Indonesia encourages ASEAN-Canada food security cooperation

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi encouraged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Canada to strengthen cooperation in food security at the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference with Canada here on Thursday (July 13).

“As a global food powerhouse, Canada can play a crucial role as a reliable partner for ASEAN’s food security by substantiating trade on quality agricultural and agrifood commodities,” Marsudi noted, as cited from the statement transcript of the meeting.

The minister assessed that cooperation is essential because currently, the world is confronted by food insecurity that is caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, among others.

In addition, ASEAN countries are confronted by the El Nino threat that can affect food crop harvests and disrupt the global food supply chain.

Hence, Marsudi said Indonesia is hoping that the joint commitment to strengthen regional food security preparedness can be reflected in a joint statement during the ASEAN-Canada Summit, scheduled for September.

Marsudi noted that the ASEAN and Canada could also collaborate in agricultural technology, one of which is through the Scholarship and Educational Exchange Development (SEED).

Related news: ASEAN-India cooperation in food security important: Marsudi

Furthermore, regarding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, Canada is expected to contribute to increasing women’s and business groups’ participation in regional peace and development.

The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) provides space for women and businesses in regional peace and development, particularly through implementing the Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security and the Empowering Women for Sustainable Peace project.

“We also invite Canada to take part in the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum, a public-private dialogue forum to produce concrete cooperation,” she remarked.

The strengthening of economic cooperation, including through the conclusion of the ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement, was also discussed at Thursday’s meeting.

ASEAN also encourages cooperation for strengthening human resources through the provision of scholarships. The other areas of cooperation that were also raised are regional connectivity, digital economy, green economy, smart city, and maritime security.

The ASEAN foreign ministers lauded Canada’s support for ASEAN’s centrality and leadership in the region.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Melanie Joy, stated that Canada is keen to become a reliable partner for ASEAN. To this end, the country has readied US$2 billion for various projects in ASEAN.

The meeting approved the Draft Joint Statement of the ASEAN-Canada Strategic Partnership to be approved at the upcoming ASEAN-Canada Summit. 

Related news: Canadian FM discusses regional stability, mitigating climate change