The 20th ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue, held last week in Wellington, New Zealand, discussed efforts to further ASEAN-New Zealand cooperation in the ongoing Four Flagship Initiatives.  These Initiatives encompass the ASEAN-New Zealand Scholarships Programme, Disaster Risk Management, Young Business Leaders’ Initiative and Agricultural Diplomacy. ASEAN Member States appreciated the efforts in implementing these initiatives and looked forward to New Zealand’s continued support and assistance to ASEAN Community building and regional integration.

The meeting reviewed the progress on the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration for ASEAN-New Zealand Comprehensive Partnership (2010-2015). Views on global and regional issues of common interest were also exchanged.

The Dialogue also identified important potential areas for ASEAN-New Zealand future cooperation including: education, business, connectivity and other areas of functional cooperation under the Plan of Action. Both parties agreed to continue work on concrete implementation activities.

The meeting was co-chaired by H.E Mr. John Allen, CEO and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand and H.E. Mr. Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Vice Foreign Minister of the Lao PDR. As the current chair of ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Relations, Lao PDR will host the 21st ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue in early 2014.