The ASEAN Human Development Organisation has reached a “critical mass” of membership, and is now looking to change mindsets on HR and skills development throughout the region. Founder and Strategic Advisor Bob Aubrey says workforces across different Southeast Asian markets are growing at very different phases of development.
“Some fast-growing countries have a large youth population without enough education and employment, while others like Singapore have a decreasing youth population and high levels of tertiary education,” he said. (But) all ASEAN countries have human development needs, and how the region manages human development will determine whether ASEAN can become a leader in relation to competition from large national workforces like China and India.”
The organisation, founded formally less than a year ago, welcomed new members at its meeting on September 20. These now represent HR professional bodies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Singapore (with a membership application for Timor-Leste in progress currently) – covering more than two thirds of the Southeast Asia population.
AHDO also released a declaration on its purpose and focus:
“The founding members of AHDO define human development in alignment with the United Nations framework and the International Labour Organisation mission of decent work,” it says.
“Human development at work includes economic development and human capital, but also freedom, human rights and ethics, capabilities, lifelong learning, self- development and social and cultural development. Human development is aligned with the ASEAN missions of sustainable development, preservation of the environment and the biological heritage of the region.”
Aubrey commented that having the majority of Southeast Asian nations aligned on human development definitions and policies would have multiple benefits for the markets involved.
“The immediate advantage is that companies that are managing people in several ASEAN countries benefit from a coherent framework of policies instead of protectionist national policies which even contradict each other on basics like human rights,” he said. “The second advantage is that it opens the door to regional careers for human development professionals.”