ERIA is an international organisation that was established by an agreement of the leaders of 16 East Asia Summit (EAS) member countries. Its main role is to conduct research and policy analyses to facilitate the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) building and to support wider regional community building.
In the coming decades, ASEAN and East Asia will continue to be the world's main growth engines. The world can see the potentiality and the foreseeable positive impact of ASEAN and East Asia development. Community building is the key to maximising the region's growth potential, and I believe ERIA was born at a very significant time in ASEAN's history, and is entrusted with the important commitment of contributing to community building in East Asia.
ERIA's founding document, the Exchange Note between the ASEAN Secretary General and the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, clearly defines ERIA's mission as follows; 'ERIA shall function as an independent research institute but shall maintain and develop strong communication ties with ASEAN's policy-making process, especially to support ASEAN's efforts to build the ASEAN Economic Community and to support its role as the driver of a wider integration.
Also, the Joint Press Statement of the East Asia Summit on the Global Economic and Financial Crisis issued on 3 June 2009, assigns ERIA a crucial role, stating that EAS leaders encourage 'ERIA, ADB, and ASEAN Secretariat to work together to prepare as soon as possible a coherent master plan,' which ERIA calls the Comprehensive Asia Development Plan. Furthermore, the EAS leaders 'called upon ERIA to provide policy recommendations to stimulate economic growth in the region, deepen regional integration and strengthen partnerships in East Asia.' Responding to this task from EAS leaders, ERIA is conducting a policy research agenda based on the three pillars of deepening economic integration, narrowing development gaps, and promoting sustainable economic development. These works include key projects to support AEC building, such as undertaking the AEC Scorecard Project, and support in drafting the ASEAN Connectivity Master Plan and the ASEAN Strategic Transport Plan.
As the President appointed by the Governing Board of ERIA, which is comprised of the excellencies from 16 EAS countries, I am deeply aware of the importance of my responsibilities, and I am committed to carrying out this sacred mission. I also would like to seek the support and the cooperation of research institutions in the Asian region and from around the world.