In 2020, ADB is organizing the first of what will be an annual development policy symposium in Southeast Asia, the Southeast Asia Development Symposium (SEADS). The main objective of the event is to help crystallize thinking on relevant and critical issues, and support countries in successfully making the transition to becoming high-income, knowledge-based, and, most importantly, sustainable economies.

SEADS was originally scheduled for March 2020 in Jakarta, with the theme “Driving Digital Disruption”. It was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, and is being reorganized virtually.

SEADS will maintain its focus on digital innovation with the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Digital technology is already helping offset COVID-19 impacts in many areas and will be an integral part of longer-term economic recovery. In line with this, SEADS will focus on “The New Normal: Driving Economic Recovery through Digital Innovation” and will explore policies that can help Southeast Asian nations achieve a competitive edge in the age of disruptive technology. SEADS will provide government officials from Southeast Asia, industry leaders, development officials, and other stakeholders with a unique opportunity to explore innovative responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

For more details regarding registration and general details, please visit the SEADS website.


This annual event will serve as a platform for ADB developing member countries (DMCs) to share insights, innovations, and experience on areas of practical policy relevance. Each year a post-event compilation of proceedings will be circulated to participating governments and stakeholders. The Southeast Asia Development Solutions Platform (seads.adb.org) and special topical webinars will provide insights on cutting-edge issues throughout the year.


More than 1,000 people, representing governments, the private sector, academia, think tanks, and NGOs will participate in the inaugural event on 21 October 2020.  Select members of national, regional and global media will also be invited.


SEADS will build on discussions at ADB’s 53rd Annual Meeting, and provide countries with a unique opportunity to interact directly and discuss the COVID-19 crisis. The forum will feature an open morning plenary and afternoon special sessions. The morning plenary will include:(i) welcoming remarks from ADB’s President (ii) high-level keynote speakers; (iii) a panel discussion; (iv) launch of an ADB knowledge product and the SEADS Knowledge and Innovation Platform; and (v) a senior-level “action dialogue.” Topics for the afternoon special sessions include: (i) The Fintech and E-Commerce Revolution; (ii) Access for All: Remote Learning and “EdTech”; (iii) Leveraging Digital Tech for Healthcare; and (iv) “The New Normal”: From Technology to Leadership. A number of Partner Sessions will focus on innovation, stories of impact, inclusive recovery, and digital technology helping to address COVID-19.

How to register

Register now to join the event.

SEADS 2020 social media and updates

We will provide further updates in the coming weeks. For more information, please visit our website and follow us on:

 ADB SEADS Facebook page
 ADB SEADS Twitter page

for the latest developments on SEADS and join in on the discussions. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates. If you have any questions, please e-mail us.