Urbanisation, People Mobility, and Inclusive Development Across Urban-Rural Continuum in ASEAN

Urbanisation, People Mobility, and Inclusive Development Across Urban-Rural Continuum in ASEAN


Urbanisation in the ASEAN region is mainly driven by urban population and economic growth, which in turn creates more job opportunities– resulting in the rapid development of the urban and extended urban areas. Moreover, decentralisation in several ASEAN Member States (AMS) also boosted the urbanisation process and economic growth as local governments extends its power and authority for its level of administration. These factors have influenced urban growth, often also resulting in the expansion of urban areas, emerging peri-urbanisation, suburbanisation, and other transformation in rural areas surrounding the urban areas. While urbanisation patterns suggest some improvement in enhancing economic growth through economic activity in urban areas, they signal less success in other areas, such as social development and the environmental sector. Some nations have an inclusive agenda that permits them to adjust their laws and regulations to enhance social development. However, if it is not carefully managed, the actual goals will not be met. Urbanisation has also made the government pay attention to poorly developed areas and informal community settlements in AMS. Consequently, the government also prioritises the development of those areas. It also results in those areas eventually receiving subsidies for basic services such as water supply, sanitation, and safe-clean fuels, particularly in areas where inhabitants have the potential to transform hardship into economic, social, and environmental opportunities. Due to the availability of programmes centred on inclusion, there are now more vocational programmes, training, and rehabilitation services available for vulnerable groups.

This study provides recommendations with regard to integrated policy and collaborative framework, while also considering COVID-19 recovery, areas for collaboration and integration within ASEAN Secretariat and relevant centre/facilities, transnational and ASEAN-UN collaboration, as well as medium-/short-term agenda for AMS and sub-national regional/provincial governments. Strengthening collaborations, especially vertically and horizontally, is important to manage the dynamics of urbanisation from the urban and rural sides, to implement programmes that invest in human resources education, and to bridge the urban-rural divide.

Corresponding to the COVID-19 recovery, recommendations of the study include promoting COVID-19 recovery using digital technology as an instrument, developing programmes which aims to tackle problems which emerged due to the pandemic, addressing the digital divide with regards to violence against vulnerable groups, and strengthening coordination with ASEAN Disability Forum at the regional level as well as Disability People Organisations in each AMS. Collaboration and integration within ASEAN Secretariat Divisions and Relevant Centres/ Facilities, transnational collaboration, as well as ASEAN-UN collaboration should also be done by providing opportunities for knowledge exchange and policy mobility, strengthening collaboration and collaborative programmes to promote the development for education, gender equality, rights of children, the elderly and PWD, and to promote sustainable urbanisation through policy networking. 


Inter-Governmental Organizations





Climate Change



Environmental Resilience


Local Economic Development

Local Govts & decentralization

Risk & Resilience

Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

New Urban Agenda Commitments

Environmentally Sustainable and Resilient Urban Development
Planning and Managing Urban Spatial Development

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