ADRN Events


[ADRN Online Seminar] Democracy Cooperation Series 7. Reassessing 2020: How Asia Coped with the COVID-19 Pandemic

The East Asia Institute (President Yul Sohn), as a secretariat of the Asia Democracy Research Network (ADRN), held the seventh online seminar of the [Democracy Cooperation] series, titled "Reassessing 2020: How Asia Coped with the COVID-19 Pandemic". During this seminar, ADRN members from Nepal, the Philippines, and Thailand discussed challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the countries and their response in both public and private sectors. The panelists further shared policy recommendations in examination of changes in domestic and foreign policy of major countries in Asia.   Date & Time: January 25, 2021 12:00 -13:30  (KST) Speakers:  Thawilwadee Bureekul (Director of Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok’s Institute), Francisco A. Magno (Research Fellow, Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance), Pradip Pariyar (Executive Chairperson, Samata Foundation) Moderator: Jung Kim (Assistant Professor, University of North Korean Studies)      I. Overview   It has been over a year since the unprecedented pandemic crisis devastated the world, resulting in hundred million confirmed cases and 2.16 million deaths worldwide as of January 2021. COVID-19 has inflicted grave damages on Asian countries, endangering the socioeconomy and livelihoods of already vulnerable communities. This pandemic incurred especially significant impacts on the rising democratic countries in Asia, placing them into a trillema of limiting the spread of the virus, reviving the economy, and maintaining democracy. This online seminar provides an overview of the COVID-19 situation in Thailand, the Philippines, and Nepal to analyze their responses at the public and private levels, and to propose policy recommendations for 2021. It serves as a preview to the upcoming publication by the Asia Democracy Research Network (ADRN), “Pandemic Crisis and Democratic Governance,” encompassing research from 12 countries in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.   II. Challenges Posed by COVID-19 and Asia’s Response   Thailand: Government-led Response against COVID-19           Central emergency communications: Thailand faced communication challenges in delivering the government’s annoucnements in the initial stages of the pandemic. However, in March 2020, the COVID-19 Situation Management Center was established to serve as a central bureau that collects and reports information to the public on a daily basis. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, all relevant agencies integrated their roles and operations in responding to the spread of coronavirus, contributing to an effective risk communications strategy. Economic support plans: The government provided financial support to unemployed people and vulnerable groups that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and implemented lockdown measures. The state was especially tentative to the needs of small and medium sized enterprises in need of financial aid. 5000 baht allowance was provided for three months from April to June 2020, in an effort to prolong the economic cycle and empower them to handle with the crisis with liquidity.   The Philippines: COVID-19 Fuels the Rise of Corruption         Corruption scandal jeopardizes public health and finance: The corruption risks in the health sector surfaced at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 when whistleblowers provided allegations of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)’s misuse of funds. Although the scandal was provoked by resigned workers, rampant financial violations had been previously observed in reports by the Commission on Audit. The PhilHealth scandal revealed the weak exercise of institutional control mechanisms in the state-run agency, and highlighted the importance of legislative and audit oversight agencies that function as accountability institutions within the system of checks-and-balances. Economy crippled by coronavirus: The Philippine economy suffered heavily with the onslaught of the COVID-19 virus, where its gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 16.5% during the second quarter of 2020, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. The country descended into economic recession given the two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth in 2020, after the 0.7% GDP decline during the first quarter of 2020.   Nepal: Pandemic Limits Civic Space and Drives Corruption     Civic space shrunk by legal measures: The government is implementing a series of amendment bills that would adversely affect the life of the vulnerable in Nepal who have already been hit hard by the pandemic. These bills include the National Human Rights Commissions Act, Media Council Bill, Bill on Mass Communication, and Bill on Information and Technology. At the same time, the Home Ministry recently instructed that the government distribute relief materials to victims of disasters only through the government, largely restricting roles of the civil society. Corruption exacerbated by the pandemic: In Nepal, which already ranks as the 113th least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, the level of perceived corruption rose significantly over the last year, according to a report by Transparency International. The case of medical procurement exemplifies such corruption and disbelief of citizens on the government. As the army was delegated the responsibility to purchase medical supplies, it was revealed that they exorbitantly added on prices for the items procured from China, exposing their collusion with Chinese suppliers.   III. Policy Recommendations   Thailand: Responses in Line with Democratic Principles           Government rules based on democratic governance: The government should apply democratic governance in preventing the widespread outbreak of coronavirus, while maintaining its accountability on crisis management. Laws and regulations should be enforced to protect citizens from the damages of the pandemic by reducing socioeconomic impacts via government measures. The government must also be held accountable in managing future crises as the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time guaranteeing transparency in its operations and abiding by democratic principles. Economic measures for the vulnerable: Sufficient social support should be provided to vulnerable people, students, informal laborers, migrant workers, etc. in the time of pandemic to minimize the social impact coupled with economic recession.   The Philippines: Minimizing Information Asymmetry and Reviving Democratic Institutions     Information openness to prevent corruption: Minimizing information asymmetry can reduce corruption vulnerability, as evidenced by the recent case of PhilHealth where the poor information technology system paved the way for fraudulent claims. As it was allegedly said that some regional officials managed to avoid being assigned to other jurisdictions thanks to their strong political supports, corruption of public personnel is encouraged by a political culture driven by patronage. Likewise, the regular rotation of key officers and staff will lessen the risks of unhealthy relationships and corruption. Revival of democratic institutions: Reviving democratic institutions is a key to fighting corruption on a long-term basis. Democratic institutions serve to level the playing field both in political and economic aspects, enabling effective application of rules and incentives that govern our system. In an effort to counter the prevalence of corruption, it is important to strengthen public oversight agencies, especially the Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, and the Office of the Ombudsman, with enhanced financial and human resources. The outbreak of corruption scandals that accompanied the COVID-19 health crisis is an illustration of how democratic recession has negatively affected the state of public accountability, where the revival of democratic institutions will be crucial in fighting corruption as well as the pandemic.   Nepal: Good Governance as Key to Battling the Pandemic       Coherent national guidelines: A broad central policy guideline on pandemic control should be developed at a national, provincial and local level, taking Nepal’s contextual realities into consideration. Such relief standards set by the government need to correlate in the longer term, avoiding confusion and dispute over emergency management practices especially in the time of pandemic. The guideline should also involve and coordinate the roles of civil society organizations that can help the government deliver emergency supplies and necessary helps widely. Support for the marginalized: Government policies should effectively incorporate the marginalized citizens. Policies and tools for  information sharing, communication and education need to be developed and disseminated exclusively for calamities likes the coronavirus pandemic, earthquakes, floods, etc. The support and relief materials should also commensurate to the extent of marginalization and vulnerability of citizens. In tandem with the extended support for the vulnerable communities, laws should be strictly implemented against the violation of human rights of the marginalized and vulnerable communities, penalizing those who practice discrimination and exclusion during crises and pandemic. ■   IV. Moderator & Panelists ■ Jung Kim is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of North Korean Studies, South Korea. He teaches courses on International Relations in East Asia and Political Economy of the Two Koreas, among others. Prior to this, from 2009-2015, he was a Lecturer at the Underwood International College and Graduate School of International Studies at Yonsei University. During this time, Mr. Kim was also a Chief Researcher at The East Asia Institute. He pursued his Bachelors and Masters in Political Science at Korea University and went on the pursue his Ph.D. at Yale University. His research interests include Comparative Politics and International Relations in East Asia. ■ Thawilwadee Bureekul is the Director of the Research and Development Office at King Prajadhipok’s Institute, Thailand. She previously served on the National Reform Steering Committee, the National Reform Council, and the Constitutional Drafting Assembly. Her current academic interests lie in the field of good governance and gender equity, such as participatory and gender responsive budgeting; the preparation of action plans for leadership development and women’s participation in politics and decision-making; and gender-responsive local development planning and budgeting manuals. She has been heavily dedicated to research related to democracy, good governance, social equality, public participation, public policy, and voting behaviors. In 2015, she was the recipient of a prestigious award given to an outstanding woman by the National Council of Women of Thailand. She also succeeded in proposing “Gender Responsive Budgeting” in the Thai Constitution and was accordingly presented with the “Women of the Year 2018” award by the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women. ■ Francisco A. Magno teaches Political Science and Development Studies at De La Salle University (DLSU), Manila, Philippines. He is the Founding Director of the DLSU Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance. He served as president of the Philippine Political Science Association from 2015 to 2017. He completed his PhD in political science at the University of Hawaii. ■ Pradip Pariyar is the executive chairperson at SAMATA Foundation, which conducts policy research and advocates for the rights of the Dalits, the most marginalized community in Nepal, in order to end caste-based discrimination. As the elected president of the Association of Youth Organizations Nepal (AYON), he worked closely with government of Nepal to initiate a youth-responsive budget. He was a member of the government task force that developed Youth Vision 2025, a 10-year governmental national youth development policy plan. He has trained thousands of youths in leadership, peacebuilding, and conflict-sensitive journalism across Asia and Africa. He founded the Nepal Youth Forum to focus on policy advocacy, awareness, and youth empowerment. In 2011, Pariyar was selected as a youth fellow by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Pariyar serves as the chairperson of the Nepal Policy Center, a youth-led think tank. In 2015, he received the Youth Leadership Award from the Nepali Government’s Ministry of Youth and Sports for his decade-long contribution to youth leadership development across Nepal. He also received Asia 21 young Leaders Award from The Asia Society, New York. In 2020 He received Young Global Leaders Award from World Economic Forum.     The East Asia Institute takes no institutional position on policy issues and has no affiliation with the Korean government. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion contained in its publications are the sole responsibility of the author or authors.  

Monday 2021-01-25 ~ 2021-01-25

[EAI Online Seminar] Democracy Cooperation Series 4. 2020 Burmese General Election Prospects: A Journey to a

The East Asia Institute (President Yul Sohn) invited you to the fourth online seminar of the [Democracy Cooperation] series, titled "2020 Burmese General Election Prospects." During this seminar, EAI discussed stories of Burmese democratic transition from political, economic and social perspectives with members of Myanmar Democracy Research Network(MDRN) and National Democratic Institute(NDI). Panelists shared their views on the upcoming election in November and its impact on Myanmar's democratization.   Date and Time: September 23(Wed), 2020 09:30 – 11:00 AM (KST) Moderator: Yun-han Chu(Professor of political science at National Taiwan University) Panelists: Derek Mitchell(President of National Democratic Institute), Myat Thu(Chairperson of Yangon School of Political Sciences)    

Wednesday 2020-09-23 ~ 2020-09-23

South Asia Democratic Unity Dialogue

Monday 2018-08-13 ~ 2018-08-14

Kathmandu, Nepal

Asia Democracy Research Network 2nd Forum

Friday 2018-06-29 ~ 2018-06-29

The Royal River Hotel, Thailand

[EAI Online Seminar] Democracy Cooperation Series 1. Political Transition and its Moving Forward: Challenges and Lessons for Myanmar

The East Asia Institute (President Yul Sohn) invited you to the first online seminar [Democracy Cooperation] series, titled as “Political Transition and its Moving Forward: Challenges and Lessons for Myanmar”. During this seminar, together with the members from Myanmar Democracy Research Network (MDRN) and Asia Democracy Research Network (ADRN), EAI discussed stories of democracy from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and South Korea mainly by listening to the case studies of Myanmar.   Date and Time: August 3(Mon), 2020 12:30 - 1:30 PM (KST) Speaker: Myat Thu (Chairperson. Yangon School of Political Science) Discussants: Jin Seok Bae(Professor of Political Science, Gyeongsang National University), Sri Nuryanti (Researcher, Indonesian Institute of Sciences), Thawilwadee Bureekul (Director of Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok's Institute) Moderator: Nishan de Mel (Executive Director, Verite Research)    

Tuesday 2020-08-04 ~ 2020-08-04

23rd Forum 2000: Co-hosting the EAI-Forum 2000

Thursday 2019-10-13 ~ 2019-10-15

Goethe Institute, Prague

News & Notice

Bali Civil Society and Media Forum 2020, Sarana Masyarakat Madani dan Media Internasional Bertukar Pikiran Mengenai Demokrasi dan Pandemi, Indonesia – Memasuki dekade kedua, Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) telah menjadi premier forum diskusi mengenai demokrasi di dunia. BDF berkembang menjadi semakin holistik dengan melibatkan elemen masyarakat madani dan media. Sebagai bagian integral dari Pertemuan Road to Bali Democracy Forum 2020, telah diselenggarakan Bali Civil Society and Media Forum (BCSMF) pada 19-21 Oktober 2020. BCSMF dilaksanakan atas kerja sama Kementerian Luar Negeri dengan Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD) dan didukung oleh Dewan Pers Indonesia, International IDEA, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), Asia Democracy Network (ADN) dan Asia Democracy Research Network (ADRN).Forum yang diselenggarakan secara hybrid ini dihadiri oleh 300 peserta yang terdiri dari pakar, akademisi, pelaku media, dan aktivis organisasi masyarakat sipil nasional dan internasional dari 18 negara antara lain:Australia, Bahrain, Kamboja, Jerman, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar. BCSMF 2020 dibuka oleh Plt. Direktur Jenderal Informasi dan Diplomasi Publik, Teuku Faizasyah dan Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nuh, Ketua Dewan Pers Indonesia dan mantan Mendiknas RI.BCSMF mengambil tema “Civil Resilience: Activisms during the Pandemic Covid-19", yang memberi wadah diskusi mengenai beberapa perkembangan demokrasi di wilayah Asia Pasifik, terutama di tengah munculnya berbagai masalah sebagai dampak pandemi COVID 19. Di berbagai belahan dunia, termasuk negara-negara yang secara tradisional demokratis, kita menyaksikan bahwa pilar, prinsip, dan nilai demokrasi sedang menghadapi tantangan. Di saat krisis, dunia membutuhkan transparansi, partisipasi masyarakat sipil, kebebasan berbicara / kebebasan pers, inklusivitas, dan kerja sama yang erat antara pemerintah dan rakyatnya.  Hal ini diperlukan untuk memperkuat kohesi yang memungkinkan pemerintah untuk melakukan langkah-langkah yang akuntabel dan menyediakan ruang publik untuk mendukung upaya tersebut.Diskusi di dalam forum ini melihat bahwa tindakan yang diambil pemerintah di berbagai negara selama pandemi COVID-19 merupakan upaya mengendalikan wabah dan mengurangi dampaknya. Diskusi di panel melihat bahwa pendekatan dalam penanggulangan pandemi harus didasarkan pada transparansi, penghormatan terhadap hak asasi manusia, dan dilaksanakan sesuai dengan norma demokrasi. Panel menggarisbawahi pentingnya menjaga kebebasan berekspresi, termasuk bagi Negara untuk menyediakan lingkungan yang memungkinkan bagi masyarakat sipil dan aktivis. Panel mencatat bahwa pada masa pandemi, krisis informasi merupakan tantangan signifikan selain krisis kesehatan. Disinformasi dan berita palsu seputar pandemi yang menyebar dengan cepat, terutama melalui media sosial, dapat menimbulkan kebingungan dan ketidakpercayaan kepada pihak berwenang. Dengan demikian, penyediaan sumber informasi yang andal dan komunikasi publik yang kuat dari pemerintah menjadi kuncinya. Peran media semakin penting dalam memberikan informasi aktual dan terpercaya kepada publik.Forum ini juga membahas mengenai pelaksanaan Pemilu di saat pandemi. Untuk menyelenggarakan pemilu yang aman dan bermakna, pemerintah harus memastikan bahwa kontestan mematuhi protokol dan peraturan kesehatan. Media juga dapat berperan dalam menciptakan pemilu yang kondusif di masa pandemi.Di saat krisis COVID-19, masyarakat sipil dan media menghadapi tantangan di mana mereka perlu beradaptasi guna dapat memainkan peran dalam proses check and balance. Untuk memperkuat ketahanan dan keberlanjutan, organisasi masyarakat sipil harus memastikan pembinaan generasi baru aktivis sehingga signifikansinya dalam wacana publik tidak akan berkurang.(Sumber: Kementerian Luar Negeri)​​

2020-11-09 Posted on : News


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