"We had in-depth discussions on ASEAN’s priorities for the whole year and on ways to further strengthen the ASEAN Community and ASEAN Centrality as well as advance ASEAN’s comprehensive recovery from the covid-19 pandemic," said the Chairman of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in a press release on Thursday.
The ministers discussed the regional response to and recovery from the covid-19 pandemic and committed to swiftly implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and its Implementation Plan, as well as working towards the timely establishment of the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework (ACRF) and operationalisation of the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies (RRMS); as well as the timely establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED).
They also reaffirmed their commitment to work with external partners to address the long-term impacts such as on mental health issues.
"We recognised that the individual efforts undertaken by ASEAN Member States are important contributions to the region’s collective efforts to curb the spread of the covid-19 pandemic," the chairman stated.
Moreover, they reaffirmed the importance of ensuring fair, equitable and affordable access to safe and quality vaccines and their procurement for all people in ASEAN.
In this regard, ASEAN member states agreed to utilise the covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund in the procurement of vaccines, medical supplies and equipment for the people of ASEAN.
"In view of the recent inauguration of the President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris, we look forward to working with the new administration to further strengthen the strategic partnership between ASEAN and the United States (US) for the region’s peace, security, stability and prosperity. We further looked forward to our cooperation in promoting and strengthening multilateralism and international cooperation, to accelerate global economic recovery and to mitigate the covid-19 pandemic," the chairman stated.