Switzerland, ASEAN step up cooperation

Press release, 20.12.2017

JAKARTA, 15 December 2017 – Switzerland and ASEAN agreed to strengthen and deepen their Sectoral Dialogue Partnership through concrete cooperation activities. The 2nd Meeting of the ASEAN-Switzerland Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee (AS-JSCC) held on Friday, 15 December 2017 at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta culminated in the adoption of the medium-term plan “ASEAN-Switzerland Practical Cooperation Areas for the period 2017-21”, which serves as framework for future collaboration.

Switzerland was conferred the status of ASEAN’s Sectoral Dialogue Partnership in July 2016. Since then, substantial progress was made in cooperation, and several projects have been initiated. The 2nd AS-JSCC discussed these ongoing and planned cooperation programs and projects including sustainable development, economic cooperation, human security and humanitarian aid as well as disaster risk reduction. Other areas of cooperation include peace and reconciliation, human rights, good governance, food security and agriculture.

Switzerland acknowledged ASEAN’s important contribution to stability, peace and progress in many areas over the last 50 years. ASEAN noted Switzerland’s long standing and significant relations with ASEAN and its member states and further emphasized Switzerland’s long-time experience in technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

The Swiss delegation at the 2nd AS-JSCC was led by Assistant State Secretary for Asia/Pacific, Johannes Matyassy, and included the Ambassador of Switzerland to ASEAN, Yvonne Baumann, representatives from Switzerland’s State Secretariat of Economy, Development Cooperation, Human Security Division and Political Directorate in Bern, and the Swiss Senior Regional Advisor on Disaster Risk Reduction and Rapid Response based at the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok. ASEAN was represented by Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Political-Security Community, Hirubalan V P, the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN and several representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok. Its Member States are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In 1993, the Member States established the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). In 2003 the ASEAN Member States decided to create the ASEAN Community, which covers economic, security and sociocultural pillars of cooperation. The Sectoral Dialogue Partnership status at ASEAN granted in 2016 allows Switzerland, on different levels, to deepen its relations with the emerging and fast growing Asia-Pacific region.