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12th ACD Ministerial Meeting in Manama concludes

Bahrain News Agency, 26 November 2013 - The 12th ACD Ministerial Meeting hosted in the Kingdom of Bahrain and chaired by Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa concluded and issued the following declaration:- MANAMA DECLARATION

We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other Heads of Delegation of the Member States of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), namely the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; the Kingdom of Bahrain; the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; the Kingdom of Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam; the Kingdom of Cambodia; the People’s Republic of China; the Republic of India; the Republic of Indonesia; the Islamic Republic of Iran; Japan; the Republic of Kazakhstan; the Republic of Korea; the State of Kuwait; the Kyrgyz Republic; the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Mongolia; the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; the Sultanate of Oman; the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; the Republic of the Philippines; the State of Qatar; the Russian Federation; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the Republic of Singapore; the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; the Republic of Tajikistan; the Kingdom of Thailand; the Republic of Turkey; the United Arab Emirates; the Republic of Uzbekistan; and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam;

Having met in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, for the 12th ACD Ministerial Meeting on 25 November, 2013;

WELCOMING the Republic of Turkey as the new ACD Member State;

EXPRESSING our appreciation for the Kingdom of Thailand’s initiative in 2002 to establish the ACD to promote intra-Asian cooperation, coordination and development across various mutually-agreed fields, and of Thailand’s role as ACD Coordinator;

UNDERLINING the continued importance and relevance of the ACD and its values in engaging Asian states in mutually-beneficial cooperation to address contemporary challenges and opportunities;

WISHING to build further upon the successful outcomes of the previous ACD Ministerial Meetings and the First ACD Summit;
RECOGNISING the necessity of ensuring sustainable development and prosperity throughout the region and the world, and underlining the importance of intra-Asian cooperation in achieving these goals;

REITERATING our adherence to and promotion of the core values of the ACD, namely, positive thinking, informality, voluntarism, non-institutionalisation, openness, respect for diversity, the level of support of Member States, the evolving nature of the ACD, positive work and participation of Member States in various cooperation programmes;

AFFIRMING the importance of cooperation and the rule of law to ensure peace, stability and security, which should be indivisible, equal and comprehensive in nature, as the necessary foundations for achieving sustainable development and inclusive economic growth ;

NOTING the growing importance of Asia in the modern world in light of its geographical scope and its immense human and natural resources, and noting in this regard the opportunities to increase intra-Asian trade, investment, and economic cooperation;

AFFIRMING the importance of people-to-people contact in fostering understanding, amity and cooperation among Asian nations;
RECOGNISING the role of tourism in contributing to interaction of people across national borders as well as to economic growth and employment generation;

UNDERSCORING the need to promote synergy in cooperation and partnership links between regional organisations and dialogue fora in Asia;
DO HEREBY DECLARE:

Promoting Intra-Asian Tourism"
1. endorse with appreciation the theme of this 12th Ministerial Meeting, namely Promoting Intra-Asian Tourism , and note in particular the importance of tourism not only in promoting economic growth, but also in enhancing mutual understanding and establishing and strengthening cooperation and enhancing people-to-people contact. We welcome the Concept Paper introduced by the Kingdom of Bahrain, Promoting Intra-Asian Tourism, and urge ACD Member States to work closely together to take forward the steps outlined therein and to enhance ongoing cooperation and continue to develop long-term and sustainable initiatives in tourism and related fields;
2. We greatly appreciate the ongoing work of the Co-Prime Movers on Tourism, and it is in the context of these efforts that we have positively discussed the proposals set out in the Concept Paper, which we welcome;
3. We look forward to cooperation among the appropriate government and non-government tourism entities in our countries, and with the ACD Provisional Secretariat , to implement the proposals, and in particular to the nomination of the first Asian Tourism Cities from 2015. In this context, we welcome Manama as the inaugural Asian Tourism City for the year 2014.
4. We recognise the increasing potential of tourism in enhancing economic growth, promoting mutual understanding, and in establishing and consolidating people-to-people contacts and friendships. We reaffirm the tremendous potential for expanding intra-Asian tourism, in particular in light of increasing regional development and prosperity, enhancing cultural cooperation and growing transport and digital connectivity within the region;
5. We recognise the importance of promoting free and open trade and investment among and between Asian countries, and of removing obstacles to this goal, as well as the need to work together to develop robust mechanisms for the mutual promotion and protection of ACD investments. We will continue to cooperate closely on these issues in order to enhance Asian economic integration and to promote joint Asian investments ;
6. We reaffirm our commitment to rule-based and development-friendly trade that would promote economic prosperity, employment generation and poverty alleviation in the developing world. We encourage member states to participate effectively in the forthcoming 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2013 towards an outcome that would contribute to successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round ;
7. We share the belief that there is great potential for further development of the Asian banking and financial system, and look forward to further cooperation between ACD countries to deepen Asian financial markets, and to strengthen Asian financial institutions. We recognise the importance of cooperation between financial centres in Asia, as well as among governmental, regulatory and private sector institutions of ACD Member States, in order to share knowledge, expertise and experience, that can facilitate greater intra-Asian banking and financial ties and strengthen resilience and crisis management capacity;
8. We emphasise the importance of strengthening global partnership for successful attainment of the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015. We also call for close cooperation among ACD Member States in order to make a strong and valuable contribution through appropriate inter-governmental processes in the United Nations in elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, with sustainable development goals at its core, as a successor to the MDGs;
9. We encourage ACD Member States to undertake common efforts for continued cooperation and consolidation in the area of sustainable development, and in particular to explore possible areas of cooperation that can effectively utilise Asia’s considerable human, natural and financial resources, and enhance experience and information sharing to alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable development;
10. We take note of the proposal by the State of Kuwait for the mobilization of USD 2 billion for the establishment of the ACD Development Fund. We deeply appreciate Kuwait’s pledge of USD 300 million for initial contribution and invite further pledges of voluntary contribution from Member States. We call for experts to meet to discuss the establishment, options, mechanism and structure of the proposed fund ;
11. We recognise the critical importance of water in supporting sustainable development, particularly in view of increasing population and economic growth taking place in Asia. We look forward to regional cooperation in enhancement and improvement of water resources as well as its sustainable use through mobilisation of resources, capacity-building and technology transfer. We welcome the success of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit (19-20 May, 2013, Chiangmai ) and the High Level International Conference on Water Cooperation (22 August, 2013, Dushanbe);
12. We are saddened at the loss of lives and property caused by natural disasters in various member states, and resolve to forge effective collaboration in natural disaster management, including reduction of disaster risk and mitigation of disaster effects. In this context, we are committed to early implementation of the project for the establishment of a Coordination Network of Early Warning Centres;
13. We reaffirm our commitment to cooperate in the fields of energy security, accessibility and sustainability for both consumers and producers, in particular through the ACD Energy Action Plan . We adopt the Energy Action Plan at this Ministerial Meeting to serve as a framework for closer ACD cooperation in energy-related issues, promoting interdependence and strengthening Asia’s energy security. We encourage all ACD Member States to work together in line with the Plan, and to further explore the appropriate measures for its implementation, and express our appreciation to the Prime Movers and Co-Prime Movers in this field . We welcome the offers of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of Tajikistan to host the 2nd and 3rd ACD Ministerial Energy Forum, respectively;
14. We encourage ACD Member States to cooperate in technology transfer, in line with mutually agreed terms and appropriate arrangements between concerned countries, in order to promote sustainable development, achieve energy, water and food security and promote the research and development of environment-friendly energy and agricultural technologies to reduce price volatility in energy and food markets;
15. We highlight the importance of applying the principles of the "green economy" in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development and encourage ACD Member States to follow this course in order to develop the entire Asia while recognising the green economy is one of the tools to achieve sustainable development;
16. We reiterate our Leaders’ call, at the First ACD Summit in Kuwait, for national, regional and international action to address and counter the adverse impacts of climate change, particularly those on vulnerable nations and communities. We continue to encourage cooperation and partnerships between our countries to promote climate change adaptation and mitigation;
17. We reiterate our strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and call upon all ACD Member States to work together to prevent and suppress terrorist acts, implement effectively the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the United Nations Security Council Resolutions related to combating international terrorism, and continue ongoing efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among civilizations, with due respect of different religions and cultures that will contribute to the strengthening of the fight against terrorism ;
18. We call upon all the ACD Member States to actively cooperate in combating transnational organized crime, that poses a serious threat to them and their peoples ;
19. We express our concern at the grave threat posed to freedom and safety of navigation by maritime piracy and its impact on regional and international trade and economic development, and we will continue to work individually, collectively and with others in the international community to fully and effectively build trust and confidence in order to enhance maritime security by peaceful means, in accordance with international law, relevant international instruments and United Nations resolutions. In this context, we appreciate the United Arab Emirates’ hosting of the 3rd Global Conference on Combating Piracy, on 11-12 September 2013 in partnership between private and public sectors;
20. We welcome with appreciation the success of the 3rd Senior Officials' Meeting on Cultural Cooperation and the 1st Ministerial Meeting on Cultural Cooperation held in the Islamic Republic of Iran on 7-8 May 2013, and note the offer of the Republic of the Philippines to host the First Recognition and Awarding of Asian Living Human Treasures in May of 2014. We endorse the Tehran Communiqué, made at the said Ministerial Meeting, and commend Iran and India, Prime Mover and Co-Prime Mover of cultural cooperation for their efforts ;
21. We recognise the rich diversity in religion and culture among Asian States as well as the great potential for social and cultural exchange, and encourage ACD member states to conduct more inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogues as well as cultural exchange through multiple channels and various forms. In this regard, we affirm the important role of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, and the initiative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to conduct the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. We welcome the convening of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in Indonesia on 29-30 August, 2014. We also encourage efforts to expand educational cooperation, promote youth exchange and encourage our communities to play more positive roles in the cooperation to consolidate the social foundation for pan-Asian cooperation;
22. We welcome the establishment of the ACD Provisional Secretariat in the State of Kuwait and the appointment of the Secretary-General and urge Member States to continue working together to finalise the role and responsibility of the Secretariat ;
23. We note that infrastructure and institutional connectivity can effectively boost people-to-people and trade exchange as well as economic growth, and decide to work together to increase input and step up the efforts to gradually connect and link the roads and other infrastructure, so as to build an Asian connectivity network that will contribute to common development in our region. In this context, we note that there are proposals in other fora for different financing modalities of infrastructure projects. We endorse the outcome of the working group meeting on Enhanced ACD Regional Connectivity, held in Bangkok on 17 July 2013, and urge Member States’ relevant agencies to consider its proposed ways forward further at the ACD Ministerial Meeting on Regional Connectivity to be hosted by Thailand in 2014 to forge pan-Asian connectivity in all its modes and forms;
24. We also welcome the generous offers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to host the 13th Ministerial Meeting of the ACD in Riyadh in 2014 , the Kingdom of Thailand to host the 14th Ministerial Meeting of the ACD and the 2nd ACD Summit in March 2015, and the Islamic Republic of Iran to host the 3rd ACD Summit in 2018;
25. We express our appreciation to the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain for the warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements made for the 12th ACD Ministerial Meeting.

Adopted in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, on 25 November 2013. -- END -- (Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs website www.mofa.gov.bh) (IY)

Source: http://www.bna.bh/portal/en/news/590022

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