Few realize that foreign donors currently disburse funds of at least $ 50 million annually on behalf of the integration of the ASEAN region. This amount is more than the triple the size of ASEAN’s official annual budget of $ 14 million. Goals of this foreign support include speeding the establishment of a customs unit, strengthening regional intellectual-property regimes, and empowering civil society to further ASEAN’s plan to create a fully integrated regional community by 2015. The “ASEAN-US Technical Assistance and Training Facility” alone has a budget of US$ 20 million for the period 2008-2012.
Few also realize the extent to which ASEAN’s far-reaching dependence on donor support—financial help and expert advice—has diminished the organization’s ownership of the regional integration process. In this lecture, Prof. Dosch will argue that foreign donors have begun to steer Southeast Asian regionalism.
What motivations and assumptions inform the support of Southeast Asian integration by foreign donors? Do they cooperate—or compete—in pursuit of this goal? Do the projects they favor reflect one-size-fits-all formulas that neglect the extreme political and economic diversity of Southeast Asia? The talk will address these and other rarely asked questions that challenge the conventional image of ASEAN as a model of successful external diplomacy for regional development.
Jörn Dosch is Chair in Asia Pacific Studies and Director of the East Asian Studies Department at the University of Leeds, UK. He was previously a Fulbright Scholar at Shorenstein APARC and an assistant professor at the University of Mainz, Germany. Dosch has published some 70 books and academic papers on East and Southeast Asian politics and international relations Recent titles include The Changing Dynamics of Southeast Asian Politics (2007) and “ASEAN's Reluctant Liberal Turn and the Thorny Road to Democracy Promotion,” The Pacific Review (December 2008). He has also worked as a consultant for UNDP, the German Foreign Office, and the European Commission. Recently he evaluated the European Union's cooperation programs with ASEAN and several of its member states. His 1996 PhD in political science is from the University of Mainz.