ASEAN prepares its future


The post-2025 vision of the Community of Southeast Asian Nations will be extended to 2035 to 2045

The ability to develop long-term strategies has always been crucial and has become even more. In Asia, it is something that is traditionally more emphasized. Further proof comes from ASEAN's decision to extend its post-2025 vision by an additional ten years, taking it from 2035 to 2045. The decision was announced recently by Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn during the seventh meeting of the High-Level Task Force on the ASEAN Community's Post-2025 Vision. Between now and 2025, the task force will have to provide an answer to the Southeast Asian region's most important challenge: how to come up with a sustainable vision in the medium to long term, to continue to sustain economic growth and accompany the foreseeable increased trade and geopolitical role of the region, given that in the coming decades, ASEAN could conceivably become the world's fourth largest economic power after China, the United States and Japan/India. In recent months, the task force has held so-called 'interface consultations' with ASEAN-related agencies, including the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (Abac). In 20 years, ASEAN could have the world's third largest population after China and India. And presumably it will also be larger in numbers. The Bangkok Post predicts that new members will join the Association in the coming years, including East Timor and, in the years to come, Papua New Guinea, which has been the group's longest-serving observer since 1986. There may also be other new members from the Indo-Pacific region. At that point, the Thai newspaper points out, ASEAN would need a several-fold increase in its budget at the Jakarta-based secretariat. The main challenge will still be to adapt to a world with polarizing trends, strengthening the bloc's centrality in order to increasingly become a major global player and preventing South-East Asia from being drawn into confrontational and oppositional logics. ASEAN has all the credentials to succeed in this.

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