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

Status: Ongoing. The ASEAN economy has flourished over the past 50 years and is now more than 100 times larger since the inception of ASEAN in 1967. In 2018, ASEAN GDP accounted for 3% of global GDP and will continue moving in an upward trend, hinged on stronger integration and connectivity between ASEAN Member States (AMS). ASEAN needs efficient logistics services to sustain its economic growth and enhance its competitiveness, by lowering supply chain costs and improving supply chain’s speed and reliability in each AMS. This project will identify a number of priority trade routes, and build a database of relevant information on these routes to help ASEAN Member States determine bottlenecks and identify specific priorities to enhance connectivity within these routes. It will also develop an ASEAN supply-chain framework. The framework is a necessary first step to better understand ASEAN’s supply chain performance gaps, identify opportunities as well as underlying issues and challenges, and devise a region-wide action plan to address them. The framework will also support the gathering of data on supply-chain performance and bottlenecks for specific trade routes or economic corridors as discussed above, towards an integrated approach to the development of trade...

Technical Assistance to the Energy and Minerals Division to Support the ASEAN Energy Regulators Network’s Role in Multilateral Power Trade

Status: Ongoing. As efforts towards multilateral power trading in ASEAN gains momentum, ensuring that the key supporting institutions necessary to design and implement the market design have the same understanding of issues and have sufficient capacity is essential. Based on the results of the “Feasibility Study for ASEAN Multilateral Power Trade (MPT)” project, this includes regional institutions which will foster increased cooperation and coordination to implement multilateral power trading. They can also potentially support better knowledge management through sharing good practices and capacity building. This project enhance the capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat, specifically the Energy and Minerals Division, to support ASEAN Members States on initiating multilateral electricity trading in the APG, including drafting a recommended institutional design for the ASEAN Energy Regulators Network (AERN) or an alternative regulatory mechanism. Related project: Feasibility Study for ASEAN Multilateral Power Trade (MPT) Related publication: Feasibility Study for ASEAN Multilateral Power Trade (13 MB, .zip)...

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...

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...