Migration is becoming an increasingly important topic in domestic politics, international studies and human security studies. While governments have the option to shut the doors to migration flows in the short and medium term, this is quickly becoming an unattainable goal for Asian and European states. Key migration drivers in the geographical areas of Asia and Europe includes an increasing ageing population in Asia and Europe, considered to be a crucial driver for immigration growth in both continents; the impact of the economic crisis on the migration flows both within and towards Asia and Europe; the impact of climate change on rural areas and urban settlements in Asia and the surrounding countries of Europe; and the importance of the refugee flows induced by internal conflicts or dictatorial political regimes, that see refugees eventually becoming permanent refugees in different countries.
The delegates in this committee will be discussing these key migration drivers and try to find solutions to the migrant flows in Asia and Europe especially when significant differences between the strategies of Asian and European states in dealing with migration exist, as seen in the migration border controls, the role of the new agency Frontex, and the policies for immigrant integration which are all found within the EU. Will the Asian states imitate the EU policies or can the Asian delegates work out a unique solution to tackle this problem and influence EU policies in the process?
The discussion topic for the economic pillar echoes this year‟s theme "Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity". Similar to the political pillar which focuses on the flow of people across borders, the economic pillar focuses on the flow of goods and money across national boundaries. The discussion will be guided by the question "How can trade and investment between Asia and Europe promote economic growth and development?"
The importance of international trade and investment between Asia and Europe is obvious. The Asian members of ASEM are key trading partners of the EU, accounting for one fourth of the EU's trade with the world in 2008. As the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the global economy, the EU considers FDI as a key means to promote development and economic and social growth. In particular, FDI represents an important source of productivity gains and plays a crucial role in establishing businesses and jobs abroad and building the global supply chains that are part of the modern international economy. In this respect, the inter-dependence and complementarities between trade and FDI is widely recognised. For this reason, the actual Asia-Europe Meeting places strong emphasis on trade and investment. The economic pillar, therefore, is the main forum and instrument used to foster trade liberalisation and facilitates bilateral trade and investment.
The Occupy Movement is an international protest movement that highlights the inequalities in modern society. From the first "Occupy Wall Street‟ protest in New York, the movement has branched out globally, pitting the so-called rich "1%‟ against the average masses that is the "99%‟.
While economic growth is the order of the day in both Asia and Europe, it is imperative that delegates address the thorny issue of growing income inequality. As the income gaps widen, societies begin to tear at the seams and instability, particularly in developing countries, may ensue. Delegates will discuss potential policies that will ensure a more equitable distribution of resources among the people, yet without stifling innovation and creativity. The problem of divisive societies is also exacerbated with the impact of migration. As people cross borders in search for jobs, it is inevitable that at times they will come into conflict with the locals. The sites of conflict are mainly in the economic and cultural realm. Increased diversity may bring about increased tensions, especially in periods of economic downtowns.
Finally, related to the above are the challenges of building a multicultural society. How can countries balance the need for greater diversity against the desire to protect indigenous customs? With different cultures in the land, can countries remain what they are? What policies can delegates propose to ensure that differences between people not only mix, but also combine?
Each delegate will receive a certificate of participation if they are not absent without official permission given by the Director-General from any of the compulsory conference activities.
There will be one such award for each of the three pillars. The winners of this award will be determined by the respective Chairs and shall be assessed on the accuracy in the representation of the country‟s position, understanding of the issue, effectiveness and novelty of proposed solution and organisation of the position paper.
There will only be one such award and the winner of this award will be determined in consultation with the various Chairs. Nominees for this award shall be assessed on their eloquence, initiative, interpersonal skills, negotiation skills, ability to influence and provide leadership, and the soundness of issues raised and novelty of solutions proposed during the Pillar sessions.
This is a group award and there will only be one of this for the conference. The winner of this award will be determined in consultation with the various Chairs and shall be assessed on the individual performance of the delegates during the Pillar sessions and collectively during the Plenary.