ASEAN Boosts Synergy to Fight COVID-19
Date 10 April 2020
During the 25th Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) through a video conference on Thursday (9/4), Indonesia and other ASEAN member countries agreed to boost synergy in the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On that occasion, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi underlined four things:
First, regarding efforts to combat COVID-19, Indonesia, according to Retno, stressed the importance of implementing the outcomes of the ASEAN Health Ministers and ASEAN Plus Three meeting. Indonesia has also proposed that during the ASEAN Special Summit on COVID-19, ASEAN Leaders should prepare protocols for cross-border public health responses, she added.
Second, encouraging ASEAN commitment to ensure the flow of goods, especially food, medicines and medical equipment.
“Indonesia proposes that an agreement on the Supply Chain and Flow of Goods during the Outbreak be recommended at the upcoming ASEAN Plus Three Special Summit,” Retno added.
Third, the ASEAN also needs to protect citizens of ASEAN member countries, including vulnerable groups and migrant workers. In this case, Indonesia, she added, has proposed a protocol of people movement within the ASEAN Member States as one of the post-pandemic recovery measures. ASEAN also needs to pay attention to mandatory health protocols, she added.
Fourth, ASEAN can review the use of the ASEAN Development Fund and the APT Cooperation Fund to form an ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund.
“This fund will be of great use to assist ASEAN member countries in ensuring the availability of medical equipment and can also be accessed by ASEAN Dialogue Partners,” said Retno.
In the meantime, at the virtual meeting ASEAN Foreign Ministers also adopted the ACCWG recommendations on Public Health Emergencies held on 31 March 2020.
The foreign ministers also agreed to convene ASEAN Special Summit and the ASEAN Plus Three Special Summit on COVID-19 on 14 April 2020. The meeting is expected to seek outcomes that can strengthen commitment and cooperation to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Government always pays special attention to low-income families, informal sector workers and other vulnerable groups most affected by the pandemic. Never give up and let us remain united to get this through,” Retno told all ASEAN Foreign Ministers.
The meeting concluded with an invitation of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers to unite against COVID-19 in their respective languages.
“Indonesia with all ASEAN countries call for unity against COVID-19,” Retno said. (PR of Ministry of Foreign Affairs/EN)
Translated by: Estu Widyamurti
Reviewed by: Muhammad Ersan Pamungkas