The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation

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The Asia Foundation's Governance and Law programming supports Asian initiatives to build more effective and responsive governance, accessible justice mechanisms, a vibrant civil society, and an informed and engaged citizenry. We do this through programming in governance, law and justice, and elections and political processes. Read Program Overview.

Over the past few decades under increasing pressures of globalization, Asian countries have faced extraordinary economic, social, and political challenges. A growing body of literature suggests that the single most important factor in the relative success of different countries in overcoming the challenges and improving development trajectories has been the quality of governance. The Asia Foundation defines governance as the institutions and processes through which the economy and society are regulated, public resources are allocated, and government decisions are enforced. In the coming decades, continued growth and stability will increasingly depend on steady improvements in all of these areas.

Projects and activities under the Foundation's Governance Programs are pursued within a wide range of areas, including: counter‑corruption, decentralization and local governance, development of central executive institutions of government, legislative development, civil society development, media development, information and communication technology, and Islam and development.

Migrant and Child Labor in Thailand's Shrimp and Other Seafood Supply Chains

To address child labor and labor conditions of migrant workers in Thailand's shrimp and other seafood supply chains, the International Labour Organization and The Asia Foundation present the landmark study: Migrant and Child Labor in Thailand's Shrimp and Other Seafood Supply Chains: Labor Conditions and the Decision to Study or Work. The study provides practical, empirically grounded policy recommendations to stakeholders in both national and provincial governments and industry, drawing on a combination of existing evidence and data from the ILO's work in Thailand and supplementary qualitative information generated through informant interviews, focus group discussions, and consultations with stakeholders.

Strategic Uses of Data for Urban Development in Asian Cities

The first issue of the DFAT-TAF Partnership Working Paper Series, Strategic Uses of Data for Urban Development in Asian Cities, examines two trends affecting Asia’s development: rapid urbanization and the spread of technology.

The ongoing series will help inform the broader international community, helping to better ground discussion in empirical evidence, advance theoretical debates, and ultimately improve development policy and practice across a variety of subject areas. Read more about this paper series here.

Featured Publications

Conceptualizing Public Sector Reform in Myanmar

This paper sets out some of the issues involved in thinking about public sector reform in Myanmar and assists in establishing a common platform for dialogue on this important topic. The paper seeks to explain how reform of the public sector is an essential part of the transition from a form of authoritarianism to democracy, and to contribute towards increasing discussion in Parliament, the media and civil society on how to take Myanmar's reforms forward.

Citizens' Access to Information in South Asia

A number of countries in South Asia have enacted Right to Information (RTI) legislation guaranteeing citizens the right to access information from their governments. While there have been a number of efforts to promote the sharing of knowledge and good practices among RTI activists, civil society organizations, and government officials in the region, there has been limited investigation of the key factors that enable or prevent the effective implementation of RTI in countries in the region, with the exception of India. This Regional Synthesis Report brings together information collected through country diagnostic studies conducted by The Asia Foundation in partnership with civil society organizations in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Challenges and Opportunities in Municipal Governance

Challenges and Opportunities in Municipal Governance is the sequel study to The Asia Foundation's Political Economy Analysis of Local Governance in Nepal (2014) and examines governance in selected municipalities during this transitional political period. This study reports on the Asia Foundation's Local Governance Action Research on activities deployed to minimize collusion and enhance accountability in the allocation and execution of municipal budgets selected municipalities across the country.

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