After the substantive progress under the Plan of Action for the implementation of the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2015-17), in the areas of East Asian Summit (EAS) cooperation, the Member Nations of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – an establishment that, through the joint endeavours, focuses to accelerate the economic growth, social development and cultural progress-welcomed the adoption of the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2018-2022).
The Plan of Action included maritime cooperation as a new area of cooperation for EAS that is an open forum of 18 regional leaders for dialogue on political, economical and strategic concerns in an attempt to promote peace, security, economic prosperity, tackling the economic, political and security challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region. Non-Aligned Movement has always been an entity that has advocated the ideology of maintaining peace and enhancing growth and development in all sectors of the economy. With an inclined dedication towards the development and growth of the nations, the organisation has roared for the member states for enhancing their strategies in order to widen the horizons of their social, political and economical prosperity to deal with the challenges, concerning economic, social, political and security areas.
With a promising figure towards the growth and development of various sectors of the economy, the EAS Development Initiative (2018-2022) concerns a varied range of sectors, including, environment and energy cooperation, with which it has been advocating its efforts towards mainstreaming sustainable development and promoting and developing approaches that are balanced, inclusive and sustainable.
The idea concerning this particular sector also advocates for continuous backing of the EAS Clean Energy Forum, along with a continuous support for investments in renewable energy. With its concern towards education cooperation, the development plan focuses on mechanisms such as the EAS Education Ministers’ Meeting and others for enhancing communication and dialogue in education policies to boost the long-term and mutually beneficial educational cooperation. The development plan has been paving way for fostering the global economic recovery, regional financial cooperation and communication of monetary policies. Also, it has been rendering the idea to narrow the development gaps by advocating for strengthening human resource development.
Similar to the idea that NAM approaches, the EAS Development Initiative plan has also laid support for the enhancement of regional preparedness and capacity through control, care, prevention, surveillance, management and timely response to emerging and re-emerging communicable and infectious diseases with an equal support for regional cooperation and coordination on public health to make the essential health care facilities accessible and affordable by all to promote a healthy lifestyle. Rendering its efforts towards building and enhancing the cooperation on Natural Disaster Management, the development plan focuses towards the implantation of decisions and measures mentioned in the Cha-am Hua Hin Statement on EAS Disaster Management. For increasing support towards disaster management, the plan works for encouraging the EAS member states for financing, providing technical support and conducting disaster response and recovery exercises to strengthen the potential of the concerned member states to cope with natural disasters and calamities. The EAS Development Initiative (2018-2022) has also been a supportive hand for cooperation on ASEAN connectivity.
The plan backs the idea of implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025. In its efforts, MPAC has always encouraged the Member States to provide technical and financial support to strengthen connectivity mainly in five strategic areas, including, digital innovation, sustainable infrastructure, regulatory excellence, people mobility and seamless logistics and also play actively in ASEAN Connectivity by sharing best practices. It also encourages public and private sectors to form an active participant in priority projects of the MPAC 2025. The plan also promotes the idea of strengthening economic cooperation, trade and regional economic integration through mechanisms like business forums.
Also, it supports its idea in another field namely, food security cooperation to support and strengthen the implementation of the EAS Declaration on Food Security. Maritime Cooperation is the newly added field of cooperation that advocates for the enhancement of sustainable and responsible fisheries management and fishery development. Also, it promotes the assessment and implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM).
The ideologies of the EAS Development Initiative (2018-2022) actively work towards the intended and peace-focused principles of the Non-Aligned Movement and intend to implement the mentioned initiatives through existing mechanisms of ASEAN and regional frameworks with an active support from member states of the EAS and also from other regional and international organisations, including United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Asian Development Bank (ADB), ERIA and World Bank.