The pandemic has had a deep and profound impact throughout Southeast Asia. Many of the region’s hard-won gains in reducing poverty, creating jobs, and enhancing health and well-being have been reversed, with the poor and vulnerable particularly hard-hit.
While countries continue to grapple with the severe economic, health, and social impacts of the pandemic, vaccine rollouts, the promise of new treatments, substantial economic relief, and targeted social support are helping to make inroads. Green shoots of recovery are starting to appear, and Southeast Asian nations are now laying the groundwork for reopening, and a more enduring recovery.
The Southeast Asia Development Symposium (SEADS) 2022, “Sustainable Solutions for Southeast Asia’s Recovery,” will take place on 16–17 March and will focus on (i) green recovery, (ii) tourism revitalization, (iii) the advancement of innovation and technology, (iv) addressing supply chain constraints; (v) advancing gender equality; and (vi) ensuring Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) financing.
The Asian Development Bank established SEADS to convene leaders from government, industry, academia, and the development sector to help crystallize thinking on critical development issues, and to put forward innovative ideas that can help countries make their economies more prosperous, knowledge-based, and sustainable. The first two SEADS took place amidst the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and accordingly focused on helping Southeast Asian countries counter the immediate impacts of COVID-19.
It is hoped that SEADS can contribute to dialogue at the 2022 ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Meeting, ADB Annual Meeting, and G20 Summit (being hosted by Indonesia).
SEADS 2022 will provide governments in the region with a unique opportunity to discuss innovative solutions that can help countries “build back better” and rebound from the COVID-19 crisis. It will focus on actionable solutions supporting three key lynchpins of the region’s recovery and revitalization:
- Addressing debilitating supply chain bottlenecks
- Rejuvenating the region’s once-flourishing tourism industry; and
- Advancing digital transformation.
SEADS 2022 will also explore new opportunities that can take the region beyond business as usual to better ensure the region’s post-COVID-19 recovery by helping countries:
- Boost revenues through adequate domestic resource mobilization (DRM) measures;
- Find green and environmentally sustainable pathways;
- Expand inclusivity for the poor and other vulnerable groups; and
- Ensure equality and greater opportunities for women.
SEADS 2022 is open to representatives from governments, the private sector, academia, think tanks, NGOs, and the media.