ASEAN, Canada reaffirm commitment to strengthen partnership
JAKARTA, 17 May 2016 – ASEAN and Canada held their 4th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) Meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta yesterday, reaffirming their strong commitment to further strengthen their long-standing partnership and cooperation for mutual benefit.
The ASEAN-Canada JCC, which is composed of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) and the Canadian Ambassador to ASEAN, discussed various initiatives and projects to implement the 2016-2020 Plan of Action (POA) to Implement the ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership.
The JCC also exchanged views on the preparations for the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations in 2017, including possible commemorative activities to celebrate this milestone.
H.E. Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN and country coordinator for ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations, described the outcomes of the JCC as “historic”, as both sides agreed to cooperate and not just to coordinate, referring to the decision of the JCC to change the nomenclature of the mechanism from “ASEAN-Canada Joint Coordination Committee” to “ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Committee.” She called Canada as a “great friend of ASEAN” and emphasized that the Philippines, as country coordinator, will work closely with ASEAN Member States and Canada to elevate their partnership to a higher level.
H.E. Marie-Louise Hannan, Canada’s first dedicated Ambassador to ASEAN, reaffirmed that ASEAN remains a top foreign policy priority for Canada, as reflected in the establishment of its Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta as well as its diplomatic presence in all ASEAN Member States. She indicated that Canada’s initiatives will be backed with higher engagement with ASEAN. She also cited Canada’s active role in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as well as its interest to join the East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus mechanisms.
The meeting noted with satisfaction the implementation of the 2010-2015 ASEAN-Canada POA and the progress achieved in the implementation of the 2016-2020 POA. These include cooperation in combatting transnational crime and international terrorism, infrastructure development, trade and investment, SMEs development, human rights and women empowerment, child health, disaster risk management and people-to-people contacts, among others.
Further, the meeting discussed possible ways to promote physical and people-to-people connectivity between the two regions, including through direct flights to Canada and students exchanges, and agreed on the benefits scholarship programmes would bring. The meeting also exchanged views on how to substantiate the partnership in years to come, particularly as ASEAN and Canada will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their dialogue relations in 2017, which also coincides with the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and the 150th anniversary of Canada as a nation.
The 4th ASEAN – Canada JCC was co-chaired by Ambassador Buensuceso and Ambassador Hannan, and attended by the CPR as well as the ASEAN Secretariat.