‘Korean’s New Southern Policy Plus and the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework: Synergy for Post COVID-19 Recovery’ Takeaways
It’s no doubt that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brought about multiple challenges to the Southeast Asian region. For me, the pandemic drew my attention to how ASEAN is responding to climate change and environmental challenges.
Climate change has been a hot topic on the policy table for years, especially since the UN Sustainable Development Goals were announced in 2015. I know that the region is working hard on reducing single-use plastics and pollution crises, but the pandemic made me realize that we haven’t been doing enough to safeguard, and future-proof, our environment.
I remember visiting Busan early last year before the pandemic. I know South Korea is clean, but I really did not expect the city’s air quality index to be a single digit. Busan’s streets were sparkling clean and there were recycling bins everywhere! I learned about South Korea’s Green New Deal that focuses on the country’s green transition to renewable energy, green infrastructure, and smart innovations.
As a political science student, I was also very excited to learn about the New Southern Policy Plus announced last year. It was definitely a sign of hope and friendship between the people of South Korea and ASEAN Member States.
From the webinar, I was even more certain that cooperation between Korea and ASEAN will lead to a brighter future for all of us. The webinar was incredibly thought-provoking when it comes to how the two bodies can contribute to a more equitable, inclusive, and greener recovery post-pandemic.
It was also a reaffirmation of Korea and ASEAN’s commitment to sustainable development in areas of energy, infrastructure, and most importantly, socio-economic empowerment. The webinar also elaborated on how South Korea and ASEAN will build synergies in e-commerce and in the creative economy.
Guided by the seven key areas of the NSP+ and the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, human skills development is positioned at the center of sustainability. And this includes implementing programs that build on the expertise of the two regions to empower people with digital skills.
Digitalization is a growing trend in all societies and will only continue to increase as technology becomes an even greater part of every life. Even though most ASEAN states are developing nations, we are able to capitalize on advanced technology to leapfrog social, economic and political growth. To make this happen, it is imperative that the ASEAN region builds synergies with advanced nations like South Korea.
Here’s to a more hopeful and people-centric future for South Korea and ASEAN! What do you think?