will comprise the framework that will be the basis of discussions and outcome documents that will help shape and define ASEAN 2017 as ASEAN’s ten Member States continue their journey in the next 50 years of the region.

Source: ASEAN

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