JAKARTA, 22 April 2015 – ASEAN and Canada will work closely to step up their expanding cooperation and chart out a plan of action for the next five years. The two sides agreed to forge closer consultations and coordination to realise a more effective and efficient partnership. This commitment was underscored at the Third ASEAN-Canada Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) Meeting held at the ASEAN Secretariat on 20 April.

The Meeting welcomed the significant progress achieved in the implementation of ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership Plan of Action (POA) for the period of 2010-2015. These include, among others, cooperation in combatting transnational crime and international terrorism, trade and investment, and capacity building support for ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat. The Meeting also welcomed Canada’s additional funding commitment made at last year’s ASEAN-Canada Ministerial Meeting of CAD$ 14 million to assist ASEAN in addressing regional security and connectivity issues.

As the current POA is reaching its maturity at the end of this year, ASEAN and Canada recognised the need to step up the pace of implementation of the remaining items in the present plan and accelerate the on-going deliberations on a successor POA to guide their cooperation over the next five years (2016-2020). They agreed that the new POA should be forward-looking and inclusive, address the needs and expectations of both sides, and contribute to the realisation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

H.E. Donald Bobiash, Ambassador of Canada to ASEAN, reaffirmed that ASEAN remains a top foreign policy priority for Canada and looked forward to working with ASEAN to further strengthen the relationship with emphasis on promoting security cooperation, trade and investment, small and medium-sized enterprise development, agriculture, infrastructure development, human rights and women empowerment, child health, disaster management, and people-to-people contacts, among others.

ASEAN welcomed Canada’s on-going preparations for the establishment of its dedicated Mission to ASEAN in 2015 as well as increasing its diplomatic representation to cover all ASEAN Member States.

The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Tan Hung Seng, Permanent Representative of Singapore to ASEAN and Ambassador Bobiash, and attended by the Permanent Representatives of other ASEAN Member States or their representatives and H.E. Hirubalan V P, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political-Security Community. The annual JCC Meeting is a key mechanism to regularly review ASEAN-Canada cooperation and discuss its future direction.