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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an organization of 10 nation states in South East Asia was established in 1967. One of the aims of ASEAN is to promote economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region as well as peace and political stability. ASEAN has ambitious plans to reach its goal of ‘one vision-one identity-one community’ by 2025.

 

According to the ASEAN Charter, ASEAN may engage with entities which support the Charter in its intent and purposes. There are currently 72 entities from various sectors associated with ASEAN which represent business organisations, academic institutions, civil society organisations and other stakeholders. ICA had been invited to the Forum as an associated entity and DEKOPIN (the Indonesian Cooperative council; member of ICA) attended the Forum on behalf of ICA.

 

The 3rd Forum and its associated entities’ forums discussed the progress made and how they could strengthen collaboration in achieving a more integrated and people-focused ASEAN. Dr. AKP Mochtan, Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, in his welcome remarks highlighted how ASEAN and the entities could work closer together in achieving a more people-oriented and people-centred ASEAN. He said, “given the diversity among ASEAN entities as well as the expansive scope that entities cover, there is a big role the entities can play to ensure agility and inclusiveness in our regional integration process.”

 

Group photo at the Forum.

 

The Government of Thailand is the current Chair of the ASEAN secretariat.  The Permanent Representative of Thailand to ASEAN, Mr. Phasporn Sangasubana, underscored that “the forum is a useful initiative by the ASEAN Secretariat as it provides a platform for the entities to interact with the Secretariat as the nerve centre of ASEAN. I’m sure this platform will help strengthen ASEAN community building,” she said.

 

The breakout sessions of the forum focused on the three pillars of the ASEAN Community; the economic sector, political-security sector, and socio-cultural sector. The participating organisations were divided into groups based on their interest areas within the three sectors.

 

For the first time, the Forum provided an interface session with the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) of ASEAN. The CPR consists of ten ambassadors from the respective member states. The ambassadors mentioned that the entities accredited to ASEAN can access facilities like the ASEAN office for their activities. This is a great opportunity for all entities including cooperatives to participate in ASEAN Community building. 


Submitted by Mr. Ilhman Nasai, Director, International Relations, DEKOPIN