Legarda urges Asean to focus on people

SENATOR Loren Legarda has stressed that the interests of the people should be the primary concern of the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) as the member-nations move forward together towards a better and stronger regional community.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Finance and Climate Change issued the statement following the conclusion of the Asean Meeting in the country.

 

600 Million Population

“We have a population of more than 600 million, more than half of them are young people. We must capitalize on this asset but at the same time, we must ensure that our aspirations as an ASEAN Community would actually redound to the benefit of our people," she said.

"As we continue to forge stronger cooperation to address the greatest threats to our respective nations and the region as a whole--terrorism and climate change--we must build on the capacities of our local communities and our people to contribute towards our goal of fostering equitable and a higher quality of life for our people," Legarda stressed.

The Senator noted that the ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change to the 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23) highlights the region's commitment to proactively take action to address climate change.

 

Asean’s Firm Commitment

She added that Asean has firmly shown its commitment to combat climate change with the signing of the Paris Agreement; submission of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) and actively engaging in the post-COP21 UNFCCC negotiations on the modalities, rules, procedures, and guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Legarda also stressed on the need for ASEAN to foster innovation and build its creative capacities with the end view of ensuring that the region's micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) contribute to developing new solutions and value added outputs to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

 

Main Challenges

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), one of the region's main challenges is to bring its infrastructure and information technology capability up to date so that it can take advantage of new technology.

"Innovation and creativity play a significant role in transforming small businesses into competitive components of the ASEAN value chain. We need to develop industries that will be innovators of technology," said Legarda.

The Senator said that the ASEAN's bold vision of achieving the free flow of goods, services, investment, and skilled labor in the region may actually help the country achieve higher productivity and economic diversification with the right policies and programs of action.

"As an ASEAN Community, we want an integrated, peaceful and stable community. But much work needs to be done in order that this community that we all seek to build will be relevant and will help usher in a better life for all the people in the region," Legarda concluded.

 

 

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