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37th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee

Subject: 37th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology

37th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology
                 Yangon, Myanmar
                  19-21 May 1999 

               Joint Press Release

First COST Meeting in Myanmar

  1.The 37th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology
(COST) was successfully hosted by Myanmar on
    19-21 May 1999. The Meeting reviewed its accomplishments and discussed
the planning for implementation of the Hanoi Plan
    of Action. 

    Significant Accomplishments

  2.ASEAN COST, which is meeting for the first time in Myanmar, monitored
the progress in the implementation of projects to
    enhance S&T development in ASEAN. At this meeting, the successful
completion of 7 projects in various areas of regional
    cooperation in science and technology was reported. These projects are
in telecommunications training, multimedia archive
    development, energy cogeneration from biomass resources, natural gas
utilisation in transport, coastal zone environment and
    resource management, and remote sensing and geographic information
systems for sustainable management of natural
    resources and the marine environment. 

  3.The Telecommunications Cooperation Training Project is a joint project
of ASEAN and Australia. Telecommunications
    regulation, management and development are becoming more and more
important in ASEAN as the region becomes more
    open and integrated with the rest of the world. This sector is
developing rapidly, and thus demands continuing upgrading of the
    skills and capacities of its personnel. The project addressed this need
by conducting technical as well as management training
    courses for telecommunications personnel in the ASEAN member countries.
As a result of the project, around 200
    telecommunications technicians, engineers and managers were able to
upgrade their knowledge and skills. Those interested in
    the training programmes may contact the ASEAN Secretariat for further

  4.Another completed project is the development of an archive of
multimedia elements accessible via the World Wide Web. This
    multi-lingual and multi-cultural archive consists of digitised text,
voice, music, pictures and video clips based on common
    words from most of the ASEAN countries and India. The archive will be
useful for teachers who wish to develop

    computer-based instructional materials, for web page designers and
builders and other similar applications. The archive can
    be accessed at HTTP://WWW.NECTEC.OR.TH/SLL/AIDA. The project was
accomplished with support and technical
    expertise from India. 

  5.Given the large coastal zone in the ASEAN region, there is a need to
properly manage and support sustainable development of
    this resource. The project on coastal zone environment and resource
management addressed the problem by establishing a
    network of national environment and resources centres in the ASEAN
member countries. Through this network, a
    harmonised set of information can be exchanged on a timely basis. The
availability of such information enables sound
    decision-making and coordinated actions to effectively address problems
related to coastal zone management. 

  6.COST also announced the successful hosting by Vietnam of the 5th ASEAN
Science and Technology Week (ASTW) in Hanoi
    last October 1998. The technical exhibition in Vietnam was visited by a
large number of people, including more than a
    thousand VIPs and dignitaries. Eight technical conferences attended by
more than 600 scientists and researchers were also
    held. The next such event, the 6th ASTW, will be hosted by Brunei
Darussalam in 2001. ASEAN looks forward to this
    triennial event which showcases ASEAN achievements in science and
technology by way of technical exhibits and
    conferences. It also gives due recognition to outstanding work by the
region's scientists and technologists through the
    conferment of awards. Interested parties may know more about COST
activities by visiting the COST home page at

    Planning for Implementation of Hanoi Plan of Action

  7.In science and technology, ASEAN's goal is to attain technological
competitiveness by 2020. This is one of the many goals of
    ASEAN embodied in ASEAN Vision 2020. To reach these goals, ASEAN
adopted the Hanoi Plan of Action (HPA) at the
    Sixth ASEAN Summit held in Hanoi in December 1998. The HPA provides the
general direction and outlines a road map for
    reaching the goals stated in ASEAN Vision 2020. 

  8.At its meeting, COST agreed to prepare a strategic plan for
implementing its programmes and other S&T-based activities
    that are included in the Hanoi Plan of Action. Implementation of these
programmes and activities in an efficient manner will
    need careful planning and allocation of resources. In inviting its
Dialogue Partners to support HPA-related activities of mutual
    interest, COST will build closer relationships with them, marked by
mutually beneficial technical cooperation and exchanges,
    with costs shared by the participating partners in a transparent manner. 

  9.Recognising the need to assist the new ASEAN member countries to be
more rapidly integrated into the mainstream of S&T
    cooperation in the region, COST will design HRD packages to strengthen
S&T institutions in the new member countries. As a
    start, training in food science and technology will be offered by
Thailand to Myanmar. The new member countries have started
    taking significant roles in regional S&T cooperation by assuming the
chairmanships of certain Sub-Committees. Myanmar

    will be the chairman of the Sub-Committee on Food Science and
Technology from July 1999 to June 2002, while Lao PDR
    will be the chairman of the Sub-Committee on Non-conventional Energy
Research during the same period. 

10.The next COST meeting will be held in Singapore in October 1999. 

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