The complexity of maritime issues in Southeast Asia region have been considered as one of the major concerns to ASEAN. The Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II) signed by ASEAN Leaders in Bali, Indonesia on 7 October 2003, reiterated that maritime issues and concerns are trans-boundary in nature, and therefore shall be addressed regionally in a holistic, integrated and comprehensive manner. Furthermore, the establishment of the ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) is also one of the important action lines as stipulated in the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) Blueprint.
As a follow up initiatives to the aforesaid matter, Indonesia hold the 1st AMF on 28-29 July 2010 in Surabaya. The Forum is officially opened by Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs (MFA), Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Triyono Wibowo, and the discussions are chaired by among others: the Director General of ASEAN Cooperation of MFA, Republic of Indonesia, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to ASEAN, and the Director for ASEAN Political-Security Cooperation of the MFA, Republic Indonesia.
The city of Surabaya is chosen to host the Forum as reflection of its important role in Indonesia’s maritime history. The Forum is attended by ASEAN Senior Officials, Representatives of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR), Senior Officials of ASEAN Sectoral Bodies related to maritime from all ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat. Experts namely Dr. So Umezaki from Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Mr. Bantarto Bandoro from President University-Indonesia and Mr. Robert C. Beckman from the Center for International Law, National University of Singapore has confirmed to attend and share their productive thoughts in the discussions.
This inaugural meeting discusses cross cutting matters related to maritime, including topics such as connectivity, maritime security problems and search and rescue to assist persons and vessels in distress at sea. The meeting also discusses and identifies future work of the ASEAN Maritime Forum which among others: updating the AMF Concept paper, identifying topics and planning for the next AMF as well as to explore possible concrete cooperation on maritime for further implementation.
The establishment of AMF is timely taking to implement the Leader’s Declaration on ASEAN Community Blueprints and its Statement to enhance regional linkages that eventually contribute to the fostering of the establishment of the ASEAN Community by 2015. The Forum is hoped to produce inter-sectoral recommendations for reference of ASEAN Sectoral Bodies in addressing maritime related issues within its functions and responsibility. (source: Directorate of ASEAN Political and Security Cooperation)