Is labour mobility enough?
While promoting a “people-centred, people-oriented” and resilient community, the ASEAN integration only relies on a “free” flow of skilled labour through Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs), ASEAN Qualification Reference Framework (AQRF), and ASEAN Agreement on Movement of Natural Persons (MNP). The eight professions covered under MRAs merely involve less than two per cent of ASEAN’s labour force. Nearly 90 per cent of intra-ASEAN migrants are low-skilled. Enhancing labour mobility in the region requires to go beyond arrangements such as MRAs, AQRF and ASEAN Agreement on MNP to deepen the integration of the region.
Southeast Asia losing best and brightest to richer nations
A recent study by the Asian Development Bank shows that the number of immigrants with university degrees who left to work in richer nations in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development surged 66% in the decade through 2010-2011 to 2.8 million. More than half of them came from the Philippines, with hundreds of thousands more working in regions outside the OECD like the Middle East. Immigrants from Southeast Asia are also often more educated or more experienced than what is needed for the jobs they hold.
Decent work and environmental sustainability must go hand in hand
Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO, told delegates at the 106th International Labour Conference that job creation and the protection of the planet can and must work together for a sustainable future. The key point for the ILO is to get over the idea that there is an inherent contradiction or tension between continued economic growth and decent work, on the one hand, and environmental sustainability on the other. Indeed, the alignment of the Decent Work Agenda with the fight against climate change can be an new for growth and open up new opportunities.
Source: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/multimedia/video/b-rolls/WCMS_556557/lang–en/index.htm ; http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/—relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_554315.pdf
Is sustainable growth possible for ASEAN?
ASEAN needs to put sustainable development at the front and centre of its obsession with growth. Its growing population – estimated to reach 741 million by 2035 – combined with rapid economic growth and region-wide social inequities, have already been exerting pressure on the bloc’s natural resources. ASEAN countries are in varying stages of development but will confront similar challenges (providing relevant jobs for their labour force, strengthening governing institutions and boosting social safety nets, environment).
ASEAN Banking Integration Framework sets the tone for ASEAN economic growth
The Philippine’s central bank had just penned a similar agreement with Bank Negara Malaysia and Bank of Thailand. These agreements are part of the plan to integrate banking economics of ASEAN nations under the ASEAN Economic Community “AEC”. Under the AEC, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand will need to sign bilateral agreements by 2018. Under the ABIF, banks can expect greater access and flexibility in each of the qualifying ASEAN markets. Bilateral and reciprocal arrangements are seen as the faster way to achieve integration relative to multilateral agreements.
The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ASEAN Trade Union Council.
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