As part of Team Europe’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union announced a new €20 million programme to support the preparedness and response capacities of our partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The South-East Asia Pandemic Response and Preparedness programme will be implemented by the World Health Organization, working closely with national authorities and the ASEAN Secretariat. It will enhance regional coordination of the COVID-19 response and strengthen the capacity of health systems in South-East Asia, while paying special attention to vulnerable populations.
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, announced the programme at the 23rd EU-ASEAN Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting: “The South-East Asia Pandemic Response and Preparedness programme is part of the European Union’s €350 million solidarity response to support our ASEAN partners in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong regional coordination on access to information, equipment and vaccines is essential for overcoming this crisis. We are in this together and, as partners, stronger together.”
The programme, with a duration of 42 months, will strengthen the monitoring and testing capacities of ASEAN Member States, as well as the capacity of their health institutions and workers to manage the caseload while maintaining essential health services. The programme will also support timely and transparent communication about the pandemic, and help reach people living in rural and remote areas with information about the preventive measures, symptoms and risks.