A Swedish team led by Ms. Anna Maria Oltorp, Counsellor, Head of Development Cooperation Section of the Embassy of Sweden to Thailand, visited the ASEAN Foundation on 28 March 2012. Dr. Makarim Wibisono, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation welcomed the team and briefly explained on the mandate and priorities of the Foundation that is to support ASEAN community building through promoting greater awareness of the ASEAN identity, people-to-people interaction, and close collaboration among the business sector, civil society, academia and other stakeholders on ASEAN. He informed about the Foundation's projects that build capacities of the peoples of ASEAN that have helped them to improve their living standard and livelihood such as the farmers, fishermen and those that are in the small businesses.
Ms. Oltorp stated that ASEAN's priorities are relevant for Swedish regional development cooperation and further explained briefly on Sweden's "Strategy for Regional Cooperation with Asia focusing on Southeast Asia (2010-2015)" which aims at collaborating efforts to place greater respect for human rights, more sustainable use of natural resources, and planning for communal services for people living in poverty, and increased regional integration. Further, she stated that in general, Sweden's regional cooperation with Asia shall seek to improve the capacity of countries and partners to address regional transboundary challenges and problems shared by several countries and where solutions can best be sought in regional cooperation. Ms. Oltorp also mentioned their interest to explore the possibility of partnering with the ASEAN Foundation.
Dr. Makarim Wibisono welcomed the idea of working together in capacity building programs in the common areas of interest such as environment, health and higher-learning education as well as in CSR networking. Both parties agreed to intensify possible development cooperation discussions through further communications.
Ms. Oltorp was accompanied by other officials from the Embassy of Sweden to Thailand, namely, Ms. Christine Lundberg, First Secretary and Senior Programme Manager for Human Rights and Democracy, Ms. Ulrika Âkesson, First Secretary and Senior Programme Manager for Environment and Climate Change, Ms. Renée Ankarfjärd, First Secretary and Research Advisor for Environment and Natural Resources, and from the Embassy of Sweden to Indonesia, Ms. Annika Siwertz, Counsellor for Development Cooperation.
The ASEAN Foundation was established by the ASEAN Leaders in December 1997 during ASEAN’s 30th Anniversary Commemorative Summit to help bring about shared prosperity and a sustainable future to all 10 ASEAN Member Countries, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.