On Thursday 29 April 2021, the Clingendael Institute and the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace were delighted to host the first EU-ASEAN think tank exchange dialogue: Fostering resilient digital societies and digital connectivity: Sharing practices and experiences between the EU and ASEAN. It was the first meeting of a three-year project focusing on digital connectivity (2021), the ASEAN perspective on the Indo-Pacific (2022), and climate adaptation (2023). This project is supported by the European Union and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Acting on the opportunities and disruptions that accompany the digital transition and transformation globally is in the best interest of the ASEAN and the EU. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a hasty adoption of technology that is unlikely to reverse. The US-China trade-tech-data standoff is causing additional concerns, as the EU and ASEAN countries have to pragmatically choose technological instruments that are economically sensible but also secure to use.
In this context, the EU has been enhancing its digital efforts within Europe and with partners in the Indo-Pacific region. This move from paper to practice is especially visible in the EU Digital Compass targets and the allocated funding to reach those targets. The ASEAN digital economy is exceeding all expectations, with an increase of 40 million internet users in 2020.
The aim to guide the region towards a digitally enabled economy and society has been reflected in the 2021 ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025. In the years ahead, the Clingendael Institute and CICP hope that the partly closed-door and partly open expert meetings can be an inspiration for both sides to create mutual understanding and better connect experts from each region respectively. A short webinar report, taking into account Chatham House Rule, will be shared among the participants and can be requested via [email protected].