JAKARTA, 10 September 2020 – Today, USAID Principal Officer to ASEAN, Mr. Ryan Washburn and Secretary General of ASEAN, H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, signed the first ever Regional Development Cooperation Agreement between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the ASEAN Secretariat on the sidelines of the ASEAN – US Ministerial Meeting.
The signing of this agreement serves as a significant milestone for US-ASEAN cooperation spanning over 40 years. It also reflects a long-term strategic partnership to promote peace, democracy, and prosperity in the Southeast Asia Region.
“This new five-year agreement between USAID and ASEAN, with a value of up to $50 million, underscores the U.S. commitment to regional development, to ASEAN Centrality, and the shared goals of regional integration and rules-based governance to promote peace, security and prosperity in ASEAN,” expressed USAID Principal Officer to ASEAN, Mr. Ryan Washburn. He concluded, “In short, USAID cooperation under this agreement will advance the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the ASEAN-U.S. Plan of Action (2021-2025).”
USAID will continue to support ASEAN to address regional and global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, human trafficking and forced labor, access to the digital economy, and coordinated responses to natural disasters.
As part of the agreement’s focus to build upon ASEAN’s capacity to effectively address regional and global challenges, USAID and ASEAN will launch a new joint initiative to mitigate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and increase future preparedness through the ASEAN Public Health Emergency Coordination System (APHECS for short). APHECS will integrate existing disparate coordination mechanisms in the region under one cohesive institutional platform. As a result of this initiative, for the first time, ASEAN Member States and other stakeholders will have a regional framework to guide coordination and communication in public health emergencies.
Through the agreement, USAID-ASEAN joint activities will seek to strengthen the region’s management of natural capital (environment), regional integration, good governance, capacity to mitigate public health threats, and rights of specific vulnerable populations.
USAID will also continue to advance US-ASEAN cooperation on 5G technical and policy development and trade facilitation, including expanding the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) trade platform to facilitate trade between ASEAN and other nations, including the United States.
Simultaneously, USAID will emphasize cross-cutting priorities shared with ASEAN, such as—science and technology, private sector engagement, and gender equality—to increase the effectiveness of assistance interventions.
Building upon decades of collaboration, this new Regional Development Cooperation Agreement, extensively enhances USAID’s partnership with ASEAN to advance a peaceful, secure, and prosperous ASEAN region, and a free and open Indo-Pacific.
USAID leads the United States Government efforts in international development and humanitarian response to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help partners progress beyond assistance. The United States partners with ASEAN to support economic integration, cultivate emerging leaders, promote opportunity for women and address transnational challenges. Through USAID’s cooperation with ASEAN, the United States addresses the root causes of poverty and instability while strengthening the foundation for prosperity and security. The U.S. and ASEAN celebrate over 40 years of cooperation.
Photo Credit: ASEAN Secretariat