1 Dec 2021
On 30 November 2021, H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, delivered an intervention at the “ASEAN High-level Forum on Sub-regional Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth”, organised by Vietnam in hybrid format. Thailand, as a member of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), was invited to speak in Session 1 under the topic of “Recovering together: Advancing sub-regional cooperation in ASEAN”.
Permanent Secretary emphasised the need to reset the scene of sub-regional cooperation in ASEAN to embrace those emerging “Mega-Trends” such as digital transformation and climate change, as well as the repeated waves of COVID-19. He therefore proposed “3Cs” for the future direction of cooperation on this matter, namely (1) “Complementarities” between the development agendas of sub-regional frameworks and ASEAN’s key initiatives; (2) Connectivity through synchronising the development of sub-regional economic corridors with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 by focusing on physical and digital infrastructure development and regulatory compatibility; and (3) Coordination between ASEAN and sub-regional frameworks as well as cooperation with external partners and private sector. He also highlighted the role of ACMECS in supporting the implementation of the “3Cs” and in advancing priority areas for sustainable development in the Mekong sub-region.
Initiated by Vietnam, the Chair of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Taskforce in 2021, the forum was aimed to serve as a platform for ASEAN Member States, sub-regional frameworks, external partners, international orgnanisations, and private sector to exchange views on opportunities and challenges in ASEAN’s sub-regions. Key points from the Forum included the need to synchronise ASEAN’s development strategies with those of sub-regional frameworks, the importance of partnership with external partners and private sector, as well as priority areas that would contribute to the resilient and sustainable COVID-19 recovery, including public health, digitalisation, supply chain connectivity, sustainable development, and low-carbon and green economic development.
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