EANGAGE CONFERENCE “ADDRESSING CHALLENGES TOGETHER: WORKING TOWARDS ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE ASEAN AND EU” - Regional Programme Political Dialogue Asia
The two-year project “Think Next, Act Next – The Next Gen EU-ASEAN Think Tank Dialogue” (EANGAGE) funded by the EU, aimed to encourage greater collaborative research between the EU and ASEAN.
The EU is ASEAN’s 3rd largest trading partner and largest investor. Yet, despite steady progress in economic, political and diplomatic relations between the two regions, it had been noted that “ASEAN’s cooperation with the EU has not reached its full potential.” Within this context, one of the main aims of the EANGAGE project was to conduct comparative research and increase awareness about EU-ASEAN cooperation among young researchers.
Since 2021, the Political Dialogue Programme Asia of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in partnership with the Asian Vision Institute (AVI), Cambodia and the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) have promoted the exchange of knowledge between think tanks and researchers in the two regions. The project also aimed to raise awareness of how the EU and ASEAN are addressing the main challenges in the key areas of sustainable development, connectivity and security.
Three research clusters on security, sustainable development and connectivity were established. Over 70 young researchers from think tanks and academic institutions in the EU and ASEAN worked together on policy papers and academic research. The EANGAGE Research Fellows received regular input through lectures, background discussions, cluster meetings and training workshops.
However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, in 2021, the interactions were mainly virtual, which limited the networking opportunities of the project. To address this, the project hosted its first face-to-face conference in April 2022. The conference explored how the EU and ASEAN are working together to address the challenges of achieving sustainable development.
About 50 researchers, representatives from think tanks, non-governmental organisations and the private sector, and senior policy makers attended the conference. The conference featured keynote speeches, panel discussions and presentations by EANGAGE Research Fellows.
H.E. Igor Driesmans, Ambassador of the EU to ASEAN provided the welcome address through a recorded video. Keynote speeches were delivered by H.E. Dr. Sok Siphana, Senior Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia and Chairman, Board of Directors, Asian Vision Institute; H.E. Dr. Chhem Kieth Rethy, Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, Royal Government of Cambodia; and H.E. Suos Yara, Chairman, Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Assembly of Cambodia.