President Biden Announces New Initiatives to Expand the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership

President Biden Announces New Initiatives to Expand the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership (White House)

White House – Statements and Releases 
October 26, 2021 

Readout of President Biden’s Participation in the U.S.-ASEAN Summit

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. today joined leaders of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) member states and the ASEAN Secretary General for the annual U.S.-ASEAN Summit.  He reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to strengthening our partnership with ASEAN as well as to its centrality and applauded the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

The President underscored the enduring commitment of the United States to the region and pledged to deepen our cooperation to take on the challenges of our time, which includes working with our allies and partners to defend against threats to the international rules-based order and to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The President announced the intent to provide up to $102 million in new initiatives to expand the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership to support the region’s recovery from COVID-19, address the climate crisis, promote economic growth, and develop human capital. Additionally, President Biden underlined the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and ASEAN, highlighting new efforts to expand high-level U.S.-ASEAN cooperation in health, climate, energy, transportation, and gender empowerment. He reiterated the U.S. commitment to ending the COVID-19 pandemic and building back better to prepare for the next, including making available more than 40 million vaccine doses and more than $200 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to ASEAN member states to fight COVID-19.  He urged bold action to strengthen health systems and health security, mitigate the climate crisis and reaffirmed U.S. support to build back better and drive a green recovery.

He also expressed grave concerns about the military coup and horrific violence in Burma and called on the country’s military regime to immediately end the violence, release those unjustly detained, and restore Burma’s path to democracy.  He expressed support for ASEAN efforts to hold the Burmese military regime accountable to the Five Point Consensus.

“The relationship between the United States and ASEAN is vital for the future of all one billion of our people. Our partnership is essential in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific, which has been the foundation of our shared security and prosperity for many decades.  And the United States strongly supports the ASEAN Outlook and the Indo-Pacific — on the Indo-Pacific and the rules-based regional order.”

– U.S. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. –

FACT SHEET: New Initiatives to Expand the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership

October 26, 2021

President Biden will announce the intent to provide up to $102 million in new initiatives to expand the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership during the October 26 U.S.-ASEAN Summit, reflecting the Biden-Harris Administration’s deep commitment to ASEAN’s central role in the U.S. vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures:  The United States is committed to leading the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.  The United States intends to provide up to $40 million in new efforts to accelerate joint research, strengthen health system capacity, and develop the next generation of human capital in health through the U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures initiative.  These efforts build on the more than $3.5 billion the United States has invested in supporting public health in ASEAN over the past 20 years. The Health futures initiative will both help address the current pandemic and strengthen ASEAN’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to future zoonotic and other infectious disease outbreaks.  The Initiative’s activities may include the following:

  • Expand USAID’s ASEAN Public Health Emergency Coordination System (APHECS) to support ASEAN member states’ response to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies through a regional framework to guide coordination and communication in public health emergencies.
  • Provide grants for emerging infectious disease research in ASEAN between U.S. scientists and early-career scientists in Southeast Asia, including a focus on promoting gender equity in this field.
  • Support projects to help control tuberculosis transmission related to cross-border and migration issues by developing transnational reporting systems and national action plans on tuberculosis.
  • Partner with regional hospitals through a new CDC cooperative agreement to detect and contain emerging infectious disease threats before spread occurs.
  • Promote cooperation to develop, implement, and enforce regulations and best practices to reduce risks of disease transmission from wildlife and strengthen mechanisms for monitoring, early warning, surveillance, prevention, and control of zoonotic diseases.
  • Expand the U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures Alumni Network through capacity building with programs including the flagship skills training program for young leaders (YSEALI), the Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Emergency Management Fellowship, and Fulbright U.S.-ASEAN programs.
  • Provide USAID assistance to strengthen convergence of pharmaceutical standards and product quality in ASEAN.
  • Share information and strengthen networks to detect and combat high-threat antibiotic-resistant pathogens and vectors, prevent antimicrobial resistance, and enhance technical exchanges on health and emerging pandemic threats.
  • Transform ASEAN states’ health workforces and university public health curricula and train the next generation of health professionals through multi-disciplinary approaches through the One Health Workforce – Next Generation project.
  • Enhance engagement through an ASEAN-U.S. Health Ministerial.

U.S.-ASEAN Climate Futures:  The United States intends to provide up to $20.5 million for a new U.S.-ASEAN Climate Futures initiative dedicated to tackling the climate crisis and keeping the urgent goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.  The Initiative’s activities may include the following:

  • Launch the U.S.-ASEAN Climate Action Program to support ASEAN’s environment and sustainable development through climate change research, coordination, and innovation and improved Nationally Determined Contributions implementation.
  • Partner with ASEAN member state communities through the USAID Clean Air Catalyst program to better understand local pollution sources and identify solutions that lead to sustained progress on cleaner, healthier air.
  • Enhance climate adaptation through the USAID SERVIR Mekong initiative with NASA, which harnesses remote sensing technology and open data to help address development challenges related to a changing climate.
  • Expand smart power efforts through USAID’s new Southeast Asia Smart Power Program to decarbonize and strengthen the region’s power system by increasing regional energy trade and accelerating the deployment of clean energy technologies.
  • Invest in USAID’s new Sustainable Fish Asia project to strengthen ASEAN’s regional role in fisheries, address gender and labor concerns, enhance fisheries trade and compliance, and promote tools for combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
  • Launch the Smart Transport Asia program to support best practices and state-of-the-art techniques to improve transportation systems and fuel economy standards, increase the use of clean transport technologies, and reduce energy consumption and emissions.
  • Establish a Smart Cities Business Innovation Fund to help cities in ASEAN develop and adopt innovations that support the transformative changes needed to address current and future urban challenges.
  • Elevate engagement through an ASEAN-U.S. Environment and Climate Change Ministerial and continued ASEAN-U.S. Energy Ministerials.  The first ASEAN-U.S. Energy Ministerial was held in September 2021.

U.S.-ASEAN Economic Futures:  The Biden Administration continues efforts to promote economic growth and opportunity and build back better from the economic damage wrought from the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States plans to provide $10 million in new loans and the intent to provide up to an additional $10 million in new funding to support U.S.-ASEAN cooperation on trade and innovation. The Initiative’s activities may include the following:

  • Expand USAID’s support to the ASEAN Single Window to foster the global development of interoperable Single Window systems to facilitate trade across the Pacific and adopt international best practices in customs technology.
  • Launch a U.S.-ASEAN Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Program (STIC) to support innovative projects, support the digital economy, and facilitate connections between public and private laboratories, academia, policy makers, industries, and business associations in the United States and ASEAN.
  • Provide funds through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to Integra Partners Fund II L.P., a venture capital fund focused on making impact investments in Southeast Asia in early-stage, impact-oriented technology investments that address a significant supply and demand gap in financial services, insurance, and healthcare.
  • Enhance transportation engagement through an ASEAN-U.S. Transportation Ministerial.

Billion Futures:  The United States is committed to our combined one billion people and is announcing plans to provide $16 million in education-related loans, $1.5 million for English language teacher training, and the intent to provide up to $4 million in new funding to promote gender equality and equity.  The Initiative’s activities may include the following:

  • Support ASEAN’s gender programs and initiatives such as the ASEAN Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Framework and ASEAN’s Women, Peace, and Security agenda.
  • Launch a new DFC loan portfolio guarantee with Pintek, an Indonesia-based digital lender facilitating educational loans for vocational training and higher education.
  • Provide a 20-year DFC loan to support Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s first independent, non-profit liberal arts university.
  • Strengthen people-to-people ties with ASEAN countries through the new “English Teacher Training Plus” initiative to enhance national capacity for English language teaching in ASEAN countries.
  • Enhance engagement and promote gender equality, equity, and empowerment through an ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial on Women.

The President looks forward to working with Congress to support these important initiatives.

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