H.E. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia
to the United Nations
On Behalf of ASEAN
At the Second Committee
On Agenda Item 51: Macroeconomic Policy Questions
New York, 12 October 2009
I have the honour of delivering this statement on behalf of the ten Member States of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). In addressing this agenda item, ASEAN members align ourselves with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Sudan on behalf of the G-77 and China.
We are meeting today amidst a global economy that is beginning to recover and yet still shows signs of weakness. ASEAN believes that this scenario requires us to focus on the following three areas:
One, continuing measures to nurse the global economy back to full health, aimed at achieving sustainable levels of economic growth. This is critical if our collective efforts to achieve the MDGs are to be achieved. We note that for many, the crisis has had a devastating effect on these efforts;
Two, finding the right time and way to implement exit strategies from a government-stimulus driven economy;
Three, putting in place policies and measures to prevent a recurrence of a similar crisis. For South East Asia, today’s crisis, like the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997/98, demonstrates the urgent need to strengthen and reform the international financial architecture.
That we are not currently in a more precarious situation is a demonstration of what can be achieved through collective action. Lest we forget, when we met in this very hall last year, the prevailing sentiment was of despair, reflecting the concern that the global economy was going into a tailspin.
The UN was able to play a significant role in this collective effort, for example through the convening of the High Level Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development. We hope that as the severity of the crisis abates, the political will to implement the Outcome document of the Conference will not dissipate.
Bodies such as the G20 have also played a critical role in addressing the crisis. We note that the G20 leaders had agreed in Pittsburgh to designate this group as their premier forum for international cooperation on economic issues. Having said that, it is critical for the G20 to strengthen institutional linkages with non-members of the group. One way of achieving this balance is through the involvement of regional groups, such as ASEAN.
We therefore welcomed the involvement of the ASEAN chair in the London and Pittsburgh summits. We hope that this involvement will continue, and be formalized as a standing arrangement.
Our work under the macroeconomic policy questions this year must ensure synergies, not just with those undertaken by ECOSOC and the ad hoc working group to follow-up the outcome of the High Level Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact of Development, but also work carried out in other fora such as the G20.
For ASEAN it is important that our work contribute to the global effort being undertaken to strengthen and reform the international financial system. Such reform should include the strengthening of financial regulatory framework, and enhancing the governance and surveillance as well as the resource of international financial institutions. This would better ensure long-term growth and stability of the world economy
It is also important is to continue to exercise vigilance on the increasing debt that developing countries are undertaking in their efforts to resuscitate their economies. We must avoid a situation of where the economic crisis leads developing countries into a debt crisis.
The extent of the impact of the financial crisis on ASEAN countries has varied with half of the ASEAN economies shrinking this year. The economies most dependent on trade were hit the hardest. Looking forward, aggregate GDP growth for the region next year is expected to reach 4.3 percent.
For ASEAN, the present crisis has served to strengthen our resolve to ensure the success of our Community-building efforts. The end goal is the creation of an ASEAN community that is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible.
Even during this time of crisis, ASEAN members have been continuing to strengthen the institutional mechanisms that have been established under the ASEAN Charter. We are also working towards establishing ASEAN as the economic centre of East Asia by reaching out to its important trading partners and in this regard, we are emphasizing the role of education, creativity, cultural heritage and innovation as a means of propelling the ASEAN economy.
The crisis has also underlined the importance of building ASEAN’s regional resilience, particularly by promoting economic and financial stability. Measures we are undertaking towards this end include:
One, improving macroeconomic cooperation, standing firm against protectionism, implementing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint and intensifying efforts for a strong Doha Development outcome;
Two, within the context of ASEAN+3, strengthening the regional self-help financing mechanism through the establishment of a regional pooling reserve arrangement under the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) with a total fund size of US$120 billion; and
Three, also within the ASEAN+3 context, developing a regional surveillance mechanism to monitor and analyze regional economies and support the CMIM decision-making process. This regional effort can help complement the ongoing global cooperation to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth, as well as to promote a resilient international financial system. Promoting more coordinated action by both developed and developing countries is a vital step to restore financial stability and the continued functioning of financial markets.
The attainment of the MDGs is uppermost on the minds of ASEAN members given that the MDG target date of 2015 is barely six years away. Our collective commitment towards the achievement of the MDGs is manifested in the Joint Declaration on the Attainment of the MDGs in ASEAN, adopted on 1 March 2009.
It outlines a number of key areas of action, including:
Ensuring a continuous effort towards a balance between economic growth and social development and environmental sustainability in order to reduce and not to create negative impacts to the attainment of the MDGs;
Sharing information, experiences and best practices in the attainment of the MDGs among ASEAN Member States through the relevant ASEAN bodies as well as through the ASEAN Centre of Excellence on MDGs set up in the Asian Institute of Technology and other regional institutions;
Developing and implementing a Roadmap for the Attainment of the Millennium Development Goals as a framework for collective actions among ASEAN Member States to achieve the MDGs focusing on five key areas namely advocacy and linkages, knowledge, resources expertise and regional cooperation and regional public goods;
Establishing a monitoring and evaluation system, including generation of gender statistics for the attainment of MDGs in ASEAN in collaboration with the UN specialized bodies; and
Encouraging the close collaboration and create networks among the public and private sectors and civil society in addressing challenges and developing strategies on the MDGs.
ASEAN continues to believe that trade is an essential component of economic growth. We are therefore concerned over the continued impasse at the Doha Round of trade talks. We should not allow further delays in finalizing the outcome of the Doha Round that would open new markets, especially for developing countries.
The imperative to deliver a strong Doha Round development outcome has never been more urgent. The responsibility for delivering an outcome rests with all Members, but none more so than on the major players. This is the time to demonstrate resolve and leadership.
ASEAN also strongly supports the Lao PDR’s early accession to the WTO. Acceding as an LDC, we emphasize Lao PDR eventual commitments shall correspond to such status.
On these issues, as well as others on the agenda of the Second Committee, members of ASEAN stand ready to work with others to ensure the achievement of our common aims and objectives.
I thank you.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
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