Inclusive sustainable development through the promotion of rural development is a key strategy of ASEAN to eradicate poverty. Recognising that the region has a robust agricultural sector, the development of rural areas is imperative amidst the high incidence of poverty in these areas.
The ASEAN Charter explicitly states as one of its purposes to alleviate poverty and narrow the development gap within ASEAN through mutual assistance and cooperation. ASEAN is also mandated to promote sustainable development so as to ensure the protection of the region’s environment, the sustainability of its natural resources, the preservation of its cultural heritage and the high quality of life of its peoples. The ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 contains strategic measures aimed at reducing barriers, ensuring equitable access for all, promoting and protecting human rights, and ensuring environmental sustainability, that are directly relevant to rural development and poverty eradication.
The regional strategic direction that ASEAN is taking towards promoting rural development and eradicating poverty is guided by the following regional instruments:
- Ministerial Understanding on ASEAN Cooperation in Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (1997)
- Joint Declaration on the Attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in ASEAN (2009)
ASEAN’s cooperation on rural development and poverty eradication is also guided by and resonates with the 2010 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals.
In 1998, the 1st Informal Meeting of the AMRDPE was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. A key moment for ASEAN at that time was alleviating the social impacts of the monetary and economic crisis. The ministers emphasised the urgency of promoting the development of progressive, prosperous and self-reliant rural communities to contribute to a caring society in ASEAN.
- ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (AMRDPE). Composed of ministers in-charge of rural development and poverty eradication, the AMRDPE sets the strategic policy direction on ASEAN’s regional cooperation on rural development and poverty eradication. The AMRDPE is under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Pillar.
- Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (SOMRDPE). SOMRDPE is a subsidiary body of the AMRDPE compose of senior officials in the respective ministries in-charge of rural development and poverty eradication. The SOMRDPE supports AMRDPE by recommending regional policies, developing and implementing the five-year regional work plan, and managing partnerships.
- SOMRDPE Plus Three. This is an annual meeting of the SOMRDPE with the Plus Three Countries namely China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and serves as a regular platform for exchanging policies and good practices on promoting rural development and poverty alleviation.
- ASEAN Public Private People Partnership Forum on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication. This consultative forum brings together government, civil society organisations, and the private sector to exchange knowledge and experiences on policy and programme development and implementation as well as best practices on rural development and poverty eradication.
Building on the gains from implementing the ASEAN Framework Action Plan on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication 2010-2015, the ASEAN Framework Action Plan on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication 2016-2020 was developed. This five-year work plan contains the following objectives and components:
- Improved vulnerable groups’ and poor households’ access to and/or control of productive natural resources, financial and support services, and to social protection as a foundation to building capable, resilient, and self-sustaining households and communities.
- Enabled poor and vulnerable groups to participate in the socio-economic opportunities including through financial innovation and strengthening social enterprise
- Strengthened convergence of rural development and poverty eradication initiatives at the local, national and regional levels through improve coordination mechanism, policy coherence and effective localisation of RDPE programmes and actions
- Rural Economic Growth
- Social Protection and Safety Nets
- Development of Infrastructure and Human Resources in Rural and Peri-Urban Areas
- Public-Private-People Partnership (4Ps) for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication
- Resilience of the Poor and Vulnerable Groups to Economic and Environmental Risks
- Monitoring and Evaluation of the Rural Development and Poverty Reduction in the Region
The AMRDPE, with the support of and through the SOMRDPE, continues its strategic partnership with ASEAN Dialogue Partners, international organisations and civil society organisations such as China, Japan, UNDP, World Bank, ADB, AsiaDHRRA, and ASEAN Foundation.
- Report of the ASEAN Regional Assessment of MDG Achievement and Post-2015 Development Priorities (2015)
- Financing the Sustainable Development Goals in ASEAN