2.3 People-to-People Connectivity

Why the focus on tourism in people to people connectivity? 

2.3 People-to-People Connectivity
73. Since its inception in 1967, ASEAN has been guided by the Bangkok Declaration, which calls for a prosperous and peaceful community through a collective effort to accelerate economic growth, enhance social progress and intensify cultural development to increase the living standards of its people. To this end, ASEAN has embarked on a number of initiatives including education, culture, social welfare, youth, women, rural development and poverty eradication to name a few.

74. Following the adoption of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint in 2009, the ASCC Council has been the main body entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that all the aspirations
and objectives under the ASCC Blueprint are effectively and expeditiously implemented. These include promoting ASEAN awareness and education, and enhancing people-to-people links.

75. The awareness of the diverse cultural heritages within ASEAN needs to be promoted. Studies on ASEAN arts and cultures as well as of languages should be encouraged. This will also have the added effect of preserving our cultural heritages for future generations.

76. In the area of education and human resource development, four areas of cooperation have been prioritised. These include promoting ASEAN awareness among its citizens, particularly the youth; strengthening the ASEAN identity through education; building ASEAN human resources in the field of education; and
strengthening the ASEAN University Network (AUN). In this connection, educational cooperation in line with the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on Strengthening Cooperation on Education to Achieve an ASEAN Caring and Sharing Community, should be promoted to encourage regional cooperation on basic education and achieve universal access to primary education across the region by 2015, including the promotion of life-long learning to enhance capacity building of the people. The quality and compatibility of education, including technical and vocational, and skills training in the region should also be improved by developing technical assistance programmes at all educational levels, where appropriate.

77. The ASEAN University Network (AUN) was established in 1995 to promote collaborative studies and research programmes among ASEAN scholars and scientists. It currently consists of 26 leading universities in ASEAN and is actively supporting the mobility of both staff and student in the region through two key programmes including the AUN Actual Quality Assessment (AQA) and the ASEAN
Credit Transfer System (ACTS).

78. Key challenges faced by the education sector include the lack of an agreed set of infrastructure in higher education to facilitate the mobility of students and staff, incompatible academic cycles, the need for quality assurance procedures, recognition of qualifications provisions and domestic regulations, and raising the quality of education to train workers for the knowledge economy and accessibility to education in low income countries. 

Key Challenges
• Academic cycles
• Recognition of qualifications
• Quality of education

79. The ASEAN Committee for Culture and Information (COCI) was established in 1978 to promote effective cooperation in the fields of culture and information for the purpose of enhancing mutual understanding and solidarity among ASEAN peoples and furthering regional development. Several activities are undertaken each year to nurture talent and promote greater interactions between scholars, writers, artists and media practitioners. Amongst others, the activities include the ASEAN Youth Camp, the AsiaVision ASEAN TV News Award, the Best of ASEAN Performing Arts series, and the ASEAN Newsmaker Project.

80. Challenges arise from the growing interdependence between cultural growth and economic sustainability. It is important to create greater awareness of cultural role in sustainable development and to include cultural policies as one of the key components in Member States’ development strategies.

81. Several ASEAN initiatives in the tourism sector have been undertaken over the years under the Roadmap for Integration of Tourism Sector 2004-2010 to further promote ASEAN as a tourist destination through the liberalisation of tourism and travel related services, upgrading of tourism infrastructure, enhancement
of the skills of tourism related personnel and encouraging greater participation from the private sector in the development of the tourism sector.

82. The successful undertaking of the Roadmap resulted in greater inflow of tourists from both ASEAN and third countries into the region. This has also led to growing demand for local products and services, jobs creation, foreign exchange and greater interactions between local peoples and the tourists. ASEAN is in the process of drafting a strategic plan to succeed the Roadmap for adoption later this year. The plan is entitled ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015.

83. Notwithstanding the achievements, there are a number of challenges ASEAN must address if it is to succeed in its efforts to integrate the tourism sector in the region. Amongst others, these include the harmonisation of visa requirements, the development of third party liability insurance, the standardisation of tourism related services, the upgrading of tourism related infrastructure, and facilitation for inflow of
tourists across the region.

84. Consistent with ASEAN’s vision of a caring and sharing community, the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) is intensifying efforts towards the development of an instrument to promote decent employment of migrant workers, curb trafficking in persons and promote capacity building by sharing of experiences and best practices.

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