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ASEAN and World Bank to Scale up Collaboration in Key Areas

January 29, 2010

  • The ASEAN-World Bank Consultation Session was convened to take stock of current partnership and map out future collaboration between the two institutions
  • Joint work in the areas of economic and social protection will be scaled-up. The partnership will combine ASEAN's leadership and the World Bank's technical skills on key development issues

Jakarta, 28-29 January 2010 – More collaboration on development issues between ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the World Bank are currently being explored, especially in the key areas of infrastructure and connectivity, social protection, climate change, disaster risk management and food security.

Speaking at the high level ASEAN Secretariat-World Bank Consultation Session in Jakarta, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, said that “the visions of ASEAN and the World Bank are very much intertwined and ASEAN is looking for opportunities to share the World Bank’s experiences with the region on how to better carry out development”.

In line with the view that development is very much multi-dimensional and comprehensive, the participants of the Consultation Session discussed a wide range of cross-sectoral issues including regional integration, infrastructure and connectivity, social protection and labour migration. Other areas such as strengthening macro-economic surveillance, food and energy security, climate change and disaster risk management and the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN), were also discussed. The Consultation Session was convened with an aim to take stock of current joint work and map out future collaboration between ASEAN and the World Bank.

Dr Surin also called on the World Bank to consider how to synergise its bilateral assistance to ASEAN Member States at the national level with that of the regional agendas and dimensions. “As the World Bank assists national development strategies, it provides an opportunity to include the regional integration component in the plans,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his review of the existing ASEAN-World Bank partnership, the World Bank’s Vice President for the East Asia Pacific Region, James W. Adams, said that “the World Bank is committed to the scaling up the economic and social protection agendas of ASEAN”.  He also expressed hope on sustaining the high-level interaction on a regular basis. “After the global crisis, there is a need to work more on social protection issues. ASEAN is emerging as a global leader in fostering regional collaboration. This partnership will combine ASEAN’s leadership with the Bank’s technical skills on key development issues.”

Moving forward, both the ASEAN Secretariat and the World Bank agreed on the importance of sustaining the discussion on strategic issues and of enhancing their information exchange and coordination.

The Consultation Session was followed by a half-day development seminar on “The Post-Crisis World: Global and East Asian Regional Development Scenarios”, held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. It brought together representatives from the ASEAN Member States and key officers from the ASEAN Secretariat and the World Bank.


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand. It has become one of the most prominent and enduring regional organizations in the world.  The association remains active in its aims to accelerate economic growth and social development among its member states in addition to the political goals of promoting peace and regional stability. 

The association is also among the largest.  In 2008, ASEAN countries had a combined population of around 580 million people, living in an area of 4.5 million square kilometers with a combined GDP of USD 1.5 trillion and close to 5 trillion in PPP dollars. 

ASEAN consist of 10 member states: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

The ASEAN Vision 2020, adopted by the ASEAN Leaders on the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN, agreed on a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies.

The association adopted the ASEAN Charter on 15 December 2008. The Charter serves as a firm foundation in achieving the ASEAN Community by providing legal status and institutional framework for ASEAN. It also codifies ASEAN norms, rules and values; sets clear targets for ASEAN; and presents accountability and compliance.