Virtual Civic-Parliamentary Research Discussion Workshop

The “Civic-Parliamentary Research Discussion Workshop on COVID-19 Responses in ASEAN Member States” was held on 13 December 2023.  Involving over 40 participants from Southeast Asian CSOs and staff of AIPA Member State Parliaments, it provided a platform for the mutually-beneficial sharing of research information among Civil Society Organisations and Parliamentary Staff related to emergency responses and their effectiveness. Joining the activity were parliamentary budget analysts who just recently completed the “Budgetary training to assess risks to effectiveness, transparency and accountability during health emergency responses”.  They presented their findings related to the COVID-19 responses in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Their analysis was complemented by research presentations from Civil Society Organisations from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia which examined to how pandemic responses affected different population groups in their respective countries, also noting any instances of inefficiency or corruption that hindered those efforts. Presentations were followed by Q&A sessions, which led to lively interactions between attendees.

At the end of the workshop there was a virtual roundtable discussion where civic-parliamentary participants proposed concrete ways to increase multi-stakeholder partnership on a practical level.  A consensus emerged, with attendees recommending that PCAsia take lessons learnt from the Southeast Asia Dialogue portion of its website to create an expanded tool through which Parliaments and CSOs can exchange information on priority issues effecting constituents, leading to better informed response.