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Ireland welcomes ASEM Statement on COVID-19


Statement commits 51 countries to key human rights, sustainability and COVID -19 vaccine initiatives

Ireland has welcomed today’s Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Statement on COVID-19. The statement is the first by the 53-member inter-governmental forum since Minister Coveney attended the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting in Madrid in December 2019 and can be read in full via this link.


A Department spokesperson said: “ASEM is the only inter-governmental forum between Europe and Asia, and this Statement sets out its important shared commitments to work together in fighting the global pandemic. The ASEM partners, who represent over 60% of the world’s population, have endorsed the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire and to protect those in vulnerable situations during the pandemic. The ASEM Statement also includes key commitments to ensure that the pandemic response is not used as a pretext to limit human rights and fundamental freedoms. This Statement builds on other milestones of international cooperation in tackling the global crisis caused by COVID-19, and notably re-endorses the World Health Assembly Resolution which was agreed in 2020.


“The ASEM Statement is an example of successful ‘virtual diplomacy’, in which Ireland actively participates with its European and Asian partners in a series of video conference meetings. Although the ASEM Summit, which brings together 51 national government leaders, the EU and ASEAN, has been postponed until next year, ASEM continues to provide a forum for discussion and cooperation.


“The ASEM partners are committed to working together to effectively control the spread of the pandemic; to support international cooperation in developing and delivering quality, accessible and affordable vaccines, and to deliver a sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery based on the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development objectives.”



  • ASEM is an inter-governmental forum made up of 53 partners: 30 countries from Europe, 21 from Asia, plus the EU and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat.
  • There are ASEM Heads of State and Government and Foreign Ministers meetings on alternating years. Former Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., attended the ASEM 12 Summit in Brussels in 2018, and former Tánaiste, Simon Coveney T.D. attended the Foreign Ministers Meeting in Madrid in 2019. A Heads of State and Government meeting was due to take place in Cambodia in 2020, but has been postponed until 2021.
  • The ‘Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Statement on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)’ is the first ever inter-sessional (i.e. not aligned with a summit) ASEM statement. In lieu of a summit, the statement has been issued by the rotating coordinators on the European (EU and German Presidency) and Asian (Russia and Singapore) sides, plus the upcoming host of the 2021 ASEM 13 Summit (Cambodia) on behalf of all ASEM partners.
  • Further information on ASEM is available on the ASEM InfoBoard website.

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