JAKARTA, May 7 (Bernama) — Asean countries have been urged to forge greater cooperation on food security and efforts to address concerns over energy supply amid global competition for dwindling supplies of life’s basic necessities.
In making the call, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono described issues pertaining to food and energy security as among the biggest challenges for the regional grouping.
“We’re faced with fluctuating food and energy prices that may well go up further on the world market.
“One of the measures that could be taken is to implement the Asean Integrated Food Security Framework in a comprehensive manner, especially in the area of expanding and investing in food production initiatives,” he said when opening the 18th Asean Summit here Saturday.
Indonesia chairs the grouping for one year.
The two-day summit, themed “Asean Community in a Global Community of Nations”, is being attended by heads of government or their representatives from 10 Southeast Asian countries.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is leading the Malaysian delegation at the Jakarta summit.
He leads the Malaysian team at the summit’s related meetings, namely the pleno session and the retreat, the meeting of Asean leaders with representatives of Asean Inter Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and the unofficial meeting of Asean leaders and youth representatives.
In addition, he is also scheduled to attend the unofficial meeting of Asean leaders with representatives of civil organisations and the 7th Summit Meeting of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
Najib was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed.
Susilo said Asean states should look for innovative solutions to energy security issues, including seeking out new energy and renewable energy sources in a bid to diversify energy supplies and reduce the use of energy sources that may harm the environment.
On efforts to tackle natural disasters, the president said that Asean should strengthen regional coordination through the formation of the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management.
He was also in favour of joint training programmes to deal with potential natural disasters in the region, like the one conducted in Manado, Indonesia, in March.
Source : Bernama