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Tech Diplomacy: Strengthening Southeast Asia-New Zealand Relations

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Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s bilateral meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines today emphasised leveraging technology to strengthen the Philippines-New Zealand relationship. Accompanied by MP Paulo Garcia, discussions revolved around enhancing defence cooperation, boosting trade through exports with a projected 50% growth by 2030, and upgrading their relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026.

Key highlights included plans to establish legal frameworks for closer defence ties to support peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Additionally, dialogue extended to addressing climate change challenges and engaging on regional and global issues, underlining the importance of technological solutions in fostering collaboration and addressing shared priorities.

New Zealand’s commitment to combatting climate change and fostering sustainable development in South East Asia extends beyond financial contributions. The nation is leveraging cutting-edge technology to drive the clean energy transition in the region, ensuring a resilient and sustainable future.

The country reaffirmed its commitment to combatting global greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the clean energy transition in South East Asia with a contribution of NZ$41 million (US$25 million) to the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-led Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM).

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts unveiled the initiative in Manila, marking a pivotal step towards accelerating the retirement and repurposing of fossil fuel plants in favour of cleaner, renewable energy sources.

“The ETM is a transformative initiative that leverages both public and private finance to expedite the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” stated Mr. Luxon. “Urgent action is imperative to curb greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to supporting our partners in South East Asia on their journey towards cleaner energy.”

New Zealand’s investment, initially focused on Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, aims to mobilise significant public and private finance necessary for a sustainable clean energy transition. The initiative also supports the Just Energy Transition Partnerships led by the Group of Seven partners, ensuring an equitable transition process.

Mr Watts emphasised the comprehensive approach of the ADB in implementing the ETM, highlighting its leadership and collaboration in addressing the complex challenge of just energy transition. “The ADB’s commitment aligns with our goals of promoting renewable energy and fostering sustainable development in South East Asia.”

The contribution to the ETM complements New Zealand’s extensive development support for renewable energy in the region, including technical assistance and capacity building for geothermal and renewable energy projects. As the third financing partner to join the trust fund for the ETM, New Zealand joins Japan and Germany in advancing clean energy initiatives in Southeast Asia.

In line with the nation’s commitment to leveraging technology in all sectors, Education Minister Erica Stanford is poised to lead the New Zealand delegation at the 2024 International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) in Singapore, spotlighting the intersection of digital innovation and educational excellence.

Co-hosted by the Singapore Ministry of Education, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Education International, this summit convenes education leaders and policymakers from top-performing OECD nations to explore pioneering approaches to teaching and learning in the digital age.

The summit will delve into technology’s transformative impact on learning, and Minister Stanford seeks insights into leveraging digital innovations for enhanced educational outcomes in today’s digitised era.

During her Singapore visit, Minister Stanford aims to highlight New Zealand’s tech-driven educational approach. This involves integrating digital tools for interactive learning and fostering collaboration with Singapore on leveraging technology to address shared education challenges.

Beyond the summit agenda, Minister Stanford will engage in various diplomatic and educational exchanges, underscoring New Zealand’s dedication to international cooperation and its pursuit of excellence in education through digital innovation.


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