How can regional integration be strengthened amongst ASEAN members?

Focusing on development gaps among ASEAN members countries, this report evaluates ongoing initiatives for regional cooperation and identifies where these need to be strengthened and broadened in order to narrow the development gaps.

The report argues that despite good economic growth in the ASEAN region, large disparities in development outcomes between countries remain. Especially stark are the differences in health, economic and IT connectivity achievements. Key recommendations put forward include:

  • in strengthening governance, ASEAN must ensure adherence to international norms and standards in governance and social protection
  • in strengthening policy cohesion, ASEAN should maintain outward orientation by adopting a ‘first deepen, then widen’ approach to regional integration
  • to strengthen trans-ASEAN networks, they must expedite the integration of trans-ASEAN networks. Stronger efforts are needed to create high-performance regional networks for physical infrastructure services and financial integration