Expert Group Meeting on New and Inclusive Multilateralism in North-East Asia

4 Dec 2019 to 5 Dec 2019
Incheon, Republic of Korea
By invitation only

The Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on New and Inclusive Multilateralism in North-East Asia will be held on 4-5 December 2019 in Incheon, Republic of Korea. North-East Asian countries have substantially increased the level of economic integration, infrastructure connectivity, social interactions and bilateral and multilateral cooperation. However, there have been slow progress in institutionalizing multilateralism or regional integration. This situation hinders the subregion from fully utilizing potential complementarities in factor endowment and jointly addressing common challenges. Furthermore, recent developments in geopolitics have raised new questions on the roles and potentials of the existing functional cooperation and the direction of multilateralism in North-East Asia.

Launched in 2010, ESCAP East and North-East Asia Office (SOENEA) has built various platforms for subregional and multistakeholder cooperation among six North-East Asian countries, i.e. China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation. In particular, ESCAP-SOENEA has strengthened and institutionalized subregional cooperation on connectivity (transport and energy), trade facilitation and environmental sustainability. This process has also brought diverse stakeholders together as drivers of multilateralism and supported the development of a new form of multilateral cooperation, i.e. inclusive multilateralism, highlighted by the UN Secretary General that has closer links with civil society and other stakeholders.

In this regard, the Meeting is to support the shared goals on and approaches to new and inclusive multilateralism in North-East Asia. To achieve this, the Meeting will:
1. Review the trend and status of multilateralism in North-East Asia;
2. Review the status of functional cooperation and integration mechanisms/arrangements in North-East Asia across economic, social, environmental and political areas;
3. Identify approaches to further strengthen and/or institutionalize functional cooperation arrangements towards an inclusive multilateral mechanism in North-East Asia; and
4. Provide guidance and feedback on the ESCAP study on a new and inclusive multilateralism in North-East Asia, to be presented at a subregional forum in May 2020.