20 Sep 2017

WTI Fellows take part in ASEAN forum in Bangkok

WTI Fellows Sufian Jusoh and Christian Häberli participated in the ASEAN Economic Integration Forum 2017 (AEIF 2017) held in Bangkok on 14 and 15 September and co-organised by the World Trade Institute.

The focus was on promoting inclusive growth in the development of the ASEAN community by empowering women and youth, and promoting sustainable economic development.

ASEAN - the Association of Southeast Asian Nations - was founded 50 years ago.

Over 100 regional and global participants from civil society, academia, business and government attended the AEIF 2017, which was organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), the World Bank Group, St. Antony’s College Oxford University and the WTI.

The third in the AEIF series, the Forum featured several eminent roundtables addressing opportunities and challenges faced by ASEAN in areas such as engaging community, positioning business, connecting partners and developing greater connectivity through the ASEAN Open Skies agreement.

The meeting agreed that ASEAN is positioned to be a key driver of further integration in the Asia Pacific region guided by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a media release said. Trade-driven growth in the past has transformed ASEAN into the world’s sixth-largest market, and third-largest labour force.

Nonetheless, many countries in the region are experiencing widening disparities.

A recent United Nations study estimated that in 2015 women’s lack of equal employment cost Southeast Asian economies about 18% of GDP, amounting to nearly half a billion dollars.

ASEAN members need to learn from one another’s new approaches, in view of the challenges ahead and to take integration in Asia and the Pacific a step further and support growth, jobs and sustainable development across Asia and the Pacific, according to the  media release.