Colombo, August 22, 2014 — On August 21 and 22, 35 government officials, policy specialists, and development experts representing more than 10 countries convened in Colombo for the eleventh meeting of the Asian Approaches to Development Cooperation (AADC) dialogue series. The Colombo conference closely examined social and economic mobility across Asia, a growing research and policy area. While Asia has had remarkable success in fighting poverty, not enough of the region’s economic prosperity is reaching its poorest people.
The goal of the ongoing AADC series is to provide a forum for sharing perspectives and approaches among both emerging and traditional development actors on critical issues facing the region. Jointly organized by The Asia Foundation and the Korea Development Institute (KDI) and the Centre for Poverty Analysis Sri Lanka (CEPA), the 2014 AADC meeting in Colombo focused on knowledge exchange on how historical, economic, political, and social factors have enabled social and economic mobility across Asia. In 2013, the dialogue series examined climate change and low-carbon development. Read recent news releases here.
Sri Lankan Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, provided the keynote address on August 21. He noted that Sri Lanka’s future success in achieving its 2020 vision required widespread, inclusive growth and a strategic partnership between the state and private sector to advance soft and hard infrastructure.
The discussions in Colombo sought lessons from the historical experiences of social mobility in Korea and Australia, and examined how key ingredients of social mobility such as education and employment have impacted populations in Mongolia and India. The experts also examined how migration has changed the lives of Filipinos, Bangladeshis, and Malaysians, and explored how mobility has intersected with ethnicity, gender and religion in Sri Lanka and India. Discussions also looked at how political systems and institutions in China, Thailand, and Vietnam have shaped the mobility prospects for their citizens.
The program also included a visit to the village of Seenigama, where sustained and targeted community based interventions by a local charity have bridged the urban rural divide and improved the lives and livelihoods of thousands.
Countries participating at the dialogue included: Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Representatives from multilateral and bilateral agencies, academia, and international organizations also participated in discussions, including: the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, United States Agency for International Development, and The World Bank.
The Asia Foundation and the Korea Development Institute will publish the papers from this dialogue in early 2015.