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Narrowing the Development Gap in Asean

Client: Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Background: In the last 20 years there have been significant development achievements in many ASEAN countries. While this progress has been impressive, development has been characterised significant development gaps at both regional and sub-national levels. A central component of ASEAN’s vision is to ensure the benefits of development and economic integration are equitably shared by all member states and their citizens. In this context, much of ASEAN’s work aims to narrow the development gap between the ASEAN Member States and between sub-regions within ASEAN. 

In 2012, the ASEAN Secretariat engaged Sustineo to produce an internationally published book that analysed development gaps within ASEAN. Through using multidimensional indicators to understand and measure wellbeing, this book provides policy recommendations to senior ASEAN officials and donors on approaches to close development gaps in Southeast Asia. This includes suggestions on how to monitor and evaluate these gaps. The book aims to inform the policies of donors and national governments on the trajectory of development in Southeast Asia in the medium term.

Approach: Sustineo was responsible for the management of the entire project, including author recruitment and coordination, research, writing, editing and publication. The Sustineo team managed the project in-house and provided coordination support. Two of Sustineo’s personnel were primary authors in driving the research of the book, and one made significant contributions in shaping the overarching focus and narrative as an editor. Sustineo recruited and coordinated five external authors who were renowned experts in their academic fields. Sustineo maintained close coordination with the collaborating authors and ASEAN throughout entire research process to ensure a relevant, practical and high-quality output.

Outcome: Throughout the delivery of the project, the Sustineo team ensured that the published product provided an excellent understanding of development gaps, as they existed in 2012, that can inform the strategic needs of decision makers in the ASEAN region. Through the coordination of a team of internationally recognised experts, the book clearly communicates the findings in a practical, policy-relevant way, and in a format that can influence decision makers within ASEAN Member States and international donors. The book gives policy makers and scholars in development economics, development policy and Asian studies well-grounded insights into the nature of development gaps within and between ASEAN countries as well as high-level policy advice on those interventions that can contribute to narrowing the development gap. The book was launched in April 2013 at the ASEAN Summit and is now available for purchase. It can also be viewed online.