Way forward for trade integration in addressing poverty in ASEAN
By Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), established in 1967, to maintain peace and stability in the region. Over the past decades, challenges of a different nature have emerged; these include issues of food and water securities and potential impacts of climate change.
One of these challenges is economic insecurity, which exists when people do not have ‘an assured basic income – usually from productive and remunerative work or in the last resort from some publicly financed safety net’, according to the United Nations’ 1994 Human Development Report. This is most directly measured through poverty, wherein because of insufficient income, people have limited access to food, shelter, and other amenities. Other important indicators are the prevalence of temporary and informal employment, unemployment, and low wages, albeit these are only seen as intermediate factors affecting poverty. While the reasons for poverty may vary, one of the ways of addressing poverty is by providing individuals with opportunities to improve their incomes, whether through jobs or business opportunities.