About Summit

Philippine Statement at the
1st Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit
By: Congressman AI Francis C. Bichara
Head, Philippine Delegation

 

His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah AI Ahmad AI Jaber AI Sabah,
Majesties,
Excellencies,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude to the Amir of the State of Kuwait, for hosting the 1st ACD Summit and for the warm reception extended to me and my delegation.

I also wish to reiterate to His Highness my government's appreciation for his visit to the Philippines last March making the first ever State Visit by the Amir to the Philippines thereby strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries.

I wish to extend my President's apologies for not being able to come to Kuwait. Today as I speak, we are celebrating in the Philippines, the successful negotiations for a framework agreement on the establishment of a Bangsamoro in Southern Philippines to benefit our Muslim brothers through the mediation of Malaysia.

The Philippines is fortunate to be one of the founding members of ACD. Comprising of 32 diverse nations, ACD provides us with an important forum for dialogue on common issues and has enormous potential in promoting broader regional integration and cooperation towards an environment conducive to sustainable development.

A particular concern of the Philippines is energy security. As a Co-Prime Mover on Energy, we have consistently advocated the pursuit of energy security in the region. We envision ACD to be more than a forum in the area of energy cooperation. The ACD Energy Action Plan, for example, calls for a collaborative approach in implementing energy programs and projects to realize enhanced regional energy security and the sustainability of energy resources and technologies.

We recognize that many member nations, including the Philippines, have vulnerable ecosystems exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Thus, improved energy efficiency could mitigate the effects of climate change.

We need to ensure the resilience of our food systems through the development and application of innovative and climate-responsive agricultural technologies. This effective interplay of science and technology with agriculture is the first step towards a global solution to this pressing reality.

We need to work together in the areas of education and promotion of knowledge, as knowledge, in the form of learning about others, will make us understand one another and be more tolerant of another person's culture and religion. We need to invest more in the education of our citizens if only to prepare them to live and thrive in a multicultural and expanding global village.

There is no better time for all of us to work together than now, to respond to these challenges. We must forge a common strategy that will maximize our potential as nations and build on the wealth of skills and knowledge of our peoples.

At this juncture, the Philippines welcomes the pledge of the government of Kuwait of 300 million dollars towards an ACD Trust Fund to be used for development efforts in least developed countries in ACD.

The Philippines also wishes to add its voice to those who have welcomed the entry of Afghanistan to ACD.

His Highness, Excellencies,

I wish to take this opportunity to commend the Government of Kuwait, our country-coordinator Thailand, and the rest of the ACD member countries who worked hard to draft the Communiqué of the 1st ACD Summit. The Communiqué reflects the ACO members' firm commitment towards further strengthening pan-Asian cooperation.

My government welcomes the proposal from Kuwait and Thailand to convene in three months' time, an experts' meeting before the holding of the next Ministerial Meeting. The Philippines expects to participate in this experts' meeting.

We also look forward to the holding of the 2nd ACD Energy Forum in December this year in Pakistan.

At this point, I wish to add that, after a decade of ACD's existence, it is imperative that we revisit the various areas of cooperation and the list of Prime Movers and Co-Movers and enlist the active participation of more members.

At the same time, there is need for the members to focus on particular areas where they could make a more substantial and appreciative contribution.

Indeed, as we share a common vision, we must learn to capitalize on each other's strengths and work closely together through effective collaboration to benefit our peoples.

Thank you,

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