Towards an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC):
Prospects, Challenges and Paradoxes in Development, Governance and Human Security
26-27 July 2012
According to the Bali Concord II, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) should become an integrated economic area by 2015, brought forward from the previous target of 2020. Although ASEAN’s vision has the community underpinned by three pillar institutions, namely the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the ASEAN Security Community (ASC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), much emphasis has been placed on the prospective growth in economic development and trade in the region. Supporters of this single market and single production base idea have been active within the concerned state agencies, especially the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Commerce and their equivalents. A number of academic institutions and experts on economic development, international relations and regional economic integration have also come out in defense and support of the move towards an AEC, citing the benefits to be gained by the nations involved. However, concerns about and criticisms of this move have started to circulate among scholarly activists, non-state actors, NGOs, local and transnational civil societies.
Points of concern with regard to development issues include regional disparities, uneven development, the impacts of large-scale infrastructure development on sustainable livelihoods, the enclosure of local resources, new forms of resource governance and accumulation by dispossession. With regard to international governance, the roles of state and non-state actors have been questioned in terms of the issues of democratization, privatization, participation, people-centered governance and transnational mobility and regulations, and on the human rights front, concerns have been raised regarding the rights of non-citizens, identity crises, health, food safety, sovereignty, feminization of labor and non-traditional security. It is clear these uncertainties and unresolved issues need to be addressed before the AEC becomes institutionalized. Needless to say, the larger economic conglomerations are already talking about an AEC plus one, three and even six, as the presence of China in particular, is already being felt around the region.
This conference will bring together various concerned groups, multi-disciplinary scholars and graduate researchers, as well as activists, state and non-state actors, NGOs, development workers, regional institutions and fellow citizens and non-citizens, in order to discuss the prospects and challenges for plans to move towards an AEC, as well as some of the contradictory ideas being proposed. The outcomes of the conference will help foster a wider and deeper understanding of the AEC, plus help inform the public, and prepare people for the changes ahead and to cope with any unforeseen consequences.
1. To provide a deeper and more rounded understanding of regional development under the AEC;
2. To challenge the premise of economic integration and trade liberalization;
3. To examine the human landscape and humanization of development; and
4. To offer a forum for concerns to be heard and tackled seriously.
- private sector associations
- state agencies
- regional institutions
- local people