It is confirmed – Jakarta remains the Capital of ASEAN

Written by Truston Yu

On Sunday 6 October at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia’s (ERIA) editors’ roundtable in Bangkok, ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi affirmed that the ASEAN headquarters will not be relocated and shall remain in Jakarta.

From the moment Indonesian President Joko Widodo first announced plans to relocate the country’s capital city until now, there have been numerous speculations on the future of the ASEAN Secretariat. Looking back with half a year of hindsight, this article examines the uncertainties that are now ascertained, and outlines potential elements of a blueprint for Jakarta as the capital of ASEAN. read more


Written by Muhammad Ammar Hidayahtulloh (Picture: Jeffrey Beall)


Geographically speaking, ASEAN region is one of the most vulnerable regions to disaster in the world. There are several tectonic plates across ASEAN region that potentially cause the earthquake, volcanic eruption, and tsunami. In addition, ASEAN faces the increasing extreme climate events in frequency and intensity due to climate variation and change. Therefore, nearly all ASEAN Member States (AMS) have experienced natural disaster causing the severe devastation in the recent years, such as Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, Yogyakarta Earthquake in 2006, Cyclone Nargis in 2008, Thailand Floods in 2011, Cyclone Haiyan in 2013, Bagan Earthquake in 2016, and Central Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami in last September 2018. read more

A Resilient ASEAN?: ASEAN and Resilience in Natural Disaster

By Nisrina Husnul Khotimah and Kevin Iskandar Putra (Picture: Aris Daeng)

 People in Palu and its surrounds are still struggling to survive a month after the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami had struck. As of Friday 26th October 2018, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) has recorded a total of 2,081 fatalities – a large and dense number for the affected area. Locals and international news agencies were quick to realise that human resources and humanitarian aid did not come quickly enough and hastily turned their attention towards ASEAN as they questioned their role in rescue operations. The high number of deaths is a red flag that signalled that ASEAN is still not resilient towards natural disasters and much assessment is needed on the regional organisation’s response to these events. read more

ASEAN Smart Cities Network: Getting Closer to the Utopia

Written by Nathania Vivian Hermawan (Picture: Basile Morin)


At the 32nd ASEAN Summit, countries approved Singapore’s chairmanship theme, “Innovative and Resilient”, as an articulation of their strategic position in this shifting economic landscape. One of the encapsulation of this theme is ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN), a network that synergise 26 IoT-based cities across the region aiming to solve urban population growth and rapid urbanizations. Looking at current wave of innovation in Southeast Asia, ASEAN has started to turn “sci-fi” smart cities into reality –but surely it takes time. read more

Technopreneurship Among the Youth as Supporting Factors for Economic Sustainability of ASEAN towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Written by Cavin Dennis Tito Siregar

Science and Technology have never stopped advancing since the very first time humans invented fire. The fact that we are experiencing The Fourth Industrial Revolution has opened a wide gate of opportunities to everyone. Those who can make use of such opportunities will prevail. ASEAN, being one of the most diverse regions, shall unite and utilize this opportunity.

For the first time in the history of living standards ordinary people have experienced sustainable growth. This kind of economic behavior has never happened before. read more


Written by Salimah Idzaturrohim (picture: US Department of State)


ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, which was initiated by 5 countries, which were Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Today ASEAN has 10 member countries, with Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia (ASEAN, 2018). The unification of the ten countries undeniably shows that ASEAN is composed of various ethnicities, cultures, languages and religions united under the ASEAN name. This shows how ASEAN is really an organization which unifies diversity. More than just a block or geographical area that forms a group of countries, ASEAN is a network, life-world, trading systems and pathways for human contact (Noor, 2017). read more

Questioned Centrality: Will ASEAN Stand Stronger in the South China Sea?

Written by Rahina Dyah Adani, University of Gadjah Mada (picture: Reuters)

The unimproved situation in the South China Sea has questioned ASEAN’s so-called ‘centrality’ in security of the region. The association is said to be more divided in regards to the South China Sea dispute as U.S. and China have divided the group by working arduously behind the scenes in lobbying the members to support their positions in the South China Sea. Regarding ASEAN centrality, the superpowers are more likely to be treating the claimed position of ASEAN only by paying lip service without actually treating it in a way ‘centrality’ should be faced. read more

Questioning Digital Integration via E-Commerce as New Force of Regional Integration

Written by Muhammad Rasyid Ridho, a Graduate Student of International Relations Universitas Gadjah Mada.


The newest ASEAN Leaders’ Vision encompasses e-commerce as its underlined issue. As its relevancy is in line with the ascendancy of Industrial Revolution 4.0, it has potential as a new track of regional integration. It is inferred that ASEAN not only tries to capture the phenomenon from below, but also manages e-commerce as a significant issue by promulgating the possibility of having newer framework of it. State still hold prominent position in facing this issue. However, it is not free from any obstacles to achieved digital-based integration. The digital divide and the differences of regulation between member states are the significant problem. ASEAN still need the conventional economic development in order to utilize e-commerce as a new mode of business or a tool of integration. An elaborate and detailed regulation needed in order to harmonize regional e-commerce and to involve more local business players –specifically SME–. read more

The Battle Against Trafficking in Persons: Is ASEAN Heading in the Right Direction?

Written by Firstya Dizka Arrum Ramadhanty, International Relations Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada


In the last two decades, ASEAN’s battle on acknowledging the increasing trend of transnational crimes and human rights and security matter has been interesting to look at. Progress have been considerable. In 2004, there was the first ASEAN Declaration Against Human Trafficking in Persons Particularly Women and Children. The blueprint for ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) 2015 also resulted in the creation of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and a set of actions planned to combat transnational crimes, including trafficking in persons (TIP). In November 2015, the 2004 declaration was updated with the ASEAN Convention Against Human Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and the creation of Bohol TOP Work Plan 2017-2020. read more

Strengthening ASEAN’s Political-Security Pillar through Pool of Sovereignty

Written by Turin Airlangga, student at the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies (GSAPS), Waseda University Tokyo, Japan. He can be reached


ASEAN as an entity and Southeast Asia as a region emerged as important key players in the global political landscape after 51 years of its establishment. Economic growths and prosperity has propelled ASEAN member countries to important roles in the world. However, ASEAN still face challenges in dealing with certain issuespredominantly due to the non-interference and consensus-based principles it adheres to. How can ASEAN move forward as new challenges and opportunities emerge? This article examines the importance of giving ASEAN greater mandate through pool of sovereignty, requiring a more progressive approach to the political-security pillar that will result in stronger mandate and power for ASEAN governing bodies. read more