2 ACD High-Level Study Group Meeting
17-18 April 17, 2008
The 2nd ACD High-Level Study Group Meeting was held in Seoul with the
participation of 29 ACD member countries and presided over by Mr. Lee
Kyung-soo, Director-General of South Asian and Oceanian Bureau,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Republic of Korea. Member
countries discussed on the issues of 1) the Desirability of an ACD
Secretariat, 2) Funding and other Mechanism, 3) Track II Participation, and
4) Cultural Dialogue and Membership Issues. Diverse opinions were shared
among the participants, producing the following results:
Session 1: Desirability of an ACD Secretariat
(Chaired by H.E. Ms. Krisana Chandraprabha, Ambassador Attached to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand)
Member countries reaffirmed to recommend to the Ministers that a
rotating virtual secretariat attached to each year‟s AMM host country be
At the same time, participants noted the need for a permanent secretariat
in the long run as the ACD evolves, and agreed to keep the issue open
for the future discussion.
The meeting agreed to submit the updated Terms of Reference for the
ACD Virtual Secretariat to the Ministers in the 7th ACD Ministerial
Meeting, after having reflected opinions of member countries on the
initial draft prepared by the ACD Coordinator, Thailand, by the 3rd
High-Level Study Group Meeting in Kazakhstan.
Member countries expressed different opinions on how the Virtual
Secretariat Host term should be counted, which currently coincides with
the period of the ACD Chairmanship, and agreed to discuss it further in
the next meeting.
Session 2: Funding and Other mechanism to Stimulate Progress and
Activity in Different Project Areas
(Chaired by Mr. Dac Thanh Nguyen, Deputy Director General, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Vietnam)
The meeting agreed that, considering the low expected cost in running a
virtual secretariat, the AMM host country will cover its operating cost.
Member countries noted the importance of collective efforts to fund the
ACD cooperation projects through measures such as the establishment
of a centralized funding mechanism. However, the member countries, as
of now, shared the view that a centralized funding mechanism should be
pursued if and when there is consensus on establishing a permanent
secretariat that will run the fund.
The meeting recognized that prime and co-prime movers are in charge
of financing cooperation projects on a voluntary basis and the member
countries suggested that non-ACD members, International
Organizations, and private contributions as well as other ACD members
be considered as sources of funding on a voluntary basis.
- Some participants suggested considering International Organizations,
such as the ADB, as a possible source of funding.
- Some members stressed that all contributions should be made
without any political prerequisite.
- There were several opinions of using the UN budgetary formula as a
- There were several opinions on convening an open-ended working
group to study different aspects of funding pertaining to the ACD,
including financial mechanisms of the ACD cooperation projects.
- There was an opinion to make assessment on the performance of
prime and co-prime movers to ensure a more efficient
implementation of the 19 existing cooperation projects.
Member countries agreed to undertake a feasibility study on the funding
modalities for the cooperation projects on a voluntary basis.
Session 3: Track II Participation in the ACD Process
(Chaired by Mr. Young-cheol Cha, Senior Coordinator for South Asian and
Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic
Member countries agreed that, in the case of track II participation in
association with the ACD Cooperation Projects, prime and co-prime
movers are to decide the scope of participation and activities of track II,
giving due consideration to the opinions of other participating members.
In the case of independent track II participation in the ACD, member
countries reaffirmed that they first focus on revitalizing and
strengthening the existing ACD Think Tanks Network.
- Member countries stated their preferences to holding the ACD Think
Tanks Network meetings annually.
- Member countries are required to update the existing List of ACD
Academic Arm Contact Points by the 3rd High-Level Study Group
- Member countries agreed that, with respect to the financial aspect of
the meeting, host country shall cover the local cost and sending
countries shall cover the traveling cost.
No consensus was found on whether the meeting should be held
independent of or back-to-back with the AMM and on whether the
Network meeting should be hosted by the AMM host country or another
ACD member country. Therefore, member countries agreed to further
discuss these issues at the 3rd High-Level Study Group Meeting.
- While the Meeting recognized the independence of the Track II
process, the Meeting also agreed that there is a need for correlation
between the Track I and Track II process so that the outcome can be
discussed at the AMM.
Regarding the efforts to strengthen and revitalize the ACD Think Tanks
Network, India (the Research and Information System for Developing
Countries – RIS) circulated a paper on “Track II Participation: A Phased
Program” for the ACD and offered to further explore concrete ways and
means of developing the Network with a view to facilitating the regular
Think Tanks Network meetings or other related activities, which was
welcomed by the Meeting.
Session 4: Cultural Dialogue and Membership issues
(Chaired by Mr. Yerlik Ali, Deputy Director, Asian Regional Cooperation
Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kazakhstan)
Member countries reaffirmed the necessity and importance of cultural
dialogue in Asia and agreed to consider including it into one of the ACD
cooperation projects as well as addressing it as one of the possible main
topics for the ACD Think Tanks Network meetings.
The Islamic Republic of Iran nominated itself as the prime mover of
Cultural Dialogue as one of the cooperation projects of the ACD. The
meeting welcomed the Islamic Republic of Iran‟s proposal to make a
draft Concept Paper on Cultural Dialogue, which will be distributed for
members‟ comments before the 3rd High Level Study Group Meeting
which will discuss it for its submission to the 7th ACD Ministerial
Meeting. India expressed its intention to join Iran‟s initiative.
The meeting welcomed Thailand‟s proposal to publish the ACD Cultural
Compendium under the theme of „Innovating Asian Wisdom for the
Modern World‟ and its willingness to assume the role of chief editor and
to host the first working group meeting of interested member countries
in Bangkok. Interested member countries are welcomed to contribute to
the completion of the Compendium.
With respect to membership moratorium, member countries expressed
various views: some member countries supported the maintaining of the
moratorium for the time being with a view to consolidating the ACD,
whereas other member countries supported the lifting of the moratorium
in the light of the identity of the ACD as the House of Asia. Member
countries agreed to continue discussing this issue at the 3rd High-Level
Study Group meeting with more concrete proposals for the preparation
of the recommendation to the 7th AMM.
Member countries reviewed and reaffirmed the current guidelines for
granting the status of “ACD Partner for Development.”
Kazakhstan informed the meeting that the 3rd High-Level Study Group
meeting will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan on 18-19 August 2008.
※ Documents that were circulated for the discussion during the Meeting are posted on
the ACD website for the members’ reference.