Secretary-General: Implementation of the ASEAN Community "has to be faster"

ASEAN's foreign ministers meeting in Bali, Indonesia, are reviewing efforts to create the ASEAN Community by 2015.

"The implementation has to be faster," ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, said. "I have been trying to encourage every member state that we do not stop at the ratification of the agreements, we will have to go down to the actual implementation. So, in the end ... how do you translate what has been agreed at the regional level, down to the national implementation."

Dr Surin said he wants to do more to put pressure on member states to speed up ASEAN's integration process, Channel News Asia reported.

The Secretary General  also emphasised that an enhanced ASEAN Secretariat is a critical cornerstone in ASEAN's projected engagement and integration into the global community.

He said a stronger Secretariat will result in even better project management - both internally and externally with ASEAN partners. Another area is the critical support for ASEAN's operations. One example is the unit supporting the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

Dr Surin's presentation centered around the Secretariat's corporate service, and its influence on strengthening ASEAN's unity and centrality; its impact on promoting ASEAN cooperation with external parties; as well as its role in supporting ASEAN stakeholders, and its public outreach efforts. The full proposal will be presented to ASEAN Leaders at the 19th ASEAN Summit, which will be held in Bali this November.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Dr Marty Natalegawa, said the strengthening of the Secretariat is such a critical issue it deserves a stand-alone meeting among the ASEAN Foreign Ministers. "ASEAN's role in the global community of nations requires a strong ASEAN Secretariat," he explained.