Best of Myanmar’s Performing Arts
ASEAN Secretariat, 11 December 2009
Myanmar is a country rich in culture and on Monday, 14 December 2009, at the Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, Indonesia, the artistes from the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture of Myanmar will be showcasing the best of the performing arts from their country. From dances performed for the royal court in ancient days to excerpts of the Myanmar Ramayana Grand Drama, the evening of entertainment is co-organised by the Ministry of Culture of Myanmar and the ASEAN Secretariat, and supported by the Myanmar Embassy in Indonesia.
The performance with the theme, “The Royal Beauty of Golden Myanmar” is the fourth in the Best of ASEAN Performing Arts series that was proposed by the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan. The previous series had showcased the colourful and vibrant performances from Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.
ASEAN Transport Ministers have agreed to further deepen and broaden Member States' commitments in liberalising air transport ancillary services in the region. Meeting at the 15th ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) Meeting on 10 December 2009 in Ha Noi, the Ministers concluded and signed the Protocol to implement the 6th Package of Air Transport Services Commitments under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) and its Annex.
The Ministers also welcomed the entry into force in October 2009 of the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on Air Services and the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Air Freight Services, which were concluded last year at the 14th ATM. It is envisaged that the implementation of these Agreements and their implementing Protocols will provide the competitive space and opportunities for greater expansion of air travel within the ASEAN region, in terms of more destinations, increased capacities and lower fares.
In addition, the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Passenger Air Services and its Protocols have been finalised and all Member States were encouraged to complete the domestic procedures for their signing by next year.
The meeting of the transport ministers comes at a time when ASEAN is looking at its connectivity within and with the wider Asia-Pacific region in supporting community building efforts and centrality of ASEAN in the evolving regional architecture. "The coming into force of the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on Air Services and the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Air Freight Services as well as the expected conclusion of the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Passenger Air Services and its Protocols in 2010 will serve as the foundations for ASEAN Open Skies supporting community building, and economic integration and competitiveness of the ASEAN single market and production base by 2015,” said the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, H.E. S. Pushpanathan.
The ASEAN Ministers also agreed to implement measures to mitigate climate change especially in the land transport sector and promotion of energy efficiency and sustainable urban transport in ASEAN cities.
The Ministers also convened meetings with their counterparts from ASEAN Dialogue Partners. “The various intra-ASEAN transport initiatives and concrete plans with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea will also strengthen economic ties, support the development of a competitive and integrated ASEAN and put in place more environmentally friendly transport infrastructure and systems for sustainable economic and social development of the region," said DSG Pushpanathan.
For documents from the meeting, please follow the links below:
Acknowledging the importance of effective control and prevention of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) to the region, ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners have joined forces in a global alliance on this issue. They also reviewed progress in the area of animal disease control and discussed regional cooperation strategies on TADs at a meeting held in Jakarta.
“Transboundary Animal Diseases pose threats to food security and safety, livelihoods of farmers, and public health. The large number of livestock smallholders; informal and illegal trade of live animals and livestock products; and potential impact of climate change have made the control and prevention of TADs rather complex,” said the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Economic Community, S. Pushpanathan. He was speaking at the Meeting on a Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) for the ASEAN Plus Three which concluded today.
As such, TADs should be addressed through a more comprehensive, integrated and concerted approach, he added. GF-TADs is a joint initiative between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health), which aims at facilitating cooperation at the global, regional and sub-regionals level in enhancing capacity and cooperation for effective control of transboundary animal diseases.
“Taking into account the on-going ASEAN efforts in ensuring effective control and prevention of TADs, ASEAN highly values the FAO/OIE joint initiative on the GF-TADs and is willing to contribute to the global alliance to prevent and control TADs,” DSG Pushpanathan said.
In ASEAN, cooperation on livestock development and TADs are promoted through four distinct but inter-related approaches. These are: strengthening national animal health capability, particularly veterinary services through good governance with legal and institutional support; strengthening regional coordination on TADs with a focus given to control and prevention of the diseases at source; supporting the animal health sector towards greater contribution to multi-sectoral cooperation on pandemic preparedness and response, and public health; and enhancing partnership arrangements and cooperation, considering comparative advantages among concerned partner agencies such as the FAO and OIE.
Related issues, such as the implementation of a Strategic Framework for Reducing Risks of Infectious Diseases at the Animal-Human-Ecosystems Interface and regional coordination arrangements for animal health were also discussed at the meeting.
For the opening remarks by DSG Pushpanathan, please click here.
Next week will mark the first anniversary of the coming into force of the ASEAN Charter. To mark the event, a special forum will be held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. The ASEAN Secretariat Policy Forum – “The ASEAN Charter: One Year On”, will bring a panel of three of the most eminent and distinguished citizens of ASEAN to examine and discuss various aspects of the making of the ASEAN Charter, its application, challenges and future prospects.
The panel will consist of Tun Musa bin Hitam, Chairman of the Eminent Persons Group on the Charter, and Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo and Ambassador Tommy Koh, Chairpersons of the High Level Task Force on the Drafting of the Charter. They are expected to draw upon their own thoughts on the intent and dreams of the framers of the Charter, the thinking of the ASEAN Leaders on the importance of the Charter to ASEAN Community-building, and their own experiences during the drafting of the terms of reference and the making of the Charter.
The ASEAN Charter had officially entered into force on 15 December 2008 at a gathering of ASEAN Foreign Ministers at the ASEAN Secretariat.
The second in a series, the ASEAN Secretariat Policy Forum: “The ASEAN Charter: One Year On” is open to the public. The forum will be held at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, on 16 December 2009, 10 am – 12 pm. For registration of attendance, please e-mail full details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ASEAN Secretariat Policy Forum, which is a seminar series organised by the ASEAN Secretariat, aims to promote intellectual debate and discussion with experts from ASEAN and elsewhere on the political, security, economic, social, cultural and environmental issues that affect ASEAN and the international community and which can contribute to policy-making and decisions.
They came, they competed, they had fun and they learnt more about each other and about ASEAN – 27 youths aged between 15 and 18 from the ASEAN Member States were tested on their knowledge of ASEAN at the 4th ASEAN Regional Quiz that was held on 3 December 2009 in Manila, Philippines. Organised by the National Broadcasting Network (NBN), the friendly quiz game exposes them to various ASEAN cultural, political, economic and social information. National competitions were held prior to the quiz and the 27 youths emerged as the winners.
Competing at the regional level, each team comprising three participants answered some 60 questions related to ASEAN. The winners walked away with trophies and prize money. Host country Philippines won the individual country competition. Myanmar came in second and Thailand was in third place. In the group competition, the brown, cream and red teams were placed first, second and third respectively. Each team comprised participants from different Member States.
The ASEAN Regional Quiz is a project of the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information. Begun in 2002, it is held once every two years. So far, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Philippines have hosted the quiz.
With the challenges of competition arising from globalisation and the rise of emerging economies, particularly China and India, ASEAN needs to do more in its own Community building efforts.
“ASEAN cannot be ad-hoc and informal in its approach to Community building. From now on, it will be more legalistic and more systematic,” said the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan. The ASEAN Charter and the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community are logical steps forward, especially in the context of increasing interdependence among ASEAN Member States, he added.
Dr Surin was delivering a keynote speech on “Building an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in the Heart of East Asia” at the International Symposium on East Asia Beyond the Global Economic Crisis held on 1 December 2009 in Tokyo. The Symposium was co-organised by the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organizations (IDE-JETRO) and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan opened the symposium. Speakers from various parts of the world also debated in two distinctive panel discussion sessions on “The Global Economic Crisis and East Asian Perspectives” and “Enhancing East Asia’s Role in the Global Economy”.
Building the AEC, Dr Surin said, is a major undertaking that entails a wide variety of endeavours that ranges from the creation of a single market and production base to the harmonisation of regulatory regimes to the coordination of the financial architecture and nurturing a sense of community amongst stakeholders in the region.
As ASEAN advances its community building agenda, the contribution of ERIA to regional cooperation in the region by providing useful research and practical policy recommendations is crucial. Dr Surin said that “Through high quality research work and recommendations, ERIA has supported ASEAN’s role as the driver of regional integration and could serve as an intellectual resource for community building efforts of ASEAN and East Asia.”
Meeting in Tokyo yesterday, the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the Prime Minister of Japan exchanged views on the latest developments with regard to the establishment of the ASEAN Community. Both sides also discussed the role of the Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) at the meeting.
Dr Surin Pitsuwan informed Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama that “ASEAN endeavours to maintain ASEAN centrality by strengthening its commitment towards the 2015 target and we are resolved to deliver on promises espoused in the ASEAN Charter and the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community”.
Dr Surin and Prime Minister Hatoyama further discussed the issue of ASEAN centrality in the context of wider regional integration. During the 15th ASEAN Summit in Cha-am Hua Hin, Thailand in October, the Japanese Prime Minister had proposed building, in the long run, an East Asian community.
Dr Surin also discussed with Prime Minister Hatoyama the progress made in operationalising ERIA and its network of research institutions in the region. Dr Surin said that “ERIA could assume a critical role in assisting ASEAN countries in advancing regional integration and narrowing the development gaps through rigorous and balanced analyses of ASEAN’s integration process and capacity building efforts”. Strong relations between ASEAN and ERIA in this regard are essential, he stressed.
Separately, Dr Surin also delivered a keynote speech on “Building an ASEAN Economic Community in the Heart of East Asia”, at the Symposium on East Asia Beyond the Global Economic Crisis. The Symposium was organised by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and ERIA.
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