Cyber issues and digital economy discussions hold prominence during the 32nd ASEAN Australia forum.
During the 32nd ASEAN-Australia forum, the region agreed on having stronger ongoing cooperation on cyber issues, building on the success of the inaugural ASEAN-Australia Cyber Policy Dialogue in 2018.
Representatives of ASEAN Member States (AMS) and Australia discussed the next Cyber Policy Dialogue, as well as the EAS cyber capacity building workshop to be co-hosted by Singapore and Australia, subject to COVID-19 developments.
According to a statement released by the co-chairs of the forum, Australia will continue to work with the ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Meeting, and support ASEAN to develop its cyber and digital agenda, including through the ASEAN-Australia Digital Trade Standards Initiative.
The FINAL 7 Forum stated Australia’s ongoing support for ASEAN’s connectivity agenda, including through implementing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and establishment of a Smart Cities Trust Fund with the Asian Development Bank under the ASEAN-Australia Smart Cities Initiative announced in 2018.
“This reflected our shared commitment to realising the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” stated the co-chairs.
During the forum Australia reaffirmed its commitment to working with AMS to counter terrorism and violent extremism, including through the ASEAN Plus Australia Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime consultations.
“The Forum welcomed the cooperation resulting from the 2018,” said the co-chairs. “ASEAN-Australia Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation to Counter International Terrorism and its package of initiatives, including to support development of best practice legislation, and regional dialogue and workshops on topics such as electronic evidence, financial intelligence, and countering online radicalisation.”
According to the co-chairs Australia noted the longstanding importance of ASEAN to Australia’s prosperity and economic engagement in the region.
In 2018-19, Australia’s trade with ASEAN was valued at around AUD$124 billion, 13.9 per cent of Australia’s total trade. ASEAN expressed its hope that Australia could continue to increase its investment in the region.
The Forum also noted the need to continue work in expanding the digital economy and the digitisation of supply chains.
To ensure the effective utilisation of digital technology to stimulate trade and economic development, the Forum encouraged cooperation and information sharing on ICT, including in broadband and mobile telephone connectivity, with support for the implementation of the ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2020 and its successor documents, in line with the new Plan of Action.
“The Forum also encouraged greater cooperation on reskilling people to develop a digital-ready workforce equipped for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” state the co-chairs.