The 20th Asean Transport Ministers (20th ATM) Meeting and its related meetings with Dialogue Partners were held in the Republic of the Union of Mandalay, Myanmar from the 27-28 November 2014.
Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister of Communications headed the Brunei delegation.
The 20th ATM Meeting and its related meetings with dialogue partners were preceded by the 38th Asean Senior Transport Officials Meeting (38th STOM) and its related meetings with dialogue partners which were held from November 24–26, 2014. The Brunei Head of Delegation for the 38th STOM was Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohamad Yusof, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and joined by senior officials from the Ministry.
The 20th ATM Meeting and its related meetings with dialogue partners were officiated by Dr Sai Mauk Kham, Vice President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The 20th ATM Meeting was chaired by Mr Nyan Htun Aung, Union Minister for Transport of Myanmar and Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Transport of Malaysia was Vice-Chairman.
There were three key deliverables during the 20th ATM, namely:
1) The signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) on Asean Cooperation Mechanism For Joint Oil Spill Preparedness And Response. This MoU puts in place a regional collaborative mechanism to build capacities and capabilities and promote mutual assistance in preparing for controlling and combating oil spill incidents in Asean region. Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister of Communications signed the MoU on behalf of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on 28 November 2014.
2) The Ministers adopted the vision of “Towards greater connectivity, efficiency, integration, safety and sustainability of Asean transport to strengthen Asean’s competitiveness and foster regional inclusive growth and development” to guide the region’s transport cooperation and integration for the next decade (2016-2025). The next transport plan would be for a 10-year period (2016 – 2025). This strategic plan would focus on 5 areas: air transport, land transport, maritime transport, transport facilitation and sustainable transport.
3) The Ministers endorsed the Implementation Framework of the Asean Single Shipping Market (ASSM), which will provide strategic guidance to coordinate policy and harmonise rules and regulation to further liberalise shipping services in the region.
During the meeting, the Asean Ministers also had separate dialogues with their counterparts from the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). In this regard, the Ministers commended the progress made in transport cooperation with China, Japan, and ROK which will further strengthen Asean transport connectivity. The Ministers also thanked EU and Germany for their support on the development of Asean transport sector.
With China, the Ministers were pleased to note the operationalisation of the Asean-China Air Transport Agreement (AC-ATA) and its Protocol 1. The Ministers encouraged Asean member states and China to expedite the ratification process of Protocol 2. The ministers looked forward to continued engagement between Asean and China particularly on further expansion of 5th freedom traffic rights.
For Japan, the ministers welcomed the endorsement of the Asean-Japan Transport Partnership (AJTP) Work Plan for the period of 2014-2015 which will include 25 project/activities on transport facilitation, transport infrastructure, quality and sustainable transport, and human resource development. The ministers also welcomed the convening of the 1st Asean-Japan Working Group on Regional Air Services Arrangements and looked forward to the conclusion of a liberal and mutually beneficial Asean-Japan Air Services Agreement.
The ministers welcomed the adoption of the revised Asean-ROK Transport Cooperation which aims to attain the following goals: meeting the objectives of the regional development and economic growth policies of the Asean region; and creating a win-win outcome for both Asean and the Republic of Korea based on co-prosperity. The Roadmap includes the implementation plan of projects/activities related to professional capacity building, master plan studies, infrastructure feasibility studies and research studies for the period of 2014-2017. The ministers looked forward to continued discussion between Asean and ROK on aviation cooperation, and eventually putting in place a liberal and mutually beneficial Asean-ROK Air Services Agreement.
The ministers also welcomed EU’s support for the completion of two key studies which has provided recommendations on the implementation of Asean transport facilitation agreements under the Asean Regional Integration Support from EU (ARISE) programme. The ministers welcomed the signing of the Implementation Agreement for Sustainable Port Development in the Asean Region – Phase II with Germany, which will facilitate the monitoring, assessing and advocating sustainable development and effective implementation of the Port Safety, Health and Environmental Management Systems (PSHE-MS) in Asean ports in accordance with international standards and conventions.
The ministers welcomed India’s proposal to convene a Task Force meeting with Asean aviation officials in the first quarter of 2015 to move forward the negotiations on Asean-India Air Services Agreement, and looked forward to the conclusion of an Air Services Agreement based on ‘open skies’ principles covering both air freight and passenger services.
During the sidelines of the 20th ATM Meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Civil Aviation Co-operation was signed by Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister of Communications of Brunei Darussalam, and Lui Tuck Yew, Minister for Transport of the Republic of Singapore.
The MoU underscores the friendly relations and desire for greater collaboration between the transport ministries and civil aviation authorities of Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of Singapore, and will pave the way for both sides to deepen co-operation in the civil aviation sphere.
Under the MoU, Brunei and Singapore will cooperate in the areas of civil aviation safety, security and training, aircraft accident and incident investigation, air traffic management, civil aviation and environmental protection and sustainable development, and other civil aviation-related matters.
The next Asean Transport Ministers Meeting and its related meetings with dialogue partners will be held in Malaysia in 2015.