What is Dragon Net?

In 1989, researchers from around the world specializing in public health and health policy gathered in Taiwan, which was then aiming for Universal Health Coverage (UHC), to offer advice. This meeting fostered personal connections among these researchers.
In the same year, the World Bank hosted a conference in Bali, Indonesia, dedicated to UHC for Southeast Asia, resulting in the formation of personal networks between researchers and policymakers from Southeast Asia.
Building on these personal networks, in July 1998 in Tokyo, a network of researchers and policymakers aiming to introduce and enhance public health insurance in East Asia was established under the name Dragon Net.
Dragon Net operates based on its network foundation and does not have formal structures like an office.
However, it conducts symposiums roughly once a year, facilitating the exchange of information, mutual comparative analyses, identification of common issues, development of common policies, and promoting joint research. In this process, advancements like Taiwan’s “National Health Insurance” in 1995 and Thailand’s “30-Baht policy” in 2001 saw progress towards Universal Health Coverage in related countries. Meanwhile, countries that already had universal coverage began reforms.
Further, Dragon Net shifted its focus to the rapid aging of societies unique to this region, discussing both the UHC system in an aging society and long-term care insurance.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Dragon Net. The objective is to review its achievements, examine why East Asia was able to establish a UHC system, and define what makes this UHC system, built on Asian values, distinct from those in Western countries.
The gathering will also offer recommendations that contribute to achieving UHC as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
Moreover, the symposium aims to lay out pathways for policy research on shared future challenges in East Asia, such as declining birthrates.