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ASEAN Falling Short of Aim for An Integrated Community

ASEAN hopes to create an integrated community that is economically competitive, has a common identity and maintains regional stability by the end of the year. Albert Wai of Today analyses how close the association is to reaching these goals in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

ASEAN Political-Security Community ‘Still A Distant Goal’

ASEAN’s reticence to speak as a united voice against Chinese incursions in the South China Sea threatens to set back regional security and political cohesion efforts. Albert Wai of Today explains how this will affect the creation of the ASEAN Political-Security Community in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

ASEAN Economic Integration Faces Tough Road Ahead

With a year to go before the ASEAN Economic Community is launched, challenges remain in the creation of a single market and production base with free movement of labour, goods and capital. Albert Wai of TODAY looks at what’s needed to make regional economic integration a reality in his story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ media fellowship programme.

Fellowship Applications Open: Tell Us Your Story!

Do you have a creative, original story about the ASEAN Community and ASEAN that must be told? IPS Asia-Pacific and Probe Media Foundation Inc (PMFI) are inviting journalists, photojournalists and television journalists to apply for the fellowship reporting program called ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’.

Vietnamese Skills Aid Lao Economy

VIENTIANE, Dec 17 (IPS Asia-Pacific) — Every day, Nguyen Van Hoan returns to a silent home after work. There is neither a hug from his three-year-old daughter nor a kiss from his wife.

Tackling HIV in Myanmar Needs to Get to the Borders

MANILA, Dec 12 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – When Myo Thant, many years ago, forwarded a proposal that asked the government of Myanmar to help temper the rapid increase of HIV transmission and occurrence of AIDS in the population, his request was rejected. “Only Elizabeth Taylor works on HIV and AIDS,” he recalled one state official’s response written on his proposal paper, referring to the late American actress’ advocacy and philanthropy.

Illegal Fishing Costs Indonesia 3 Billion Dollars A Year

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, loses some 30 trillion rupiah (slightly over 3 billion U.S. dollars) a year because of illegal fishers, most of whom are from South-east Asian countries. How is Indonesia coping, and what is ASEAN’s role in solving the problem of illegal fishing? This set of four stories by Heriyanto looks into these issues.

Rich in Fisheries, But Fisherfolk Remain Poor

SUNGAI KAKAP, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Nov 26 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – Morning, approximately three o’clock. Dozens of boats are docked at Sungai Kakap, Kubu Raya District, West Kalimantan province. The dock is beginning to buzz with activity. A boat is unloading its catch. One by one, large fish are removed from the storage in the vessel’s hull and hauled into a shed close to the boat.

Vietnamese Boat, Indonesian Flag

SUNGAI RENGAS, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Nov 26 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – On the dock of the Pontianak Monitoring Station of the Marine Resources and Fisheries (PSDKP) here on Kapuas River in Kubu Raya District sits yet another illegal fishing vessel that Indonesian authorities had caught and confiscated recently.

A Lot More Talk by ASEAN Than Action

JAKARTA, Nov 26 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – Faced with a continuing stream of foreign vessels that harvest its marine resources illegally, Indonesia has stepped up efforts to have the problem resolved at the regional level. But it is not finding it easy to push for action within ASEAN, despite all the discussions about illegal fishing among the members of the regional organisation.

Sustainable Tourism, A Balancing Act

PATONG BEACH, Thailand, Nov 13 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – On a bright summer afternoon at this beach here in Phuket, Pinporn Teerarak, a 30-year-old female tour planner with tanned skin and sun-coloured hair, looks pensively out to sea.

ASEAN will Open Up to Viet Nam Skills

HANOI, Oct 29 – ASEAN nations will pilot a free labour market for skilled workers and professionals in 2015 as part of a plan to integrate the region economically. This will enable workers to move freely in the region. However, little information on the process has been made available. Most Vietnamese have never heard of the scheme.

MYANMAR: Easy Does It, Foreign Donors Told

TOKYO, Oct 12 (TerraViva) – Foreign donors are rushing into Burma, whose government has been pushing the right political buttons as part of its democratic reform process. But development planners and Burmese activists here caution that the best approach should still be ‘easy does it’.

Rapid Dev’t Eating Up Food Security

TOKYO, Oct 12 (TerraViva) – Call it a flipside of South-east Asia’s robust economic growth: Its economies are churning out healthy growth rates, but this rapid development is also eating into its food security.

ASEAN Urged to Set Up Mechanism for Migrants’ Rights

It has been five years since ASEAN adopted a declaration to protect and promote migrant workers’ rights, but it still has not managed to hammer out a legally binding instrument to implement this path-breaking declaration. Critics say ASEAN is much more friendly to business than to its own migrant workers, prompting one to call it “schizophrenic”. Vera Files’ Tess Bacalla reports on ASEAN’s uphill climb to come to terms with the migrants in its midst.

ASEAN Locks Horns on Migrant Workers’ Rights

In the second part of this series, Tess Bacalla looks into ASEAN’s challenge of trying to forge regional policy – and action – on labour migration, a topic that member countries have for long considered a touchy issue and have conflicting interests on.

It Ain’t All Bad

Not all stories of labour migration in Southeast Asia are bleak and foreboding. Many workers are only too happy to have found employment in the region’s more affluent states—with none of the struggles of their not-so-fortunate compatriots.

Doubts, Anticipation Mix as Cambodia’s SMEs Prepare for 2015

KAMPOT/PHNOM PENH/KAMPONG CHAM, Aug 28 – Cambodia’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are busily preparing for the ASEAN Economic Community’s (AEC) free flow of goods in 2015. They are probably not that different from the other 10 ASEAN member states’ own SMEs.

Myanmar, A Middle-income Country by 2030 – AsDB

BANGKOK, Aug 27 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – Busy shedding off its reputation as a recluse after decades of self-imposed isolation, Myanmar is playing catch-up with it neighbours and may well become a middle-income nation by 2030, the Asian Development Bank (AsDB) says in a report released this month.

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