The 3rd ASEAN-Australia Joint Cooperation Committee meeting was recently held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia.

It was co-chaired by Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN and Australian Ambassador to ASEAN Simon Philip Merrifield.

The ASEAN permanent representatives expressed appreciation to the Government of Australia for the efforts to deepen its engagement with ASEAN, including the appointment of the first resident Australian Ambassador and the establishment of the Mission of Australia to ASEAN.

The meeting reviewed the progress in the Implementation of the Plan of Action (POA) to implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership 2008-2013.

The two sides stressed the importance of continuing the effective implementation of the current POA, and working together towards the adoption of a new POA for 2014-2018.

Delegates to the meeting also agreed to expand and strengthen cooperation in a number of areas, such as disaster management, climate change and environment, public health, human trafficking, connectivity and infrastructure development, education, public outreach and people-to-people contact, among others.

Ambassador Merrifield reiterated Australia ’s continued support for ASEAN’s centrality in the regional architecture as well as its Community building process, which, as agreed by the two sides, should also be aligned with ASEAN’s Post-2015 vision.

The meeting discussed and revised the Terms of Reference of the AA-JCC to bring more strategic direction to the mechanism, particularly with regard to its role in overseeing ASEAN-Australia cooperation.
The meeting also looked into preparations for the ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit in 2014 and other proposed commemorative activities to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Dialogue Relations.

On this occasion, the Chair of the Meeting expressed thanks and appreciation to the ASEAN Member States and Australia for their timely and valuable assistance to the victims of the Typhoon Haiyan that tremendously destructed the central part of the Philippines.-VNA