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ASEM Development Conference
Towards Sustainable Development

The European Commission in co-operation with the Government of the Philippines organised the ASEM Development Conference: Towards Sustainable Development on 20-21 April 2009 in Manila, the Philippines.

The ASEM Development Conference facilitated a high level strategic discussion on increased cooperation for achieving sustainable development in ASEM countries, focusing on progress in achieving the MDGs, realising social inclusion, addressing climate change, and improving aid effectiveness. It also analysed the challenges created by the recent economic slowdown caused by the financial crises.

You will find in these pages, some information on the 2009 Conference such as the agenda, chairs statement and speakers presentations.



The first day of the Conference was devoted to the three main pillars of the Beijing Declaration on Sustainable Development - MDGs, Climate Change and Social Cohesion. The second day of the Conference was focused on development aid delivery and aid effectiveness. The event finally concluded by a Plenary Session.

Download the Agenda pdf - 204 KB [204 KB] .

Sunday, 19 April 2009

19:00 - 21:00     Welcome Cocktail Reception

For registered participants

Monday, 20 April 2009


9:00 - 10:30       Opening Ceremony

Ralph G. Recto, Director General, National Economic and Development Authority, the Philippines

Jakub Karfik, Director General, Development Cooperation Section, Ministry of Foreign Affaires, Czech Republic

Koos Richelle, Director General, EuropeAid Cooperation Office, European Commission

Arjun Thapan, Director General, Southeast Asia Department, Asian Development Bank


11:00 - 12:30     Panel 1: MDGs – Progress and new challenges

The Beijing Declaration on Sustainable Development reaffirmed that the MDGs underpin international cooperation. However it was recognised that there was a long way to go in meeting the MDGs.  What do we do next on the MDGs?  What role does a global partnership have to play and how can the ASEM framework contribute?  What is the role for development policies and finance?

The recent economic slowdown caused by the financial crises implies new challenges for the development of ASEM countries. What are the implications for the 2015 MDG objectives? Will the fiscal constraints in donor countries have an impact on ODA allocations?

Arjun Thapan, Director General, Southeast Asia Department, Asian Development Bank

Hugh Frazer, Professor, Social Inclusion Policy and Practice, NUI Maynooth, Ireland

Anshu Vaish, Secretary for School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, India


14:00 - 15:30     Panel 2: Climate Change

The Beijing Declaration on Sustainable Development reaffirmed that in order to achieve sustainable development, it will be necessary to combat global climate change in accordance with the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  What mitigation and adaptation measures should be taken by the developed and developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change?  What will be the effect of the economic downturn on climate change policy – a challenge or an opportunity?  What is the role for development policies and finance?

Geert Aagaard Andersen, Ambassador Environment and Sustainable Development, Denmark

Agus Purnomo, Secretary of National Council on Climate Change, Indonesia

Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies


16:00 - 17:30     Panel 3: Social Cohesion

The Beijing Declaration on Sustainable Development stressed that sustainable development and social cohesion are mutually supportive and that ASEM partners share a common interest in strengthening social cohesion thus contributing to a sustainable dimension of globalisation.  How can the challenges of social cohesion - such as inequalities - be addressed?  What is the role of social protection schemes?  What is the role for development policies and finance?

Graham Meadows, Special Advisor to EC Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Xiulan Zhang, Dean and Professor School of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University, China

Jean-Loup Drubigny, Director of the European Programme for Urban Sustainable Development URBACT

Leila Fernandez-Stembridge, Socio-Economic Policy Officer, EC Delegation in China, Beijing


Tuesday, 21 April 2009


9:00 - 10:30       Panel 4: Aid Effectiveness

The Aid Effectiveness agenda is dominated by a number of international agreements, notably the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and more recently the Accra Agenda for Action.  One of the key features of this agenda is ensuring greater alignment of aid with countries policies and strategies, including the increased use of country systems and better coordinated technical assistance.  The 2008 Paris Declaration Monitoring Survey provides useful insights into the performance of donor countries and beneficiaries in improving aid effectiveness. What is the track record of ASEM developing countries and what are their needs in using ODA more efficiently? How can donors fulfil commitments made in the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action?

Rolando G. Tungpalan, Deputy Director General, National Economic and Development Agency, the Philippines

Stephen Groff, Deputy Director, Development Co-operation Directorate, OECD

Cao Manh Cuong, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam


11:00 - 12:30     Plenary session

Presentation of conclusions of panel discussions

Plenary discussion to the identified conclusions

General conclusions of panel discussions


 12:30 - 13:00    Closing ceremony

Department of Foreign Affaires, Republic of the Philippines



About the speakers

Ambassador Geert Aagaard Andersen,Head of Department Environment and Sustainable Development, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark

Ambassador Geert Aagaard Andersen is the Head of Department for Environment and Sustainable Development in the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) since 2005. After completing his degree in Aarhus University, Denmark he worked for the United Nations in Guyana and Tanzania and was a consultant for Hoff and Overgaard. He then begins his career in DANIDA as a consultant in 1985 to later become counsellor and head of mission in China and Minister Counsellor and Ambassador in Kampala,Uganda in 1993. He is then Head of Department of Eastern and Western Africa in 1994 and Head of Department for Humanitarian Policy and Assistance in 1998. Before his current position he was nominated Ambassador to Indonesia (including Deli Port Moresby and Suva) for four years.


Mr. Cao Manh Cuong, Deputy Director General, Foreign Economic Relations Dept., Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Vietnam

Mr Cao Manh Cuong has been working for MPI of Vietnam since 1990. He started taking the mandate on ODA coordination and management in 1995. He is one of the persons in Vietnam who has got opportunities as part of Vietnamese Delegations to participate in HLF-1 in Rome, HFL-2 in Paris and most recently HLF-3 in Accra, Ghana and witnessed the progress in aid effectiveness area. So far in position of Vietnamese representative in the OECD-DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness (WP-EFF) and the National Coordinator of the Partnership Group on Aid Effectiveness (PGAE) in Vietnam, he has make contribution to the global, regional and country efforts to bring the aid effectiveness agenda forward, especially in supporting the realization of Paris Declaration, its localized Hanoi Core Statement on Aid effectiveness and Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) in Vietnam. Besides he has been involving in various initiatives to improve the ODA performance in Vietnam such as in capacity development of ODA management, establishment of ODA monitoring and evaluation system, harmonization and alignment, etc.


Mr. Jean-Loup Drubigny, Director, European Programme for Urban Sustainable Development URBACT

Mr Jean-Loup Durbigny is Director of the Joint Technical Secretariat of URBACT, which is a European Territorial Cooperation Programme on Urban Integrated Development.  After a Master in Law and a Master in Modern History from the University of Law of Paris Sorbonne, he also studied at the Institute of High Studies for Internal Security.  Mr. Drubigny has worked for the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior as a local government representative in France.  He was Director General of Regional Council of Alpes Cote d'Azur and has experience in the management of decentralised cooperation with Maghreb countries. His main fields of interest are urban development, deprived neighbourhoods, and the management of local development projects.


Dr. Leila Fernandez Stembridge, Economic Policy Officer, Economic and Financial Affairs Section, EC Delegation, Beijing

Leila Fernández-Stembridge joined the European Commission (EC) Delegation in Beijing in Sept 2006. She is Economic Policy Officer at the Economic and Financial Affairs Section and Social Adviser to the Head of Delegation. Before joining the EC Delegation, Dr. Fernández-Stembridge worked for two years as Senior Project Manager at the EU-China Trade Project (EUCTP), an EU-China Cooperation Program co-financed by the EC and China’s Ministry of Commerce. Prior to then, she was Associate Professor of Chinese Economy at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), teaching between 1999 and 2004. She has taught BA, MA and PhD courses on Chinese and European economics and has been Seminar Lecturer for a wide range of institutions. She also has other honorary academic and research titles at the China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS, Shanghai), InterChina Investment Consulting Co., the OECD in Paris, the Beijing National Economic Research Institute (NERI), the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). She has co-edited a book on ChinaToday: Economic Reforms, Social Cohesion and Collective Identities (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003) and co-written another one on China’s SOEs Reforms: And Industrial and CEO Approach (RoutledgeCurzon, 2007). A book on China’s Rural-Urban Migration Flows is currently underway.


Mr. Hugh Frazer, Professor, Social Inclusion Policy and Practice, NUI Maynooth, Ireland

Mr. Hugh Frazer is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Applied Social Studies at NUI Maynooth, Ireland since 2006. From 2001-2006 he was an expert in the European Commission advising on issues of poverty and social exclusion.  He now works as an independent expert on European social inclusion policies.  He currently coordinates an EU wide Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion for the European Commission.  He is a former director of the Irish government’s Combat Poverty Agency (1987-2001) and of the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust (1979-1987).  Originally from Co. Antrim he started work in Belfast as a community and youth worker.  He has written and lectured extensively on issues of poverty and social exclusion, child poverty, community development and community relations.


Mr. Stephen Groff, Deputy Director of the Development Co-operation Directorate, Organisation for Economic co-Operation and Development

Mr Stephen Groff is the Deputy Director of the Development Co-operation Directorate - the principal body through which the OECD deals with issues related to co-operation with developing countries and the key forum for bilateral donors to increase the effectiveness of their common efforts to support sustainable development. He is oversees strategic policy analysis on a wide range of development-related economic and political issues and plays a central role in the monitoring and evaluation of aid efforts of all major bilateral donors. Prior to OECD, Mr. Groff was Deputy Vice President for Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and oversaw a broad range of activities, including proposal development, proposal due diligence, compact negotiation and compact implementation. Mr. Groff has extensive international development expertise having spent the last 20 years working and living in over 30 developing countries around the world. Prior to MCC, he  was a senior advisor at the Asian Development Bank, the deputy director and chief economist on a large USAID project designed to encourage private sector development in the southern Philippines, a Program Director for the U.S. Refugee Program, and as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. Mr. Groff holds a two-year MPA from the Kennedy School at Harvard University and a B.S. from Yale College.


Mr. Jakub Karfik, Director General, Non-European Countries and Development Cooperation Section, Ministry of Foreign Affaires, Czech Republic

Mr Jakub Karfik has been Director General for Bilateral Relations with Non-European Countries and Development Cooperation Section in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOF) of the Czech Republic since 2006. He joined the MOF in 1995 when he was appointed Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. After his return to Prague he was Director General of the Bilateral Relations Section of the MOF for two years (2000 – 2002) before being appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the Arab Republic of Egypt in Cairo and to the Republic of the Sudan (2002 -2006). Prior to his diplomatic career, Mr Karfik was Head of Department in the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures at the National Museum in Prague and later Director of the Collection of Oriental Art of the National Gallery. He received his Ph.D. degree in Arabic, Islamic and Cuneiform Studies from the Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University, Prague.


Mr. Graham Meadows, Special Advisor to EC Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Mr. Meadows is special adviser to Commissioner Vladimir Spidla, European Commissioner for Social Policy. He joined the European Commission in 1975 as a member of the Agricultural Policy Unit in DG Agriculture. He was Adviser on agriculture, fisheries and environment to Commission President Thorn and then Head of Cabinet to the Commissioner for Environment Policy, Nuclear Safety and Transport. After 1989 Mr. Meadows worked for the Directorate General of Regional Policy in a number of positions including responsibility for the economic reconstruction of industrial and rural regions, directing policy in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Greece, and coordinating policy for the EU’s ultra-peripheral regions. He became Director General, responsible for the direction and management of European Regional Policy from 2003, retiring from that post in 2006. He is an Honorary Professor in the School of City and Regional Planning at the University of Cardiff and a Practitioner Fellow in the European Research Institute at the University of Sussex.


Mr. Agus Purnomo, Head of Secretariat, National Council on Climate Change, Indonesia

Agus Purnomo is the head of the National Council on Climate Change of Indonesia which formulates national policies and strategies to tackle climate change, coordinate activities (such as adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and financing) as well as policies, mechanisms and procedures on carbon trade. Previously he was the Special Assistant to the Minister of Environment in charge of facilitating international partnerships, Deputy Managing Director of Pelagi Indonesia which implements clean development mechanisms in Indonesia and a Forestry & NRM Policy Advisor for the World Bank. On the international level, he facilitated the formation of Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) in Europe and Pakistan, is a Consultant of the Institute for Development Research (IDR) in Boston, USA and is a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation. He was part of the Advisory Committee for the Environmental Economic Program of South East Asia (EEPSEA), Secretary of the Executive Body of Transparency International-Indonesia, member of the Indonesian Eco-labeling Institution (LEI) and Chairperson/Founder of the Mandiri Foundation in Bandung. Mr Purnomo holds an MA in Environmental Policy from Tufts University, USA.


Dr. A. Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies

Dr Atiq is the Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) which has emerged as the leading think tank in Bangladesh and also in South Asia on Resource Management, Environment and Sustainable Development issues. He is a leading Environment and Development Specialist with wide national, international and global experience and involvement in sustainable development, environment and resource management, poverty and equity, disaster management, people's participation, global governance and modelling evaluation issues. He is also working on capacity building, optimal capacity utilization, methodological and institutional development in developing countries and communities. Dr Atiq is an author and consultant on environment, sustainable development issues and on global planning. He is also the Chairman of the regional network, the Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) and the Coordinator of the Global Forum on the Environment and Poverty (GFEP) an international network mandated at UNCED. Dr Atiq has been a consultant to the World Bank, ADB, UNDP, UNEP, IFAD, ESCAP, USAID, and many national and government; several national and international NGOs. In April 2008 he received the 'Champions of the Earth 2008' award which is the highest UN environmental award.


Mr. Koos Richelle, Director General, EuropeAid Cooperation Office, European Commission

Mr. Koos Richelle is the Director General of EuropeAid Cooperation Office since 2003. He graduated in Dutch Constitutional and Public Law from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in 1972. He started his career with the Government of the Netherlands where he worked for the Ministry of Education and Sciences from 1972 to 1981 in various functions. He joined the Ministry of Welfare and Health in 1985 as Director General, following a period working for the City of Leiden. In 1995, he started to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the Director-General for International Cooperation, where his portfolio included development cooperation and international cultural relations. From 2000 – 2001, Mr Richelle served in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour as the Project Director-General for the Change Management in the field of Social Security. Director. He joined the European Commission in 2001, as Director General of DG Development.


Ms. Anshu Vaish, Secretary for School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, India

Mrs Vaish, an IAS officer of the 1975 batch from Madhya Pradesh Cadre, replaced Mr Arun Kumar Rath who retired on attaining the age of superannuation. Earlier, Mrs Vaish was Director General, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). She has also served in various other capacities in the State and Central Government departments including the Department of School Education, Department of Culture and Department of Women and Child Development.


Dr. Xiulan Zhang, Dean and Professor, School of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University, China

Professor Xiulan Zhang is a Professor and Dean of the School of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University, where she teaches public organizational theories, public finance, social problems and social policy in China, as well as research methods. She obtained her Ph.D degree in social welfare from the University of California at Berkeley, USA. Currently she is the national lead expert in social assistance; is a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Civil Affairs and a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the National Aging Association; is the director of Social Safety Net Research Base of the Ministry of Education; is the vice-president of the National Social Policy Association in China. Professor Zhang is on the Advisory Board of the International Journal of Social Welfare and on the editorial board of several journals in social policy and public administration in China. She has conducted research projects in the areas of social protection, social safety net, social welfare, community participation, urban and rural medical aid programs, long term care, poverty and illness, early child care and education, health care and housing issue of the migrant populations, child protection and child poverty. She has consulted to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, UNICEF, DFID, the Ford Foundation, and other agencies.



The Conference took place in Hotel Mandarin Oriental, Makati City, Manila, The Philippines.



Makati Avenue, Makati City 1226, Metro Manila, Philippines

Metro Manila, Philippines

Telephone: +63 (2) 750 8888

Facsimile: +63 (2) 817 2472



The hotel is located in Makati, the business district, which lies to the east of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.




Background study for ASEM Development Conference: Development Challenges and Opportunities

To stimulate the debate in the ASEM Development Conference, the EC commissioned a Background Study on Development Challenges and Opportunities. The study was prepared by independent consultants experienced in the field of development cooperation and its purpose is to identify the development challenges and opportunities specific for Asia and analyse the ongoing efforts in the development cooperation marked by various important events in 2008 - the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra (September 2008), UN High-Level event on MDGs in New York (September 2008), and the Second Global Conference on Financing for Development in Doha (December 2008).

Download the Background Study in PDF pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] .


Speakers' Presentations




Opening Ceremony


Panel 1: MDGs- Progress and new challenges


Panel 2: Climate Change


Panel 3: Social Cohesion




Panel 4: Aid Effectiveness


Plenary session


Joint Chair Statement








Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top