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Women Sow Seeds of Enterpreneurship in Agriculture

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 (Reporting ASEAN) – Who knew that agricultural products like coffee could be a force for good, empowering communities, notably women, to engage in profitable yet sustainable livelihoods?

How to Make Doing Good, Good Business

Beyond corporate social responsibility, which norms can work as ‘responsible business practices’ as ASEAN heads toward greater integration with the ASEAN Community’s launch in December 2015? Businesses, civil society and others are pushing to raise the bar on issues like human rights, decent work and fighting corruption, reports Diana Mendoza.

ASEAN Agreement On Haze? As Clear as Smoke

Amid the heated debates and discussions around this year’s haze episode in Southeast Asia, ASEAN’s agreement on transboundary haze pollution has gotten little attention – or mention. It lies all but buried in the embers of frustration of Indonesia’s neighbouring countries, reports Kanis Dursin* from Jakarta.

Five Decades On, Is ASEAN Ready to Grow Up?

Strong outside, weaker inside? ASEAN needs to address its internal contradictions before it can achieve true integration and be considered a regional powerhouse. Ahead of the ASEAN Community’s launch, Johanna Son takes a closer look at the ASEAN way in this story for ‘The Irrawaddy’ under the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

ASEAN Community: What’s That Again?

SINGAPORE, Aug 17 (Reporting ASEAN/IPS Asia-Pacific) – The clock is ticking towards the Dec. 31 launch of the ASEAN Community, but there remains a wide gulf between governments’ enthusiasm for it and the public’s limited understanding of what it really means and how it will change their lives.

Japan Says It’s An Old Friend to New ASEAN Community

TOKYO, Aug 8 (Reporting ASEAN) – Japan has had long-running, deep engagement with Southeast Asia. But the region’s deeper integration through the upcoming ASEAN Community provides a new opportunity for the country to emerge as an Asian leader – at a time of disquiet about rival China these days.

Finding A New Path for Vietnam’s Exports

With the establishment of the ASEAN Economy Community, Vietnamese exports stand to gain from the elimination of tariffs. But free trade also means the country will need to ensure its products remain attractive amid fiercer competition. Thi Huong of Vietnam Economic News looks at how the textile and agriculture industries plan to tackle this challenge in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Fragmentation Impeding Success of Asean Exchanges

The target of creating a fully integrated ASEAN stock market remains elusive with 10 very fragmented and diverse markets in the region. More support from individual countries is urgently required for the realisation of a borderless capital market. Chan Yi Wen of the Business Times explains the slow pace of financial integration in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Intra-ASEAN Physician Mobility: Less Appealing

If the ASEAN Economic Community is opening the door to medical professionals, why aren’t more doctors crossing borders for work in the region? Marlon Alexander Luistro of ‘The Filipino Connection’ finds out why in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

ASEAN Medical Sector Feels Birth Pains of Regional Integration

Doctors from ASEAN countries should be able to move and work much more easily under the ASEAN Economic Community. But the devil, as always, is in the detail. The mobility of medical professionals faces challenges in mutual recognition agreements, language barriers, licensing exams, and hesitance to accept foreign doctors, reports Marlon Alexander Luistro of The Filipino Connection in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Protecting the Marginalised

There are concerns that only one percent of Southeast Asia’s workforce will benefit from the ASEAN Economic Community’s Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), leaving more than 9.5 million migrant workers in the region bereft. Amanda Siddharta of ‘Tempo’ magazine takes a look at what it will take for the rights of these workers to be protected.

Healthcare Within Borders

Indonesian doctors are undecided if the freer movement of skilled medical practitioners across Southeast Asia, as part of the ASEAN Economic Community’s plans, will be a bane or boon for them and their patients. Amanda Siddharta of ‘Tempo’ magazine looks at the possible impact on the country’s healthcare system in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Including Low-skilled Workers into ASEAN’s Labour Framework

Intra-ASEAN labour migration has increased fourfold since 1990 to 6.5 million in 2013. The majority consists of semi-skilled and unskilled workers, but they are little seen in ASEAN’s integration plans. What safeguards have ASEAN put in place to protect them? Not much, as Saifulbahri Ismail of Channel NewsAsia finds out in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

How Will MRAs Affect the Mobility of Professionals?

The freer flow of professional talent across the region is one of the key goals of the ASEAN Economic Community. But can the increased mobility of selected professionals actually be achieved? Saifulbahri Ismail of Channel NewsAsia looks into the challenges of liberalising jobs in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Hue: ASEAN’s City of Culture

Hue, the former capital of Vietnam, was chosen as ASEAN’s third City of Culture for 2014-2015. Duong Thi Mong Thu of Vietnam Television takes a look at how the city keeps its heritage alive for residents, while showcasing it to the world in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

In ASEAN, Women Empowerment Low on Priority List

Will the rights of women and children ever be a priority in ASEAN? Not likely, according to civil societies who believe political and economic concerns will always be addressed before socio-cultural issues. Natashya Gutierrez of Rappler reports for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

ASEAN Countries Slow in Funding Women Empowerment

Less than a fifth of all projects under a 2012-2016 ASEAN Work Plan to promote and protect the rights of women and children have been completed due to a lack of funding by member states. Natashya Gutierrez from Rappler looks into the reasons for the slow disbursement of funds in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

ASEAN’s Highly Skilled Health Workers

The ASEAN Economic Community envisions freer movement of labour across borders. With the lure of more opportunities and higher wages, could this lead to a brain drain in Vietnam? Le Hang Phan Thi of Vietnam News Agency looks at the push and pull factors for doctors in her story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

How Ready is ASEAN for Disasters?

Typhoon Haiyan was the worst natural disaster to hit Southeast Asia since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. ASEAN countries responded by supplying emergency supplies, relief aid and cash donations. But was it enough? Can ASEAN be relied upon to provide assistance in times like this? Charles Phang of ChannelNewsAsia takes a look at ASEAN’s disaster response efforts in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

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