ASEAN needs to appreciate its healthy levels of intra-regional migration as an asset instead of a liability, this new World Bank report argues. Likewise, it says that recognizing and institutionalizing the rights and social protection of migrant workers – undocumented included – will deepen the benefits the region can reap from economic integration. Johanna Son reports for the Reporting ASEAN series.
Despite bureaucratic obstacles and what some call the ASEAN Community’s slow progress, the idea of ASEAN as a single unit – a linked set of peoples and societies and a market – is slowly gaining ground in Vietnam. Read more in this report by Le Trieu for the Reporting ASEAN series.
“There are so many things to learn, to hear from the other organisations and CSOs,” Nguyen Thi Kim Que, vice director of the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies in Vietnam, said after taking part in the 2nd S Rajaratnam Endowment (SRE) ASEAN Community Forum in Singapore in August 2017.
The ASEAN Economic Community is supposed to make it easier for ASEAN nationals to live and work in one another’s countries. But many Indonesians don’t know about the Mutual Recognition Arrangements designed to ease the movement of skilled labor – or understand them correctly. The result? Fear and misperception, explains Ursula Florene of Rappler Indonesia in her article for the Reporting ASEAN programme.
The South China Sea disputes figured much less prominently in the just-finished ASEAN foreign ministers’ retreat in scenic Boracay – in stark contrast to the February 2017 retreat held in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. ASEAN appears to be bent on not letting the South China Sea issue overshadow the celebrations – and backpatting – around its 50th year anniversary this year, reports Charmaine Deogracias for the Reporting ASEAN series.
Was it a step forward or a flop? The December ‘retreat’ of ASEAN foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Rakhine state made it crystal clear that the matter is a regional ASEAN issue – and that by itself is a marked difference from ASEAN’s handling of touchy ‘internal’ issues in the past, says Johanna Son in this analysis.
On its 50th year, has #ASEAN matured or is it in mid-life crisis? What are the milestones as it ends its first year as a community? How do citizens see ASEAN? What face of ASEAN do the media convey in their reporting? These are just some of the questions that will be discussed at the @ReportingASEAN media forum 2016, to be held on Dec. 2-4, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Big things are happening in the #ASEAN neighbourhood! The Reporting ASEAN fellowship program is inviting mid-career journalists from ASEAN countries to submit fresh, in-depth, and ideas for stories investigating issues around ASEAN regionalism.
Pitch us a story idea we can’t resist, and we’ll support it. Deadline for applications: 31 October 2016. For application details, read more.
Poor economic conditions at home and easy border crossings have meant that many Vietnamese are venturing to neighbouring countries like Laos and Malaysia for employment opportunities. Phuong Anh of Red Scarf magazine looks at the social cost of migration for work and the impact on the children of such migrants in this Reporting ASEAN story.
The Nguyen Du Vietnamese-Lao Bilingual School has the largest number of Vietnamese students in Vientiane. Making up a quarter of the school’s population, these students learn Vietnamese for six to eight hours every week and are also taught Vietnam’s history. Phuong Anh finds out more about the school.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate governance are taking root as a norm in Southeast Asia, Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son reports from discussions at a a July conference in Singapore. Companies increasingly have senior managers looking after sustainability, business schools are studying and doing research into corporate governance.
The recent joint communique about the South China Sea dispute stopped short of mentioning the tribunal ruling invalidating China’s claims over most of the waterway. Tan Hui Yee of the Straits Times argues that while Asean has survived this test intact, its consensus-based system has muted its voice compared with the world powers weighing in loudly.
ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum will be held in Timor-Leste this year instead of Laos, due to concerns over possible restrictions and limited freedom of expression. It is also a show of solidarity to reiterate civil society’s support for the inclusion of Timor-Leste as a full member of ASEAN. Read the full CSO Statement here.