Implementation Review of Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan III

Status: Ongoing. The IAI Work Plan III is in its third year of implementation. While implementation rate has been encouraging, it is recognised that a robust monitoring and evaluation arrangements will improve effectiveness and efficiency in the implementation of the IAI Work Plan III. This project is intended to (i) assess the progress of the implementation IAI Work Plan III against stated outputs, and overall outcomes; (ii) identify issues and challenges affecting effective and efficient delivery of outputs and their contribution to desired outcomes; (iii) strengthening implementation arrangements for monitoring, evaluation, and reporting system, (iv) strengthen national and stakeholders’ ownership; and (v) provide recommendations for improving the efficiency, effectiveness, relevance and impact of implementation of the current IAI Work Plan as well as draw initial lessons learned as crucial inputs for the formulation of the next IAI Work Plan. Related Project: Work Planning Assistance for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration...

Development of ASEAN Database on Trade Routes and Framework for Enhancing Supply Chain Efficiency

Status: Tendering. The OECD estimated the Southeast Asian nations’ combined gross domestic product (GDP) to continue to grow by 5.2% between 2019 and 2023 . ASEAN needs efficient logistics services to enable this growth and enhance its competitiveness. Trends such as e-commerce, urbanisation, and companies shifting their supply chains are accelerating demands for these services even further. An efficient region-wide logistics services network is needed to facilitate flow of goods, services and related information between producers, or from producers to consumers, anywhere in the region. Seamless logistics therefore has been a consistent priority for ASEAN since the last decade, and efforts have been made to reduce time and costs of transport and boost cross-border trade. Significant progress, such as the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) and work under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), have strengthen ASEAN’s logistics environment. Nevertheless, a number of challenges remain. The logistics sector in itself is complex, involving diverse stakeholders ranging from various government agencies to the private sector. Due to differences in countries’ stage of development with varying geographical characteristics, the trade structure and composition, each ASEAN Member States (AMS) has different priorities in facilitating trade and implementing the requisite infrastructure development and policy reforms for an efficient regional logistics services network. One way to help address the above challenges, specifically in identifying common priorities and promoting coherence, is assessing logistics services development needs based on regional trade routes and priority product groupings/commodities that would provide cross-border benefits across multiple AMS. Once trade routes and commodities are identified, detailed logistics information surrounding them should be collected and analysed to identify bottlenecks and prioritise...

Establishment of Multilateral Arrangement for the Mutual Recognition of Agri-food Standards and Conformity Assessment (MAMRASCA)

Status: Ongoing. The family of ASEAN Standards on Agricultural Best Practices, which include Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for fruits and vegetables, Good Animal Husbandry Practice for Layers and Broilers (GAHP), and Guidelines on Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) for food fish have already been developed and adopted by AMSs. Despite their adoption, implementation encountered structural bottlenecks. The low uptake of standards at the farm level had been attributed to the limited awareness among demand side market actors of the ASEAN standards. In addition, ASEAN GAPs are voluntary in nature and to the extent that produce grown under GAP regimes does not attract any price premiums in the market place, there is little or no incentive to conform to them. These indicate the need to find practical ways of implementing the ASEAN standards that will increase confidence and demand from buyers, promote uptake at the farm level, and foster appropriate levels of protection between trading partners. To address these concerns, the “Study on Mutual Recognition Models for the ASEAN Agricultural Best Practices” recommended the establishment of a Multilateral Arrangement for the Mutual Recognition of Agrifood Standards and Conformity Assessment (MAMRASCA) that would facilitate the establishment an effective mechanism for operationalizing and accepting these standards at both national and regional level. Following the Special SOM-38th AMAF Meeting held on 14-15 August 2017 in Singapore, the ASEAN Agricultural Ministers supported the recommendation of the study, including the formation of a Task Force that will administer the preparation of the MRA. This project will support the preparation of the MRA to help establish mechanisms to facilitate the acceptance of trading partners’ standards and conformance...

Strengthening strategic policy analysis and monitoring capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat

Status: Completed. Given the increasingly complex ASEAN agenda and the fast changing context, there is a need to further strengthen policy analysis and monitoring capability across the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC). ASEAN has recognised this need, resulting in the establishment of analysis and monitoring division/directorates across the three ASEAN Community pillars in the recent restructuring of ASEC. The relevant division/directorates are required to identify and monitor emerging policy issues that may require consideration or action by the relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies. Increasingly the issues facing ASEAN are cross-pillar in nature. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, for example, touches upon trade (AEC), cyber-security (APSC) and education (ASCC). This requires a more systematic collaboration and coordination mechanism across the three pillars. The current structure and culture of the Secretariat, however, may leave some room for improvement in this regard. This project supported a number of ASEC delegates to participate in a 5-days intensive learning program in Australia, which took place in March 2019. The program seeks to pilot an approach to further strengthen ASEC staff capacity in policy analysis and monitoring through a facilitated introduction to Australian Government processes and institutions, including the consultation and coordination process that the bureaucracy goes through for major policy decisions and implementation, consultations between state and federal governments as well as government engagement with the relevant stakeholders (academe, business sectors,...

Development of Financial Literacy Programmes for Growing Micro Enterprises in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV)

Status: ongoing. Financial literacy is defined as possessing an awareness of financial risks and opportunities; to make informed choices; to know where to go for help; and to know how to take effective actions to improve one’s financial wellbeing. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has identified the lack of financial literacy as one of the leading reasons why micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are unable to grow. This is a significant issue, considering that MSMEs represent the majority (95-99 percent) of enterprises in ASEAN and contribute significantly to employment and economic growth. Financial literacy is particularly low in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV) countries, and CLMV governments are increasing their efforts to improve financial literacy for enterprises. Despite these efforts, challenges remain in accessing marginalised groups such as women and rural entrepreneurs, providing a holistic approach to strengthening financial literacy, and ensuring relevance for micro-enterprises. This project aims to help CLMV governments develop or improve their financial literary programmes to address specific knowledge gaps in micro-enterprises, or a sub-group of it, based on identified needs of targeted micro-enterprises, good practices and lessons from existing/ past financial literacy initiatives across the four ASEAN Member States. It will propose scope of contents, effective approaches for delivery of the information including the most effective channels and media to reach the beneficiary, and propose strategic partnerships for the delivery of these information packages, preferably into existing financial literacy...