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HomeFeatured News @en11th ASEM SUMMIT “20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity”

11th ASEM SUMMIT “20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity”


20 Years of ASEM

MPA PHOTO 2016-5817

  1. The 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) was held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on 15-16 July 2016 under the theme “20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity”. It was attended by the Heads of State and Government or their high-level representatives of 51 European and Asian countries, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary-General of ASEAN. The Summit meeting was hosted and chaired by President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.
  1. While celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Asia-Europe Meeting, Leaders reviewed the progress made and achievements gained since the inception of ASEM in 1996, and set the course for further enhancement and evolution of the inter-regional process in the next decade. They took note of ASEM partners’ endeavor to provide inputs on the future of ASEM, notably the Bangkok Initiatives on the Future Direction of ASEM, the studies entitled “The Future of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM): Looking ahead into ASEM’s Third Decade”, “Asia-Europe Connectivity Vision 2025: Challenges and Opportunities” and the conference entitled “ASEM at 20: Challenge of Connectivity”. Their assessment of the ASEM

process and their vision for its future was reflected in the Ulaanbaatar Declaration adopted by the Leaders on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of ASEM. They also exchanged views on the current political and socio-economic situation in the world and their respective regions, and discussed ways and means to address the existing and emerging challenges to international and regional peace, security, stability and sustainable development.

  1. Leaders noted with satisfaction that in the past 20 years the ASEM process has successfully stood the test of time and has proved its vitality and relevance through steady enlargement of its ranks and promotion of cooperation between the two regions in various fields in the interest and to the benefit of the peoples of Asia and Europe. They reaffirmed their strong commitment to further deepen the partnership between the two regions on the principles of equality, mutual respect and shared benefit while preserving the informal and flexible nature of the ASEM process, and to implement substantial human-centered cooperation projects in the areas of common interest with a focus on greater connectivity, wider inclusiveness, creating opportunities for all and more tangible outcomes. Leaders reiterated the openness of ASEM to interested countries of Asia and Europe.
  1. Leaders noted with appreciation the outcome and recommendations of the Ministerial Meetings held since ASEM 10 in Milan in 2014 in the areas of education (ASEM ME5 in Riga), foreign affairs (ASEM FMM12 in Luxembourg), labour and employment (ASEM LEMC5 in Sofia), transport (ASEM TMM3 in Riga), finance (ASEM FinMM12 in Ulaanbaatar) and culture (ASEM CMM7 in Gwangju).

Shared Common Goals for Future

  1. Leaders welcomed the adoption in 2015 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement as milestone documents aimed at building an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous future for all people and the planet. Bearing in mind that urgent and decisive action to translate the contributions into practice will bring about a tangible difference and transform the global economy to low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development, Leaders agreed to work together towards the timely and full implementation of the goals set in these documents at the national, regional and global levels, reflecting the balance and principles agreed in these agreements.
  1. Leaders underlined the importance of adapting the relevant national policy planning process, development plans or strategies to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of putting in place systematic and multi-layered follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the international and national level. They expressed readiness on the part of ASEM to contribute to the follow-up and review process of the UN and other organizations at the global level, including at the high-level forum on sustainable development under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the UN General Assembly. Recognizing the opportunities, but also the challenges that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda represents for ASEM partners, Leaders agreed to promote further cooperation, including sharing of the best practices and experiences among partners within the framework of the ASEM Sustainable Development Dialogue launched by the Budapest Initiative.
  1. Leaders agreed that the Paris Agreement was an historic multilateral agreement and legally binding in enhancing the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and moving the world towards climate-resilient development, clean and renewable energy, and called for timely entry into force of the Paris Agreement. Leaders agreed to work together while being guided by the principles of the Convention, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances, towards the timely and full realization of the goals of the agreement at the national and global levels. They recognized the importance of formulating long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies, ensuring a balanced approach in addressing the Paris Agreement’s elements and recalling the purpose of the Agreement to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C and increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. Leaders encouraged ASEM partners to actively engage in full and effective implementation of the Agreement, including development of detailed rules and through the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and securing progressively more ambitious action and support under the Agreement. International cooperation is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from different sources, including unsustainable industrial, transportation and forestry practices. They also emphasized that enhanced support in terms of finance, technology transfer and capacity-building for adaptation and loss and damage measures from developed to developing countries is crucial for enhancing the implementation of this Agreement. Leaders agreed that climate change has a particularly acute impact in the Arctic and called for international cooperation in this area. Leaders welcomed the International Solar Alliance of 122 solar rich countries, launched in Paris in November 2015 as a significant measure by the international community in this field.
  1. Leaders recognized the need to integrate sustainable management of natural resources, both terrestrial and marine, in all policies. They also recognized that key policy areas such as ecological, recycled and integrated trans-boundary water management and the links of water to other policy areas such as energy, food security and ecosystem are shared priorities in all ASEM partner countries. Leaders stated their support for exchanging knowledge and best practices within the ASEM framework on these key policy areas, including by continuing engagement in the bi-regional cooperation between the Danube and Mekong regions as a model in transforming shared challenges related to food, water and energy security into opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable development. Leaders recognized the contribution of EXPO 2015 held in Milan to fostering knowledge and stimulating debate on food security issues and all its related aspects. Noting the increasing pressure on oceans, Leaders underlined the need to manage marine and maritime activities in a sustainable way to keep oceans healthy, clean and safe and to safeguard their potential also for future generations. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to tackling the illegal trade in timber and wildlife products by enhancing cooperation along the whole supply chain, increasing efforts to reduce demand for illegal products. They noted the growing international consensus on the need for urgent action. Leaders pledged high level support for the Vietnam Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in November 2016.
  1. Leaders underlined the importance of wider use of sustainable energy technologies and the need to further increase energy efficiency. In this regard, they highlighted

the need to use energy including natural gas more efficiently, increase the deployment of renewable energy sources and to promote research and development of innovative sustainable energy solutions and technologies. With regard to the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, they are committed to promote nuclear safety, nuclear security and safeguards. They reaffirmed their support for strengthening global and regional cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including in the field of nuclear safety, and for upholding a strong commitment to the IAEA safety requirements and standards in order to continuously improve safety of nuclear facilities around the world. It was noted that several ASEM member states are pursuing ambitious nuclear energy programmes, considered as part of their strategy for clean energy and climate change. Leaders acknowledged the need for continuous cooperation within ASEM and with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on safeguards, nuclear safety and security, the sharing of experience and best practices among relevant policymakers and experts. Leaders noted the importance of the establishment of the Low Enriched Uranium Bank (LEU) under the auspices of the IAEA, recognizing this as a significant step that will facilitate peaceful cooperation and strengthen nuclear non-proliferation. Leaders also welcomed the upcoming EXPO 2017 in

Astana dedicated to “Future Energy”, which will give an excellent opportunity for cooperation in the field of science and technology.

  1. Leaders encouraged further development of the cooperation between ASEM partners in disaster risk reduction and management. They underlined the significance of strengthening the resilience through sharing knowledge, building capacity and promoting cooperation on a broad and people-centered approach to disaster prevention, mitigation, adaptation, preparedness awareness programmes and response, early warning systems, search, rescue and relief operations, and application of innovation and technology, while also recognizing the importance of international solidarity through humanitarian aid and civil protection assistance in case of major disasters. They invited all ASEM partners to contribute actively to the implementation of the international framework for disaster risk reduction adopted at the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015.
  1. Leaders noted the modest and uneven recovery of the global economic outlook while the Asian economy continues to remain a global growth engine. Leaders acknowledged that steady progress in implementing sound economic policies including structural reforms remains crucial for securing stronger potential growth while enhancing resilience and ensuring that public debt as a share of GDP is on a sustainable path. Leaders recognized that downside risks to the global outlook persist in the context of economic and geopolitical uncertainty, continued financial volatility, global excess capacity in industrial sectors, challenges faced by commodity exporters and persistent low inflation. Against such backdrops, Leaders reaffirmed that they stand ready to use all policy tools – monetary, fiscal and structural – individually and collectively, as necessary, to foster confidence and achieve strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth.
  1. Leaders confirmed the importance of promoting adequate social protection systems for growth and jobs, enhancing youth labor market outcomes and promoting decent work and safer workplaces in global supply chains and promoting social dialogue to discuss and prepare for jobs of the future. In their view, increasing inequalities, social exclusion and aging populations call for strengthening policies to achieve sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and to promote adequate social protection and decent work for all, including women and youth. Leaders agreed to pay increased attention to improving skills, employment and active engagement of young people in the economy and society, and, hence, to substantially increase the number of youth who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs, appropriate wage and entrepreneurship. They emphasized enhancing cooperation among ASEM partners on upgrading further the skills of youth workforce. In this connection, Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to enhance labour market outcomes for young people through structural reforms and investment into human resources development.
  1. Leaders committed to  promoting  more  actively  sustainable  supply  chains  by

encouraging firms to take up their responsibility and apply, where relevant, international guidelines including the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (ILO MNE Declaration), the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. They encouraged that international labor standards and domestic laws regarding work-related health and safety rules are upheld and protection of the environment is given due consideration in their supply chains. In that regard, Leaders stressed the need for promoting labour rights and safe and secure working environments for all workers, including for migrant workers, in particular women migrants and those in precarious employment, and also acknowledging the need to, inter alia, end all violence and discrimination against them. They also expressed their support for deepening joint engagement of all stakeholders including governments, businesses, civil society and labour organizations in the ASEM process.

Enhancing Connectivity in All Dimensions

  1. Leaders agreed that increased focus in ASEM activities on connectivity will contribute to the relevance of ASEM. They reiterated their decision to mainstream connectivity in all its dimensions, including political, economic, digital, institutional, socio-cultural and people-to-people, into all relevant ASEM activities. They underlined the importance of promoting hard and soft connectivity, including through quality infrastructure investment and full respect for market rules and international norms, for forging greater understanding and closer relationship between the peoples of Asia and Europe and creating business opportunities for all. Leaders welcomed the outcome of the ASEM Industry Dialogue on Connectivity held in Chongqing, China, in May 2015. Leaders agreed to establish a Pathfinder Group on Connectivity for a term of two years.
  1. Taking note of on-going regional and sub-regional cooperation and national initiatives by ASEM partners to connect the two regions, Leaders stressed that exchange of best practices and experiences at the ASEM-wide level from these cooperation projects is particularly useful for narrowing the development gap and further deepening trans-boundary cooperation and connectivity among ASEM partners. They reaffirmed the urgent need to initiate stronger cooperation to address the issue of high transportation costs and to search for innovative solutions, including through exchange of knowledge and information on capacity-building activities. They stressed the need to take into account the special needs of land-locked, island, archipelagic and geographically-peripheral countries and regions, in accordance with applicable international law. Leaders welcomed the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which together with the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and other multilateral development banks, has the potential to assist ASEM partners with their connectivity projects. In this context, they also underlined the importance of closer cooperation on regional integration issues.
  1. Leaders reiterated their commitment to enhance inter-regional trade and investment flows as an engine of sustainable growth and deeper economic integration connectivity between Asia and Europe, to actively resist trade-distorting or protectionist measures and to address restrictions, including non-tariff barriers and especially behind-the-border barriers, which inhibit trade growth and investment. In this context, Leaders reiterated the importance of ensuring predictable and stable business environment. Stressing the central role of the WTO in setting global trade rules, administering a rules-based multilateral trading system, monitoring its

Members’ trade policies and settling disputes, Leaders welcomed the positive outcomes of the Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference held in Nairobi in 2015 including the process of enlargement of WTO and considered of primary importance the implementation of Bali and Nairobi decisions. In their view, these elements as well as advancement of negotiations on the remaining Doha issues and achievement of an early entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement would bring significant economic results.

  1. Leaders reaffirmed the important role of the private sector as well as public and private sector partnership in promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, creating decent jobs, and in increasing trade, investment and sustainable tourism in and between the two regions. In this context, they underlined the importance of promoting dialogue and cooperation to address common social and economic challenges, to support long-term economic growth, to implement targeted policy measures in support of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and to undertake more concerted efforts to this effect within ASEM, including by promoting business start-up support services and financing, and implementing continued reform of the regulatory environment. Leaders acknowledged the role of the ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Centre in supporting sustainable development of Asia and Europe through disseminating information, sharing knowledge and best practices on eco-innovation and promoting technological cooperation among MSMEs.
  1. Leaders reaffirmed the significance of science, technology and innovation cooperation in promoting socio-economic growth, sustainable, innovative and inclusive development, job creation and in tackling global challenges in such areas as poverty reduction, hunger, disability, health care, ageing, education, environment, resilience and disaster risk reduction, energy, food, water, soil, agriculture, forests and biotechnology as well as through implementation of cooperative mechanisms, joint research, development and deployment of innovative solutions. Leaders highlighted the importance of promoting research and innovation collaboration, and recognized the value of a range of factors for promoting this collaboration, including effective intellectual property rights. They also acknowledged the role of the “ASEM Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Center” and the “ASEM Water Resources and Development Center”.
  1. Leaders underlined the importance of effective protection of intellectual property rights in fostering innovation, growth and employment as well as the need for enhanced cooperation on IPR in all relevant areas.
  1. Leaders also highlighted digital connectivity as a key element of increasing social and economic connectivity within and between the two regions, and expressed interest in examining ways of enhancing digital connectivity to fully realize its potential of driving growth, creating jobs and promoting innovation. In this context, they appreciated progress of the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) over the last 16 years as well as the role of the TEIN Cooperation Centre in the ROK, reiterating their further support for the project’s implementation. Leaders stressed the importance of security of and in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). They emphasized the need to enhance cooperation among ASEM partners to promote a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative ICT environment on the basis of universally accepted norms, rules and principles for responsible state behavior and to prevent potential use of ICTs for criminal and terrorist purposes through trust and confidence-building between states, as well as capacity-building and technology transfer.
  1. Leaders underlined the importance of enhancing people-to-people connectivity through cultural, educational, academic, tourism and youth exchanges between the two regions. They also recognized that the ASEM-DUO Fellowship Programme, which aims to promote education cooperation among ASEM partners, is producing practical and tangible results. They acknowledged the important role of education, in particular higher education, lifelong learning and vocational education and training for human resource development. Leaders commended the role of Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) in bringing together the peoples of Asia and Europe, forging closer links between the ASEM governments and civil societies and providing capacity-building trainings for the youth from both regions.
  1. Leaders recognized the potential and importance of cooperation in the development of creative industries to foster creativity, innovation, livelihood creation and national or regional branding. They encouraged the strengthening of networking, people-to-people exchange and sharing of experience and expertise among professionals and institutions in ASEM. Leaders underlined that collaboration in creative industries shall be supported by cultural policies which form a foundation for the development of creative economy in an increasingly globalized world. They encouraged strengthened use of ICT, synergy with cultural heritage, and international collaboration on such matters as development of entrepreneurship skills, incentives, financing, technology development and professionalization.

Cooperation on Political and Security Issues

  1. Leaders, reiterating their view that terrorism constitutes a serious threat to international peace, security, stability and development, expressed their determination to countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and relevant Conventions and Protocols, in particular human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law. They strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks including destruction of cultural heritage and stressed the need to work together to counter terrorism, eliminate conditions conducive to the growth and spread of violent extremism and radicalization in societies leading towards violence, as well as the rising phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters as described in the UNSC Resolution 2178. Leaders emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach in countering terrorism and violent extremism, without associating them with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. Leaders reaffirmed their resolve to combat terrorism financing as well as abuse of Internet by terrorist groups. They also stressed the importance of preventing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism, and controlling trade in and flows of conventional arms. Leaders called for strengthening the international legal regime, including through substantive progress in the ongoing negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations. They took note of the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
  1. Leaders condemned all forms of incitement to hatred and intolerance, including xenophobia, religious hatred and violence. They stressed the importance of respect and understanding for cultural and religious diversity, and of promoting tolerance, pluralism, mutual respect, intercultural and interfaith dialogue and cooperation. They acknowledged that the practice of moderation is vital to bridging differences and addressing the various manifestations of extremism. In this regard, they urged Governments to strengthen initiatives on the matter and expressed support for efforts aimed at promoting moderation, in particular as espoused by the Global Movement of Moderates in various formats within the ASEM framework. Furthermore, they acknowledged the role played by the UN Alliance of Civilizations in the promotion of interfaith dialogue.
  1. Leaders exchanged views on the ways to promote and strengthen cooperation on international and regional issues of common interest and concern including in the Middle East, Africa, Ukraine, and recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and human rights situation concerning the DPRK with a view to facilitating the settlement of conflicts and resolving disputes in different parts of the world by peaceful means in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law and the UN Charter. Leaders noted the importance of confidence building measures in contributing towards peace and stability, and took note in this regard of relevant efforts also by the neutral countries. They reaffirmed the principle of refraining from the threat or use of force in international relations.
  1. Leaders condemned in the strongest terms the DPRK’s nuclear, other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes which constitute a grave violation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and endanger peace and stability in Northeast Asia and beyond. The DPRK shall refrain from further actions which violate the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. They called for full implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 2270 and all other relevant resolutions as well as the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. They stressed the imperative need for the reduction of tension, creation of environment conducive to the resumption of the Six-Party Talks through meaningful dialogue, the DPRK’s early return to the NPT and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s

(IAEA) safeguards and achievement of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. They called for vigilance against nuclear and missile related procurement by the DPRK and any other assistance to its nuclear and missile programme.

  1. Leaders also welcomed the initiatives aimed at promoting greater understanding, confidence and cooperation among the states and other stakeholders of the region, such as the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asia Security (UBD) of Mongolia and the Northeast Asia Peace Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI) of the Republic of Korea.
  1. Leaders expressed their strong interest in seeing Afghanistan and its people develop and prosper peacefully and welcomed all efforts undertaken by the international community to support the Government of Afghanistan to this end. They welcomed the progress that has been achieved over the years in a number of areas. In this context, they welcomed the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in October 2016 following the Tokyo Conference in 2012 as an opportunity for the international community to signal sustained political and financial support to Afghan peace, state-building and development and for Afghanistan to reconfirm its commitments towards continued reforms and progress. Leaders were concerned by the continuing threat to security and stability in Afghanistan, and called for early restoration of peace in Afghanistan. They strongly supported international efforts, including by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, aimed at facilitating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. They also appreciated the progress achieved at the 5th Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process Ministerial Meeting held in Islamabad, Pakistan, last year and welcomed the 6th Ministerial Meeting to be held in India later this year.
  1. Leaders recalled the tragedy of the downing of flight MH17, which occurred on 17 July 2014, and renewed their sympathy to all those who have lost their loved ones. Such acts of violence threaten the safety of civil aviation. Those responsible for the downing of MH17 must be held accountable and brought to justice, in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolution 2166 (2014).
  1. Leaders highlighted the key role of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security, promoting inclusive and sustainable development, protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and effectively addressing current and emerging global challenges. Reiterating the importance of building a more effective multilateral system based on international law, they pledged to continue to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and their universality, promoting disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction through, inter-alia, the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the states concerned in accordance with the 1999 UNDC Guidelines. They called for the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons. Leaders also reaffirmed the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN including its main bodies guided by the principles of democracy, transparency and accountability.
  1. Leaders welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015 as a significant step towards greater regional and inter-regional integration. They reiterated their support for the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the centrality of ASEAN in the evolving regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific and expressed their appreciation of ASEAN’s role in promoting dialogue and building confidence and cooperation for peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. They commended ASEAN’s endeavors in expanding its relations with partners and welcomed the interest of the European ASEM partners in furthering engagement with the region through all relevant ASEAN led-processes.
  1. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to ensure peace, stability and prosperity and to promote maritime security, safety and cooperation, freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded commerce and to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea in full compliance with the principles of international law. Leaders agreed on the critical importance of confidence building measures, of refraining from the use or threat of force, and of disputes being resolved in accordance with principles of international law, the UN Charter and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  1. Leaders devoted particular   attention   to   the   unprecedented   humanitarian

emergencies, migration and refugee challenge, smuggling and trafficking in persons occurring in Asia and Europe. They highlighted the need for comprehensive regional and international responses, including those related to addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement and to providing support to people in need of protection, including access to education, livelihood and services, support for the most vulnerable displaced and host communities and raising awareness in at-risk communities consistent with relevant international standards and in accordance with domestic laws, regulations and policies. They underlined the responsibility of the countries of origin, transit and destination to cooperate to promote safe and orderly movement of persons; to ensure return and facilitate reintegration; to respect international law including international humanitarian law and international refugee law. They further noted the upcoming 9th Global Forum on Migration and Development in Dhaka in December 2016, which will provide an excellent opportunity in forging meaningful cooperation in this particular field.

  1. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to promote and protect human rights in accordance with the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, where applicable, international human rights treaties and instruments, and strengthen collaboration to advance human rights through the UN Human Rights Council, including the Universal Periodic Review. They reaffirmed their willingness to promote further cooperation in ASEM in the field of human rights, including through sharing experience and best practices. Leaders emphasized the important role of governments, international and national human rights institutions and regional organizations in promoting and protecting human rights and highlighted the need for strengthening cooperation in the field of gender equality and empowerment of women, and disabled persons. They further emphasized that persons in vulnerable situations – not least women, children, the elderly and individuals with disabilities – need particular attention in order to ensure their full enjoyment of all human rights.
  1. Leaders confirmed their strong adherence to upholding democratic principles and good governance, with special focus on accountability, fight against corruption, anti-money laundering and the denial of safe haven. They also underlined the need for strengthening cooperation between governments, including anti-corruption authorities, as well as parliaments and the judiciary.
  1. Leaders recognized the importance of full and equal participation of women at all levels of leadership and decision-making and committed to address the persistent barriers that impede full and equal political and economic participation by women and girls.
  1. Leaders emphasized that great attention should be paid to civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights, and the right to development.

Rethinking Working Methods

  1. Leaders agreed that efforts should be continued to explore possibilities for harmonizing the informal nature and efficiency of ASEM through further improvement of working methods and coordination within ASEM, the process for which was initiated at the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi in November 2013. They underlined the need to ensure more effective institutional memory, enhanced connectivity, tangible cooperation projects, further involvement of relevant stakeholders and other ways to strengthen Asia-Europe dialogue and cooperation. They also tasked the Senior Officials to further explore ways to develop effective ways of communication within ASEM to respond to the requirements of ASEM’s third decade and new developments made in the process.
  1. Leaders commended the work of ASEF in complementing the government-led ASEM process with its programmes and projects in such areas as culture, economy, education, governance, public health and sustainable development, as well as specific activities in support of ASEM Summits and Ministerial Meetings (see Annex 3). They expressed support for strengthening the role of ASEF in enhancing the visibility of ASEM and aligning its activities with the ASEM priorities.
  1. Leaders underlined the need to ensure, where appropriate, wider engagement of the civil society and various stakeholders, inter alia, business, labor partners, scholars and think-tanks, women’s organizations, students and youth as well as journalists, in the ASEM process, and to enhance ASEM visibility and its continued relevance for the people. They expressed support for mainstreaming the input of various stakeholders into the official ASEM process by providing appropriate consultation channels and, where possible, directly involving relevant stakeholders into ASEM meetings.
  1. Leaders also underscored the importance of reviving regular meetings of Economic Ministers (EMM) that were not held for the last 13 years. In this connection, they welcomed the offer by the Republic of Korea to host the Economic Ministers

Meeting  in  2017  and  instructed  the  Senior  Officials’  Meeting  on  Trade  and

Investment which is planned to be held in Mongolia later this year to make a decision on this matter.

  1. Leaders noted the outcome and recommendations of the 9th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEP9), 12th Meeting of ASEM Finance Ministers (ASEM FinMM12), 11th Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF11) and 15th Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF15), all held in Ulaanbaatar in the run-up to the ASEM

Summit as a valuable input to ASEM activities. They also expressed their appreciation for holding in Ulaanbaatar the 7th Model ASEM as one of ASEF’s flagship youth projects and agreed to continue this event on a regular basis in conjunction with the ASEM summits.

  1. Leaders welcomed the creation by ASEM of the 20th tangible area of cooperation pertaining to youth and took note of various initiatives being organized by ASEM partners in 2016-2018 in agreed priority areas of cooperation (see Annex 1 and Annex 2) that would contribute to increased engagement of people in ASEM activities and foster closer relations and better understanding between the two regions. Underlining the importance of strengthening tangible cooperation, Leaders welcomed recommendations to link various initiatives, projects, and cross-cutting and inter-related Tangible Cooperation Areas to maximize outcomes.
  1. Leaders agreed that the ASEM’s 20th Anniversary celebration activities increase public awareness of ASEM in individual countries. Leaders endorsed the suggestions contained in the ASEM Press and Public Awareness Strategy, aimed at further raising the visibility of ASEM. They encouraged all ASEM partners to contribute to the efforts to boost ASEM’s visibility. In this connection, Leaders spoke out in favor of celebrating annually the ASEM Day and welcomed Mongolia’s initiative to explore, together with interested partners and ASEF, how to improve cooperation and coordination with and among ASEM stakeholders.
  1. Leaders welcomed the  invitation  of  Myanmar  to  host  the  13th  ASEM  Foreign

Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM FMM13) in the second half of 2017 in Nay Pyi Taw.

  1. Leaders thanked the Chair and Host for the successful outcome of the 11th ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar and for the warm hospitality accorded to all its participants. Leaders look forward to the 12th ASEM Summit to be held in Brussels, Belgium, chaired by the European Union, in 2018.