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Innovation and regional cooperation are the focus of the ASEAN COTI-85 meeting

Delegates at the 85th Meeting of the ASEAN Commission on Science, Technology and Innovation (ASEAN COSTI-85) on June 5. Delivered

The 85th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (ASEAN COSTI-85) concluded on June 5 in Siem Reap, with a focus on innovation and regional cooperation.

The committee, responsible for coordinating science, technology and innovation (STI) efforts within ASEAN member states, will send its conclusions and recommendations to the higher-level ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on STI (AMMSTI) for further discussion and decisions.

The two-day meeting discussed 93 ongoing STI activities, including projects funded by the ASEAN STI Fund (ASTIF).

COSTI updated the list of 21 centers, networks and subsidiary bodies under nine subcommittees and four task forces. Two key projects – Real-time Epidemic Genomic Surveillance for ASEAN and the ASEAN Sero-Surveillance Study (ASSeSS) on Covid-19 – are still in progress.

ASEAN is working with dialogue partners on 69 STI activities, all of which contribute to these initiatives.

Australia in particular supported the development of the ASEAN Plan of Action on STI (APASTI) 2026-2035, while China funded several projects under the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund (ACCF), including the China-ASEAN Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition 2024 and the China-ASEAN Technology Transfer Center (CATCC).

“It is critical to leverage the dialogue partners’ funds to implement impactful applied research and promote STI in ASEAN,” said Hul Seingheng, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Chairman of ASEAN COSTI.

He said total funding from various dialogue partners, including Australia, China, Japan and the US, amounted to approximately $390 million. ASEAN member states were encouraged to use these funds effectively to meet regional needs through practical scientific solutions.

The meeting concluded with the review and recognition of the achievement of the annual priorities in STI for 2023, including the establishment of the ASEAN Technology Management Hub, implementing artificial intelligence workshops and developing the ASEAN Regional Research Infrastructure (RRI) Strategy.

The COSTI-85 meeting underscored ASEAN’s commitment to advancing STI through joint efforts and strategic partnerships. This commitment is critical in addressing both regional and global challenges, promoting sustainable and inclusive development and increasing ASEAN’s competitiveness globally.