ASEM12: Europe & Asia: Global Partners For Global Challenges
12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM12), under the theme, Global Partners for Global Challenges, hosted by the European Union and chaired by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk was held on 18-19 October 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting was attended by the Heads of State and Government, or their high-level representatives, of 51 Asian and European countries, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary-General of ASEAN. Addressing key opportunities and challenges facing Europe and Asia in a world of accelerating change, leaders stressed the role of ASEM as the main platform for Europe and Asia to strengthen dialogue, foster cooperation including on multilateralism and tackle global challenges together. Leaders also decided that further work on connectivity should be pursued notably on the basis of the APGC final report, in the framework of the future Senior Officials’ Meetings.
ASEM Cultural Festival from 18 to 30 October 2018 was launched under the theme “Europe meets Asia, Asia meets Europe“, in conjunction with ASEM 12 Summit.
ASEM Summit, based on the main principles of – informality, flexibility, mutual respect in the spirit of consensus, equal partnership and mutual benefit, is the highest platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe and held biannually. The summits are attended by the leaders of 51 partner countries and two institutional partners: EU and ASEAN, hosting rotating between Europe and Asia, offer a unique opportunity to promote common understanding between the two continents and to address ASEM partners’ common challenges.
At ASEM12 discussions focused on the theme “Europe and Asia: Global Partners for Global Challenges”. Leaders underlined their commitment to keep the ASEM process open and further improve ASEM’s functioning and enhance its impact and visibility for citizens across Europe and Asia. They sought to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between the two continents on a wide range of areas, including:
- Trade & investment
- Sustainable development and climate
- Security challenges such as terrorism, non-proliferation, cyber-security, irregular migration
India’s Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu intervening in the first Plenary Session of 12th ASEM Summit on 19 October said that:
- Building the future together is the need of the hour and promoting Inclusive growth and Sustainable Connectivity should be the priority.
- Theme of ASEM 12 Summit, “Global Partners for Global Challenges” is particularly relevant in the current global context.
- We are today confronted by global challenges that need a global response.
- Significant threats to world peace and security, to financial integrity and environmental protection need concerted action.
- A major threat to global peace and security is Terrorism, along with radicalization and extremism.
- India, as an affected party, urges the international community to work towards early adoption of the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism which will, inter alia, deny terrorists and their supporters’ access to arms, funds and safe havens.
- India considers economic offences, tax crimes and criminal misappropriation of public assets as a significant threat to the integrity of financial systems.
- We need to considerably strengthen international cooperation within G20 and other fora, to deny shelter to economic offenders.
- There is an urgent need for enhancing mechanisms for Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) with committed timelines. ASEM can and should play an important role in this regard.
- Climate change is an existential reality for all countries and for our future generations.
- Elimination of poverty through sustainable use of resources and improvement in livelihoods will be the biggest driver to prevent climate change.
- Developing countries would need enhanced financial and technological support and fulfilment of obligations by developed countries would be important.
- The world community is coming together to address these formidable challenges, as for example, the ‘International Solar Alliance’, launched by India and France in 2015, is an excellent example of Asia and Europe cooperation.
- We invite ASEM partners to join this initiative on renewable energy.
- United NationsEnvironment has bestowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French president Emmanuel Macron with 2018 ‘Champion of the Earth‘ award for their leadership in promotion of solar energy.
- India is of the firm belief that connectivity is the pathway to shared prosperity.
- India is currently involved in a number of international connectivity projects, such as the International North-South Corridor and the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway.
- Connectivity initiatives must meet universally recognized international norms such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and should be transparent, fiscally and environmentally sustainable.
- Connecting nations, connecting the hearts and connecting minds and connecting economic development with environmental protection is at the heart of our shared commitment.
- Every 2030 Sustainable Development Goals has been mapped to India’s developmental programmes and schemes.
- India’s development architecture is under pinned by ‘Collective Efforts for Inclusive Development’.
- Women’s empowerment is now a key development imperative.
- India values its participation in ASEM which acts as a bridge between the two continents and brings together countries with deep commitment to the rules based international system in particular strengthening WTO.
- Culture is the bridge that connects people. India would be showcasing its rich cultural heritage through the unique fusion of Indian classical dance Kathakali narrating the story of Spanish “Don Quixote” as a part of the ASEM culture festival.
- The formidable global challenges of our times need clear vision, innovative direction and sincere commitment to action.
The 13th ASEM Summit (ASEM13) will be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2020.