The World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEFEA) 2011 in Jakarta is focusing on the region’s urgent issues, including increasing demands for resources and coping with unprecedented natural disasters’ threats.

Addressing the June 12 opening of the two-day forum, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono highlighted the importance of cooperation within the WEF framework to cope with those challenges.

Asia can become a continent of the future if these challenges are solved, Yudhoyono said.

However, he said more than 60 percent of the world’s 7 billion people are living in Asia putting increasing pressures on the continent in its efforts to seek and compete for limited natural resources.

Technology development is the key to settle these challenges, the Indonesian President said.

On June 12, the forum touched upon issues relating to the initiative “new vision on agriculture in East Asia”. They included measures and mechanisms to cope with global economic imbalance, natural disasters, the degradation in forest coverage, biodiversity imbalance and environmental pollution in Asia and the world.

Food security and the impacts of increasing food prices on poor people were also tabled for discussion.

The two day conference drew 600 delegates, including governmental officials, business policy makers and managers, representatives from socio-civil organisations and international experts./.