6 September 2017 | Pasay City, Philippines
- ASEAN Member States and the European Union warmly welcome the successful outcome of the 4th EU-ASEAN High Level Dialogue (HLD) on Maritime Security Cooperation, which was held on 05-06 October 2017 in Manila. The Dialogue was co-organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Coast Watch Council Secretariat of the Philippines and the European External Action Service, together with the European Commission.
- The 4th HLD coincided with the 50th Founding Anniversary of ASEAN and the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN-EU relations.
- The Dialogue was attended by senior officials and key experts from the ASEAN Member States and the EU who discussed a broad range of maritime security-related issues under four thematic areas, namely: Law Enforcement at Sea; Maritime Connectivity; Marine Environmental Cooperation and Joint Development of Resources; and Conflict Prevention. The 4th HLD builds upon the results of the three (3) previous dialogues and aimed to identify elements of a future work programme to implement the maritime security component of the ASEAN-EU Plan of Action 20182022 adopted in Manila last 06 August 2017 on the occasion of the ASEAN-EU Post Ministerial Conference.
- The HLD was formally opened by the Keynote Remarks of Philippines National Security Adviser, Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., and French Navy Rear Admiral Anne Cullere. Both speakers underscored the international nature of maritime security issues and challenges and the need to comprehensively address them in a cooperative manner. Against this backdrop, they also highlighted the importance of the ASEAN-EU partnership in general, and the unique character of the HLD in particular as the only region-to-region dialogue mechanism for ASEAN Member States.
- The extensive discussions during the HLD gathered significant ideas and inputs on how and where ASEAN and EU can cooperate at the bilateral and regional levels on maritime security. Specifically, the Dialogue explored ways and means for bilateral cooperation between EU and ASEAN Member States to improve mutual capacity for maritime surveillance, information sharing, conducting law enforcement at sea, and developing efficient, security, and environmentally friendly ports. On the regional level, the session discussed how the ASEAN-EU cooperation may contribute to enhancing marine environmental management, preventing escalation of conflicts in disputed waters, and establishment of joint resource development mechanisms drawing from the experience of EU Member States in addressing these pressing issues.
- The meeting discussed the cross-cutting nature of maritime security in the context of ASEAN – EU cooperation as reflected in the ASEAN-EU Plan of Action 2018-2022. In view thereof, the HLD identified concrete and practical activities that may be implemented in the immediate period with the view to improving ASEAN-EU connectivity through maritime spaces that are connected, protected, and respected. Thus, the meeting encouraged further operational level participation in future HLDs in order to promote awareness of and facilitate the implementation of the ASEAN-EU Plan of Action 2018-2022.
- The participants agreed that the outcome of the 4th HLD, as well as the upcoming meetings of the ASEAN Regional Forum Intersessional Meeting on Maritime Security which is co-chaired by the EU with Vietnam and Australia, can help policymakers of the ASEAN and the EU in implementing the ASEAN-EU Plan of Action 2018-2022, particularly, on maritime security which encourages close cooperation between the two sides to address maritime-related issues in a comprehensive manner.
- The Dialogue concluded that ASEAN-EU cooperation on maritime security will bring about mutual benefit for ASEAN and EU Member States and contribute in a constructive way to the maintenance of peace and good order at sea.