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ASEAN and EU enhance cooperation on Environmental Protection and Climate Change
Senior officials from ASEAN and the European Union (EU) met in Bangkok today for the launching of a High-Level Dialogue on Environment and Climate Change. The first meeting, conducted back-to-back with the ASEAN Senior Official Meetings on the Environment (ASOEN), reaffirmed the commitment to strengthen cooperation between ASEAN and the EU on shared regional and global challenges related to protection of the environment and climate change. As agreed in the Joint statement of the 22nd ASEAN-EU ministerial meeting in January 2019, the dialogue will provide space for exchanges of best practices and lessons learned, assessing progress towards relevant environmental and climate goals, and designing enabling conditions at regional scale. At the meeting ASEAN and the EU approved the jointly adopted Objectives and Working Arrangements for the Dialogue as a new milestone in their relationship, to build the foundation for further growth and explore new joint projects on environment and climate change.
The Director for Global Sustainable Development at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment, Ms Astrid Schomaker, and Director for International Policy at the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Hazri Hassan, representing Singapore as the ASEAN-EU Country Coordinator delivered joint Opening statements.
ASEAN and EU officials then discussed the main areas of cooperation. This discussion addressed mitigation, adaptation, long-term strategies and sustainable finance; in relation to climate change. The officials also discussed environment, addressing conservation of natural resources, water and biodiversity, waste management, plastics and marine litter. The discussion also included Sustainable Cities and Communities, addressing ‘SMART Green ASEAN Cities’, and focusing on smart solutions enabled by digitalization and use of technologies.
One highlight in this regard was the presentation of the executive summary of findings and recommendations of a recently conducted regional gap-analysis on the state of circular economy for plastics in ASEAN Member States. The analysis, conducted by a team of experts from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), developed a knowledge base for follow-up actions by the EU to inspire and assist circular economy approaches to plastic issues in the ASEAN region.
The EU shared its longstanding experience on waste management and circular economy. In its 2018 Plastics Strategy, the European Union has committed to assist other regions in shifting towards a circular economy for plastics and both regions agreed to tackle this problem together. Both sides agreed that the issue of plastic waste export deserves special attention and urgent action.
The High-Level Dialogue was supported by the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI), a development cooperation program that facilitates dialogues between the EU and ASEAN in priority policy areas of joint interest. Drawing on the EU’s experience of regional integration, the E-READI policy dialogue facility further strengthens both the ASEAN regional integration process as well as the overall ASEAN-EU partnership.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967. The Member States of the Association are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. On 31 December 2015, the ASEAN Community was formally established. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta.
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 Member States including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.