In November 2020, the Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation Inc. (APPFI) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung hosted a Track Two Observer (TTO) webinar to examine the prospects of Southeast Asia’s economic recovery while reeling from the recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants from government agencies, the academe, and other non-government institutions came together and discussed the effects of COVID-19 on ASEAN regional economic cooperation and the efforts being carried out to mitigate and help in the region’s economic recovery.
Of particular interest is how ASEAN member states (AMS) can jumpstart their economies and societies and those of their neighbors, as well as the Philippines’ readiness and expected benefits in a post-pandemic regional economic situation. Some of the key issues that were discussed in the webinar include:
1. A review of the status of AMS’ economic connectivity efforts, including other related connectivity efforts such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, as well as the effects of COVID-19 on their progress and implementation
2. An assessment of regionwide measures and initiatives being implemented as part of economic recovery efforts, and
3. An examination of the impact of the pandemic on the Philippines’ economic interests and readiness in regional cooperative activities and economic integration.
This paper highlights ASEAN’s efforts to promote economic connectivity and to jumpstart the economic recovery of the region, and provides recommendations considering the region-wide economic recovery initiatives and measures that are being carried out within and outside the region and the prospects of post-pandemic resilient economies.