At the third meeting of the Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee, Switzerland and ASEAN underlined their strong commitment to an inclusive and rules-based multilateral system and reflected on how to jointly address challenges affecting both of them.
Ambassador Raphael Nägeli, Assistant State Secretary for Asia and Pacific of Switzerland, underlined Switzerland’s commitment to supporting ASEAN in various fields, including vocational training, sustainable development and human security. The rich exchange of views confirmed the pertinence of the areas of cooperation, highly appreciated by Switzerland’s partners. The meeting also allowed to highlight possible future initiatives.
Digital Revolution and Jobs
At the meeting, Ambassador Nägeli pointed to recent joint initiatives such as the regional conference on reducing youth unemployment in November 2018 in Jakarta, at which Switzerland and ILO presented a landmark report on labor market policies in ASEAN. The conference furthermore analyzed how to create more and better jobs, especially in small- and medium-sized enterprises, and looked at how to better train young professionals in view of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Vocational education responding to market demands is essential. Switzerland and ASEAN Member States identified needs in this regard and will further work on this issue.
Social Forestry and Climate Change
2018 was an important year for the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change. Three key policy documents, facilitated by the Partnership over the past years, were adopted by ASEAN Ministers in fall 2018: The ASEAN Guidelines for Agroforestry Development; the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry; and the ASEAN Multisectoral Framework on Climate Change.
Disaster management and response
Switzerland supports ASEAN and its Member States in their response to disasters. This includes training and simulation exercises with the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre). Switzerland provided international assistance and emergency response amounting to USD 3.4 million in response to natural disasters in Southeast Asia in 2018, including the earthquakes in Lombok and Sulawesi, Indonesia, the dam break in Laos and typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines.
Ambassador Nägeli was accompanied by Switzerland’s Ambassador to ASEAN Kurt Kunz and representatives of several Swiss agencies supporting ASEAN projects. Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for Political-Security Community Hoang Anh Tuan welcomed the strengthened Partnership and contributions by Switzerland.