Australia's Support for Southeast Asia's COVID-19 Recovery

  • Statement

Australia will expand our COVID-19 regional development pivot with additional support for Southeast Asia’s health security, stability and economic recovery.

A new $60 million package of initiatives will support the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) under the Partnerships for Recovery program. This package complements the significant funds already pivoted under Australia’s existing aid program to support the region’s most pressing priorities in response to COVID-19.

On health security, we will embark on a new partnership to help the Mekong sub-region enhance early detection of COVID-19 using Australian technology to monitor wastewater.

New research to be funded under Partnerships for Recovery will help inform how ASEAN’s COVID-19 recovery plans support the specific needs of women and girls. We will extend our funding for the Disability Rights in ASEAN (DRiA) initiative and support development of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025. These measures will support an inclusive approach to regional recovery, including for vulnerable people and communities.

A further investment in ASEAN’s economic integration and digital connectivity will take forward concrete cooperation under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

This investment, a successor to Australia’s flagship economic cooperation program with ASEAN (AADCPII), will support economic recovery through cooperation in connectivity, digital transformation, responding to the fourth industrial revolution, and private sector development.

Further to our commitment to support ASEAN-led health responses at the Special ASEAN-Australia Foreign Ministers’ meeting on 30 June, I am pleased to confirm Australia will contribute $1 million to ASEAN’s COVID-19 Response Fund, to help ASEAN purchase medical supplies and equipment, support research cooperation, and build capacity for frontline health professionals.

I had the opportunity to discuss Australia’s latest commitments with my ASEAN counterparts on Thursday evening as part of the ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting.

For Australia, ASEAN regional architecture is central to a stable, open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific. Australia’s health security and economic recovery are closely connected to those of our Southeast Asian partners.

Australia’s ASEAN cooperation complements our significant bilateral work across the region. Our development partnerships in Southeast Asia, which totalled about $1 billion in overseas development assistance in 2019-20, will reduce COVID-19 impacts and support our shared health security, stability and economic recovery.

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