With the inception of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015, the ten member states are going to face far reaching structural changes in the years to come. The official narrative underpinning this ambitious regional integration project is one of promising economic opportunities and extensive growth for the benefit of the approximately 600 million people living within the confines of ASEAN. It remains to be seen, though, to which extent the path toward ASEAN economic integration is going to be a truly people-centered and inclusive process as proclaimed by the officials. This would require, among others, that local communities be granted access to structures and patterns that guarantee genuine public participation in crucial decision-making about their livelihoods and socio-economic wellbeing, including meaningful civil society participation.
To this end, the Ecology and Social Justice Program engages in form of policy dialogues and projects with a wide range of partners that promote sustainable, inclusive and gender-democratic development paradigms in the ongoing process of regional economic integration. This includes the areas of climate change, energy, equitable land use, extractive industries as well as private and public sector investment in large-scale infrastructure and development projects.