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Family, Social Protection, Policy Challenges
Southeast and East Asian countries are undergoing varying stages of population ageing. The social, economic and political implications of population ageing will be enormous, and because of the fast speed of ageing in the region, the countries cannot afford the luxury of time for the gradual evolution of social and structural support systems and networks for the older population. The essays in this volume critically examine national ageing policies and programmes, the sustainability of existing pension systems, housing and living arrangements, inter-generational transfer, and aspects of quality of life of the elderly population. While the findings show that most Southeast Asian countries have started to formulate and implement national ageing policies, they also indicate that the existing policies are by and large inadequate and underdeveloped in serving the needs of the older population and indeed much more must be done to prepare for the future.
Multilateral Governance in the Asia-Pacific
APEC is an experimental multilateralism, relying not on a large bureaucracy but rather upon national government agencies, semi-autonomous inter-governmental committees and "virtual" associations. Organized around the principles of consensus, voluntarism and unilateralism, APEC has eschewed binding agreements enforced through monitoring and robust compliance mechanisms. This volume assesses the strengths and weaknesses of APEC's "soft" institutionalism, and its capstone policy report, "Remaking APEC", identifies reforms that would close the credibility gap between APEC's promises and accomplishments. Chapters by leading scholars at APEC Study Centres investigate APEC's core agenda -- trade and investment liberalization and capacity-building -- delve into the inner workings of APEC's bureaucracy, and explore APEC's interactions with civil society, including the private sector and NGOs.This volume contains both the policy report and in-depth specialized studies. It is the product of the APEC International Assessment Network (APIAN), a collaborative, independent project among participating APEC Study Centres. APIAN's first major study, Assessing APEC's Progress: Trade, Ecotech and Institutions was also published by ISEAS(2001).
Recall, Reflect, Remake
Spanning 20 years of history, the achievements of APEC may seem uneventful in the eyes of some observers.Yet careful deliberation will point to APEC's many remarkable high points as well as some of the challenges. The foundations of APEC were set in place about 40 years ago based on the achievements of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).One of the cornerstones of APEC's vision is to achieve a free and open trade area among its member economies. This vision is anchored in the Bogor Goals that remain the centrepiece of the APEC process. The Bogor Goals represent a cause for celebration as well as angst. Celebration because the region has moved towards achieving a much more liberalized environment of trading and investment since 1989, angst because the deadlines for achieving the goals have not yet been fully realized.Today, APEC embraces many of the world's dynamic developed and developing economies that are better poised to meet the new challenges of this century. For those seeking to get a quick sweep of APEC, this book recalls, reflects and provides enough food for thought on the possible remake of APEC. The chapters are carefully written by experts who have been directly involved in the APEC process one way or another. The invaluable insights serve to place the whole APEC process in a balanced perspective, yet with candid deliberations.
APEC is a unique organization that promotes economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. It remains an informal intergovernmental organization that provides a useful platform for leaders, ministers, businessmen and experts to discuss regional issues on a regular basis. This book examines APEC’s accomplishments in recent years and the challenges it faces in the new century. These challenges include the proliferation of Free Trade Agreements in the region and the implications of China’s accession in the World Trade Organization.
The Political Economy of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific
The proposal for an Asia-Pacific–wide free trade agreement is one of the oldest ideas for promoting mutually beneficial regional cooperation dating back to the mid-1960s. In more recent times, the idea has found new support for two main reasons: as a plan B to the stumbling Doha Development Agenda (DDA) round of WTO negotiations; and as a solution to the noodle bowl of bilateral agreements in the region.This report assesses the political feasibility of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) proposal and looks at alternative modalities for achieving free trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific. The report includes trade policy perspectives from the three largest economies of the region: the United States, China and Japan, lessons from similar proposals such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), possible convergence among the many preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in the region, and alternative approaches to regional economic integration.
Since its founding in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been an increasingly large part of the life of Southeast Asia, although most people in the region know very little about it. ASEAN has helped bring peace and stability to the region. It has successfully engaged the world’s major powers, in East Asia and beyond. ASEAN has taken steps to integrate the regional economy as an important means of cooperatively improving the region’s competitiveness, attracting investments, generating jobs, raising incomes, and lowering costs and prices. ASEAN has also formed networks for dealing with regional problems like communicable diseases, environmental degradation, and transnational crime. An essential part of the Southeast Asia Background Series, this book seeks to shed some light on what ASEAN is all about.
ICT, Governance and Community in Southeast Asia
This study argues that the extensive use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would:((1) enhance policy coordination within the intergovernmental organization; (2) promote inclusive regionalism by providing new avenues for broaderstakeholder participation in regional affairs; (3) help develop a stronger regional identity, particularly among the young; and (4) improve "network management" or coordination of the collaborativeactivities of the member states.But this study is not merely about making ASEAN more effective. Bylooking at how ICT - with its ability to overcome distance and time -could be a tool for enabling effective non-state actors in regional rulemaking, it also contributes to the literature on Global eGovernance.
Challenges and Initiatives
As the regional financial and economic crisis has bottomed out and the ASEAN countries are on the recovery path, this volume seeks to carry out a post-mortem on the crisis to evaluate the sustainability of the recovery and the long-term direction of the ASEAN economies. It also examines the challenges and competitiveness of these economies which have become significant issues in the post-recovery process. Since it is not sufficient to address the economic and financial aspects, the volume also looks at the human and social dimensions, such as food security, poverty, and cross-border pollution. Furthermore, in the wake of the regional crisis, ASEAN has been criticized as being ineffective. This has prompted a re-examination of the relevance of the regional grouping in its present form, evaluating ASEAN's performance, challenges and opportunities and assessing whether there is a need for change.
Performance and Perception
During the 13th ASEAN Summit in November 2007, ASEAN Leaders endorsed the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, which laid the foundation of creating a “single market and production base” among the ten Southeast Asian economies. Soon after that, ASEAN faced great uncertainties in the light of the 2008 global financial crisis and continues to remain cautious in the face of the ongoing global economic weakness. Despite this, the region is forging ahead with its commitment to carry out economic liberalization and cooperation as stipulated in the AEC Blueprint. The official AEC scorecard, published in March 2012, stated that ASEAN had achieved 68.2 per cent of its targets for the 2008–11 period. The official AEC scorecard is expected to track the implementation of measures and the achievement of milestones committed in the AEC Strategic Schedule. However, the scorecard, in its current form, is too brief and general to be useful for the ASEAN citizens. This book attempts to fill this gap and evaluates the current status of and the progress towards the milestones of the AEC Blueprint. The overall message of the book is that even though ASEAN may miss some of its integration goals by 31 December 2015, it will certainly deliver some of the key initiatives — tariff elimination, establishing the ASEAN Single Window, laying the foundation of the regional investment initiative, advancing tourism services, moving ahead with ASEAN connectivity and the realization of ASEAN +1 free trade agreements. AEC’s goal of forming an equitable and competitive regional economy will continue to be a work in progress. AEC 2015 is going to be a historic milestone that will raise ASEAN’s profile and will help the region to maintain its centrality in the international community.
This book is written in an easily understood style. It explains the background of the orgin of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) of which there are 10 member-countries. The author looks at the progress made, as well as the problems that the association faces.