Tuesday 25 Sep 2018 | 06:55 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 25 Sep 2018 | 06:55 | SYDNEY

Regionalism needs research grunt


Malcolm Cook

18 December 2009 12:28

I would like to thank Richard Woolcott for responding to my views as a participant at the APc conference at Taronga, particularly since I have not had the chance to discuss the APc initiative with him yet.

Having organised and hosted conferences myself (though never on the scale or with the stunning harbour view of the APc one), I am also glad that Richard Woolcott judges the conference a success. I await the conference report to see where the government's APc initiative is heading, post-Taronga.

I would also like to nominate another recent Australian regionalism success, one that may have been lost in the build-up to the APc conference. At the APEC Summit in Singapore in November, Trade Minister Simon Crean announced that Australia would provide $1 million to the research institute associated with the East Asia Summit, ERIA (the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia), based in Jakarta at the ASEAN Secretariat.

This follows New Zealand's offer of NZ$100,000 for ERIA in June and India's US$1 million announced at the East Asia Summit meeting in Thailand. Japan provides the lion's share of funding to ERIA.

One of the weaknesses of the existing alphabet soup of regional organisations is in research capacity. ERIA is an attempt to address this problem among the East Asia Summit members and it is good news that Canberra is joining with Tokyo, Wellington, New Delhi and the ASEAN Secretariat in supporting this research institute and thereby helping strengthen the role of the EAS as well.