“2. In light of rapid developments in the region and the world resulting from globalisation, ASEAN must continue to strive to maintain its centrality and proactive role by being the driving force in the evolving regional architecture. To do so, ASEAN needs to accelerate its integration and Community building
efforts while intensifying relations with external partners.
3. As a key step towards realising the ASEAN Community of continued economic growth, reduced development gap and improved connectivity among Member States and between Member States and the rest of the world by enhancing regional and national physical, institutional and people-to-people linkages, ASEAN has developed this Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.
4. Under the Master Plan, ASEAN has reviewed the achievements made and the challenges encountered or that are impeding each of these linkages. Key strategies and essential actions have been adopted with clear targets and timelines to address these challenges to further enhance ASEAN Connectivity in
realising the ASEAN Community by 2015 and beyond.
8. Whereas for People-to-People Connectivity, two strategies have been formulated to promote deeper intra-ASEAN social and cultural interaction and understanding through community building efforts and, greater intra-ASEAN people mobility through progressive relaxation of visa requirements and
development of mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) to provide the needed impetus for concerted efforts in promoting awareness, collaboration, exchange, outreach and advocacy programmes to facilitate the ongoing efforts to increase greater interactions between the peoples of ASEAN.”
(iv) To develop initiatives that promote and invest in education and life-long learning, support human resource development, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, promote ASEAN cultural exchanges, and promote tourism and the development of related industries;
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.