ASEAN

Undefined
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China's increasing presence, from economic to military links, is leading to a potential emergence of Chinese spheres of influence in which Southeast Asia will be regarded as China‘s backyard. To many observers, China‘s regional leadership constitutes an irresistible outcome of China‘s remarkable economic performances and influence. Although the strategic options of smaller powers are limited, ASEAN’s strategies towards great powers show that smaller powers still have a diverse menu of strategic options to choose from, depending on which is most effective in meeting its short- and long-term needs.

Traditional Farm House in Myanmar
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Organic food production is still a niche market in ASEAN countries, yet one on the rise. Health and ecological concerns have brought sustainable farming methods including small-scale and organic farming back to the table. This article takes a look at new strategies of sustainable food production in ASEAN with perspectives from Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore.

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The romance between ASEAN citizens and social media lives on. Social media continues to shape a more integrated and digitally savvy regional community. It has proven that its people have set limitations due to geographical borders, customary social divides, economic status and perhaps national laws and policies. At 50, ASEAN and its member states must admit that social media is not just here to stay, but is and will remain a dynamic force to be reckoned with.

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Inclusive Development International released the publication of a new set of action resources for advocates on Chinese outbound investment and infrastructure finance.  Safeguarding People and the Environment in Chinese Investments: A Guide for Community Advocates, is a practical guide to the policies, standards and guidelines that apply to Chinese outbound investment.

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Migrant workers in the Asean Region live and work under inhumane conditions. To improve this situation policies, the migration industry and the accountability of employers must all get a lot more attention.

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Pundits have been keen to predict that Southeast Asia will soon leave behind its authoritarian past and head toward a more democratic future. This optimism was boosted in 2010 by Myanmar’s decision to “transition” to democracy, allowing for elections and assigning a role to the opposition.

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A decade after former US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick urged China to become a “responsible stakeholder” (Zoellick 2005) in the international system, China started its so far biggest multilateral initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Early this year the bank opened for business and started to approve its first projects in Central, South and Southeast Asia

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On 31 October 2016, the Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS Thailand) organized the Public Forum titled “What’s AIIB All About? China, Asia and A Contested Global Order” in cooperation with Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southeast Asia (hbs) and Chulalongkorn University. The event hosted speakers from a variety of backgrounds to comment on the report “Making Inroads: Chinese Infrastructure Investment in ASEAN and Beyond”, authored by Mark Grimsditch of Inclusive Development International (IDI) with the support of hbs.

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On 12 October 2016, SEA Junction organized a panel discussion titled “ASEAN Governance: Is There a Role for Civil Society?" in partnership with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southeast Asia. More than 70 participants, many of them from Southeast Asia, filled SEA Junction premises at the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre (BACC) in Bangkok, Thailand to eagerly listen to the speakers and exchange views on the challenge of establishing a more representative governance system for ASEAN as a "people-centered" inter-governmental institution.

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