ASEAN finance, health ministers discuss pandemic anticipatory measures

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Health and finance ministries of member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) discussed essential measures to strengthen the financial sector to anticipate future pandemics.”ASEAN countries’ finance and health ministers have discussed efforts to improve financial coordination in order to bolster the region’s readiness to effectively respond to likely health and economic challenges caused by future pandemics,” Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani remarked in Jakarta on Thursday. The minister delivered the statement at a press conference on the sidelines of the ASEAN Finance and Health Ministerial Meeting (AFHMM) in Jakarta. During the meeting, ASEAN ministers agreed to accelerate the development of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergency and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED), with the objective of collecting funds for anticipating the pandemic. The ACPHEED will also serve as a regional hub to help ASEAN countries tackle and respond to public health emergencies and other emerging infectious diseases. SEAN health and finance ministers also optimized the meeting, being held under Indonesia’s 2023 ASEAN chairmanship, to discuss the economic capability gap both within and between ASEAN countries in anticipating and responding to a pandemic. To address the issue, Indonesia has encouraged ASEAN countries to formulate an investment modality strategy aimed at boosting all members’ contributions to the collective efforts in responding to emergency situations caused by any pandemics, Mulyani stated. During the meeting, the ASEAN ministers also discussed the importance of optimizing Southeast Asia’s resources and working in synergy with global actors to help the region realize sustainable recovery. In terms of global synergy, Minister Mulyani cited as an example Indonesia’s initiative to launch the pandemic fund during its presidency in G20 last year. “We also want to ensure that we all have to augment our preparedness and capability of responding to potential threats posed to public health induced by new infectious diseases or the recurring ones,” she remarked. Furthermore, the ASEAN health and finance ministers reiterated their commitment to boosting their national investment and exploring other innovative financing schemes by partnering with international actors to support development. Results of the meeting will be outlined during the 43rd ASEAN Summit that will take place in Jakarta on September 5-7, 2023.

Source: Antara News Agency