JAKARTA, 4 MARCH 2021 – ASEAN and France convened the inaugural ASEAN-France Development Partnership Committee (AF-DPC) Meeting via videoconference today, marking the start of a formal partnership to strengthen their long-standing ties.

On 9 September 2020, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers conferred the status of Development Partner of ASEAN to France, at the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting.

The establishment of this formal partnership paves the way for a stronger cooperation between ASEAN and France, including in the implementation of mutually beneficial projects, programmes and cooperative activities.

The AF-DPC, which comprises members of the ASEAN Secretariat, the Embassy of France in Jakarta, and the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, will provide the direction and oversee all aspects of the development partnership.

At the meeting, officials from both sides exchanged views on the recent developments in ASEAN and France, and deliberated on strengthening cooperation in key areas such as; cultural heritage; sustainable tourism; people-to-people exchanges; humanitarian assistance and disaster response; biodiversity; blue econom; energy; health; sustainable agriculture and security cooperation.

Other potential areas of cooperation include technical and vocational education and training (TVET), support to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation ; micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); digitalisation; cybersecurity;  digitalisation; public health; connectivity; support for the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan IV, and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.

The meeting also adopted the Terms of Reference for the AF-DPC, and developed a five-year Practical Cooperation Areas, which will serve as a practical guide to further substantiate the partnership with a focus on areas of mutual interest, aligned with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

Officials from both sides also shared concerns over COVID-19’s continued spread and severity, and its adverse impacts on lives and livelihoods, as well as the socio-economic development around the world. On that note, the meeting underscored the need for close collaboration and coordinated efforts to strengthen multilateral frameworks in ensuring a strong global response to the pandemic, particularly on ensuring equal access to and affordability of vaccines for everyone. Additionally, the meeting deliberated on possible activities, including support for the ASEAN Post-Pandemic Recovery Framework.

Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political-Security Community RM Michael Tene and Ambassador of the French Republic to ASEAN Olivier Chambard co-chaired the meeting. Members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN as well as Director-General for Globalisation, Culture, Education and International Development Michel Miraillet, and Director of Asia and Oceania Bertrand Lortholary–both from the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France–were also in attendance.

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