Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Nov. 26, 2011) — The 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology (AMMST-14) was held in Ho Chi Minh City. The Ministers agreed to convene the 7th IAMMST in Brunei Darussalam in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. Nguyen Quan, Minister of Science and Technology, Vietnam, and attended by Science and Technology Ministers and Senior Officials from the ten ASEAN Member States. The Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN and his staff were also in attendance.
The Meeting noted that since the 6th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology (IAMMST) was convened in Krabi, Thailand in December 2010, the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) and its subsidiary bodies have met in May 2011 in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Ho Chi Minh City in November 2011 to discuss and report on the progress of implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology, the Krabi Initiative, and other directives of the S&T Ministers.
The Meeting also noted that the ASEAN COST had Dialogue Meeting and consultation with the European Commission (EC) and the United States to further discuss the implementation details of agreed initiatives.
Progress of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology (APAST)
The Ministers were pleased to note that the implementation plans of the six flagship programmes were enhanced according to a set of criteria indicated in the COST-endorsed monitoring and evaluation system. The Ministers further noted that since the 6th IAMMST, a total of 11 projects have been completed; 23 projects are in various stages of implementation; and 33 projects are still being appraised by ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners.
The Ministers welcomed the joint initiative of the ASEAN COST and the EU in marking 2012 as the ASEAN-EU Year of Science, Technology and Innovation (YoSTI). The 2012 YoSTI is part of the SEA-EU-NET program and will be a year-long campaign with a series of activities that will be implemented to promote and raise the visibility of S&T cooperation between both regions.
The Ministers noted that COST shall embark on a transformational revolution and paradigm shift as defined in the Krabi Initiative and that while still anchored on science and technology, COST shall ensure that innovation benefitting the ASEAN peoples will be the ultimate goal of S&T collaboration in ASEAN. To this end, COST has agreed to engage in a special retreat next year in Myanmar to exchange views and agree on concrete actions to make its initiatives more meaningful.
Report on the Study of State of S&T Development in ASEAN
The Ministers noted the key findings and recommendations indicated in the executive summary of the report on the study. ASEAN Member States were requested to review and provide additional inputs to enhance the report. The Ministers were of the view that the study could be a useful reference for COST and its subsidiary bodies in the planning and implementation of APAST and the Krabi Initiative.
The Ministers appreciated the work of the two experts from Indonesia and the Philippines and the focal points from all AMS who were involved in the study. The Ministers also requested the ASEAN Secretariat to convey their appreciation to Japan for its support for the conduct of the study.
Cooperation with Dialogue Partners
The Ministers noted the interest of China to renew cooperation with COST through the signing of an ASEAN-China Memorandum of Agreement. (MoA) on science and technology. The Ministers noted that COST also affirms its interest to continue engaging in S&T cooperation with China with or without any formal instruments.
In this regard, Vietnam, as country coordinator for China, shall work closely with the ASEAN Secretariat and the Sub-Committee on S&T Infrastructure and Resource Development (SCIRD) to study the proposal for further consideration of COST and the AMMST.
The Ministers welcomed the offer of the Republic of Korea to formalise its cooperation with COST through the setting up of an ASEAN-ROK Joint Science and Technology Committee (JSTC). The Ministers noted that the proposed ASEAN-ROK JSTC follows on the similar platform that COST has established with some Dialogue Partners such as China, the EC, Japan, India, Russia, and the Plus Three Countries.
The draft Terms of Reference (TOR) of the ASEAN-ROK JSTC is patterned after the TOR of COST with said Dialogue Partners and will be discussed and/or finalised at the forthcoming consultation with ROK in December 2011 in Jeju, ROK.
The Ministers noted that an ASEAN-US consultation on science and technology was held on 24 November 2011. The Ministers welcomed the proposals of the US to engage the COST in two innovation-focused activities. The details of the proposals shall be reviewed and finalized by SCIRD, in consultation with the US.
ASEAN Science Fund
The Ministers were pleased to note that the contributions of the AMS to the ASEAN Science Fund (ASF) will be completed before the end of this year. The Ministers requested COST, through its Advisory Body on the ASF (ABASF) to report to the next Ministerial Meeting the outcome of the ABASF’s study in finding innovative and creative ways so that the ASF could generate higher interest returns and to review the guidelines on the use of the ASF to determine the feasibility of using not only the earnings but also a portion of the ASF principal amount to support major S&T initiatives.