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Chairman's Statement, 3rd ASEAN Maritime Forum

by Duangkamol Buranasomphop

 Chairmans Statement, 3r

1. The 3rd ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) was held in Manila, Philippines on 3-4 October 2012. It was chaired by the Honorable Erlinda F. Basilio, Undersecretary for Policy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Leader of the Philippines. The 3rd AMF was attended by delegates representing the ten ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat.

2. Honorable Jejomar C. Binay, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, delivered the keynote speech. He stressed that it is the collective interest of ASEAN to deepen cooperation across all fronts, including maritime security and cooperation, as well as maritime connectivity and protection of the marine environment. He emphasized that seas and waterways should not separate ASEAN Member States from one another, but rather connect them together.

3. The ASEAN Member States discussed various cross-cutting maritime issues in ASEAN, as well as ways of enhancing cross-sectoral maritime cooperation, in line with the activities listed in the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) Blueprint. They also discussed recommendations made in previous meetings of the ASEAN Maritime Forum. Experts from different sectors dealing with cross-cutting maritime issues were invited to provide information and share their views on these issues.

4. The ASEAN Member States discussed and exchanged views on the following: (a) maritime security and cooperation in ASEAN; (b) maintaining freedom and safety of navigation and addressing sea piracy; (c) protecting the marine environment and promoting eco-tourism and fishery regime in East Asia; and (d) future work of the ASEAN Maritime Forum. They agreed that maritime security and cooperation should contribute to the three pillars of ASEAN community building, namely, the ASEAN Political Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community, and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

5. The ASEAN Member States made an assessment of the current status of regional maritime security and cooperation and shared country perspectives on the current prospects and challenges concerning maritime cooperation. They emphasized in particular the respect of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other ASEAN initiated documents such as the 1967 Bangkok Declaration, the Bali Concords, the 1976 Treaty of Amity of Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and the recent Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea. They recognized the critical role of sharing information and best practices. Dr.
Samuel Walter Bateman, a noted maritime security and cooperation scholar, provided an expert’s view as resource speaker.

6. The ASEAN Member States highlighted recent concepts and trends on maintaining freedom of navigation and stressed the importance of recent developments in enhancing current cooperation activities aimed at addressing sea piracy on high seas and armed robbery at sea. Ms. Brenda Pimentel, Regional Coordinator, International Maritime Organization (IMO) Regional Presence for Technical Cooperation in East Asia, Mr. Yoshihisa Endo, Executive Director, Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Center, and Mr. Krishna Adi Poetranto, Deputy Director for Treaties on Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, provided expert views on these issues.

7. The ASEAN Member States exchanged views on the protection of marine environment and promoting eco-tourism and fishery regime in East Asia. They identified several best practices of cooperation that are being observed to protect marine resources and bring sustainable growth to communities that can potentially benefit from such cooperative activities. Mr. Antonio A. Oposa Jr., Director, School of the SEA (Sea and Earth Advocates), Philippines, and Mr. Tran Thanh Tuan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam presented their views as resource speakers.

8. The ASEAN Member States also discussed the future work of the ASEAN Maritime Forum by looking at the various recommendations from previous meetings of the AMF and the views shared by delegates and guest experts on cross-cutting maritime issues. Mr. Pratap Parameswaran, Head of Political Cooperation Division, ASEAN Secretariat, gave an extensive briefing of the actions taken following the first and second ASEAN Maritime Forums. The ASEAN Member States also discussed the need for the AMF to be the venue to discuss maritime issues affecting all three ASEAN community pillars. They welcomed the addition of the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum as an event back-to-back with the ASEAN Maritime Forum and emphasized the need for ASEAN centrality.

9. The ASEAN Member States recommended that the ASEAN Secretariat conduct a study and make recommendations on the potential institutionalization of the ASEAN Maritime Forum.

10. Finally, the ASEAN Member States agreed to hold the 4th ASEAN Maritime Forum and the 2nd Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum in 2013.

Duangkamol Buranasomphop

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