This report presents 14 indicators on the progress of the ASEAN countries towards the goals of the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. Where relevant, the report highlights changes in convergence and disparities over time, which are useful in analyzing progress in narrowing the development gap. This monitoring brief, which is an abridged version of the complete report, is intended to be updated biennially using 2003 as the base year. At this stage, a set of suitable indicators for the Political and Security Community is still evolving.
The findings are that between 2003 and 2005:
• There was catch-up of GDP per capita by lower-income countries but the degree of this catch-up was less in 2005 compared with 2003.
• In general, the priority integration sectors registered a clear reduction in intra-ASEAN tariffs.
• There have been large increases in the volume of commercial service trade both into and out of the ASEAN region.
• Many priority integration sectors have seen a significant increase in intra- ASEAN direct investment.
• The disparity of wages for professional and technical employees experienced little overall decline.
• Non-ASEAN direct investment into the service sector rose. For most priority integration sectors the dispersion in external tariffs rates decreased.
• The percentage of people in ASEAN living in absolute poverty has declined.
• The rate of adult literacy has risen from 89.3 to 90.3 per cent, but women’s literacy rates still remain considerably lower than men’s.
• There has been a rise in life expectancy for both men and women of about one year.
• There was an improvement in environmental sustainability across the region.