The 65th ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology Meeting (ASEAN COST-65), organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), opened on May 20, 2013 at the Taal Vista Lodge in Tagaytay City to formally usher in the start of this year’s discussions on common issues in science and technology currently affecting ASEAN member nations.

ASEAN-COST Chairman for the Philippines and DOST Undersecretary for S&T Services Fortunato T. dela Pena delivered the opening remarks in behalf of DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo to welcome the 100 delegates from ASEAN member nations, including representatives from ASEAN’s dialogue partners namely the United States, Austria, Belgium, Germany, China, Japan, and India.

The Plenary Session for Sub-Committee Meetings officially kickstarted the opening day of the six-day biennial event.

The Plenary Session underscored matters and issues discussed during the 64th meeting of ASEAN COST as well as the 7th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (IAMMST -7) held in Brunei which will be the jump-off points for this year’s Sub-Committee talks.

Foremost among these was the Krabi Initiative 2010 , a program endorsed by S&T ministers during the 6th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on S&T held in December 2010 in Krabi, Thailand. The Krabi Initiative seeks to raise ASEAN’s competitiveness in the global village by leveraging the capabilities of science, technology and innovation. Specifically, the program aims to achieve its mission via identified key areas, namely ASEAN Innovation for Global Market, Digital Economy, New Media and Social Networking, Green Technology, Food Security, Energy Security, Water Management, Biodiversity for Health and Wealth, and Science and Innovation for Life.

Among the other issues raised during ASEAN COST-64 and IAMMST-7 which will provide the springboard for discussions this year are the reorganization and restructuring of COST, establishment of new funding mechanisms, and performance review of the various sub-committees.

Another point of discussion was ASEAN’s collaborations with its dialogue partners and their existing projects. Among these are the Talented Young Scientist Visiting Program and ASEAN-China Technology Transfer Center with China, and the ASEAN-US S&T Fellowship Program and ASEAN-US Award for Women in Science with US.

Plans and updates in connection with these topics will be the focal points of the nine Sub-Committee meetings anchored on the following major programme areas of ASEAN-COST: food science and technology, biotechnology, meteorology and geophysics, marine science and technology, sustainable energy research, microelectronics and information technology, material science and technology, space technology and applications, and S&T infrastructure and resources development.

Aside from the Sub-Committee Meetings, delegates to ASEAN COST-65, which will run until May 25, 2013, will also participate in other activities such as the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Meeting, ASEAN-US Consultation Meeting, and a tour of the DOST office in Taguig and the Bonifacio Global City.

Established in 1978, the ASEAN COST aims to strengthen S&T in the region by ensuring that cooperation between members on S&T initiatives remains relevant to present day challenges and supportive of the directives set by ASEAN leaders and S&T ministers.

ASEAN is composed of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

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