The unit will serve as a platform to strengthen Asean’s capacity to handle public health emergencies and emerging diseases, according to Permanent Secretary Kiattiphum Wongrajit.
The Japanese government supported the project through its Japan-Asean Integration Fund in 2020. Additionally, Japan injected another US$50 million (1.8 billion baht) last year towards the final stage of setting up a permanent facility in Thailand.
Six Asean member nations expressed support for Thailand as it competed with Indonesia and Vietnam for the center.
On Friday, Public Health Minister of Thailand Anutin Charnvirakul will host the official opening ceremony.
Thailand APEC Conference
On Tuesday, Dr Kiattiphum presided over the APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) on the health working group, which runs from Monday to Friday. As a result of the conference, Apec member countries are expected to improve their public health systems after Covid-19.
The participants will use this opportunity to update and improve the previously agreed action plan for the Putrajaya Vision 2040, which includes establishing a network to address health challenges and mitigate the negative economic impact of infectious diseases emerging from the country.
According to Dr Kiattiphum, the Covid-19 pandemic and the response from the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the alarm because the link between emerging infectious diseases and economic collapse has been clearly demonstrated.
In order to create resilience and stability, stave off further health crises, and ensure economic growth and sustainability, we hope the meeting will produce concrete plans to assure the economy and health are managed in parallel.
EU, ASEAN to hold summit
To strengthen ties with the Asian bloc and counter Russian and Chinese influence, the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will hold a summit of national leaders in December to discuss expanding trade and infrastructure assistance.
An EU official told Nikkei that the interbloc summit will begin Dec. 14 in Brussels. A number of chiefs and senior officials representing the EU’s executive body have attended previous summits between the two groups.
It follows on the heels of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia, amid the increasing attention paid to the rich and resource-rich region.
It has usually been the temporary president of the EU’s 27 member countries and ASEAN’s 10 member countries including Thailand who have attended previous meetings between the two blocs.
Due to tensions between Beijing and Washington, the European Union is seeking to increase its influence in the region.