'Asia must bolster cooperation to better tackle crisis'
Asia has made huge strides in regional cooperation since the
1997-1998 Asian financial crisis but needs to strengthen its regional
institutions if it is to effectively tackle the current global economic
crisis and overcome future challenges, a seminar was told at the ADB's
42nd Annual Meeting in Bali.
The seminar titled "Enhancing Asian Institutions: ASEAN's Role for
Regional Integration," attracted policymakers and economists to discuss
how Asia could increase the effectiveness of its institutions to promote
Panel participants, including ADB Vice President Xiaoyu Zhao, said
that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should play a
pivotal role in helping the region reap the rewards of closer
cooperation in economic, environmental and social arenas.
"ASEAN is the most established regional organization today in Asia
and it is well placed to be a hub of closer cooperation in the future as
it provides an insight into how Asian regionalism might develop more
broadly," said Zhao.
An enhanced ASEAN could also help Asia to speak with a strong, single
voice when it deals with Governments and organizations outside the
region and could strengthen the effectiveness of other regional fora
such as the East Asia Summit, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and
the ASEAN+3, which groups ASEAN with the People's Republic of China,
Japan and the Republic of Korea.
"The global economic crisis has created a major window of opportunity
to strengthen regional economic institutions," said panel participant
Andrew MacIntyre, Prof. of Political Science and Director of the
Crawford School at the Australian National University.