JAKARTA, 7 March 2017 – ASEAN and Canada held their 5th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta yesterday, reaffirming their commitment to further strengthen existing areas of cooperation and collaborate on potential mutually-beneficial opportunities and initiatives.

In her remarks, Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN and country coordinator of ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations, emphasised that as ASEAN and Canada celebrate 40 years of dialogue relations this year, both sides should recognise the enormous potential of further solidifying this partnership because they are strategically important to each other.

“We are both stakeholders in ensuring regional peace, stability, security, development and prosperity. This year marks the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations, the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and the 150th anniversary of Canada as a nation. These three milestones encourage us all to work together for a better and safer world for everyone,” Ambassador Buensuceso stressed.

Ambassador Marie-Louise Hannan, Canada’s first dedicated Ambassador to ASEAN, emphasised that “Canada and ASEAN took an important step today toward deepening cooperation on areas of mutual interest. Canada looks forward to working with ASEAN as we celebrate 40 years of dialogue relations in 2017.”

The ASEAN-Canada JCC, which is composed of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) and the Canadian Ambassador to ASEAN, expressed satisfaction on the progress of various initiatives and projects to implement the 2016-2020 Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership. The JCC also discussed possible commemorative activities to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations in 2017.

Further, the JCC exchanged views on Canada’s new initiatives related to counter-terrorism/anti-crime and counter proliferation; innovation, including entrepreneurship, start-ups, MSMEs, and women’s economic empowerment; gender equality and women’s rights; combatting and managing the effects of climate change, including through disaster management and food security; water, resource management and oceans; and pluralism and diversity.

The 5th ASEAN – Canada JCC was co-chaired by Ambassador Buensuceso and Ambassador Hannan, and attended by the CPR as well as the ASEAN Secretariat.