There were some achievements at the meeting in Cambodia, a key event taking place just before the G20 and Apec summits.
Few countries in the region have tied green components to their stimulus packages, which contain some environmentally harmful measures.
Asean policymakers have had their eyes opened by the coronavirus pandemic to the urgent need to digitally transform their economies and embrace 5G.
Improved air quality in Southeast Asian cities is a welcome development but can only be sustained in the long term with further reforms. Making cities greener and pedestrian-friendly, and promoting energy-efficient buildings now, can ensure a healthier future.
China has a lot to offer the ambitious Asean Smart City Network project and has pledged to share its experience and technology. But the rise of anti-China sentiment in Asean over South China Sea tensions and unpopular Mekong dam projects may hinder cooperation.