Norway has established a US$7 million Norwegian ASEAN Regional Initiatives Fund (NARIF) to boost its engagement with the 10-member regional grouping, the ASEAN Secretariat announced on Friday.
According to Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, the fund will support “selected cross-cutting activities of regional importance in-line with ASEAN’s Roadmap” for establishing an ASEAN Community by the end of 2015. This was announced during the signing of ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Bandar Seri Begawan earlier this week.
“Norway’s accession to the TAC is a natural extension of our long-standing engagement in the region and our commitment to multilateralism,” the ASEAN Secretariat said in a press release, quoting Eide.
The TAC, also known as the Bali Concord I, was first signed by all ASEAN members in 1976 in Bali. It was amended in 1996 to allow non-Southeast Asian countries to accede to the treaty. Aside from Norway, so far 32 countries from across the globe signed the TAC.
Thus far, Norway has invested $650 million in Indonesia. In 2010, Norway pledged $1 billion to Indonesia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation under the REDD+ program in a period of six or more years.