KUALA LUMPUR/OTTAWA — The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy, together with Malaysian Foreign Minister. Abdullah Badawi and senior ASEAN officials, today highlighted the achievements of three Canadian development cooperation projects which have addressed important ASEAN forestry and fisheries needs.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) financed Canadian partners to implement the ASEAN-Canada Forest Tree Seed Centre, the ASEAN Institute of Forest Management and the ASEAN- Canada Fisheries Post Harvest Technology Project in cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). With their completion, Mr. Axworthy officially handed over these projects to the respective ASEAN institutions during the ASEAN-Canada Meeting held July 28 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences. Minister Badawi expressed ASEAN’s appreciation to Canada for its long and valuable assistance and partnership with ASEAN.

“1997 marks the twentieth anniversary of dialogue relations between Canada and ASEAN. Canada has also had bilateral development cooperation programs in place in some ASEAN countries for close to thirty years,” Mr. Axworthy said. “As well, Canada has been cooperating with key Southeast Asian regional institutions for twenty-five years. The handover of these three projects demonstrates the evolving relations between Canada and ASEAN, from that of a donor and recipient to a trade and economic partnership.”

In Ottawa, Minister for International Cooperation and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Diane Marleau also noted this important event, “That our ASEAN partners are carrying on the activities of these regional institutions shows clearly that Canada supports sustainable development projects which meet the needs of the region,” Ms. Marleau said. “Canadian cooperation made it possible to set up independent institutions that adapt Canadian technology and knowledge to meet the needs of the countries of ASEAN.”

The three projects formally handed over to the respective regional institutions are described in the backgrounder.

ASEAN-Canada Forest Tree Seed Centre

This was the first Canadian-financed ASEAN institutional initiative. In 1981, CIDA supported the establishment of the ASEAN-Canada Forest Tree Seed Centre in Thailand in cooperation with Natural Resources Canada. After sixteen years of CIDA support the Tree Seed Centre has developed an international reputation to research on genetic variation of native species and an Asia-wide reputation as an excellent resource for tree seed information and training.

ASEAN Institute of Forest Management

Located in Malaysia, the ASEAN institute of Forest Management, in cooperation with the British Columbia Ministry of Forestry, is addressing deforestation through high-tech methods of forest management and a regional knowledge base. National level forest development projects have been established in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam.

ASEAN-Canada Fisheries Post Harvest Technology Project

Fisheries play an important role in the social and economic development it of all ASEAN countries. From 1983 to 1997, CIDA funded a project in cooperation with Coastal Associates and Consultants Ltd. of Newfoundland, with the goal of strengthening the capacity of governments and private firms in fish inspection, processing, preservation and packaging. The project has established regional centres in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. It also Introduced a standard which will ensure that fisheries products are of high quality and meet standards for sale on international markets.