ASEAN, Australia take Comprehensive Strategic Partnership forward
JAKARTA, 3 March 2023 – ASEAN and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at the 13th ASEAN-Australia Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting held earlier today at the ASEAN Secretariat.
Australia conveyed its unwavering support for ASEAN Community Building efforts, assistance towards the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and commitment to ASEAN Centrality through its active participation in ASEAN-led mechanisms.
In this regard, Australia informed that it is expanding its cooperation programme for ASEAN through the Australia for ASEAN Futures Initiative (Aus4 ASEAN Futures Initiative) to cover all three ASEAN Community pillars and pursue collaboration on cross-pillar issues. Additionally, both sides underscored the importance of developing programmes and activities that adapt to current challenges, tailored to the needs in the region, and coincide with priority areas such as the ones included in the ASEAN Post-2025 Vision.
Following the extension of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program Phase II (AADCP II) to 2025, both sides agreed to effectively implement its successor programme, Australia for ASEAN Futures – Economic & Connectivity (Aus4 ASEAN – (ECON)). Both AADCP II and Aus4ASEAN (ECON) will be implemented under the Aus4 ASEAN Futures Initiative.
The Meeting reviewed the implementation of the ASEAN-Australia Plan of Action (2020-2024) and was pleased to note that all action lines in the Plan of Action have been addressed or are currently being addressed.
In discussing future cooperation, ASEAN and Australia highlighted the importance of enhancing cooperation in the four key areas outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) including concrete actions to support its implementation, as well as other areas such as counter terrorism, violent extremism and combatting trafficking in person; maritime cooperation; Women, Peace and Security agenda; human rights and protection of migrant workers; trade, investment, and digital economy; Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); people-to-people initiatives; addressing climate change; public health and mental health; education; Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), sustainable development, bio-circular and green economy; food security; transport, infrastructure and connectivity; cybersecurity; smart cities; and support for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration. Australia has also reaffirmed its commitment to support Timor-Leste as Observer of ASEAN with the relevant capacity building programmes.
Both sides looked forward to the signing of the Second Protocol to Amend the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA). In addition, ASEAN and Australia called for the effective implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement.
The Meeting noted the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations in 2024 and looked forward to the implementation of possible commemorative activities. Both sides stressed the importance of promoting ASEAN awareness in Australia.
Bovonethat Douangcak, Permanent Representative of Lao PDR to ASEAN, and Will Nankervis, Ambassador of Australia to ASEAN, co-chaired the Meeting. Also in attendance were the Permanent Representatives of ASEAN Member States to ASEAN, the Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political-Security Community, and a representative from Timor-Leste as Observer.
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