Special update on 31st ASEAN Summit

Published on 28 November 2017

Summit Theme

The 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila on 13 November 2017 under the Chairmanship of the Republic of the Philippines had the theme of “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,” which envisions an integrated, peaceful, stable and resilient ASEAN Community.

Priorities of Philippines Chairmanship

The Philippines has selected six thematic priorities to implement for its year as ASEAN Chair:

  1. A people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN;
  2. Peace and stability in the region;
  3. Maritime security and cooperation;
  4. Inclusive, innovation-led growth;
  5. ASEAN’s resiliency; and
  6. ASEAN: a model of regionalism, a global player.

Outcome of Summits

  1. ASEAN Declaration to Prevent and Combat Cybercrime
  2. ASEAN Declaration on Innovation
  3. Action Agenda on Mainstreaming Women’s Economic Empowerment in ASEAN
  4. ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR): Combating AMR through One Health Approach
  5. ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Disaster Health Management
  6. ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Ending All Forms of Malnutrition
  7. ASEAN Declaration on the Adoption of the ASEAN Youth Development Index
  8. ASEAN Declaration on ‘Culture of Prevention’ for a Peaceful, Inclusive, Resilient, Healthy and Harmonious Society

Update on ASEAN Community Building

ASEAN Community Vision 2025

  1. The ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be implemented in a mutually-reinforcing manner to build a truly inclusive and people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN Community for the benefit of our peoples

  2. The "ASEAN My World Survey” was successfully launched by by ASEAN and UNDP in New York on 23 September 2017 to help promote sustainable development at all levels.

  3. The shared commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes was reaffirmed by ASEAN.

Strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat and Reviewing the ASEAN Organs

  1. ASEAN's institutional capacity was strengthened through the full and effective implementation of the recommendations by the High-Level Task Force (HLTF) on Strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat and Reviewing the ASEAN Organs. The ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) and the three ASEAN Community Councils together with the ASEAN National Secretariats, the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR), other relevant Senior Officials and the ASEAN Secretariat were called upon to accelerate the implementation of the remaining immediate and medium-term recommendations

Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI)

  1. The IAI Task Force played an active role in the implementation of the IAI Work Plan III (2016-2020) to assist CLMV countries in meeting ASEAN wide-targets and commitment towards realising the goals of ASEAN Community. In the implementation of the IAI Work Plan III, ASEAN recognized the importance of a concerted effort in narrowing the development gap within ASEAN and valued the strong cooperation with Dialogue Partners, Sectoral Dialogue Partners and Development Partners as well as with external parties.

ASEAN Connectivity

  1. The ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC) and relevant ASEAN Sectoral strengthened the implementation arrangements of and socialised the Master Plan on ASEAN (MPAC) 2025 to relevant stakeholders. The National Coordinators (NCs), National Focal Points (NFPs) and Lead Implementing Body for Sustainable Infrastructure (LIB-SI) were established to enhance the coordination of implementation of the MPAC 2025.

  2. The Forum on MPAC 2025 Initiatives and Project Concepts was successfully held. It brought together relevant stakeholders to discuss the details of MPAC 2025 initiatives and identify the first set of projects for implementation. The 8th ASEAN Connectivity Symposium was also held to discuss thematic areas relevant to the successful delivery of MPAC 2025 held in 14 July 2017.

ASEAN Charter

  1. The Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) has undertaken extensive deliberations on updating certain articles and sections of the ASEAN Charter and will remain committed to promoting a rules-based ASEAN Community in adherence to the purposes and principles stipulated in the existing ASEAN Charter.

ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA)

  1. The AIPA celebrated its 40th anniversary and it continues to support the implementation of the ASEAN Political Security Community Blueprint 2025 and the Philippines as the chair of AIPA, successfully conducted the 9th AIPA Caucus in Jakarta and the 38th AIPA General Assembly (GA) in Manila.

  2. Committee Report of the 13th AIPA Fact-Finding Committee Meeting to Combat the Drug Menace was signed.


ASEAN's 50th Anniversary

  1. ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat organised various commemorative activities within and beyond the region to mark the Golden Jubilee of ASEAN's Anniversary. ASEAN remains committed to bringing ASEAN closer to the peoples as we build an inclusive, peaceful, prosperous, resilient and caring ASEAN Community in the next 50 years.

  2. A publication by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) was released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, and various symposia were held to celebrate ASEAN’s 50th anniversary including the High-Level Forum on ASEAN@50: Retrospectives and Perspectives on the Making, Substance, Significance and Future of ASEAN in Manila on 19 October 2017.

Appointment of the New Secretary-General of ASEAN

  1. ASEAN expressed appreciation for H.E. Le Luong Minh's contribution during his tenure as Secretary-General of ASEAN, in advancing the work of ASEAN during his five-year term of 2013-2017. It was agreed that H.E. Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi will be the new Secretary-General of ASEAN from Brunei Darussalam for the next five-year term of 2018-2022.

Economic Performance

  1. In 2017, ASEAN’s economy is projected to register a stronger growth of 5.0% while ASEAN’s merchandise trade remained strong at USD2.2 trillion in 2016, of which 23.1% was intra-ASEAN.
  2. Reflecting continued investors’ confidence in the region, in 2016 the region attracted USD98.0 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, of which 25.2% was intra-ASEAN.
  3. The importance for appropriate policy responses to the onset of the Fourth industrial revolution especially in the areas of ICT and education was acknowledged.
  4. The region should capitalise on the young, educated and technology-savvy population to help boost the region’s economic growth and prosperity.

Progress of ASEAN Economic Community 2025

  1. All 23 AEC 2025 sectoral work plans are now in place, following the recent endorsement by the ASEAN Economic Community FINAL 11 (AEC) Council of the Strategic Action Plan 2016-2025 for ASEAN Taxation Cooperation; the ASEAN 2025 Trade Facilitation Strategic Action Plan; as well as the ASEAN Work Programme on Electronic Commerce 2017-2025, which is also a Philippine ASEAN Chairmanship priority economic deliverable. Implementation of all these sectoral work plans, including the 2017 priorities, is well underway and is monitored based on the AEC 2025 Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework.

Economic Priority Deliverables for the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship

  1. Economic priority deliverables for the Philippines' ASEAN Chairmanship on "inclusive, innovation-led growth" have been achieved.

  2. The Davao-General Santos-Bitung route of the ASEAN Roll-on Roll-off (RO-RO) System was recalled in April 2017. RO-RO routes should take into account the need to address the policy, infrastructure and logistics bottlenecks to the viability of other ASEAN RO-RO routes as well to ensure maritime security.
  3. The conduct of the AEC 2025 M&E Country Visit to the Philippines was the first comprehensive exercise to review the progress in fulfilling the commitments under the AEC and to understand the links between national-level initiatives and the regional integration agenda.
  4. The ASEAN Seamless Trade Facilitation Indicators (ASTFI) that provides a tool for measuring trade facilitation at the national and regional levels, and improving the overall trading environment in the region was adopted. This method should help achieve a 10% target reduction in trade transactions cost by 2020 simultaneous to the doubling of intra-ASEAN trade between 2017 and 2025.
  5. The Focused and Strategic (FAST) Action Agenda on Investment was endorsed, which aligns with the goals and four pillars of the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA).
  6. The six-point Action Agenda on Mainstreaming Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in ASEAN, an outcome of the first ASEAN Women’s Business Conference held on 31 August 2017 in Manila, Philippines was adopted. The Action Agenda aims to mainstream women in regional economic activities.
  7. The ASEAN Declaration on Innovation was adopted, and signifies ASEAN’s commitment towards strengthening the impact of science, technology, and innovation towards people's empowerment, inclusive growth, and strengthening of the ASEAN Community
  8. Upcoming milestones include the implementation of the ASEAN-wide Self-Certification Scheme in 2018 and  the conclusion of the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement negotiations by end-2017.

Electronic Commerce

  1. The ASEAN Work Programme on E-Commerce 2017-2025 was adopted and it will pave the way for the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce and leverage on digital technology to enhance trade and investments and provide an e-based business platform. It was recognised that technological/digital breakthroughs such as online trading provides new opportunity to mainstream MSME participation in both domestic and international economic activities. We will embrace the evolving digital technology as leverage to enhance trade and investments and provide an e-based business platform.


  1. To strengthen the ASEAN competition regimes and build institutional the ASEAN Self- Assessment Toolkit on Competition Enforcement and Advocacy and the ASEAN Regional Capacity Building Roadmap for Competition Policy and Law (2017-2020) was completed was completed

Consumer Protection

  1. The ASEAN High-Level Principles on Consumer Protection was adopted and it will provide a framework for the assessment of consumer protection regulatory regimes and promote consumer protection and empower consumers.

Intellectual Property

  1. A number of tools that helps to improve service delivery, including the recent ASEAN PATENTSCOPE (http://ipsearch.aseanip.org/) database were completed underlining the importance of intellectual property rights protection in ASEAN

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

  1. This year emphasis was placed ASEAN micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as drivers of inclusive and innovative growth and the efforts taken towards enhancing the ecosystem for MSME development. These included the adoption of the ASEAN regional principles for good business registration practices; success stories on internationalisation of ASEAN MSMEs; and the launch of the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network and the study on MSMEs' participation in the digital economy.

Inclusive Business

  1. The ASEAN Inclusive Business (IB) Framework was adopted by the ASEAN Economic Ministers. It which institutionalises and mainstreams IB into ASEAN's economic community-building efforts, particularly on MSME development.

  2. The ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit was held in Manila on 6 September 2017 along with the successful conduct of the ASEAN-Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) inaugural ASEAN Inclusive Business Award 2017.


  1. The Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration campaign championing ASEAN as a single tourism destination was successfully completed. The adoption of the ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy (ATMS) 2017-2020 will provide a framework and strategic marketing direction prioritising the promotion of intra-ASEAN travel.

Food, Agriculture, and Forestry

  1. The ASEAN Regional Guidelines on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) Policy was adopted to ensure sustainable supply of sufficient, affordable, safe and nutritious foods that meet the dietary requirements of increasing populations in ASEAN.


  1. In order to further enhance regional connectivity and integration the following agreements were signed: (i) ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Cross Border Transport of Passengers by Road Vehicles (CBTP), (ii) Protocol to Implement the Tenth Package of Commitments on Air Transport Services under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS), which would further liberalise air transport ancillary services in the region; (iii) Protocol 3 on Domestic Code-Share Rights between Points within the Territory of any other ASEAN Member States, which would facilitate airlines of Member States to expand their services and facilitate intra-ASEAN travel; and (iv) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Flight Crew Licensing, an overarching framework agreement to facilitate and support future mutual recognition of licences issued by ASEAN Member States for pilots flying commercial flights.

  2. The following agreements were signed to improve the safety and efficiency of air travel in the region: (i) ASEAN Air Traffic Management (ATM) Master Plan, and (ii) Terms of Reference (TOR) for ASEAN Foreign Operator Safety Assessment (AFOSA).

  3. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Authorities in charge of Aircraft Accident Investigation of ASEAN Member States and the Civil Aviation Administration of China on cooperation relating to Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation and the establishment of an ASEAN-EU Transport Dialogue to support ASEAN integration will further strengthen cooperation in the safety investigation of aircraft accidents and incidents especially in areas of regional and global significance.


  1. The Energy Purchase and Wheeling Agreement (EPWA) among Lao PDR, Thailand and Malaysia (LTM) was signed, it will bring about the very first multilateral electricity transaction in ASEAN by January 2018.


  1. Work is underway to establish an ASEAN reporting mechanism to monitor the adoption of sustainability assessment frameworks and guidelines in support of sustainable mining development in ASEAN.

  2. The 1st ASEAN Minerals Awards was launched to recognise best practices in sustainable minerals development at the forthcoming ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Minerals in end-November 2017.

Science and Technology

  1. The ASEAN Large Nuclear and Synchrotron Network and the ASEAN Network for Nuclear Power Safety Research were established for furthering regional cooperation involving scientific infrastructures of large investments to build a robust innovative ASEAN community ecosystem for economic integration and societal benefits.

External Economics Relations

  1. ASEAN-Hong Kong, China (HKC) Free Trade Agreement and ASEAN–HKC Investment Agreement were concluded, and the signing of the two Agreements took place on 12 November 2017 to the timely implementation of these Agreements to strengthen the economic integration and reaffirmed support to the multilateral trading system and emphasised its complementarity with ASEAN regional integration efforts.

Regional Growth Area

  1. The post-2016 Visions of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (MIT-GT) and Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) were adopted and aim to achieve inclusive, sustainable and competitive economic areas.