Since it was declared a pandemic in March 2020, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has continued to upend lives and disrupt livelihoods around the world. ASEAN has not been spared. Indeed, the unprecedented pandemic crisis generated unprecedented uncertainties for ASEAN, with devastating impact on economy and society. In 2020, the region’s economy is projected to contract by 3.8% in 2020, the first economic contraction in 22 years.

Given the scale and impact of the pandemic, ASEAN recognizes that addressing the crisis requires coordinated actions not only within the region but as well as cooperation with its partners. While the immediate priority for the region is to overcome the pandemic, ASEAN must concurrently consider its collective and long-term socio-economic recovery strategy. Thus, the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) serves as the consolidated exit strategy from the COVID-19 crisis. It articulates ASEAN response through the different stages of recovery, by focusing on key sectors and segments of society that are most affected by the pandemic, setting broad strategies and identifying measures for recovery in line with sectoral and regional priorities. Since the pandemic is still evolving, the approach to recovery should be proactive and all encompassing (whole-of-community), flexible and agile so the region can easily adopt its strategies to changing conditions. To implement the ACRF, an Implementation Plan is also developed.