“Inclusive development” does not have a universal definition, but based on various definitions imparted such as by Rauniyar and Kanbur, Ianchovichina and Lundstrom, and the United Nations Development Programme, this concept may be defined in sum as growth coupled with equal opportunities, whereby all of society has equal access and contribute equally to opportunities through non-discriminatory practices, participation in decision-making and sharing of benefits, in line with human development approaches. Consequently, aggregate leaps in development are not considered to be inclusive if these do not benefit all of the citizenry. For instance, the Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) reported in 2008/09 that Sabah continues to lag far behind other states in reducing poverty despite decades spent stressing upon poverty eradication, and in spite of impressive national poverty reduction rates as a whole. Correspondingly, inclusive development should incorporate private organisations in addition to government bodies. These include non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and private firms for their niche expertise in helping to develop and implement effective and long-term development proposals. While privatisation is not a new phenomenon, civil organisations-led development pushes have yet to take off in Malaysia. One notable example is Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, a microcredit institution which has benefited thousands of families through its micro-credit and micro-finance initiatives. Similarly at the political decision-making level, truly inclusive development should not rely merely on a centralised government setting policies for the nation as a whole, but rather, various aspects of decision-making must be passed down to states and localities such that these regions retain a reasonable amount of power to freely exercise political authority in order to more efficiently and effectively respond to the needs of their respective communities.


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Network of East Asian Think-Tanks

The Network of East Asian Think-tanks

Officially recognized at the “10+3" summit meeting, Network of East Asian Think-tanks (NEAT) is a mechanism for research and academic exchange, and a platform for the second-track diplomacy in the regional cooperation among “10+3" countries in East Asia. It aims at integrating the research resources in East Asia, promoting the academic exchanges and providing intellectual support for East Asian cooperation. To be more specific, by establishing a network among East Asian think-tanks, governments and enterprises and promoting the interaction of these three circles, it intends to study the key issues related to East Asian cooperation, work out strategic ideas and concrete policy suggestions for the regional integration and submit research reports to the “10+3" summit meeting.
In 2002, East Asian Studies Group (EASG), the second-track in the mechanism of East Asian cooperation, suggested 17 short-term measures to be taken for closer cooperation among East Asian nations, among which was establishing “Network of East Asian Think-tanks" (NEAT) within the framework of “10+3" regional cooperation. The suggestion was adopted at the informal meeting of “10+3"leaders held in Phnom PenhCambodia in September 2002.
The activities of NEAT fall into the following categories: 1) Hold annual conferences of NEAT members to promote exchanges among East Asian think tanks and submit an annual work report to the informal meeting of “10+3" leaders on the basis of the research of the key issues in East Asian integration process; 2) Set up a website of NEAT, bridging the governments with the academic circles, promoting the academic exchanges among scholars about East Asia, and educating the masses in the region; 3) Hold irregular international seminars on East Asian cooperation so as to facilitate the theoretic research on the integration and community building of East Asia and help to shape the theoretic framework, strategies and specific policies conducive to the regional cooperation in East Asia. 4) Cooperate in the research of the key issues in regional cooperation and figure out the solutions.
The founding as well as the first annual conference of NEAT was held in Beijing from September 29 to 30, 2003. There were delegates from the think tanks of all the member states at the conference. The three topics discussed were “Towards East Asian Cooperation", Important Steps Leading to East Asian Cooperation" and “Key Areas in East Asia Cooperation". The conference report was not only published, but also distributed at the “10+3" leaders meeting in 2003.