In his remarks at the signing ceremony, Lim said not only does it intend to address complex regional challenges such as health security, along with promoting the circular economy, the Aus4ASEAN Futures Initiative will also support the practical implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and enable greater support for cross-sectoral initiatives across all three ASEAN Community pillars.
This expansion includes the ASEAN Political Security and the Socio-Cultural Communities, as well as the ASEAN Economic Community supported under Australia for ASEAN – Economic and Connectivity, the successor programme to the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program Phase II (AADCP II), he noted.
The MoU on the Aus4ASEAN Futures Initiative will facilitate flexible and demand-driven development cooperation activities between the two sides, by providing an overarching framework under which development cooperation programmes may be jointly identified, designed, implemented, monitored, and evaluated.
For his part, Nankervis noted the MoU signing was an important step in advancing the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, adding his country is committed to ensuring the partnership delivers real substance for ASEAN, Australia and the region.
The initiative will take forward projects jointly agreed between ASEAN and Australia that address complex challenges like climate change, health security, transnational crime, healthy oceans, the circular economy and energy transition. It will provide a flexible mechanism that supports all three ASEAN community pillars – economic, socio-cultural and political-security – as well as crosscutting issues including connectivity, he added.