About Summit

Singaporean Senior Parliamentary Secretary for foreign affairs
and community development, youth and sports Sam Tan's Speech
16th October 2012


Your Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,
Highnesses, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your Highness, Singapore is privileged and honored to be a part of this historic summit. We are deeply appreciative of Kuwait's leadership and initiative in hosting the inaugural ACD summit.

Your Highness, I would like also to take a moment to acknowledge the enormous effort that Kuwait has made to ensure the success of this summit, and for the heart-warming generosity of your excellent hospitality. In particular, I would like to congratulate Your Highness on the professionalism and hard work of the competent officials, especially the many young Kuwaiti men and women working as Liaison officers and at the secretariat to support our delegations during the summit. I understand that many of these young and outstanding officers are trainees at the Diplomatic Institute. We often say that the future of a country is in its youth, I believe Kuwait's future will be in very good hands.

I would also like to take this opportunity to join my colleagues in thanking Thailand for its tireless efforts as the ACD coordinator.We are grateful for the pioneering vision of then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinwatra and then-Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai.

Your Highness,

Singapore has been a member of the ACD since its formation ten years ago. For over a decade, the ACD has played a valuable role.With its core values of voluntarism and non-institutionalization, the ACD's flexible dialogue process has helped to develop an Asian Community at the Pace that is comfortable to all its members. The ACD's informality promotes networking and connectivity, ultimately enhancing Asian solidarity.

It is now opportune and appropriate for us to take stock of the ACD's progress and evolution. We are grateful to Kuwait for its leadership and its willingness to commit resources to the ACD to explore new mechanism and areas for cooperation. However, the ACD should evolve in sustainable manner. We should consolidate our past achievements by working through existing mechanisms. when deliberating on the ACD mechanism, we must not lose sight of the ultimate objectives, which is for member countries to derive concrete benefits from participation in ACD projects.

ACDS consolidation is especially important given the uncertain economic climate of recent times. the ACD was founded in the wake of the Asian Financial crisis. Similarly, we are currently confronted with persistently weak global macroeconomic conditions. The outlook for major markets such as the US and Euro Zone remain uncertain. This is likely to mean strengthening cooperation within Asia and taking practical steps to ensure sustainable growth has become increasingly important.

We have faced a succession of economic crises – the financial crisis sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 was soon followed by the crisis in Europe. In part, the economic instability has been a consequence of globalization, as nations grapple with the challenges of increasing interdependence, global supply chains and manufacturing processes, and as a developing countries in Asia begin to industrialize and take over global manufacturing. As the world economy settles on a new equilibrium, sub regional organizations have become increasingly important mechanisms to improve regional competitiveness and expand markets. In particular, grouping such as ASEAN play an important role in integrating sub-regional economies, and as incremental building blocks for more ambitious initiatives. For example, as the ASEAN economies moved towards integration, we also engaged the northeast Asian sub regions to expand our efforts in an ASEAN+3 initiative in 1997 for further East Asian economic integration. More recently, ASEAN and the GCC have adopted a Two-Year Action Plan to explore the opportunities for closer economic linkage.

In the near future, I look forward to Tajikstan's hosting of the 11th ACD Ministerial Meeting in Dushanbe in May next year. Its theme of " Towards Sustainable Development for Future Prosperity in Asia" is pertinent in all Asian countries.

Singapore also welcomes the generous offers from Bahrain to host the 12th ACD Ministerial Meeting,Saudi Arabia to host the 13th Ministerial Meeting, and Thailand to host the 14th Ministerial Meeting and the 2nd ACD Summit.

Finally, I would like to warmly welcome Afghanistan as the 32nd member of the ACD.

Thank you.



عربي French