JAKARTA, 29 November 2016 — ASEAN and Switzerland yesterday convened the Inaugural ASEAN-Switzerland Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee (AS-JSCC) Meeting to mark the launch of their formal partnership.

This meeting formalises ASEAN-Switzerland partnership following the conferment of the status of an ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partner on Switzerland during the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting on 24 July 2016 in Vientiane.

Befitting the significance of the occasion, Switzerland sent a high-level delegation led by Johannes Matyassy, Assistant State Secretary for Asia/Pacific, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. He was accompanied by Switzerland’s Ambassador to ASEAN Yvonne Baumann and representatives of several Swiss agencies involved in development cooperation.

ASEAN was represented by ASEAN’s Committee of Permanent Representatives and officials from the ASEAN Secretariat which coordinate ASEAN’s relations with Sectoral Dialogue Partners.

Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Political-Security Hirubalan V P, who co-chaired the AS-JSCC with Assistant  State Secretary Matyassy, noted Switzerland’s long standing and substantial relations with the region. Acknowledging the establishment of the ASEAN Community on 31 December 2015 as a major milestone in the history of the organisation, Assistant State Secretary Matyassy said that Switzerland views ASEAN as an important regional partner in the Asia-Pacific region.

In welcoming ASEAN’s role in promoting peace, security and economic integration in the region, he emphasised Switzerland’s commitment to supporting ASEAN in the implementation of its Community Vision 2025 goals. The AS-JSCC agreed to explore various areas of cooperation, including capacity-building programmes and development projects that would benefit ASEAN.

ASEAN Members States recognised Switzerland’s strengths in niche areas such as vocational training and sustainable development, and looked forward to the implementation of tangible activities and projects within the framework of the AS-JSCC that would benefit the region as it moved towards closer integration and community building. The AS-JSCC will be the framework to further strengthen ASEAN-Switzerland cooperation for the mutual benefit of both sides.