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Initiatives on cybersecurity, digital trade and smart cities announced at inaugural ASEAN-Australia Summit

Initiatives on cybersecurity

The inaugural ASEAN-Australia
Special Summit
concluded on March 18, with the regional leaders agreeing on
the Sydney
. The Declaration sets out a vision for the future of the
ASEAN-Australia partnership and commitment to drive regional economic
integration and elevate cooperation on complex regional challenges including cyber,
maritime and people trafficking.

Combating terrorism
and violent extremism

Australia and ASEAN signed
a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation to Counter International
Terrorism. The MoU is supported by a suite of programs, including technical and
regulatory assistance to develop best practice counter-terrorism legislation,
and regional dialogues and workshops on topics such as electronic evidence,
financial intelligence, and countering online radicalisation.

As part of the MOU, Australia will provide technical
assistance to ASEAN partners to develop and implement counter-terrorsim
legislation in line with international standards and best practice. Australia
will also provide a capacity-building program to ASEAN law enforcement partners
on technology enabled crime to assist in detecting and disrupting terrorist

Other initiatives include the AUSTRAC
and an ASEAN-Australia workshop on using electronic evidence in
terrorism related prosecutions. A range of ASEAN-Australia financial
intelligence analyst courses will facilitate more integrated multilateral
intelligence exchanges and operational collaboration to counter terrorism


The Sydney Declaration includes a commitment to deepening
cooperation on cyber security. It also expresses a shared commitment to promote
an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment consistent
with each state’s respective domestic laws and regulations.

The signatories affirmed their commitment to promoting
international stability for cyberspace based on existing international law,
cooperative capacity building, practical confidence building measures,
voluntary, and non-binding norms of responsible behaviour taking reference from
the 2015 Report of the UN Group of
Governmental Experts
on Developments in the Field of Information and
Telecommunications in the Context of International Security.

(Last year, at the
second ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity, ASEAN Member States expressed
their support for the development of basic, operational and voluntary norms of
behaviour to guide the use of ICTs in a responsible manner, with reference to
the UNGGE report mentioned above.)

Speaking at a press
conference at the Summit, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Malcolm
Turnbull MP, said, “The threat is global, and technology in many ways has
amplified the problem; the use of social media and encrypted messaging
applications is a challenge for us all and one we must tackle together. The
laws that apply offline must apply online.”

“And just as the terrorists’ networks are transnational, so
must be our collaboration, and nowhere more so than in the sharing of
intelligence. The use of cyberspace by terrorists and criminals presents an
increasing challenge for all our agencies – it was a key focus of our discussions.
And so, an important initiative of the ASEAN-Australia Counter-Terrorism Summit
was the transnational agreement to share cyber intelligence and policing

ASEAN-Australia Smart
Cities initiative

Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced
the A$30 million ASEAN-Australia Smart Cities initiative to enhance
collaboration between ASEAN and Australia on smart and sustainable city design,
and further promote regional economic integration and prosperity.

As part of the initiative, ASEAN and Australia will work
together over the next five years to bolster ASEAN’s capacity to create future
cities that are smart and sustainable. Australia will provide education,
training, technical assistance and support for innovation to ASEAN, and also
invest in the Study to Advance Sustainable Urbanisation in ASEAN, a significant
regional urbanisation forum in 2018, capacity building and training,
scholarships, and competitive grant funding.

ASEAN-Australia Smart Cities draws on Australia’s
world-class expertise in green infrastructure, water governance, renewable
energy, innovative technologies, data analytics and transportation.

In a press conference at the Summit, the Prime Minister of
Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong said, “There are clear synergies within the ASEAN
Australia smart cities initiative and ASEAN’s own smart cities network.” As the
Chair of ASEAN in 2018, Singapore is building
the ASEAN Smart Cities Network to connect people and economies seamlessly.

Digital trade

The Australian Government announced
a joint initiative with the ten countries of ASEAN to promote digital trade and
support inclusive economic growth in the region.

The ASEAN-Australia Digital Trade Standards initiative provides
a framework for Australia and ASEAN countries to cooperate in developing,
adopting and using international standards that promote digital trade and
support inclusive economic growth in the region.

The rapid global spread of digital technology presents opportunities
for governments, consumers and business, particularly Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprises (MSMEs). These include new digital trading opportunities, jobs,
investment and improvements in living standards. However, the benefits of
digitalisation are not always shared equally. 

International standards that enable digital trade will
remove barriers that prevent businesses from accessing regional markets and
create new opportunities for jobs and growth. It will help share the benefits
of a more inclusive digital economy.

This initiative complements existing ASEAN priorities on the
digital economy and builds on Australia and ASEAN’s history of cooperation to
promote regional economic integration.

The Sydney declaration includes a commitment to promote
sustainable and inclusive economic growth and prosperity, through supporting
digital trade, entrepreneurship, help developing a digital-ready workforce, and
promoting our region's further integration into the global marketplace.

Economic Integration
and Infrastructure Cooperation

The ASEAN-Australia
Infrastructure Cooperation
initiative will develop a pipeline of high-quality
infrastructure projects, to attract private and public investment and improve
regional connectivity.

Complementing this initiative, an ASEAN linkage to the
Sydney-based G20 Global Infrastructure Hub will increase collaboration between
the public sector and private investors towards funding ASEAN infrastructure

The ASEAN-Australia Economic Cooperation initiative will
support a more economically integrated region, through a series of workshops on
critical reforms for Australia and ASEAN countries including on taxation
policy; regulatory reform and governance; competition and innovation; budget
policy; and macroeconomic and financial frameworks.

maritime cooperation

A Maritime Cooperation Plan of Action was signed
between Indonesia and Australia to implement the Joint Declaration on Maritime
Cooperation signed in February 2017.

The Plan encompasses 85 separate activities involving 17
Australian and 20 Indonesian agencies. It will drive increased bilateral
cooperation across the following priorities: economic development, maritime
security, combatting illegal fishing, maritime safety, search and rescue,
marine science collaboration, sustainable management of marine resources,
maritime cultural heritage and working together in regional and multilateral

Australia also announced a new, four-year bilateral Maritime
Capacity Building Initiative in Indonesia to support implementation of the

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