The European Union has highlighted the significance of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Process and how it positively impacts Laos, at a seminar given to students in central Laos.
Over 200 staff and students from Savannakhet Pedagogical College last week attended the seminar to learn about the ASEM Process and the roles of Laos and the EU in ASEM.
Ambassador Designate of the EU to Laos Mr. Leon Faber told the audience that the ASEM is a significant forum that brings together the leaders of the two continents to discuss global issues of common interest including climate change and the post-2015 development agenda.
Leaders from the two continents also take the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with a number of leaders whilst attending ASEM meetings to deepen their cooperative relations.
Since 1996 ASEM has become a key forum for dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Asia, with an ever-growing number of partners involved.
ASEM currently has 53 partners (more than double the original 26 in 1996) and is representing nearly 60 percent of the world’s GDP and more than 60 percent of the world’s population.
It provides a stable platform for partnership to foster political dialogue and reinforce economic cooperation as well as collaboration in various other areas, including in the socio- cultural field and on global issues.
ASEM enhances mutual understanding and awareness through a process of dialogue and tangible cooperation on priority issues and by working together to address challenges and translate them into opportunities.
ASEM is conducted as an informal process, on the basis of equal partnership, mutual respect and benefit. Laos enjoys an increased role in this inter-continental arena and successfully hosted the ASEM 9 Summit in 2012.
The European Union is one of Laos’ biggest development partners in terms of grant aid for development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. The EU’s programme for Laos for 2014-2020 (207 million euros) focuses on nutrition,
education and governance, while also tackling issues such as UXO decontamination, gender equality and climate change.
Last week’s seminar was jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Economic Affairs and the EU Delegation in Vientiane.
Co-chaired by the Director General of the Economic Affairs Department, Mr. Songkane Luangmouninthone, together with Mr. Leon Faber, the seminar is one of many activities taking place this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ASEM under the theme “20 years of ASEM: partnership for future through connectivity”.
The activities aim to raise public awareness about the importance of ASEM, its role and accomplishments as well as those of Laos and the European Union since both parties joined this bloc.
Source: Vientiane Times