On 7 September 2020 the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Statement on COVID-19 was adopted by the Foreign Ministers of Russia, EU, Germany and Singapore as ASEM Regional Coordinators and Cambodia as the Host of the 13th ASEM Summit with support of all ASEM partners.
In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, which caused unprecedented damages to life, health and well-being of ASEM nations, the Ministers reaffirmed commitment to continue joint steps to fight the disease and experience sharing in order to control and prevent its further spreading. They commended healthcare personnel and volunteers working in the frontline of the outbreak.
The parties welcomed the UN Security Council Resolution 2532 backing the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire. It is agreed that the fight against the pandemic requires effective actions by international organizations. The Ministers expressed support to multilateralism based on the UN principles and values, acknowledged the important role of the World Health Organization in coordinating the response to the pandemic.
Specific attention was paid to strengthening international cooperation in development and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. In this context the Ministers pointed out the importance to ensure uninterrupted provision of healthcare and to facilitate scientific research, innovation and technical cooperation among ASEM partners. In order to further expand cooperation on prevention and response to infectious diseases, they supported efforts of laboratory capacity building of countries in need through joint research and training.
Taking into account the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to the global economic system, the Ministers emphasized the significance of uninterrupted flow of essential goods and services across borders throughout the ASEM region, agreed to work closely to resolve any disruptions of support for all in need. They underscored the importance of unimpeded movement of people and goods for humanitarian purposes.
The Ministers called upon all ASEM countries to coordinate efforts in the post-pandemic phase with the focus on socio-economic recovery and achieving Sustainable Development Goals, including through stimulating investments, strengthening connectivity, supporting business contacts and tourism, stabilizing markets. These will be the key issues on the agenda of the 13th ASEM Summit in Cambodia in 2021.
ASEM is an informal interregional dialogue process for cooperation in political, security, economic, financial and socio-cultural dimensions. It was established in 1996. It comprises 53 partners: 22 in its Asian Group and 31 in the European Group. Russia and Singapore are the Regional Coordinators of the Asian Group, while the EU and Germany coordinate the European Group.