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Articolo dell’Ambasciatore Galanti pubblicato sulla Partneriato Italia-ASEAN (Khmer Time)

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At its 53rd Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last September, Asean, with the support of all member States, endorsed Italy’s candidature as a development partner, thus establishing the first formal link between Italy and the Asean family. It is a significant achievement, part of Italy’s closer engagement with the region.

When Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio presented Italy’s candidature, he had in mind the long-standing relations between Italy and the region, characterized by friendship, trade and investment flows, and deep cultural ties. Against this backdrop, Italy and Asean uphold common values as well as the principles of independence, shared prosperity, and peaceful resolution of disputes. He also had in mind the ties existing between Asean and the European Union and the cooperation between these two regional blocs, and their common vocation to effective multilateralism as a way to tackle today’s global challenges.

Asean’s role and centrality in promoting security, stability and prosperity within its membership and in the broader Indo-Pacific context through its partnerships is widely recognised. As a global actor, Asean’s support will be critical for Italy’s upcoming presidency of the G20 in 2021, whose agenda is centred on ‘’People, Planet and Prosperity’’.

This new cooperative framework established between Asean and Italy is set to deliver concrete and sustainable results both with Asean as a whole and with individual member States. Italy’s approach to this partnership is based on a whole-of-government engagement on capacity building initiatives in various sectors, from security (in the fight against transnational crime, for instance), to women empowerment, to sustainability and connectivity, and involves also the private sector. With Cambodia, currently holding the chair of ASEM, Italy is set to enhance cooperation in fields such as climate change, sustainable development, renewable energy, connectivity and culture.

Italy’s role as co-chair – with the United Kingdom — of COP26 in 2021 will increase the opportunities to further engage together on climate change, including on topics such as urban reforestation, new urban mobility, buildings sustainability and the cities’ future energy in view of the energy transition toward renewable sources and the creation of a circular economy. A special emphasis and financial support will be given to the Asean Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) in Phnom Penh, as part of Italy’s commitment to address landmines and explosive remnants in the region.

While looking at building back a more sustainable economy, we keep in mind the importance of cooperating in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Italy has been at the forefront in promoting an international alliance for the vaccine against Covid-19 and is actively engaged in Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. It is paramount to speed up scientific research on safe vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics, and to ensure their universal distribution. Once more, cooperation with ASEAN on this front will be critical to succeed in this major challenge.

Lorenzo Galanti

Ambassador of Italy to the Kingdom of Cambodia