Hard Talk “Growth First, Social Protection Later? – The Social Dimension of Economic Integration in Southeast Asia

At the end of 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has become a reality for the region’s 600 million people. The AEC has great potential to stimulate innovation, productivity and job creation through the free flow of goods, services, investment capital and skilled labour.

  • Backdrop Image Hard Talk

Yet, if not managed carefully, it would likely aggravate inequality and exacerbate the scale of vulnerable forms of employment, especially for the lower skilled and migrant workers. This Hard Talk will deliberate the need to enhance the social and labour dimension of economic integration to ensure that the gains from economic growth are shared fairly among the people in Southeast Asia. Following the Hard Talk will be an one-day workshop which seeks to discuss ways to address sociology-economic inequalities and to influence political agenda setting in support of socially just and sustainable developments in Asia. Our distinguished panelists in the Hard Talk are prominent and outspoken thinkers on the future of Asia. They critically discussed the economic integration in Southeast Asia from a social justice point of view.


David Lamotte, Deputy Regional Director, Regional Office for Asia and Pacific, International Labour Organization (ILO), Thailand

Shreyasi Jha, Research Fellow, WSD Handa Center for Human Rights, Stanford University, USA

Rajendra Acharya, Director, Trade Union Development Activities, Union Network International Asia Pacific Regional Organisation (UNI Apro), Singapore

Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderator: Sabina Dewan, Executive Director, JustJobs Network, India

This occasion also marks the official handover of the FES Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia from the current director Ms Julia Mueller to her successor Ms Adrienne Woltersdorf.

Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia

7500A Beach Road
The Plaza
Singapore 199591

+65 6297 6760



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