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Regional strategy for Asia 2007-2013

The Regional Strategy Paper for Asia identifies the priorities for cooperation between the European Union and the region for the period 2007-2013, i.e. encouragement of cooperation and regional integration, cooperation based on policy and know-how regarding the environment, education and health, and support to uprooted populations in Asia. It thus enables the assistance to be directed according to the actions identified to achieve these priorities, while at the same time defining the terms and conditions for implementation in the Regional Indicative Programme for the period 2007-2013.

ACT

European Commission – Regional Strategy Paper 2007-2013 for Asia .

SUMMARY

The Regional Strategy Paper (RSP) defines the objectives and the priorities of the cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Asia for the period 2007-2013. Asia covers Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, North Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Challenges faced by Asia

At political level, Asia, which is marked by the emergence of China and India, has multiple systems of governance. It faces a large number of challenges in the fields of security, nuclear proliferation, democratisation, respect for human rights, unemployment and health, fragile situations (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal), large refugee and migratory flows, labour standards, natural disasters and protection of the environment.

In the past twenty years, Asia has experienced strong economic growth, attributable to increased openness and major economic reforms. It is now the EU’s largest trading partner, most of the countries are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), civil society is sophisticated and a dynamic business class is emerging. However, despite this progress, the rise in socio-economic indicators has led to income disparities, employment creation has declined in many countries, the benefits of growth are unequally distributed and the institutional weaknesses, natural disasters and weakness of the infrastructures continue to hamper development.

Social protection is poor in Asia; child labour, the situation of women and poverty remain major challenges to be faced, as too are maternal mortality, child malnutrition, the violation of human rights, social protection, the increase in communicable diseases, health threats, gender imbalance, discrimination, etc. Southern Asia has made progress towards achieving the millennium development goals (MDG), in contrast to East Asia, which is developing less rapidly.

Asia is geographically very diverse. However, the environment is suffering from demographic pressures, rapid economic growth, industrialisation, inadequate legislation and investments, and poorly enforced protection measures which lead to unsustainable use of natural resources. In addition, climate change is likely to compound the geological and climatic instability.

Priority areas of the regional strategy 2007-2013

The main priority of the strategy is to encourage cooperation and regional integration. To achieve this, the EU supports work and dialogue with the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The second priority encourages cooperation based on policy and know-how in the fields of the environment, education and health. It aims to promote sustainable consumption and production and trade in environmental goods and services and to support Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). It also places emphasis on the promotion of equal opportunities and the values of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Finally, it supports the region in the control of avian flu and highly pathogenic and emerging diseases, and intends to introduce cross-border health cooperation.

The objective of the third priority is to support uprooted people in Asia by assisting them to return and settle in their country of origin or in a third country. This support establishes links between relief, reintegration and development aimed at filling the gap between emergency relief for refugees and longer-term relief. The activities are coordinated with ECHO, with due regard for operations established in the context of the country programmes. Local partnerships and development capacities will gradually be built up.

Certain cross-cutting issues (human rights, democracy, governance, etc.) will be addressed at regional level and streamlined throughout the programme, as appropriate.

Terms and conditions

For 2007-2013, the budget for Asia amounts to EUR 5.187 billion, of which 81 % is allocated to country development assistance, 16 % to regional assistance and 3 % as a reserve. The present RSP consists of a regional multiannual indicative programme (MIP), which is the programming document for the assistance, based on actions designed to achieve the priorities identified in the RSP. The first MIP has been drawn up for the period 2007-2010 (EUR 400 million); a second MIP will be drawn up for the period 2011-2013 (EUR 375 million). The RSP is complementary to country strategy papers drawn up for each country of Asia and the RSP for Central Asia . The financing instrument for development cooperation (DCI) is the main framework for financing the assistance granted under the present RSP.

The activities receiving support are the following: programmes, contacts, meetings, promotion activities, dialogue, exchange of best practices, expert meetings, regional and triangular cooperation, seminars, conferences, workshops, research, twinning, gatherings, studies, training, study trips, university exchange programmes and harmonisation of standards and legislation. Other activities will also be defined at the identification stage.

Success indicators are defined to measure the impact of the activities carried out. They spell out the objective sought by the intervention, the result and the advantages expected for the target groups, the direct effects and the activities to be carried out to achieve the expected goals. The results of these activities will be measured qualitatively and quantitatively, not only by the indicators but also by the verification criteria and other implementation mechanisms. The implementation of all the programmes will be supervised and monitored. A mid-term review of the entire programme is scheduled (2009).

Background

The cooperation between the two regions is based on the "Europe and Asia" Communication and the European Consensus on Development, which set the eradication of poverty as a prime objective. The present RSP in this way ensures continuity of the priorities, results and experience, based on the previous RSP 2005-2006 .

 
Last updated: 30.05.2008

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