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NEWS UPDATES 5 August 2010

AEC needs sub-regional units

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Asia needs to consolidate and strengthen its sub-regional institutions to accelerate the realization of the Asian economic community, Asian Development Bank (ADB) senior director Srinivasa Madhur has recommended. The region should strengthen potential sub-regional institutions and phase out overlapping ones.

“The existing institutions are dense but 'light', characterized by very limited delegated authorities,” he told a seminar on “Institutions for Integration: Toward an Asian Economic Community” at the Trade Ministry in Jakarta.

He insisted that to strengthen the existing sub-regional institutions, member-countries should delegate more responsibilities and powers.

The 2010 ADB study on “Institutions for Asian Integration: Toward an Asian Economic Community” says that Asian governments have generally been reluctant to delegate significant powers and responsibilities to sub-regional and regional bodies unless they see concrete advantages.

Madhur said that investing in stronger secretariats was another way to build the competence of those institutions. The institutions also need to set up clear and objective membership rules, he added.

Currently, Asia has several sub-regional institutions with various functions and objectives, such as the Association of South East Asian Nations, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the Pacific Islands Forum and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation.

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