Home NEAT Memorandum 2012 NEAT Memorandum No. 9

Memorandum No. 9

The Network of the East Asian Think-tanks (NEAT)

Policy Recommendations


Introduction

1. The Network of East Asian Think-tanks (NEAT) held its 17th Country Coordinators Meeting (CCM) and 10th Annual Conference (AC) in Beijing, China, on 27-28 August 2012. Attending these two events are representatives of think-tanks from the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) countries.

2.  The theme of the 10th NEAT AC is “deepening cooperation through building trust.” NEAT reaffirms its role in deepening APT cooperation by facilitating communications, promoting better understanding, nurturing cooperative culture, and building friendship, trust and confidence among the peoples in the region.

3.  The NEAT reaffirms that the goal of community building in East Asia should be to promote welfare and well-being of the people and realize the East Asian Vision of Peace, Prosperity and Progress. Community building should be based on universal values, including good governance, the rule of law, democracy, human rights, and international law and norms. East Asia countries should promote these values as common goals.

 

Recommendations

4.  NEAT respectfully submits recommendations in the following four areas for the consideration of the APT Summit:
  • NEAT: the Next Ten Years
  • Disaster Management
  • Inclusive Growth
  • East Asian Cultural Archive
A.NEAT: The Next Ten Years
5.  NEAT has been a success story in its first decade since 2003. In the next ten years, NEAT should develop strategic thinking on its own development, and build on its good practices to play a greater role in East Asian community building.

6.  The following are key recommendations for future direction and development of NEAT:

      i.  Fulfill its role as an active builder of an East Asian community of peace, progress and prosperity, policy entrepreneur for APT development, and bridge between government, academia and society through networking.
     ii.  Stick to the ASEAN Way of consensus, cherish comfort level of its members, and be forward-looking and innovative.
     iii. Be as realistic as possible. Rather than planning for things beyond its strength and resources, NEAT should focus on what it will be able to do in the future to become an increasingly relevant player in policy-making of regional cooperation.
     iv.  Develop compatible strategies and agenda with those proposed in EAVGII report.
      v.  Strengthen NEAT Working Group mechanism. NEAT can organize working groups on strategic, political and security issues to explore possible areas for political and security cooperation. NEAT members should be encouraged to continue sponsoring working groups on specific issues in priority areas for APT cooperation. To further improve quality and policy relevance of working group reports, emphasis should be put on pre-meeting and follow-up study.
     vi. Enhance and expand NEAT networking. NEAT should encourage full participation of all members, promote regular scholar exchanges among its members, expand its network to emerging think-tanks in the region, and conduct dialogs and build connection with leading think-tanks outside the region. NEAT should also develop networking with general public, and increase its publicity by publications, by web, and by lectures and forums, etc.
    vii.  Strengthen NEAT linkage with Track I. NEAT should seek representation at important Track I and Track II regional forums, and be strengthened through meetings with Track I, especially in SOM+3 or DG+3, and also through regular discussions with the ASEAN+3 unit at the ASEAN Secretariat. Track I officials should be invited to participate in NEAT meetings and be informed of NEAT activities and working group reports.
   viii. Seek institutionalization. In the long run, NEAT should be institutionalized with a permanent secretariat. At the current stage and in the next ten years, NEAT can explore possibilities of some kind of institutionalization, such as a half-way secretariat, depending on its capabilities and available resources.
    ix. Try to establish a NEAT fund. While continuing to seek financial support from their respective national governments, NEAT members should also try to utilize existing funds at domestic, regional and international levels, and develop partnership with private sector. NEAT should try to utilize APT cooperation fund to conduct joint research on strategic issues in East Asian community building. The long-term goal should be a NEAT fund.
B. Disaster Management

7.  Asia, particularly East Asia, is an eminent disaster-prone area, and is continuing to suffer damage and losses due to super disasters, which occur at very low frequency but with great   impact. People’s survival, dignity, livelihood, and profits from local development have been gravely affected and are facing serious consequences. The lessons how to reconstruct resilient nation and communities against the super disasters should be shared among the member countries, and it is important to discuss how the regional cooperation can be promoted to build up resilient nations and communities against super disasters.

8. The following are key recommendations to promote disaster management in East Asia:

i. Transfer and develop appropriate technologies and knowledge to tackle super disasters through international technical cooperation such as the activities of Japan International Cooperation Agency. Information sharing and close coordination among the international organizations, national governments, and local communities should be also promoted in the region.

ii. Introduce the early warning systems in the region and improve its operation and accuracy. Mass media should be more involved in risk communication as efficient and effective risk message is essential for safe and prompt evacuation. Disaster education and awareness-raising are essential so that people can take prompt and appropriate actions for evacuation and protection of their lives after receiving the warnings.

iii. Promote community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) activities.

a. Broader stakeholders should be invited in CBDRM.

b. Applicable and affordable techniques should be developed for CBDRM.

c. Financial capability of the communities should be enhanced for disaster risk management.

d. Socially cohesive and cooperative communities should be built up to address disasters.

e. Communal property rights should be secured to encourage common investment in disaster risk management.

    iv. National and local policies for disaster risk management should be developed, reflecting local conditions. Particularly, economic and social incentives should be developed to motivate the local communities to invest in disaster risk management.

    v. Establish the focal point in every country for regional cooperation and coordination. Strengthen the network of the focal points through various activities such as the international workshops and seminars.

    vi. Military forces are the asset for regional assistance in case of super disasters. The protocols to dispatch and accept the military forces should be established from the view point of humanitarian activities

    C. Inclusive Growth
    9. The strategy of inclusive growth, if well conceived and implemented, will contribute to a more harmonious society and ultimately enhance the legitimacy of APT governments. In this important endeavor, the APT governments can complement their national efforts to achieve inclusive growth by tapping on each other’s strengths and advantages. And regional cooperation will not only facilitate exchanges of information, capacities, technology and country experiences, but also spur actions to lay a stronger foundation for an East Asian Community.

    10. Below are key recommendations to promote cooperation on inclusive growth among the APT countries:

    i. Strengthen the macro-economic fundamentals in all APT countries so as to make inclusive growth more sustainable

    ii. Deepen the economic, trade and investment linkages among the APT countries to take advantage of the opportunities of rapid growth in the region

    iii. Improve labor mobility and capital flows, as well as technological transfers among the APT countries to facilitate the upgrading and restructuring of economies

    iv. Promote further development of SMEs in the local economy

    v. Enhance human resource capacity in the APT countries through measures such as better access to quality education and training to enable individuals to be gainfully employed and to upgrade themselves

    vi. Improve institutional capabilities and coordination among government ministries and agencies related to inclusive growth in the APT countries

    vii. Identify and implement regular programs and initiatives to help the vulnerable groups in the APT countries

    viii. Publicize best practices and successful examples of inclusive growth in the APT countries

    ix. Involve, recognize and encourage stakeholders such as organizations and individuals to contribute to broad-based participation in implementing the strategy of inclusive growth in the APT countries

    x. Consider introducing an APT blueprint to support inclusive growth and development

    D. East Asian Cultural Archives

    11. Recognized the importance/necessity of establishing “East Asian Cultural Archives (EACA)” as a useful and effective way to enhance cultural exchange in East Asia and to expedite East Asian community (EAc) Building, the EACA set the goals in specific for inculcating cultural pride among people at not only national but also local levels, providing invaluable source of learning and education for students and educators, setting up useful database for research and reference, contributing to capacity building, training and networking for people directly involved in archival institutions at individual national level.

    12. To implement EACA, some detailed ideas were suggested as follows:

    i. Key players in the building EACA can include

    a. relevant governmental bodies in individual countries

    b. major private sector players in relevant fields

    c. national think-tanks, research institutions and private cultural activists and performers

    ii. Some possible forms and contents of EACA are particularly for

    a. providing indexes of search engine service and the collection of individual archival institutions in the region

    b. focusing on culture specific archives

    iii. ‘Pilot Program or task force for EACA’ will decide the key issues such as

    a. setting up a coordinating institution and appointing a focal point in each country

    b. surveying existing similar archives to avoid duplication and building networks for their mutual communication

    c. deciding the country that will host the website, if EACA is web-based cyber archive

    d. designing concrete programs such as joint publication, regular seminar and forums, and training courses and so on.