ASEAN and Australia organised the 9th Joint Planning and Review Committee (JPRC) Meeting of Development Cooperation Program Phase II (AADCP II) at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.

The meeting reviewed the implementation of the AADCP II and plans for future cooperation. It was co-chaired by Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN and Country Coordinator of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations and Ambassador of Australia to ASEAN Simon Merrifield.

According to AADCP II’s report, 30 of 57 projects under the Rolling Prioritisation Plan have been completed of which there was a program to help build the skills and capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat, support researches and policy advice and integrate various economic sectors.

The program funds a range of activities and initiatives including those related to consumer protection, financial integration, agriculture, investment, tourism, ASEAN integration and ASEAN Connectivity.

The AADCP II program, which has been extended until 2019, will provide up to 57 million AUD from 2008 to 2019.

Activities are identified and programmed on a rolling basis in consultation with the ASEAN sectoral bodies and the ASEAN Secretariat. Projects are approved by the JPRC, consisting of the ASEAN member states, the ASEAN Secretariat and the Australian Government.

In 2014, Australia support 5.5 million AUD for the AADCP II and the amount has been increased to 6 million AUD in 2015 for programming of new projects over the next 12 months.

Australia, a strategic Dialogue Partner of ASEAN, also committed to overall development assistance to the ASEAN member states about 1.1 billion AUD in 2014-2015, which is mostly channeled to bilateral programs.

Regional programs will be financed approximately 100 million AUD, which includes initiatives on such issues as combating human trafficking, protection of migrant workers and disaster management.

The meeting also discussed Australia's possible support for mainstreaming gender equality in the political, economic and socio-cultural pillars of ASEAN.-VNA