ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi and Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to ASEAN Igor Driesmans yesterday officially launched the Bike45Ride cycling event in Jakarta, as ASEAN and EU celebrate 45 years of strategic partnership.
ASEAN member states and EU delegations marked the occasion with a symbolic ride from the ASEAN Secretariat to the premises of the EU delegation in Jakarta.
Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi noted that the activity not only serves as a credible platform to create public awareness of the work of ASEAN-EU, but also as an effort to encourage more people to shift to more sustainable modes of transportation.
Nearly 300 million of the ASEAN 650-million population live in urban areas and more than 25 per cent live in cities with over one million inhabitants.
In the next 15 years, ASEAN’s urban areas are expected to accommodate another 100 million people.
With EUR5.1 million support from the EU for 2021-2024, the Smart Green ASEAN Cities (SGAC) programme will assist ASEAN member states to find green and smart solutions to the high urbanisation rate through digitalisation and use of technologies.
The EU Ambassador to ASEAN said, “Green growth and the environment are key strategic sectors of our partnership with ASEAN. This Bike45Ride event not only marks 45 years of our relations with ASEAN but also our commitment to continue working together towards a greener future.
“In the 45 years of partnership between our two regions, we have continuously worked to address our common challenges and create a better future for both ASEAN and EU citizens.
“This bike ride competition aims to encourage all ASEAN and EU citizens in the region to take part in making our future greener.”
Meanwhile, Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN Elizabeth T Te said, “Climate action is one of the Philippines’ priorities as country coordinator for the ASEAN-EU dialogue relations. Climate action and environmental sustainability are also central to ASEAN’s priorities.
“Each one of us has the ability to make a significant impact to the environment through our own individual actions and steps, and also by inspiring others to follow suit.
“Cycling, taking public transport and other eco-friendly alternatives are small but concrete steps that each of us can take to reduce air pollution.”
The Bike45Ride event is a virtual cycling competition organised from August 13 to September 11 for all ASEAN and EU citizens residing in the 10 ASEAN member states.
Participants can take part as an individual or in a group of up to five to complete 45 kilometres within the race period.
Acting Manager of SGAC programme Fakri Karim said, “Cities are major sources of greenhouse gases, and the state of the atmosphere in ASEAN region shows that air pollution levels are increasing, with the energy and transportation sectors responsible for the largest carbon dioxide emissions.”