The Secretariats of ASEAN and the United Nations, acknowledged the strong cooperation and collaboration between both organizations at their annual meeting held at the UN Headquarters yesterday.

This annual Secretariat-to-Secretariat Meeting was established in March 2011 as a formal mechanism to consolidate and strengthen ASEAN-UN relations, review projects and activities and decide on new areas of cooperation and collaboration.

Yesterday’s Meeting reviewed the progress of implementation of the first ASEAN-UN Plan of Action (2016-2020), which was adopted in September 2016. This is a wide-ranging, comprehensive Plan promoting ASEAN-UN cooperation in areas such as peace and security, economic integration, disaster response and sustainable development.

Both sides recognised the good progress in the implementation of the Plan of Action as a reflection of the commitment of ASEAN and the UN to work together for mutual benefit and to share experiences.

They welcomed the adoption of the first ASEAN-UN Action Plan on Environment and Climate Change (2016-2020) on 13 September 2017 in Brunei Darussalam. In their discussion, both sides reiterated that clear complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have the potential to promote comprehensive regional solutions. A joint report by Thailand, the ASEAN Secretariat and UN ESCAP on the complementarities will be launched at the ASEAN-UN Summit in November 2017.

Secretary-General of ASEAN, Le Luong Minh, highlighted that the two Secretariats’ collaboration is an important aspect of the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership, and its role has gone beyond reporting progress implementation of the Plan of Action, but also to review and explore potential areas of cooperation between the two organisations. He added that it has become more important than ever to create a network of effective and mutually reinforcing regional and global mechanisms that would be responsive to current peace and security challenges.

Head of the UN Secretariat delegation, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Miroslav Jenča, stressed: “The United Nations’ engagement with regional organisations is increasingly important in implementing the Secretary-General’s prevention initiative in addressing pressing global and regional challenges, and in this context the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership is of vital and growing importance across all areas of the UN’s work.”

The Secretariat-to-Secretariat Meeting was co-chaired by Secretary-General Le Luong Minh and Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenča. Participation from the ASEAN Secretariat included Hirubalan V P, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political-Security Community. The United Nations was represented by Shamshad Akhtar, Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP), Haoliang Xu, Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and Rashid Khalikov, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia.

The ASEAN-UN Secretariat-to-Secretariat Meeting was followed by the ASEAN-UN Preparatory Senior Officials Meeting and the ASEAN-UN Ministerial Meeting.