1. The 13th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology (AMMST) was held in Singapore, 6 November 2009. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. S. Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry of Singapore. H.E. Dr. Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, Minister of Science and Technology, Thailand was elected Vice-Chair. The Meeting was attended by Science and Technology Ministers and Senior Officials from the ten ASEAN Member Countries. The Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN and his staff were also in attendance.
2. The Meeting was officially opened by H.E. Mr. Wong Kan Seng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs of Singapore. In his Opening Speech, H.E. Mr. Wong Kan Seng extended his warmest welcome to all the S&T Ministers and their delegations to the Meeting. He stressed that the impact and effects of common challenges such as infectious diseases, natural and environmental disasters are felt across national boundaries. Solutions to these problems do not rest on any individual country and thus, it is imperative for the Member States to work together to address the common challenges faced.
3. He expressed confidence that the advancement in science and technology can improve the lives of the peoples and build the economies. He encouraged the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) and its Sub-Committees to continue playing a significant role in driving S&T agenda and for Member States to commit resources and share information to tackle challenges in food security, clean energy, and the environment, among others.
Progress of the ASEAN Plan of Action on S&T (APAST) Flagship Programmes
4. The Ministers noted the progress of implementation of the APAST and welcomed the efforts of COST to formally establish S&T cooperation with Japan through the ASEAN-Japan Cooperation Committee on Science and Technology (AJCCST) and with the European Commission (EC) through the ASEAN-EC Dialogue Meeting on Science and Technology.
5. The Ministers noted the concerted efforts by the lead countries in finalising the roadmaps for the flagship programmes in Early Warning Systems for Disaster Risk Reduction; Biofuels; Development and Application of Open Source Systems; Functional Food; and Climate Change. The Ministers also noted the efforts to finalise the roadmap on Health.
6. The Ministers adopted the vision statements of the flagship programmes roadmaps and tasked COST to work on a clear implementation plan for each of the roadmaps to ensure that the 2015 targets are achieved. The Ministers also emphasized the need to address issues related to water resources, and the development of human resource capabilities in science and technology, in the context of these flagship programmes.
7. The Ministers tasked COST to use the ASEAN Science Fund (ASF) to catalyse the implementation of the roadmaps. The Ministers also reiterated that the implementation of the cost-sharing mechanism as reflected in APAST (2007-2011) is essential for the execution of the flagship programmes.
8. Recognising that the activities in the roadmaps could be in the plans or being implemented by other sectoral bodies, coordination of efforts among relevant sectoral bodies should be pursued. The Ministers, thus, tasked the ASEAN Secretariat to explore the possibility of convening appropriate Committees of the Whole to discuss cross-cutting interventions and activities under the flagship programmes.
ASEAN Science Fund
9. The Ministers noted that Member States’ contribution to the ASEAN Science Fund has reached 93% of the total expected target of USD 10 million. The Ministers tasked that the fund be used, in conjunction with funding from Dialogue Partners and private sector collaboration, to support the flagship programmes.
Highlight of the 1st ASCC Council Meeting and other relevant ASEAN Meetings
10. The Ministers noted that the request for AMMST and COST to be moved from ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) was approved.
ASEAN-US S&T Agreement
11. The Ministers noted that the S&T component of the draft ASEAN-US S&T Agreement has been reviewed and endorsed by COST. The non-S&T components such as taxes and legal issues, shall be resolved by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs in consultation with the US State Department. The Ministers requested the Philippines, as Country Coordinator, to continue following up with the US on the progress of the said draft.
The 1st ASEAN+3 Techmart
12. The Ministers noted that the 1st ASEAN+3 Techmart was held in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 17-19 September 2009. The Ministers noted that more than 3000 technologies/equipment were exhibited and about 2000 contracts and agreements have been signed with an indicative value of about USD 100 million.
Outcome of the 11th ASEAN Food Conference
13. The Ministers noted the successful implementation of the 11th ASEAN Food Conference which was held in Bandar Seri Begawan on 21-23 October 2009 with the participation of over 670 participants from more than 24 countries. The Conference provided a venue for scientists to exchange and share experience in the food technology.
Updates on the project “Study on the State of S&T Development in ASEAN”
14. The Ministers emphasized the need to proceed with the study on the state of S&T in ASEAN in order to determine S&T capacities of Member States as well as identify possible technology niches in each Member State. The Ministers instructed that the study proceed expeditiously with funding from Japan.
Next Meetings of the S&T Ministers
15. The Ministers thanked Thailand for its offer to host the 6th Informal AMMST in November 2010.