Regional and Subregional Program Links

Date: September 2013
Type: Books
ISBN: 978-92-9254-202-3 (print), 978-92-9254-203-0 (web)
Price: US$24.00 (Full Report, hard copy)
US$15.00 (Summary Report, hard copy)


This report presents an assessment of the links among ASEAN and the three subregional programs (Greater Mekong Subregion [GMS], Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area [BIMP-EAGA], Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle [IMT-GT], and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN]) and is the first study that explicitly maps and analyzes the strategic program and institutional links among the three subregional programs and ASEAN. The report is based on desk reviews of official documents; national consultations with governments and private stakeholders; consultations with the secretariats of the three programs and ASEAN; commissioned studies by Asian Development Bank and other international organizations; and independent assessments by academics, practitioners, and research institutions by academics, practitioners, and research institutions.


The mapping of links between the ASEAN, and the three subregional programs—the GMS, BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT—has yielded a number of significant insights that could help further drive the process of integration envisaged under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Strategy and program links have been increasingly converging since the launch of the AEC in 2007. Both ASEAN and the subregional programs have unique roles to play in fostering the links. ASEAN’s role in policy coordination, harmonization, and standards setting is key to pacing the integration process, given its wide-ranging economic and political mandate and legal character. The subregional programs provide the geographic context in which these policies and standards are applied and refined, given specific development constraints. The institutional review has revealed that existing institutional arrangements do not lend themselves adequately to the type of interactive and flexible forms of interface that are needed to cope with the rapid and complex developments in the region.

Without being prescriptive, this study has attempted to highlight the importance of improving the interface between ASEAN and the subregional programs. ASEAN, GMS, BIMP-EAGA, and IMT-GT—individually, bilaterally, or collectively—could consider pursing any specific measure or combination of measures to enhance strategic program and institutional links discussed in this report only in so much as they can help realize integration goals and aspirations. This study also cautions that countries should be mindful of the resource and capacity implications, as well as the two critical success factors for any such initiative to work: (i) a well-functioning in-country link is a necessary condition for promoting effective links at the regional and subregional levels, and (ii) the competencies and mandates of national, regional, and subregional secretariats will impact on their performance in promoting links.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Rationale for Promoting Links and Improving Coordination
  • Strategy and Program Links
  • Institutional Coordination and Links
  • Summary of Major Findings
  • Conclusions
  • Appendixes