26 January 2015
ONE OF the cornerstones of the Asean Community building project is its “people-centred” approach to regional integration as opposed to the elite-driven and state-centric approach that Asean has been generally associated with.
As Asean enters 2015 – a watershed year with the realisation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) – it is timely to examine how successful has Asean become in ensuring that voices from below are included in its various efforts to institutionalise a sense of regional community in Southeast Asia, especially in the context of formulating a post-2015 Asean vision.
Well-established norms, such as the Asean Way, have limited the space for non-state actors to engage Asean. This is true for regional cross-cutting issues such as migration, human rights and environmental protection that are being championed by civil society groups. However, this does not mean that there are no direct channels of engagement between civil society and Asean.
…Dylan Loh Ming Hui is a research analyst and Don Rodney Ong Junio is associate research fellow of the Centre for Multilateralism Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
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Last updated on 27/01/2015