We are encouraged that ASEM has enlarged from 26 partners to 53 over the last twenty years, and it has proven both its vitality and relevance as an important and unique platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe. ASEM has been and continues to be an important factor in shaping the global setting in the 21st century through making its contribution to sustained peace, security, stability, economic recovery and to responding to global and regional challenges.
We recognize the contributions that ASEM has made in:
- Fostering greater understanding between Asia and Europe;
- Broadening political dialogue, enhancing economic cooperation and increasing socio-cultural exchanges;
- Deepening Asia-Europe inter-connectedness, shaping and forging links and mutually beneficial, multi-layered cooperation for peace and development;
- Creating opportunities for broader people-to-people connections, including through the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF);
- Addressing the challenges faced by both regions as well as at the inter-regional and global levels;
- Promoting effective multilateralism and strengthening other multilateral processes.
We are committed to taking the ASEM process forward in an open and evolutionary manner, building upon past experiences, promoting greater connectivity and more focused cooperation between Asia and Europe.
We reaffirm that the ASEM process should be promoted on the basis of equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual benefit in the spirit of consensus.
We decide to designate an ASEM Day ‘Asia meets Europe/Europe meets Asia Day’ and recommend celebrating it annually on March 1 or any other day during the first week of March as appropriate with a view to underlining ASEM’s importance and raising its visibility.
To lead ASEM successfully into its third decade, we commit ourselves to:
Reinforcing our partnership
Informal political dialogue and cooperative initiatives in economic and socio-cultural fields will continue to be the cornerstone of our partnership, as outlined in the Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework (AECF) 2000 and other ASEM documents. As shifting geopolitics lead to greater uncertainties and volatility in the world, ASEM will reinforce its role as a catalyst for effective multilateralism and a rules-based international order. ASEM will enhance in a balanced manner all three key pillars of its partnership in order to meet the aspirations of our peoples for peace and stability, economic prosperity, sustainable development and a better quality of life. ASEM will strive to further strengthen Asia-Europe multi-dimensional and people-centered partnership.
Focusing cooperation for tangible benefits
To ensure the continuity of initiatives that evolve from informal dialogue to tangible outcomes that will benefit the peoples of Asia and Europe, ASEM will focus on areas of common interest. These include, inter alia, countering terrorism and violent extremism, maritime safety and security, fighting piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as human and drug trafficking, cyber security and cyber-crime, security of and in the use of information and communication technologies, upholding the purpose and principles of the UN Charter, the rule of law and enforcement of international law, human rights, anti-corruption, migration, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate change, environment, disaster risk reduction and management, food, water and energy security, terrestrial and maritime resources and issues including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, education, poverty eradication, blue economy, trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, science, technology and innovation, transportation, MSMEs cooperation, capacity-building across sectors, employment, social protection, women’s empowerment, youth and disabled persons. ASEM will also place emphasis on areas in which it can create added value, when appropriate, and give mutual benefit to both regions. In this regard, we share the view that all cooperation initiatives and mechanisms should encourage people’s engagement, especially that of youth and businesses, in ASEM’s activities. Initiatives and projects within each area of tangible cooperation, as well as coordination among various areas are vital to narrowing the development gaps in ASEM and provide capacity-building to its developing partners.
Fostering connectivity in all its Dimensions
Enhancing connectivity across diverse domains is an important and commonly shared objective. Connectivity will be mainstreamed into all ASEM cooperation frameworks. Given the growing interdependence between the two regions, Asia and Europe cannot be treated separately in any area of ASEM activities. An enlarged ASEM has taken on a much more interdependent and cooperative character and provides an ideal platform for generating greater connections between Asia and Europe for peace, stability, economic prosperity and sustainable and inclusive development. These encompass all aspects of our partnership across the three pillars of ASEM - political dialogue, economic and financial cooperation, socio-cultural and people-to-people connectivity.
Promoting informality, networking and flexibility
Recalling the “Helsinki Declaration on the Future of ASEM” of 2006, we re-emphasize the importance of promoting informality, networking and flexibility within ASEM with a view to bringing about deeper understanding and appreciation of each other’s history, culture, traditions and aspirations.
We appraise the role of stakeholders in the ASEM process and underscore the need to increase their engagement in ASEM activities through incorporating the Asia-Europe youth forum and taking note of the Asia-Europe Labour Forum as additional ASEM stakeholders’ fora, and to improve cooperation and coordination with and among ASEM stakeholders.
Moving towards the next decade
We, Heads of State and Government from ASEM partner countries, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary-General of ASEAN, on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of ASEM renew our political will and our strong resolve to work together to energize ASEM, to promote further connectivity, mutually beneficial partnership and cooperation between Asia and Europe with a view to building an inclusive, sustainable and radiant future for our people and to ensure a peaceful life and shared prosperity for present and succeeding generations.