ASEAN Integration Report 2021

Chapter 1 – ASEAN Power Grid

The ASEAN Power Grid (APG) is an initiative to build interconnections to connect the power grids of different AMS and facilitate power trade among them with the ultimate aim of an integrated Southeast Asia power grid system.

The objective of the APG is to enhance energy security, affordability, accessibility and sustainability within the region with a more efficient utilisation of natural energy resources, optimized infrastructure management, energy demand management as well as due consideration for the environment.

Chapter 2 – ASEAN Integration toward Food Security: Opportunities and Challenges 

This chapter will argue that contrary to the impulse of self-sufficiency, regional integration will improve food security and food system resiliency in the ASEAN region. The Covid-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for a food system transformation to prepare ASEAN region for future crises and the ongoing climate crisis that threatens agriculture production and supply chain. This transformation towards healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems is the agenda of The UN Food Systems Summit and the FAO which refers to the holistic constellation of producing, aggregation, processing, transporting, distribution, and consuming food (FAO, 2018). While this transformation requires multidimensional change, this chapter will focus on regional integration through trade and cooperation as one crucial part of the food systems transformation.

Chapter 3 – The Acceleration towards a Digital Economy: Distributive and Disruptive Impacts, and Policy Responses

In this paper, we consider the likely impacts of the COVID-19 induced acceleration towards the 4IR, focusing on its distributional consequences. Although a lot has been written about how the 4IR may worsen existing inequalities between and within countries (see, for instance, UN, 2017), we look more closely to see if there might be offsetting effects that may reduce its negative impacts. The paper aims to contribute to the discussion of the impacts of the 4IR by synthesizing the often neglected, potentially inclusive or inequality-offsetting effects, and examining national and regional policy choices in the short and long run that can assist in the adjustment to a new normal.

Chapter 4 – Greening ASEAN: Pathways and Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely dented ASEAN’s economy. The region is however set to regain its economic growth momentum with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) entering into force on 1 January 2022 — injecting the much-needed boost for recovery.

Yet climate change threatens to undermine the region’s future growth and potentially exposes the region to disaster vulnerabilities and negative economic impact. Although all ASEAN member states are parties to the Paris Agreement, their climate action commitments are perceived to be less than ambitious and may miss the mark in achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) targets by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. In fact, it is projected that ASEAN’s CO2 emissions per capita is projected to rise 140% between 2015 and 2040.

The paper looks at data and climate projections for ASEAN at the regional level instead of each member state’s unique national circumstances and discusses existing regional efforts in ASEAN while highlighting the critical gaps that must be addressed to ensure economic and climate resilience in the region.

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