The 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology (AMMST-14) opened in Ho Chi Minh City on Nov. 26.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said Vietnam attaches special importance to the role of science and technology, considering it a breakthrough that decides the success of the national modernisation process in the next decade.

Science and technology is one of ASEAN’s important cooperation fields and a decisive factor that creates an economic competitive advantage, ensures the bloc’s sustainable development and raise the region’s capability in coping with climate change, he said.

At the meeting, delegates discussed issues to further boost scientific and technological cooperation among ASEAN nations.

They also reviewed the results of scientific and technological cooperation programmes among ASEAN nations since the 6th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology held in Krabi, Thailand last December and the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology for the 2012-2017 period with the implementation of six ASEAN development priority programmes that have been adopted for implementation until 2015.

The programmes include food security, an early warning system for natural disasters, biofuels, the application and development of open source software, climate change from now to 2015, and the implementation of Krabi initiative: Science, Technology and Innovation for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive ASEAN.

For his part, Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan said uneven scientific and technological development in ASEAN members is the biggest difficulty for the bloc’s cooperation in the field.

However, he added, ASEAN members share a common will, boast cooperative and friendly ties and see consensus among their top leaders.
He said he believes in ASEAN’s effective coordination in implementing six ASEAN development priority programmes.

Earlier, the 62nd meeting of ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST-62) and a consultative meeting on ASEAN-New Zealand scientific and technological cooperation took place from Nov. 23-25./.