History

HOW ERIA BEGAN


On 23 August 2006, during the 13th Consultation held between the ASEAN Economic Ministers and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (AEM-METI) in Kuala Lumpur, the name "Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)" appeared for the first time.

In this meeting, Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, proposed to establish a think tank called ERIA that would approximate an East Asia version of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and committed to contribute more than 10 billion yen in 10 years. A joint media statement of said consultation later stated that the ASEAN Ministers welcomed Japan's proposal and requested Japan to discuss it further with the ASEAN Secretariat.

In response to this, then ASEAN Secretary General, Mr. Ong Keng Yong, initiated the creation of an ERIA Expert Group chaired by Dr. Hadi Soesastro, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Indonesia, and composed of experts from 16 East Asia Summit (EAS) countries and the ASEAN Secretariat. The Expert Group had intensive discussions on the overall idea of ERIA, in particular, its objectives, activities, structure, research themes, and capacity building program.

At the Second East Asia Summit held on 15 January 2007 in Cebu, Philippines, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, formally proposed to establish ERIA and the EAS Leaders welcomed said proposal. Thereupon, on 1 April 2007, the Expert Group agreed on the Points of Convergence on the Institutional Set-Up of ERIA, which defined the objectives, activities and policy interface of ERIA. In addition, two test-run research projects were started through a collaboration among 16 regional research institutes. One was titled "Developing a Roadmap toward East Asian Economic Integration," which was reported to the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in August 2007, and the other was the "Energy Security in East Asia," which was reported to the East Asia Energy Ministers' Meeting also in August 2007. Based on the results of these projects and the thorough discussions of the Expert Group, the formal establishment of ERIA was agreed upon by all the leaders of the East Asia Summit at the Third East Asia Summit in Singapore on 21 November 2007.

Excerpts from the Chairman's Statement of the Summit read as follows:

"13. We agreed to the establishment of the Economic Research Institute of [for] ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) to be accommodated temporarily at the ASEAN Secretariat. We welcomed the report submitted to us by the Expert Group, which focuses on research topics of strategic interest to the EAS countries. We encouraged the Expert Group to continue its research work and we look forward to practical policy recommendations to further regional integration and strengthen partnerships in East Asia."

On 3 June 2008, ERIA was established as an organisation with its headquarters located at the ASEAN Secretariat and during its inaugural Governing Board Meeting, Dr. Dinh Van An was selected as Chairman, Prof. Hidetoshi Nishimura was appointed as Executive Director, and the statement on the Establishment of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (see below) was thereupon adopted.

"We, the Members of the Governing Board of ERIA, hereby agree that:

FIRST, the Institute shall be known as the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, to be temporarily accommodated in the ASEAN Secretariat.

SECOND, the Institute shall function as an independent research institute but shall maintain and develop strong communication ties with [the] policy-making process. Especially, the Institute shall support ASEAN's endeavor to build the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and support its role as the driver of the wider economic integration.

The results of its research works shall produce concrete and tangible policy recommendations that shall meet the needs of Ministerial and National Leaders' meetings.

FIRST, the Institute shall be known as the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, to be temporarily accommodated in the ASEAN Secretariat.

SECOND, the Institute shall function as an independent research institute but shall maintain and develop strong communication ties with [the] policy-making process. Especially, the Institute shall support ASEAN's endeavor to build the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and support its role as the driver of the wider economic integration. The results of its research works shall produce concrete and tangible policy recommendations that shall meet the needs of Ministerial and National Leaders' meetings.

THIRD, the Institute shall maintain its highest academic standards in its research activities, but shall never become an "Ivory Tower" secluded from the actual economic realities and people's livings. It shall provide a tripartite-type forum for policy dialogue and interactions among researchers, policymakers, and civil society.

FOURTH, the Institute shall provide meaningful resources for narrowing development gaps and enhancing research capabilities in countries in need for improvement of public policy-making and Research abilities, to build up confidence of these countries in the integration process.

FIFTH, the Institute shall function as a common asset to the ASEAN and East Asian countries in providing a common platform for rigorous economic studies, and its activities shall be open for cooperation with various prominent economic research institutions and organizations around the world, just as the East Asian economic integration shall be wide open, not closed to the rest of the world."

In full recognition of the key role that it will play, ERIA was also given the status of an International Organisation through a formal agreement between the Indonesian Government and the ASEAN Secretariat on 30 December 2008. With all members of the ERIA Governing Board in agreement, ERIA then operated on the basis of this status, with Mr. Hidetoshi Nishimura appointed as its Executive Director.

ERIA'S STRUCTURE



Apart from the Governing Board which serves as the highest decision-making body of ERIA, ERIA is supported and advised by experts in its organisational set up. The Academic Advisory Council (AAC) is composed of a number of internationally renowned East Asia Summit countries' scholars and experts from universities, research institutions, the private sector, international organisations and non-governmental organisations. It provides advice and support to the Executive Director on the annual work program, review and evaluation of the research outcomes, and review and evaluation of the performance of the researchers. The first AAC meeting was held on 18 May 2009.

ERIA has another advisory body outside of its organisation, the Research Institutes Network (RIN), which consists of a network of research institutes in the East Asia region. Recognizing the fact that a network of research institutions is the key to ERIA's academic/research activities, members of the Expert Group, which also provided support to ERIA's test-run research projects, established the RIN in February 2009. The RIN has since supported ERIA's research activity by providing country information and research findings from individual countries, and giving advice to ERIA's research themes and policy recommendations, as well as encouraged the dissemination of ERIA's research outcomes to policymakers, opinion leaders and political leaders who implement policies. It has also supported ERIA's capacity building program since its establishment.

ERIA'S CORPORATE VIDEO


 

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