Bryan Koh’s love for Southeast Asian cuisine has led him on an intense food trail to record the lesser-known cuisines of the region that may soon be forgotten.
In 2021, the Mekong Institute won the ASEAN Prize; a prestigious regional award conferred annually to a citizen or an organisation that has significantly contributed towards ASEAN community-building efforts.
Long before experts sounded the alarm bells on depleting mangrove forests, Roberto Ballon, fondly called “Ka Dodoy,” and his fledgling group of fishermen were already knee-deep planting mangrove trees in their coastal community of Concepcion in the Municipality of Kabasalan, Province of Zamboanga Sibugay.
Poverty is a chronic affliction of human society, and a common challenge faced by the whole world. China is the world’s largest developing country, with a population of 1.4 billion. In addition to its weak foundations and uneven development, the nation had long been plagued by poverty.
In the past 20 months, we have seen the impact of COVID-19 on rural communities and the policies and programmes undertaken by our governments to respond to this pandemic. Pre-pandemic, the number of job and production losses and rates of hunger, malnutrition, violence, and poverty were already alarming. The pandemic has only doubled, even tripled these figures. Unfortunately, rural communities were unprepared for these impacts and are likely to endure them longer. Let me discuss some of the now-established impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst crisis in living memory, with its impact falling on almost, if not all, aspects of people’s lives. However, for some, especially the vulnerable, the effects feel disproportionately greater, both in terms of health and social-economic impact.
FIFA and ASEAN proudly joined forces to launch #ReachOut on 2 August 2021. #Reachout is a “campaign designed to promote healthy lifestyles to help combat the symptoms of mental health conditions, and to encourage people to seek help when they need it.” Football players from all 10 ASEAN Member States lent their positive influence to spread one key message—all good habits keep our minds and bodies healthy and well.
Reducing poverty and promoting rural development remains high on ASEAN’s agenda, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 140 to 160 million people are estimated to have fallen into poverty in 2021 due to the pandemic, and people living in rural areas are the hardest-hit. In the Asia and the Pacific region, an estimated 89 million more have been pushed back into extreme poverty. A 2021 report by the UN ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific) says the total headcount would double if the higher income criteria of 3.20 or 5.50 US dollars per day are considered (UN ESCAP, 2021a) . Beyond income poverty, there are 640 million multidimensionally poor people in Asia and the Pacific region (UN ESCAP, 2021b). These are people who are deprived of at least one of three weighted indicators–health, education and standard of living.
In the realm of rural development and poverty eradication under the ASEAN Cooperation Framework on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication, two levels of concrete cooperation mechanisms have been established.
The ASEAN Socio Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint 2016-2025 is a statement of commitment of and a guideline for ASEAN in building a community that engages and benefits ASEAN’s peoples, one that is inclusive, sustainable, resilient, and dynamic. As the year 2020 is a pivotal year that marked the halfway of the Blueprint implementation, ASCC Monitoring Division (AMD), through the support of the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), conducted the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the implementation of ASCC Blueprint 2025 and a series of capacity building activities on the development of monitoring and evaluation system of the ASCC Sectoral Bodies work programmes in the ASEAN Member States. Both projects generated lessons learned for ASCC to keep the Blueprint relevant for the Member States and the people of ASEAN.
P: (+6221)7262991, 7243372
F: (+6221)7398234, 7243504