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The ASEAN FURTURE FORUM - Toward fast and sustainable growth of a people-centered ASEAN Community has been successfully hosted by Vietnam. The forum discussed deliberations on the future of ASEAN in both practical and visionary ways in the context of fast, complex developments in the strategic landscapes of the region and the world. The Forum has received more than 500 participants both online and offline with esteemed government officials, policymakers, experts, practitioners, and pertinent stakeholders from ASEAN Member States. The Forum also welcomed ASEAN's external partners and allies, underscoring its inclusive and comprehensive approach.

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On April 23, in Hanoi, the ASEAN Future Forum 2024 (AFF 2024) wrapped up after a day of productive discussions.In his closing speech, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son said in-depth discussions at the event have provided regional countries and stakeholders with valuable insights to reflect on and reaffirm the importance of collective efforts in shaping a brighter future for the ASEAN community. The Foreign Minister expressed optimism about ASEAN's development direction, noting that the discussions had attracted a significant number of policymakers and business entities to explore and propose feasible solutions, with some proposing unique approaches to adapting to and addressing regional challenges.


According to the Foreign Minister, delegates highlighted the ASEAN’s pivotal role in further maintaining regional peace and stability. He concluded by urging ASEAN member states to unite with determination in realising the ASEAN Community Vision 2045. This vision, he emphasised, will shape a better future for both current and future generations.

Foreign Minister Son expessed his hope that the second edition of the ASEAN Future Forum will be reconvened in Hanoi next year, to continue meaningful dialogues on the future of ASEAN.


The following is the full text of the closing remarks by Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son:


"As the ASEAN Future Forum 2024 draws to a close, I am filled with a renewed sense of hope, purpose and determination.

The many discussions and insights shared at the Forum today and at the Youth Interface at the DAV yesterday have provided valuable food for thought and reaffirmed the necessity of our collective efforts in shaping a brighter future for our ASEAN Community.

In his opening speech earlier today, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh highlighted the three strategic trends that will define our future: the intensifying competition and decoupling among major powers, the rapid development of new disruptive technologies, and the imperative for sustainable and inclusive development. Indeed, these strategic trends present both unprecedented opportunities and momentous challenges for ASEAN.


I believe the vital question is therefore: How can we best capitalize on these strategic trends, to promote rapid, sustainable development while still ensuring comprehensive security for the ASEAN people?

We heard many keywords repeated and even more interesting ideas discussed today. We heard that technology, particularly digital technologies, Big Data, and AI will shape our future in significant ways. This message was clearly delivered not only during the First Plenary Session but also again at the Business Roundtable co-chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone.


Both the government and the business sector are cooperating closely to find the most optimal way to leverage technologies to bolster rapid, sustainable, socio-economic development. Because these technologies promise to change the way we live and work every day, they will necessitate economic, infrastructural, institutional transformations. These transformations inevitably require us to redouble efforts to invest in human resources and particularly in the skills of our young men and women.


Yet the more traditional concerns remain at the center of our discussions. We collectively, as a region, are constantly at the risk of being pulled into rivalries between the major powers. We are reminded that ASEAN centrality is not a given, it was a hard-earned achievement by generations of ASEAN leaders and diplomats. Some also suggest that ASEAN needs to think creatively about how to safeguard its central position in the regional architecture, especially as the regional and global strategic landscape grow ever more precarious.


As we reflect on the key takeaways from this forum, it is clear that ASEAN stands at a critical juncture. Only an abundance of goodwill and earnest collective efforts will allow us to steer the region through these choppy waters in the coming years.

Yet I am feeling particularly upbeat and hopeful, after having engaged with an extraordinary group of policymakers, experts, and business leaders throughout the day. Each of them brought a unique perspective to the table, enriching our understanding of the complex challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.


While acknowledging the significant work that lies ahead, many participants emphasized that ASEAN's centrality continues to play a pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability within the region. Indeed, we can all agree that peace is precious, peace is the bedrock for everything good, and ASEAN’s biggest achievement since its founding has been the maintenance of peace in one of the most diverse regions in the world. To realize the vision of comprehensive security, we first must do our best to safeguard peace.

The challenges we face are certainly multifaceted and interconnected, ranging from geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainties, to the urgent need for sustainable development and climate action.


Yet by being proactive and creative in charting our own course, ASEAN can manage these strategic complexities and contribute to building a global community where all nations, regardless of size, are respected, cooperate as equals, and work together to address common challenges. The convergence of views around these key priorities provides a solid foundation for ASEAN to translate our shared vision into concrete action.


I am hopeful that the insights and recommendations that have emerged from the ASEAN Future Forum 2024 will serve as a clear call to action. As we move forward, it is imperative that we redouble our efforts to build a more inclusive and sustainable for all our peoples. This will require strong leadership, innovative thinking, and a steadfast commitment to collaboration among all stakeholders – from governments and businesses to the international community.


As we conclude this gathering, let us reaffirm our shared vision of a people-centered ASEAN Community – one that is resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and secure for all. Let us stand united in our resolve to turn this vision into reality, working hand in hand to build a better tomorrow for our peoples and for generations to come. The road ahead may be challenging, but with the collective strength and wisdom of our ASEAN Community, there is no obstacle we cannot overcome.


Once again, I would like to congratulate the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam for successfully organizing the first ASEAN Future Forum, an initiative by His Excellency Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. Thank you all for coming, actively supporting, and sharing your invaluable knowledge and insights. Our forum has been a truly open, multi-stakeholder platform, with diverse perspectives. Yet, amidst this diversity, a common thread has emerged – we all recognize the core and enduring values of ASEAN, and we share a profound optimism about ASEAN's future. We all aspire for an ASEAN that is united, stable, self-reliant, and sustainable in its development, with the people at its very heart, playing an increasingly significant role both within the region and on the global stage.

It is my sincere hope that we will have the pleasure of reconvening here in Hanoi next year for the second edition of the ASEAN Future Forum, to continue our meaningful dialogue and to further strengthen our shared commitment to the future of ASEAN."

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Vu Thi Thu Phuong

Vu Phuong

Project Manager +84 24 3 7186194 /17 +84 24 37186197


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