Supporting sustainable economic growth in ASEAN

September 02, 2016

Southeast Asia has sustained impressive and rapid growth in the last few decades. Although economic progress has reduced poverty, the region still suffers from important challenges such as inequities, violence targeting minorities, environmental depletion, growing informal employment, and food insecurity. These pressures strain the infrastructure and fray human relations, ultimately hampering development.

Through strategic investments, IDRC is helping local actors play a more effective role in solving regional challenges while also contributing to the Plan of Action to implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership 2016-2020. Supported research projects and fellowship programs in the regions provide much-needed evidence to launch locally adapted programs to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.

Funding research, building leaders

Researchers across the region have a critical role to play in providing crucial data to generate technological and scientific innovation to help ASEAN countries make sound decisions. Since the 1970s, IDRC has provided support to a large body of researchers working in various areas of expertise in the region.

Currently, IDRC provides fellowships to students in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to strengthen the future generation of leaders in agriculture. IDRC also fosters collaboration between Canadian and Singaporean academic institutions, which generates insights on the opportunities and challenges of ASEAN to contribute to a sustainable economic future in the region.

In health, long-term support to the Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research has provided decisive evidence to prevent the spread of serious health threats.

Supporting sustainable economic growth

ASEAN includes some of today’s most dynamic economies. Ensuring that growth leads to better jobs for an increasing number of youth is a top priority.

IDRC projects are addressing this challenge in the region. Eight research teams in the Mekong region are currently examining policies and practices to provide better job prospects for youth, women, and low-skilled workers. New research is also providing evidence of how entrepreneurs, much touted as pillars of growth in the region, are emerging, and identifying their conditions of success.

Climate adaptation for vulnerable cities

As cities expand, climate change compounds the stress on poor communities already struggling with unplanned growth. Building on IDRC’s long history of research into environmental factors that intensify urban poverty, researchers are working with urban communities to increase their adaptability to climate change and build disaster-resilient nations through practical, policy-relevant solutions.

Total IDRC support in ASEAN

1179 projects | CA$187 million since 1971

IDRC support is helping to:

  • build research capacity in the sub-region
  • develop equitable labour markets
  • upgrade skills and improve working conditions for young, low-skilled workers
  • increase climate change resilience in Southeast Asian cities

Learn more about current IDRC-funded research in ASEAN (pdf, 3.6 MB)