Nordic-ASEAN Forum 2023: Climate change, new technologies, and changing geopolitical landscapes

June 1, 2023: On May 26, 2023, ISDP, in cooperation with the city of Malmö, ERIA (Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East-Asia), and STRING, a cross-border organization spanning cities and regions in Northern Europe, organized a one-day forum in Malmö on pressing issues surrounding the ongoing climate change, development of new technologies and changes in the geopolitical landscapes.

The ongoing climate change, in combination with a brutal war in Europe, has highlighted the vulnerability of nations being too dependent on certain energy solutions and the need for renewed cooperation across national borders. The Nordic countries and ASEAN are two regions actively seeking sustainable solutions through new technologies and innovative research. With the purpose of sharing knowledge, strategy, and visions for creative regional cooperation and an accelerated green transition in their respective geographical areas, policymakers, business leaders, and experts from the Nordic countries and East Asia exchanged ideas at this high-level conference.

The conference was held in the historic City Hall of Malmö, built in 1546, and participants were welcomed by Ms. Anja N. Sonesson, Vice President of the City Council. The president of ERIA, Professor Hidetoshi Nishimura, added some opening remarks, underlining the urgency of cooperation between nations and regions when addressing global challenges which will affect all.

Keynote speeches were given by Professor Mari Pangestu, former Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnership at the World Bank, now professor of international economics at the University of Inonesia, and Mr. Karl-Johan Linghede, CEO of Modular Management, highlighting respectively the need for economic structures and new innovative technologies that can create more logical and resilient answers to common challenges. The moderator was Professor Yamanaka Akiko, a former Vice-minister for Foreign Affairs in Japan and currently specializing in human security issues and preventive diplomacy.

The keynote speeches were followed by three sessions: Session I, moderated by the founder of the Swedish 2030 Secreteriat and now CEO of the climate consultancy Goldmann Green, Mr. Mattias Goldman, focused on “Powering the Future: Harnessing  the Potential of Hydrogen and Wind for Sustainable Energy Solutions.” Panelists were Mr. Thomas Becker, Managing Director of STRING, Mr. Göran Nyström, Executive Vice President of Ovako, and Professor Ridwan D. Rusli, Professor of International Finance and Strategy, at Cologne University of Applied Sciences and Research Fellow in Economics at Université du Luxembourg.

Session II, “Geopolitical Shifts and Energy Security”, was moderated by Dr. Lars Vargö, former Swedish Ambassador to Japan and the Republic of Korea, and Head of the Japan Center at ISDP. Panelists were Dr. Jagannath Panda, Head of the Stockholm Center for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs at ISDP, Professor Pavida Pananond of the Thammasat Business School, and Mr. Hosuk Lee Makiyama, Senior Fellow of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Session III, “Smart Cities 2.0: Pioneering the Future of Mobility and Urban Life”, was moderated by Mr. Mattias Goldmann, with panelists being Ms. Sofia Hedén, Deputy Mayor of Malmö and Chair of the Environmental Committee, Mr. Colin de Kwant, Vice President of Modular Management, and Dr. Aladdin D. Rillo, Senior Economic Advisor of ERIA.