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Regulation is a key factor to promote sustainable, inclusive economic growth, social welfare, and environmental protection. Regulatory policy touches every sector of the economy and affects the dayto-day activities of businesses and citizens. For this reason, ensuring that regulatory practice is transparent, accountable, efficient, and effective is a top priority for any government.
However, regulatory affairs are a dynamic field, and practices have evolved over the past few decades. As indicated in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 report on Agile Governance, in the past, regulations tended to rely on command-and-control and prescription. These have faced criticism for inhibiting growth and investment. To address that criticism and adapt to other changing circumstances, such as the rising demand for regulations to address environmental, health, and safety risks, numerous novel approaches to regulation have emerged. Rather than dismantling the entire regulatory apparatus, governments and other stakeholders now seek to create better, smarter regulations. This is evident in the Asia-Pacific, where ASEAN countries have adopted innovative approaches such as international regulatory cooperation to support regional recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two trends are likely to pose further, far-reaching challenges. First, the pace, scope, and complexity of technological advances and business innovation have created new ways for people to interact. Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, biotechnology, and blockchain technology, for example, are anticipated to revolutionize fields as diverse as agriculture, healthcare, and finance. Second, there has been a global shift in regulatory regimes themselves which allows the use of new tools and strategies for regulatory governance. These include using behavioral insights, risk regulation, anticipatory regulation, co-regulation, and systems thinking. For example, the UK announced a GBP10 million Regulatory Pioneers Fund to test and scale innovative regulations dealing with emerging technologies.
This workshop will examine the regulatory challenges of the future and emerging responses to address them across the Asia-Pacific and beyond. The main question to be addressed is how policymakers and regulators keep pace with new developments and maintain a balance between fostering further innovation, protecting consumers, and addressing broader societal risks. The discussions will cover innovations, tools, strategies, and overall guiding principles underlying new regulatory approaches.
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