Home Working Group Meeting 2013 Social Welfare Policies in East Asia: Sharing Experiences for a New Ground of Regional Cooperation

Final Report

NEAT Working Group Meeting on Inclusive Growth (Phase II)

“Social Welfare Policies in East Asia: Sharing Experiences for a New Ground of Regional Cooperation”

Depok, Indonesia, 11 July 2013

Co-hosted by NEAT Indonesia and NEAT Singapore

 

I        Preamble

  1. The importance of “inclusive growth” has become a significant part of emerging consensus on recent developmental discourse, as many countries have experienced economic growth process without significant improvement in income equality, poverty alleviation and other socio-economic shortcomings.

 

  1. Economic development is necessary for the improvement of quality of people’s life in every country. However, for economic development to be more equitable and sustainable, the process should be accompanied by the development of social welfare.

 

  1. There is an emerging consensus that policy makers need to be more committed in addressing problems related to social welfare. Economic growth does not automatically translateinto improvedsocial welfare. Good and sound policies are needed.

 

  1. ASEAN plus Three (APT) Countries are at different stages of development with varying development needs and priorities. The different stages of development among APT countries create different challenges related to the development of social welfare and the resources available to address the issue. Other factors, such as political systems and historical contexts,also contribute to the diversity of challenges and policies of APT Countries related to social welfare.

 

  1. Despite the differences, it must be realized that social welfare is an important issue for all countries. The development process of any country, to be sustainable, has to embrace inclusive growth as its basic strategy. Social welfare is an important aspect of this inclusive growth development strategy.

 

  1. In our rapidly globalizing world, social welfare issues of a particular country are strongly connected to various factorscoming from other countries, especially those in the same region. The development of social welfare in the context of inclusive growth development strategy needs to take globalization into account. In this context, social welfare policies is an area with a strong potential to be a new ground of regional cooperation.

 

  1. In line with this thrust, the NEAT Working Group Meeting on Inclusive Growth (Phase II) with the topic “Social Welfare Policies in East Asia: Sharing Experiences for a New Ground of Regional Cooperation” was held in the University of Indonesia, Depok, on 11 July 2013.The objectives of the meeting is to share individual country experiences on their social welfare policies as part of efforts to promote inclusive growth in the context of regional cooperation. Setting focus on social welfare policies in the APT countries will enhance our understanding of inclusive growth, which in turn can serve the purpose of promoting greater regional cooperation in the APT Countries. A set of recommendation to promote such cooperation can be found in the final section of this report. The WG comprised representatives from the APT countries plus the ASEAN Secretariat. A list of the representatives is at Annex.

 

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