Asian-African Summit adopts 3 documents
The political leaders adopted the Bandung Message 2015, a Declaration on Re-invigorating the New Asian—African Strategic Partnership and a special Declaration on Palestine. Adriano José Timossi reports on the three outcomes.
Bandung Message 2015
The Bandung Message, a political declaration adopted on 24 April in Bandung by the Asian-African leaders focused on prosperity, solidarity and stability. Its most important action point was the leaders welcoming Indonesia’s decision to establish an Asian-African Centre in Indonesia. It will serve as an “institutional support base” of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership.
The Message reiterated that the Spirit of Bandung, including on self-determination, as enshrined in the Final Communiqué of the 1955 Asian-African Conference remains solid, pertinent and effective as a foundation for nurturing stronger relations among Asian-African countries. After 60 years, the Spirit of Bandung continues to provide guidance to resolve regional and global issues of common concern in accordance with the relevant principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
Leaders expressed their commitment to boost cooperation and to explore innovative and concrete ways and means to strengthen linkages between Asia and Africa, to contribute to regional and global peace and security as well as to promote economic cooperation and trade, to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. Redoubled efforts will be given to revitalise the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) of 2005. In this regard, while recognizing the importance of South-South Cooperation, it was the common view that this framework of cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity among Asian and African countries and a complement to, rather than a substitute for, North South cooperation.
The Message reaffirms Asian-African leaders’ commitment to advance a constructive approach in the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms at relevant international fora based on the principles of universality, transparency, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, respect for cultural values, in accordance with the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The central role of the United Nations in the achievement and maintenance of international peace and security, as well as advancement of common prosperity based on the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations and the spirit enshrined in the Bandung Final Communiqué of 1955, in particular, respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of States, refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of States and non-interference in their domestic affairs and repudiation of the use of unilateral coercive measures including sanctions which violate the Charter of the United Nations, is a central part of the Message.
The section on economic and development issues stressed the important role to be played by the two most dynamic regions in the world representing 75% of world population and 30% of global GDP. The important role of trade and investments for both regions was also highlighted as well the impacts of the continuing global financial and economic crises which have caused a decline in trade and investment growth. The message makes a strong call for a development oriented, non-discriminatory and inclusive multilateral trading system that contributes to growth, investment, sustainable development and employment, particularly for developing and least developed countries.
Other issues covered included food security, sustainable infrastructure, the importance of the maritime sector and including the strategic relevance of the Indian and the Pacific Oceans in bridging Asian and African economic advancement. Also included were concerns over vulnerability to the adverse impact of climate change, a call for an inclusive and equitable post-2015 development agenda, which should focus on eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development and inclusive economic growth and the need for a strengthened international development cooperation including appropriate financing for the implementation of the agenda under the framework of global partnership.
On social and cultural relations the Message underlines the importance of closer international collaboration and coordinated responses to combat epidemics and communicable and infectious diseases. It recognizes the importance of strengthening people to people contacts by facilitating and encouraging interaction and exchange among youth, women, business, intellectuals, scholars, experts, athletes, artists, and media of the two regions. Leaders welcomed the “Bandung declaration of a human rights city”, as signed by the Mayor of Bandung on 2 April 2015 and also, declared Bandung as the capital of Asian-African solidarity and April 24th as Asian-African Day to celebrate Asian-African solidarity, cooperation and partnership to promote world peace and prosperity.
Declaration on Re-invigorating the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership
The declaration reviewed some of the key achievements of the partnership over the past ten years. On peace and security, it reaffirmed commitment to support maintenance of international peace and security under the auspices of the United Nations, particularly through the UN Peacekeeping Operations, where more than 87% of peacekeeping personnel in the field come from Asian-African countries.
The Declaration also emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation in the agricultural sector as part of their future agenda to improve food security, while stressing the importance of sharing knowledge, practices and technologies through collaborative research and development projects, to better the livelihoods of rural communities and small and medium-scale farmers of Asia and Africa.
Countries of the two regions will work together in the development of reliable and affordable infrastructure in order to increase regional connectivity and to boost trade, investment, bankable projects and assistance, industrial development, maritime cooperation, specifically to initiate a forum for SMEs to bridge the gap in energy security, knowledge and technology transfer in Asian-African countries through science, technology and innovation, including cooperation on maritime air transport, roads, energy and telecommunications and easing of travel visa restriction. Special efforts will be made to substantiate the establishment of a forum for small and medium-scaled industries between Asian and African countries.
The Declaration also reiterated that fulfilling the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC will require strengthening the multilateral, rules-based regime under the Convention. They, therefore, further reaffirm their resolve to continue the negotiations on climate change under the Convention and to adopt, at COP-21/CMP-11 UNFCCC, in Paris, in 2015, a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties, and adhering to the principles set out in the Convention, on the basis of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in light of different national circumstances.
It also stressed the importance of protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore. Therefore, they support the current process under the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore of the World Intellectual Property Organization towards the objective of reaching agreement to ensure the appropriate protection of Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions and Genetic Resources.
The declaration ended with a series of operational decisions aimed at enhancing the structural and systematic cooperation between the two regions including an Asian-African permanent forum. The key decisions are:
- “Organizing a Commemorative Asian-African Summit every ten years;
- “Consolidating the institutionalized process of the NAASP by rotating the co-chairmanship of NAASP every four years as stipulated in the NAASP Declaration 2005;
- “Organizing biennial ministerial consultations at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York to provide strategic direction for Asian-African partnership;
- “Organizing annual meetings between Co-chairs;
- “Strengthening people-to-people interactions, particularly in business, academia, media, youth and sports as well as civil society. In this regard, we encourage interregional University to University (U to U) cooperation, including the establishment of an Asian-African Academic Forum to strengthen closer collaboration among higher education institutions and academicians in the two regions. We also see the benefits of establishing a network of Asian-African think-tanks to enhance research and assist policy development.”
The Asian-African countries are committed to working together to shape their future, so as to harness the energy of their respective economies and to make a contribution to the long-term development and common prosperity of the two regions.
They will also review the progress of implementation of this Declaration in the next Summit of Asian-African countries.
Declaration on Palestine
A declaration on Palestine with 15 paragraphs was adopted in the Asian-African Summit. Referring to the principle of self- determination as set forth in the Final Communiqué of the Bandung Conference in 1955, and in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, leaders deplored the fact that sixty years since the Bandung Conference, the Palestinian people remain deprived of their rights, freedom and independence, and that millions of Palestinians are still living under occupation and as refugees, and that this historic injustice continues.
The leaders paid a special tribute to the resilience and steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the face of the illegal Israeli occupation, and reaffirmed their full support of the just struggle of the Palestinian people to regain their inalienable right to self- determination, including the realization of the sovereignty and independence of their State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the 4 June 1967 borders and relevant United Nations resolutions, as set out in the two-State solution.
They stressed that the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement, which ends the illegal Israeli occupation that began in 1967, resolves all permanent status issues – Palestine refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, borders, security and water – and justly fulfils the inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people. And that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is imperative for achieving peace and security in the region.
The declaration strongly deplored the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip in July – August 2014, which caused the tragic loss of Palestinian lives, the majority being civilians, including hundreds of children and women; massive destruction of homes and vital civilian infrastructure; widespread trauma to the civilian population; and the dramatic deterioration of socio-economic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip. In this regard it appealed for a rapid and full disbursement of pledges made at the Cairo Conference on Palestine: Reconstructing Gaza to alleviate the humanitarian disaster and support urgently needed economic recovery and reconstruction.
The declaration concluded by calling for continued efforts to support and assist the Palestinian people in the realization of their right to self-determination, independence and freedom without delay. Leaders of Asian-African countries expressed their hope that Palestine’s application for full membership in the United Nations will be considered favourably. In light of the latest recognitions of the State of Palestine by a number of countries and Parliaments, they called upon the countries, which have not yet recognized the State of Palestine to do so to ensure that the freedom and independence of all Asian and African nations are comprehensive and complete.