Foreign Ministers of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) convened their 11 th meeting in Gurgaon, India on November 11. A Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc attended the event.

As the first large-scale event hosted by India since the country joined the forum in 2008, the event themed “ASEM – Bridging partnership for growth and development” was to come up with concrete ways to improve ASEM’s performance, accelerate growth and deal with global challenges at a time when the global political and security situation is uncertain and the global economy has yet to get on track for a sustainable recovery.

During the first session “Economic growth and sustainable development: opportunities and challenges in Asia and Europe”, ministers shared the view that ASEM should contribute more to global efforts in easing the impacts of the economic-financial crisis in a bid to strengthen the multilateral trade system, reach consensus at the ninth meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Bali, Indonesia and keep reforming global financial governance.

As Asian and European economies are increasingly interdependent, the ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting should be resumed after it was interrupted in 2005, they noted.

They also called for stronger cooperation in shifting growth models to new sustainable ones, technology innovations, human resources training, increasing small and medium-sized enterprises’ role while promoting public-private partnerships to reduce poverty, regional and inter-regional links to narrow the development gap.

The same day, the second session “Non-traditional security challenges” was also held, during which delegates were unanimous on priority cooperation in ensuring water-food-energy security, response to natural disasters, search and rescue, and water resource management.

Participants also pushed forward Asia-Europe links to cope with climate change, fight against terrorism, transnational crime, human trafficking and cyber security.

Addressing the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Ngoc stressed that Vietnam’s proposals have been hailed by many countries, especially the resumption of the ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting, and priority cooperation in food, water resources and energy.

On top of this is support for schemes at regional and sub-regional levels like the Greater Mekong Sub-Region and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as new approaches to deal with non-traditional security challenges on the basis of multi-sector involvement with foresight, innovations and creativity.

Many members expressed their strong support to Vietnam in rolling out two initiatives by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the ninth ASEM Summit in Laos in November 2012.

The initiatives focus on the sustainable management of water resources and response to natural calamities with coordination among countries along the Mekong and Danube Rivers, early warnings, search and rescue operations and post-disaster resilience.-VNA