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Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Flag Emblem
"One Vision, One Identity, One Community"[1]
Anthem: The ASEAN Way
Headquarters Jakarta, Indonesiaa
Working language
 -  Secretary General Lê Lương Minh[2]
 -  Summit Presidency  Burma (Myanmar)[3]
 -  Bangkok Declaration 8 August 1967 
 -  Charter 16 December 2008 
 -  Total 4,479,210.5 km2
2,778,124.7 sq mi
 -  2011 estimate 602,658,000
 -  Density 135/km2
216/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total US$ 3.574 trillion[4]
 -  Per capita US$ 5,930
GDP (nominal) 2013 estimate
 -  Total US$ 2.403 trillion
 -  Per capita US$ 3,909
HDI (2013) Increase 0.669b
Time zone ASEAN (UTC+9 to +6:30)
Calling code
Internet TLD
  • .org.aseanwww
a. Address: Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.70A, South Jakarta.
b. Calculated using UNDP data from member states.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations[5] (ASEAN ,[6] )[7][8] is a political and economic organisation of ten countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.[9] Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, sociocultural evolution among its members, protection of regional peace and stability, and opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully.[10]

ASEAN covers a land area of 4.46 million km², which is 3% of the total land area of Earth, and has a population of approximately 600 million people, which is 8.8% of the world's population. The sea area of ASEAN is about three times larger than its land counterpart. In 2012, its combined nominal GDP had grown to more than US$2.3 trillion.[11] If ASEAN were a single entity, it would rank as the seventh largest economy in the world, behind the US, China, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.


  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
    • Expansion and further integration 1.2
    • ASEAN Plus Three 1.3
    • Free Trade 1.4
  • Economy 2
    • Formation and overview 2.1
    • Internal Market 2.2
    • Competition 2.3
    • Comprehensive Investment Area 2.4
    • Single Aviation Market 2.5
    • Free-trade agreements 2.6
    • From CMI to AMRO 2.7
    • Intra-ASEAN travel 2.8
    • Tourism 2.9
    • Environment 2.10
  • The ASEAN way 3
    • Critical reception 3.1
    • ASEAN Identity 3.2
  • Meetings 4
    • ASEAN Summits 4.1
    • East Asia Summit 4.2
    • Commemorative summit 4.3
    • Regional Forum 4.4
    • Other meetings 4.5
      • ASEAN Plus Three 4.5.1
      • Asia–Europe Meeting 4.5.2
      • ASEAN–Russia Summit 4.5.3
      • ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting 4.5.4
  • Charter 5
  • Cultural activities 6
  • ASEAN Media Cooperation 7
    • ASEAN AMRI (ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information) 7.1
    • SEA Write Award 7.2
    • ASAIHL 7.3
    • Heritage Parks 7.4
      • ASEAN Heritage Sites 7.4.1
    • Songs and music 7.5
  • Education and human development 8
    • School enrollment and participation 8.1
      • Primary education 8.1.1
      • Secondary education 8.1.2
    • Tertiary education 8.2
      • University Network 8.2.1
    • Public efforts 8.3
      • Financial resources 8.3.1
      • Scholarship 8.3.2
    • Education as a determinant of human development 8.4
      • Literacy rates 8.4.1
  • ASEAN Integration 2015 9
    • ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 9.1
    • ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint 9.2
    • ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 9.3
    • One Market Economy 9.4
    • The AEC Scorecard 9.5
    • Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG) 9.6
    • Double Digit Growth for Franchising Sector 9.7
    • Food Security 9.8
    • 9.9 Implications for Supply Chain Management (SCM)
    • Tourism 9.10
    • Health Care Services ASEAN Integration 9.11
    • Education in ASEAN Integration 9.12
    • Trends in Education Sectors for the 21st Century 9.13
    • 1. Increasing Cost of Higher Education 9.14
    • 2. Declining Public Funding for Higher Education 9.15
    • 3. Changing Global Demographics 9.16
    • 4. Increasing Global Student Mobility 9.17
    • 5. Higher Education as a Global Market 9.18
    • 6. Massification of Education 9.19
    • 7. Providers and Programs are Increasingly Mobile 9.20
    • 8. Transnational Higher Education 9.21
      • ASEAN 5-Year Work Plan on Education (2011-2015): 4 Priorities 9.21.1
      • Challenges in Education 9.21.2
      • Enhancing K to 12 Basic Education Program in the Philippines in lieu with ASEAN Integration 9.21.3
    • ASEAN Monetary Integration 9.22
      • Roadmap for the Integration of ASEAN in Finance 9.22.1
    • ASEAN Power Grid (APG) 9.23
  • ASEAN Communication Master Plan 10
    • Overarching message 10.1
    • Audiences 10.2
    • Timeline 10.3
    • Communications initiatives 10.4
    • ACMP development 10.5
  • ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2015 11
    • VISION 11.1
    • Strategic Thrusts 11.2
    • ASEAN ICT Awards 11.3
      • Objective 11.3.1
      • Benefits of participation 11.3.2
      • Country information 11.3.3
    • Award Categories 11.4
  • The ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint 12
  • Sports 13
    • Southeast Asian Games 13.1
    • ASEAN Para Games 13.2
    • FESPIC Games / Asian Para Games 13.3
    • Football Championship 13.4
    • ASEAN 2030 FIFA World Cup bid 13.5
  • ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration 14
  • Criticism 15
  • ASEAN Security Blueprint 16
  • ASEAN competitions 17
  • See also 18
  • Literature 19
  • References 20
  • Further reading 21
  • External links 22



ASEAN was existing before by an organisation called the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), a group consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand that was formed in 1961. The bloc itself, however, was inaugurated on 8 August 1967, when

  • ASEAN Economic Community
  • Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
ASEAN related websites
  • ASEAN's official directory of ASEAN organisations
  • ASEAN Architect
  • ASEAN Law Association
  • ASEAN Ports Association
  • US-ASEAN Business Council
  • ASEAN-China Free Trade Area
ASEAN organisations
  • 24th ASEAN Summit
  • 23rd ASEAN Summit
  • 14th ASEAN Summit
  • 13th ASEAN Summit official site. Retrieved 16 September 2007.
  • 12th ASEAN Summit, retrieved 13 March 2007.
  • 11th ASEAN Summit (official site) 12–14 December 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Retrieved 13 March 2007.
ASEAN Summits
  • ASEAN Secretariat, retrieved 13 March 2007.
  • ASEAN Regional Forum, retrieved 13 March 2007.
  • BBC Country Profile/Asean, retrieved 13 March 2007.

External links

  • Taiwan ASEAN Studies Center; ASEAN Outlook Magazine; May 2013. Myanmar’s Overlooked Industry Opportunities and Investment Climate, by David DuByne

Further reading

Declaration on Social Responsible Media for a Peace and Prosperous ASEAN Community, June 12, 2014,[1]

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  223. ^ a b c d Towards ASEAN Financial Integration
  224. ^ Cost and Benefits for A Common Currency in ASEAN Srinivasa Madhur, Asian Development Bank Institute, 2002
  225. ^ Financial Integration and Common Currency Area in ASEAN Behrooz Gharleghi, Najla Shafighi and Benjamin Chan Yin Fah Journal of Economics,Business and Management, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2015
  226. ^ a b Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralzation Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas September 2014
  227. ^ The Amended Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) Comes Into Effect Today, 17 July 2014 Media Releases
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  250. ^ Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the remaking of a New World Order.
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  253. ^ ASEAN's Mixed Bag
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  • ASEAN Community in Figures (ACIF) 2012, Jakarta: Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 2012,  
  • Collins, Allan (2013), Building a People-oriented Security Community the ASEAN Way, Abingdon Oxon/New York: Routledge,  
  • Fry, Gerald W. (2008), The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, New York: Chelsea House,  
  • Lee, Yoong Yoong, ed. (2011), ASEAN Matters! Reflecting on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing,  
  • Haacke, Jürgen; Morada, Noel M., eds. (2010), Cooperative Security in the Asia-Pacific: The ASEAN Regional Forum, Abingdon Oxon/New York: Routledge,  
  • Severino, Rodolfo (2008), ASEAN, Singapore: ISEAS Publications,  
  • Amador III J, Teodoro J. (2014), A united region: The ASEAN Community 2015


See also

ASEAN competitions

ACCT was signed by the ASEAN Leaders in 2007. Its sixth ASEAN Member State, Brunei Darussalam, submitted its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN on April 28, 2011 and on the 27th of May 2011, the convention came into force. Malaysia became the tenth Member State of ACCT on January 11, 2013.[256]

The ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism (ACCT) is a result of ASEAN’s counter-terrorism efforts as it serves as a framework for regional cooperation to counter, prevent and suppress terrorism and deepen counter-terrorism cooperation.[256]

ASEAN Security Blueprint

During the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu, several activist groups staged anti-globalisation protests.[254] According to the activists, the agenda of economic integration would negatively affect industries in the Philippines and would cause thousands of Filipinos to lose their jobs.[255]

Head of the International Institute of Strategic Studies – Asia, Tim Huxley cites the diverse political systems present in the grouping, including many young states, as a barrier to far-reaching cooperation outside the economic sphere. He also asserts that in the absence of an external threat to rally against with the end of the Cold War, ASEAN has begun to be less successful at restraining its members and resolving border disputes such as those between Burma and Thailand and that of Indonesia and Malaysia.[253]

Non-ASEAN countries have criticised ASEAN for being too soft in its approach to promoting human rights and democracy in the junta-led Burma.[245] Despite global outrage at the military crack-down on unarmed protesters in Yangon, ASEAN has refused to suspend Burma as a member and also rejects proposals for economic sanctions.[246] This has caused concern as the European Union, a potential trade partner, has refused to conduct free trade negotiations at a regional level for these political reasons.[247] International observers view it as a "[249][250] However, leaders such as the Philippines' Foreign Affairs Secretary, Alberto Romulo, said it "is a workshop not a talk shop".[251] Others have also expressed similar sentiment.[252]


ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration

May 2011: ASEAN will go ahead with its bid for the FIFA 2030 World Cup. It was a follow up to the agreement reached in January before.[244]

January 2011: As a result of ASEAN Foreign ministers at Lombok meeting, they agreed bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2030 as a single entity.[243]

ASEAN 2030 FIFA World Cup bid

The ASEAN Football Federation, accredited by FIFA and contested by the national teams of Southeast Asia nations. It was inaugurated in 1996 as Tiger Cup, but after Asia Pacific Breweries terminated the sponsorship deal, "Tiger" was renamed "ASEAN".

Football Championship

The FESPIC Games, also known as the Far East and South Pacific Games for the persons with disability, was the biggest multi-sports games in Asia and South Pacific region. The FESPIC Games were held nine times and bowed out, a success[242] in December 2006 in the 9th FESPIC Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Games re-emerged as the 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, China. The 2010 Asian Para Games debuted shortly after the conclusion of the 16th Asian Games, using the same facilities and venue made disability-accessible. The inaugural Asian Para Games, the parallel event for athletes with physical disabilities, is a multi-sport event held every four years after every Asian Games.

FESPIC Games / Asian Para Games

The ASEAN Para Games is a biennial multi-sport event held after every Southeast Asian Games for athletes with physical disabilities. The games are participated by the 11 countries located in Southeast Asia. The Games, patterned after the Paralympic Games, are played by physically challenged athletes with mobility disabilities, visual disabilities,

Logo of the ASEAN Para Games.

ASEAN Para Games

The Southeast Asian Games, commonly known as the SEA Games, is a biennial multi-sport event involving participants from the current 11 countries of Southeast Asia. The games is under regulation of the Southeast Asian Games Federation with supervision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia.

Southeast Asian Games


Download and view the blueprint here APSC

To concretise the ASEAN Vision 2020, the ASEAN Heads of States/Governments adopted the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II) in 2003, which establishes an ASEAN Community by 2020. The ASEAN Community consists of three pillars, namely the ASEAN Political- Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC). During the 12th ASEAN Summit in the Philippines, the ASEAN leaders decided to accelerate the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015. By the next summit in Singapore, the ASEAN Charter was signed among leaders, signifying their commitment in intensifying community- building through enhanced regional cooperation and integration. In line with this, they tasked their Ministers and officials to draft the APSC Blueprint, which would be adopted at the 14th ASEAN Summit.

The ASEAN Political-Security Community has its genesis of over four decades of close co-operation and solidarity. The ASEAN Heads of States/Governments, at their Summit in Kuala Lumpur in December 1997 envisioned a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies.

The ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint

  1. The Public Sector Category - This consists of ICT products which are public sector related, such as e-Government.
  2. The Private Sector Category - This consists of ICT products which are private sector related, such as Industrial Application, e-Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Finance Industry Application, Communication, e-Health, Tourism and Hospitality.
  3. Corporate Social Responsibility Category - This consists of ICT products which support the community in the member state’s society with the aim to promote the rights and needs of particular groups, or to improve the wellbeing, quality of life and standard of living of the community with the ultimate intent to bridge the digital divide.
  4. Digital Content Category - This consists of products which are related to the process of combining text, sound, pictures, and videos, to create a diversion that holds the attention (entertainment), in the form of multimedia, infotainment, immersion and interaction.
  5. Start-up Company Category - This consists of innovative and potential superior ICT Products developed by an ICT company that is still at the early stage of inception.
  6. Research and Development Category - This consists of ICT products that are being newly researched and created with new knowledge, processes, product and services to meet the demands of the market.[241]

This section outlines the product categories for the AICTA nomination. There are six (6) categories:

Award Categories

  1. Leading country – Brunei Darussalam
  2. Host Country for Final Judging - Kuala Lumpur
  3. Host Country for AICTA Ceremony – Thailand [241]

Country information

  1. All nominees will receive certificate of participation
  2. Winners will receive trophies (gold, silver and bronze) and certificates of winners
  3. Winners will receive US1000 subsidy (2 person for each nominee)
  4. Winners will be put in various promotional materials to publicize their achievements
  5. Winning the AICTA competition, this will increase the status of the local entrepreneurs product and be a part of their milestone achievement [241]

Benefits of participation

  1. Develop ASEAN ICT Awards to promote creativity and encourage innovation
  2. Provide incentives for R&D efforts to acknowledge, recognize and reward ICT Innovators
  3. To recognize organization that have the most appropriate / advancement in the adoption of ICT.
  4. The awards point the direction on the trend and growth of potential ICT product in ASEAN
  5. To further recognize the interplay of ICT in the growing economy of ASEAN
  6. Provide recognition of their products thus create an interest to promote ASEAN ICT products in the international market.[241]

The objectives of AICTA are:


The ASEAN ICT Awards (AICTA) is a project approved by the ASEAN Telecommunication Ministers. The project is in-line with one of the six Strategic Thrusts, Innovations as stated in the ASEAN ICT Masterplan (AIM) 2015 under the initiative 3.2 ‘Promote Innovation and collaborations amongst government, businesses, citizens and other institution’. AICTA wishes to recognize the best ICT achievement among entrepreneurs across the ASEAN region. AICTA aims to be the benchmark for success in terms of innovation and creativity, offering business opportunities and promote trade relations thus uplift the strength of ICT and community awareness in ASEAN both locally and international region. The 1st AICTA was introduced in 2012. Brunei Darussalam as the leading country successfully carried out the awards and introduced the first online judging, whereby nominees upload their video presentation via and set up a private account (inter-link) with the AICTA judges. The AICTA Judges will view the presentation and submit their scores to the AICTA Secretariat. The 2nd AICTA was successfully completed and was led by Brunei Darussalam in 2013. For the 2nd AICTA, the ASEAN TELSOM has introduced a new category in AICTA namely “Research and Development”. Using the same procedure from the first AICTA for the online judging and final judging. To determine the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, shortlisted nominees (top three from each category) were told attend the final round judging. Nominees gave their very best presentation in front of the final round AICTA Judges, the TELSOM leaders. The competition concluded with the award ceremony which will be attended by ASEAN Member States (AMS) IT Ministers, from various government, agencies and industries. This gave the award its recognition as a prestigious meaningful event for ASEAN. Once again AICTA is back again in 2014 and from the last 13th TELMIN, Brunei Darussalam is to lead and continue the successful running of the AICTA.[241]


  1. Economic transformation
  2. People empowerment and engagement
  3. Innovation
  4. Infrastructure development
  5. Human capital development
  6. Bridging the digital divide [240]

Strategic Thrusts

ICT will be a key enabler in the ASEAN's and economic integration. Be developing next generation ICT infrastructure and skilled human capital, promoting content and innovative industries, as well as establishing an enabling policy and regulatory environment, ICT will help ASEAN to transform into a single market. In doing so, ASEAN will empower its communities and advance its status as an inclusive and vibrant ICT hub, making ASEAN and ideal region for economic activities.[240]


ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2015

According to its manual, the ACMP also envisions harnessing the growing sense of collective ASEAN mutual support and empowerment during times of natural disaster when member states have bonded to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.[239]

The ACMP was developed by the Committee of Permanent Representatives, with support from the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). [237] [238]

ACMP development

  • ASEAN Member StatesCommunications Initiatives - supports the development of local communication plans in each member state that support the overarching message of “ASEAN: A Community of Opportunities.”

by each of the ASEAN Community Pillars and by ASEAN Connectivity, and encourages the development of annual communication plans to support these activities; and

  • Third Party Advocate and Commentators Initiative - validate ASEAN initiatives by third parties provides compelling, tangible evidence of ASEAN benefits;
  • Content Development Programme - ensures regular and consistent flow of information across multiple channels about the ASEAN Community;
  • Polling of ASEAN Awareness and Favourability - measures effectiveness among audiences for its programmes to be methodically appraised and adjusted where necessary;
  • Special Planning Initiative: ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary - serves as celebration of achievements for the ASEAN peoples, as well as an opportunity to stake out plans for further advances for the regional bloc;
  • Organisation of the Communications Function - notes the need for strong communications and outreach function to expand and deepen its communications reach to members of the ASEAN Community with each other and the global community;
  • Pillar Communications and ASEAN Connectivity Communications Initiatives - supports the continuation of audience outreach activities

extensive knowledge of ASEAN Community;

  • Celebrating the Establishment of ASEAN Community - focuses on creating anticipation and excitement on the significance of the establishment of the ASEAN Community;
  • A Year of Activities: ASEAN Community 2015 - involves conducting community activities, media relations, business forums, social media, storytelling, online initiatives, at both local and ASEAN-wide levels, to celebrate the landmark realisation of the ASEAN Community in 2015;
  • Spokesperson Programme - determines the need for a spokesperson in each member state to achieve informed media coverage and commentary about ASEAN, helping to establish a clear perspective and greater understanding of the opportunities provided by the ASEAN Community;
  • Traditional Mass Media Programme - taps TV and radio as potent media, especially in semi-rural and rural areas, in expanding awareness on the ASEAN Community;
  • Online Communications Initiative - determines new online procedures for establishing and maintaining web content, including search engine optimisation, metakeyword tags and other online optimisation techniques, in recognition of the value of disseminating information through online channels;
  • Social Media Engagement Programme - uses ASEAN's presence on a number of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Google+) to engage relevant stakeholders in support of ACMP's goal of introducing increased information on ASEAN to its member states and the world;
  • Education Curricula Initiative - calls for a structured education module which will serve as a means of equipping the younger generation with

With the realisation of the ASEAN Community, the ACMP recognises the need for more extensive, ongoing communication about its benefits within ASEAN, as well as to global audiences, as ASEAN communicates its place in the world economy. [236]

Communications initiatives

The ACMP’s timeline can be broadly mapped as covering the priority communications initiatives for 2014-2015 and 2016-2017 of the ASEAN Community.


  • General Public – to include rural and urban communities, and recognising that this is a broad category that will overlap with other audiences;
  • Women and Children – to include women’s community organisations, educational and children’s organisations;
  • Youth – to include students as the future leaders of ASEAN;
  • Government – to include government officials, institutions;
  • Business – to include local businesses, multinationals, small-and medium-size enterprises, ASEAN business councils and trade associations;
  • Civil Society Organisations;
  • Key influencers – to include academia, think tanks and the international community; and
  • Media – to include local, national, regional, international, traditional and online.

The ACMP recognizes the diversity of the peoples and communities of ASEAN; thus, emphasizing the need to reach varying levels of awareness, familiarity and understanding in the context of the forthcoming vision of one ASEAN Community in 2015. The identified audiences are as follows:


To further articulate this message, the ACMP encourages the use of examples of real life, people-based benefits, which will help create lively storytelling and stress the tangible benefits felt by people and communities. [235]

The ACMP articulates an overarching message for ASEAN as “ASEAN: A Community of Opportunities.” This messages focuses on instilling a sense of belonging and identity among its citizens, and highlights that regional integration brings new opportunities to the people of ASEAN and the broader global community.

Overarching message

In his opening remarks during the launch, current Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Le Luong Minh stressed the need for the peoples of ASEAN "to understand what it means to be part of an integrated region where there are shared, equitable opportunities for personal, business and community growth." [234]

The ACPM provides a framework in communicating the character, structure and overall vision of ASEAN and the ASEAN Community to key audiences within the region and globally.[232] The said plan seeks to demonstrate the relevance and benefits of the ASEAN through fact-based and compelling communications, recognizing that the ASEAN Community is unique and different from other country integration models. [233]

As ASEAN moves towards the realisation of the ASEAN Community in 2015, its Foreign Ministers launched the ASEAN Communication Master Plan (ACPM) on 11 November 2014 at the capital city of Myanmar, Nay Pyi Taw. [231]

ASEAN Communication Master Plan


In September 2014, Singapore, Thailand, Laos and Malaysia launched a project to study cross-border power trade from Laos to Singapore. As part of the project, a working group will be set up to study the "technical viability" of such trade and examine the policy, regulatory, legal and commercial issues related to cross-border electricity trading. The project is also expected to shed light on how all four countries could trade electricity among themselves. Several of the panelists agreed that actions should be done as soon as possible; building the physical grid is 'fairly'easy but making and implementing the policy would take some time.

A power network that connects the national grids of all ASEAN countries could boost energy security, increase energy supply and, ultimately, make electricity cheaper for people.To reap the benefits of an ASEAN power grid, the groundwork must start immediately, with the building of the infrastructure required for the technology.The private sector must also work closely with governments, which can support such an initiative with legislation and policy.


  1. To create APG through interconnections among all ASEAN countries
  2. To promote more efficient, economic, and secure operation of power systems through harmonious development of national electricity networks in ASEAN by region-wide interconnections
  3. To optimize the use of energy resources in the region by sharing the benefits
  4. To reduce capital required for generation capacity expansion
  5. To share experiences among member countries
  6. To provide close power cooperation in the region
  7. To identify barriers to the implementation of APG

Objectives of ASEAN Power Grid (APG)
“Not only technical and economic aspects, but also cooperation and good relationship among the member countries”

Capital investments for the installation of additional generating capacities and transmission lines are necessary and could be a problem; however, it was found that one effective way to lower the requirements for capital investments is to interconnect the power systems via transmission lines between neighboring countries. Regional power grid will provide cheaper electricity supply for all members and ensure sustainability of energy resources as well as energy efficiency which will enable the region to be more competitive in the world markets.[228]

To continuously and reliably meet the growing demand for electrical energy, ASEAN needs to connect all national grids become regional grid. Countries with high power demand can meet their electricity shortfalls with power import from neighboring countries at reasonable prices and countries with abundant natural resources but with little requirement for electric supply can generate income from their surplus power. EGAT, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, member of HAPUA or The Heads of ASEAN Power Utilities/Authorities – ASEAN specialized body for ASEAN Power Grid – describes the grid as a win-win economic relationship within ASEAN countries.

ASEAN Power Grid (APG)

Stability in the financial system is a precondition to maintain the momentum of ASEAN economic integration. In turn, the more ASEAN economies become integrated, the more feasible it is to adopt an ASEAN single currency, which is expected to reinforce even further stability and integration in Southeast Asia.[223]

The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) will serve as the independent regional surveillance unit of the CMIM. The establishment of AMRO will ensure timely monitoring and analysis of the ASEAN+3 economies, which will in turn aid in the early detection of risks, swift implementation of remedial actions, and effective decision-making of the CMIM. In particular, the AMRO will, during peace time, conduct annual consultations with individual member economies and on this basis, prepare quarterly consolidated reports on the macroeconomic assessment of the ASEAN+3 region and individual member countries. On the other hand, the AMRO will, during crisis time, prepare recommendations on any swap request based on its macroeconomic analysis of the swap requesting member and monitor the use and impact of funds once any swap request is approved. AMRO was officially incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in Singapore on 20 April 2011 and its office is located at the Monetary Authority of Singapore complex in Singapore. Governance of AMRO is being exercised by the Executive Committee (EC) and its operational direction by the Advisory Panel (AP). AMRO is currently headed by Dr. Yoichi Nemoto of Japan, who is serving his second 2-year term until 26 May 2016.[226]

The "Chiang Mai Initiative" or CMI, named after the City of Chiang Mai in Thailand, has two components: an expanded ASEAN Swap Arrangement and a network of bilateral swap arrangements among ASEAN countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. The ASEAN Swap Arrangement or ASA preceded the regional financial crisis. ASA was originally established by the ASEAN central bank and monetary authorities of the five founding members of ASEAN with a view to help countries meet temporary liquidity problems. An expanded ASA now includes all ten ASEAN countries with an expanded facility of US$1 billion. In recognition of the economic interdependence of East Asia, which has a combined foreign exchange reserves amounting to about US$1 trillion, a network of bilateral swap arrangements and repurchase agreements among ASEAN countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea has been agreed upon. The supplementary facility aims to provide temporary financing for members which may be in balance-of-payments difficulties. In 200, 16 bilateral swap arrangements (BSAs) have been successfully concluded with a combined amount of about US$35.5 billion.[223] The original CMI was signed on December 9, 2009 which took effect on March 20, 2014, while the amended version, the multilateralization of CMI (CMIM), was on July 17, 2014. CMIM is a multilateral currency swap arrangement with the total size of US$240 billion, governed by a single contractual agreement, while the CMI is a network of bilateral swap arrangements among the “Plus Three” and ASEAN countries authorities. In addition, an independent regional surveillance unit called the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) was established to monitor and analyze regional economies and support the CMIM decision-making process.[226] The amendments will effectively allow access of the ASEAN+3 member countries and Hong Kong to an enhanced CMIM package, which includes, among others the doubling of the fund size from US$120 billion to US$240 billion, an increase in the level of access not linked to an International Monetary Fund program from 20 percent to 30 percent and the introduction of a crisis prevention facility. These amendments are expected to fortify CMIM as the region’s financial safety net in the event of any potential or actual liquidity difficulty.[227]

While in the offing of an ASEAN common currency, the leaders of the members estates of ASEAN in November 1999 have agreed to create the establishment of currency swaps and repurchase agreements as a credit line against future financial shocks. In May 2000, the finance minister of the ASEAN agreed through the “Chiang Mai Initiative” to plan for closer monetary and financial cooperation.[225]

The Roadmap for the Integration of ASEAN in Finance is the latest regional initiative, which aims to strengthen regional self -help and support mechanisms. The implementation of the Roadmap will contribute to the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community that was launched by the ASEAN Leaders in October 2003 in Bali. The AEC is the end-goal of economic integration as outlined in the ASEAN Vision 2020 and the Bali Concord II to establish a single market and production base, characterized by the free movement of goods, services, investment, and a freer flow of capital. The AEC will also facilitate the movement of businessmen, skilled labor, and talents within the region. As in the EU, adoption of an ASEAN common currency when the conditions are ripe could be the final stage of the ASEAN Economic Community. Under the Roadmap, approaches and milestones have been identified in areas deemed crucial to finance and monetary integration, namely (a) capital market development, (b) capital account liberalization, (c) financial services liberalization and (d) ASEAN currency cooperation. Capital market development entails promoting institutional capacity, including the legal and regulatory framework, as well as the facilitation of greater cross-border collaboration, linkages and harmonization between capital markets in the region. Orderly capital account liberalization will be promoted with adequate safeguards against volatility and systemic risks. To expedite the process of financial services liberalization, ASEAN has agreed on a positive list modality and adopted milestones to facilitate negotiations. Currency cooperation would involve exploration of possible currency arrangements, including an ASEAN currency payment system for trade in local goods in order to reduce the demand for US dollars and help promote stability of regional currencies, such as by settling intra-ASEAN trade using regional currencies.[223]

Roadmap for the Integration of ASEAN in Finance

The concept of an Asian Currency Unit (ACU) started in the middle of the nineties, prior to the Asian currency meltdown.[220] It is a proposed basket of Asian currencies, similar to the European Currency Unit, which was the precursor of the Euro. The Asian Development Bank is responsible for exploring the feasibility and construction of the basket.[221] The primary purpose of the ACU would be to facilitate the development of an Asian multi-currency bond market, strengthening of capital markets to make them resistant to external shocks. The ACU would reflect how the region's currencies as a whole move against the dollar and the euro and how each currency in the ACU moves against the average level of the participating currencies.[220] A key issue in the formulation of the Asian Currency Unit is the inclusion of participating currencies. Most studies of ACU have included the ASEAN plus three currencies in formulating an ACU as well as the inclusion of the Indian Rupee into the basket. India is an important economy in the region and in 2007 accounted for close to 9 percent of regional nominal GDP, 18 percent of regional GDP based on purchasing power parity and 7 percent of regional exports. Furthermore, since the ACU is being considered to be a precursor to a common currency in the future, it needs to have a dynamic outlook of the region. India is poised to become the third largest economy in the world and the second largest economy in the region by 2050.[222] An overall goal of the common currency is to contribute to the financial stability of a regional economy, including price stability. It means lower cost or risk of cross-border business through the elimination of currency risk for countries which are members of a monetary union. Greater flows of intra-regional trade would put pressure on prices, resulting in cheaper goods and services. Individuals benefit not only from the lowering of prices, they also make savings by not having to change money when traveling within the union, by being able to compare prices more readily, and by the reduced cost of transferring money across borders. However, there are conditions for a common currency, two of which are the most important, the intensity of intra-regional trade and the convergence of macroeconomic conditions. A substantial intra-ASEAN trade and economic integration is an incentive for a monetary union. But while intra-ASEAN trade is growing, partly as a result of the ASEAN Free Trade Area or AFTA, the proportion remains relatively small. The reality is that ASEAN trades more with other countries (80%) than among its member countries (20%). Therefore, ASEAN economies are more concerned about currency stability against major international currencies, like the US dollar, than among themselves. On macroeconomic conditions, ASEAN member countries have different levels of economic development, capacity and priorities that translate into different levels of interest and readiness for economic integration. Monetary integration, in particular, implies less control over national monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate the economy. Therefore, greater convergence in macroeconomic conditions would improve conditions and confidence in a common currency.[223] On the other hand, there are also constraints on the adoption of one currency, such as, diversity in the level of economic development across countries, weaknesses in the financial sectors of many countries, inadequacy of regional-level resource pooling mechanisms and institutions required for forming and managing a currency union, and lack of political preconditions for monetary cooperation and a common currency.[224]

ASEAN Monetary Integration

In 2009, the Logistics and Transport Services Sectoral Working Group (LTTSWG) was established by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Services (CCS). The CCS is one of the implementing bodies in delivering the Logistics Roadmap. The LLTSWG's main task is to collect relevant information regarding Logistics and Transport Services in ten ASEAN Member States.

  1. Achieve substantial liberalisation of logistics services
  2. Enhance Competitiveness of ASEAN Logistics Services Providers through Trade (including Documentation Simplification) and Logistics (Transport) Facilitation
  3. Expand Capability of ASEAN Logistics Service Providers
  4. Human Resource Development
  5. Enhance Multi-Modal Transport Infrastructure and Investment

The Roadmap sets five main targets:

  1. Create an ASEAN single market by 2015 by strengthening ASEAN economic integration through liberalisation and facilitation measures in the area of logistics services
  2. Support the establishment and enhance the competitiveness of an ASEAN production base through the creation of an integrated ASEAN logistics environment.

Objectives of the Roadmap:

Development in the ASEAN Free Trade paved the way for the ASEAN economic ministers to decide to make the Logistics Sector as the ASEAN's twelfth priority. This resulted to the adoption of The Roadmap for the Integration of Logistics Services in 2007, a plan created in consultation with the governments and the various business groups.[219]

Logistics Services

According to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, most focus is given on sectors considered as among the Top 10 priority sectors in the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016. These are employment generation in ICT/BPO, semi-conductor and electronics, infrastructure, tourism and agriculture and fisheries.[218]

The Philippines, for its part, is addressing the problem on job and skills mismatch through the conduct of a multi-sector consultation on the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF). The Department Of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) has been levelling the perception of participating agencies of the PQF and its relationship to ASEAN-wide practices.

Endorsed last August and September 2014 by the ASEAN Education Ministers, the Task Force composed of ministries of trade, labor and education have proceeded last October 2014, to discuss its implementation which will focus on “governance structure, quality assurance arrangements, referencing process and communication strategies.” [217]

In line with the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) will function as a benchmark of regional qualifications across ASEAN Member States.[216] Its primary goal is to establish a standard framework of training, certification and quality assurance to achieve trust among industry sectors.

ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework

CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan on this issue, stated that “there is no provision in the ASEAN Integration about synchronizing academic calendars of HEIs in the region’. She instead proposed for academic institutions to “put a premium on research” which she considers “the currency of the global academic community” whilst ensuring that competencies of university and college graduates are in line with the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework.[215]

The academic internationalization, while readily embraced by most Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the Philippines was admonished by Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The reservation of CHED is hinged on its socio-cultural impact on students from rural communities whose source of matriculation depends largely on the agricultural cycle which falls between April and May. Classes under the new academic calendar start in August.

Dr. Sauwakon Ratanawijitrasin, outgoing center director of Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization–Regional Center for Higher Education and Development, said Southeast Asian countries were trying to harmonize and “internationalize” their education systems by 2015, which is part of a process of developing a regional economic community.[214]

DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro presented the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA) last March in the annual membership meeting of the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd). BESRA, as a package of reform initiatives, considers K to 12 as the flagship reform strategy. The objective of the program is to be able to produce more productive and responsible citizens equipped with the essential competencies and skills for both lifelong learning and employment. From among various proposals and studies conducted to come up with an enhanced model that is suitable to the Philippine context, DepEd proposed the K-6-4-2 model or the K to 12 model. This model involves required completion of kindergarten,[213] six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grades 7-10), and two years of senior high school (Grades 11-12). The two years of senior high school intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies. The curriculum will allow specializations in science and technology, music and arts, agriculture and fisheries, sports, business and entrepreneurship. Students will be guided to choose a specialization based on aptitude, interests, and school capacity.[213] In lieu with this, the government’s expanded basic education program and the decision of some universities to shift the start of their academic calendars from June to August would be good for a proposed educational integration among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2015.[212]

According to the World Bank, education equips and can be the strongest instruments of every individual. With the absolute knowledge and skills that he/she gained from school, an individual can be a functional member of the society in reducing poverty and improving of the well-being. Although, in maintaining and establishing a powerful education system, thorough venture must be considered. In the Philippine context, education remains a top priority. Despite the various development plans and projects formulated by the government and different sectors, the quality of Philippine education still leaves much room for improvement. As part of the efforts of the present administration to respond to the perceived needs of the education sector, the Department of Education (DepEd) had pushed for the implementation of the “Enhanced K to 12 Basic Education Program.”[212]

Enhancing K to 12 Basic Education Program in the Philippines in lieu with ASEAN Integration

4. Monitoring tool (statistics and ASCC scorecard, e.g. consolidated data for ASEAN in the UNESCO EFA Reports)

  • Formal vs. non-formal /informal education (SOM-ED, PPP)
  • Basic & Higher education
  • Vocation and Technical Training - TVET (EAS Education Plan of Action (2012-2015): (i) a regional TVET quality assurance framework, (ii) development of a network of TVET providers in the EAS, (ii) facilitating TVET teacher and student mobility; and (iv) a feasibility study of a register of TVET providers in the EAS.
  • Education of transversal skills and other needed skills (related to life, environment, socio-cultural)

3. A Holistic Approach to education:

2. Effective synergies between different mechanisms (ASEAN/AUN and SEAMEO), and Dialogue Partners, International Agencies

  • Access to/continuation of education
  • Quality of education (e.g. teacher education, number of teachers & pedagogy)
  • Finance, Governance & Management

1. The gaps among Member States are still wide

Challenges in Education[202]

  1. ASEAN Awareness;
  2. (a) Increasing Access to, and increasing Quality Primary and Secondary Education; (b) Increasing Access to, and Quality of Education-Performance Standards, Lifelong Learning and Professional Development;
  3. Strengthening Cross-Border Mobility and Internationalization of Education;
  4. Support for other ASEAN Sectoral Bodies with an Interest in Education

ASEAN 5-Year Work Plan on Education (2011-2015): 4 Priorities[202]

A) Distance learning education B) Building and harnessing local and international educational partnerships among other universities/schools (both based local and international) through bilateral and multi-lateral agreements, International and Regional Networks, attending or hosting international/local workshops, seminars and meetings. C) Develop global and internalization programs and infrastructures

There is also a growing need in making higher education available not only in one location or country. This resulted in different initiatives like:

8. Transnational Higher Education[211]

There is an increased demand in providing distance learning education through open universities and other higher education institutions. This resulted in offering courses, degrees and other educational information and materials using online tools and services made available for students and the public. This action is the answer of schools and universities for those students who have no or limited access in traditional learning styles like the classroom settings. This is to also address different education barriers like time, location or distance.

7. Providers and Programs are Increasingly Mobile[210]

High education cost remains the biggest barrier in getting higher education. Even if in some situations that tuition fee is free because of scholarships, grants or loan programs, students still need to bear with other expenses like food, transportation, allowances and housing. Fear of debt and financial obligations remain an education deterrent especially from those who come from poorer communities.

Many people all across the globe want to get higher education to have better employment opportunity which is tantamount in achieving different development goals. Providing higher education to everyone means ending social inequalities deeply rooted in history, culture and economic structures. However, different inequalities among distribution of wealth, resources especially in education still remain which cause massive disadvantages among marginalized population. Those populations who live in the remotest areas have less education participation including the indigenous peoples.

6. Massification of Education[209]

International Rankings for Higher Education Institutions are important to attract new students both locally and abroad, influence other members of the society (like the government and civic societies) to support and provide funding among these educational institutions. English communication is also important because it’s seen as an international language.

Due to increasing population and changes in demographics globally, the demand of getting higher education also increases and eventually exceeds the supply. This resulted in different competitions like competing for funds among education sectors, having the “brightest and best” students, staff, facilities and collaboration of researches. This also created higher employer standards for different employment opportunities particularly the highly-skilled jobs which opened global mobility of labour. There are more demand now for those who have higher education in order to fill the needs of the economy which can result in the creation of “Credentialing Society”, an idea coined by Randall Collins on his book in 1979 that primarily shows how people are seen or valued according to their earned credentials (i.e. diplomas, degrees, licenses) especially in hiring people or giving social status. These credentials are manifestations of qualification and authority given by educational institutions and other authorities that can do so. These are also short-cuts in evaluating their competencies to a specific field or given situation rather than using one’s skills and abilities

5. Higher Education as a Global Market[208]

In addition to this UNESCO report, five countries in the world hosted the majority of these mobile students. These countries are United States (18%), United Kingdom (11%), France (7%), Australia (6%) and Germany (5%). In East Asia and the Pacific, Australia and Japan are the traditional destinations but there’s now a growing completion between them and the newcomers like Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, New Zealand and China which catered 6% of the global share from mobile students in 2012. Also, most students now want to study to the countries closer to home and are fee paying.

There is a significant increase on students who want to study abroad to get a higher education particularly on courses or degrees that may not be available on their native countries. According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Institute of Statistics, 4 million students went abroad in 2012 to study which is a significant increase from 2 million in 2000. This means that 2 out of 10 students spend their tertiary education abroad in a global perspective.

4. Increasing Global Student Mobility[207]

The three biggest continents in the world which are Asia, Africa and Latin America will contribute 97% of the world’s population group by 2030. Higher birth rates mean increase in the number of population which will trigger increase in the demand in getting higher education to compete with the larger population. There will be a decline in birth rates and increase in ageing population among rich countries which will eventually result in skills and staff shortages among different services. Migration and international student recruitment can provide part solution only.

According to UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), State of the World Population Report in 2011, “The milestone of 7 billion is marked by achievements, setbacks and paradoxes. Globally, people are younger—and older—than ever before. In some of the poorest countries, high fertility rates hamper development and perpetuate poverty, while in some of the richest countries, low fertility rates and too few people entering the job market are raising concerns about prospects for sustained economic growth and about the viability of social security systems.”

3. Changing Global Demographics[206]

Due to recession and economic turmoil happening in the past, the government/state funding continuously drop every year which triggered different fiscal crisis among educational institutions. The effects include increased in tuition fees, less enrollments because some students can no longer pay their education, cut faculty positions, reduced or closed campuses and reduced library services.

2. Declining Public Funding for Higher Education[205]

Almost every year, higher educational institutions (colleges and universities) need to increase their tuition fees to continue their operations particularly in financing different improvements like new facilities or equipment and hiring some staff to provide quality education to their students and to survive the competition among educational institutions

1. Increasing Cost of Higher Education[204]

Trends in Education Sectors for the 21st Century [203]

  • More commitments towards building an ASEAN Community (e.g. people to people connectivity, institutional frameworks, pooling of resources, political-security and socio-cultural policies to support social and regional cohesion)
  • Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI Work Plan) emphasizes the role of education in narrowing the development gap between ASEAN-6 and CLMV countries
  • Higher demand for skilled labour & Increased cross-border flows of labor - and deepen ASEAN’s position in the global value chains
  • Continuing cross-sectoral cooperation in education
  • The development/promotion of partnerships in education sector

In the presentation[202] of ASEAN Secretariat in Chiang Mai, Thailand last January 2014, it pointed out that the establishment of an ASEAN Community by the end of 2015, and a Truly ‘People-Centred’ ASEAN in the Post-2015 period encompass:

One of the priority areas under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) pillar is education as the ASEAN Charter emphasizes the need to “develop human resources through closer cooperation in education and lifelong learning, and in science and technology, for the empowerment of the people of ASEAN and for the strengthening of the ASEAN Community."

Education in ASEAN Integration

The advantage of AFAS is that patients from poorer ASEAN countries and elsewhere are able to undergo treatment for certain conditions not available in their home countries. The ASEAN Framework Agreement in Services (AFAS) has so far not contributed to greater liberalization in the region. The four negotiating rounds under AFAS have not resulted in commitments in the health sector. Where ASEAN governments have opted for liberal trade policies, they have done so unilaterally.[201]

A Chinese doctor open a practice in Philippines [200]


• In their own capacity as service providers, professors, doctors, nurses and other skilled and professional workers are allowed for movement.


“A service supplier of one Member, through presence of natural persons of a Member in the territory of any other

Gleneagles Hospital (Singapore) establishes its subsidiary in China Mode 4 Presence of nat. persons • The supply of a service by:


Mode 3 Commercial presence “Supply of a service by a service supplier of one Member, through commercial presence, in the territory of any other Member”

Example: An Filipino patient flies to Singapore to get hospital treatment in Mount Elizabeth (Singapore)

“Supply of a service in the territory of one member to the service consumer of any other Member”

Mode 2 Consumption abroad

Example: Tele-diagnosis of a patient in Myanmar by a doctor in Singapore

“Supply of services of one member to another and vice, versa”

Mode 1 Cross-border supply

AFAS Liberalization: The 4 modes of supply included:

Nurul Imlati Haddad, ASEAN Secretariat, Bogor, 5 October 2012 explained that ASEAN Framework Agreement Services (AFAS) aims to remove or minimize foreign service suppliers, and there will be mutual recognition arrangements.

November 2007, the Economic Ministers endorsed a blueprint of goals to be achieved in 2015 which includes China, India, Mexico, Philippines and other ASEAN countries as main service suppliers of health services such as Laboratory testing; tele-diagnosis and consultation services; interpretation of computer tomography scans. [199]

Countries collectively referred as “ASEAN” carried out an initial round of negotiations and concluded the roadmap for the full integration of the healthcare sector in ASEAN.[198]

Health Care Services ASEAN Integration

Lastly, Brunei is looking to promote “a greener Brunei,” focusing on tourists that are interested in nature and exploring its rainforests.[196] This ASEAN cohesion emphasizes partnerships rather than competition. Tourism Ministers continue developing a mutual recognition agreement aimed to improve the quality of human resources and giving workers in the tourism sectors of member countries a chance to work in other countries.[197]

Accordingly, in an article by Danessa O. Rivera for GMA News, the Tourism Congress of the Philippines is holding a series of workshops and creating awareness among its stakeholders for the upcoming Asean integration in 2015. In an email statement by the TCP(Tourism Congress of the Philippines) President Rosanna Tuason-Fores her objectives of the consultative meetings are to increase awareness level of the implications of the economic integration to tourism enterprises and to identify the market access opportunities for the business in the Philippines and other ASEAN economies.[195]

Moreover, on September 18, 2014 in Bangkok, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched the ‘ASEAN to Thailand’ project with the key objective of enhancing the recognition of Thailand as an attractive and fun place to visit, and as a ‘Dream Destination’ in the heart of ASEAN. As part of the ‘ASEAN to Thailand’ project, TAT will be inviting members of the media from ASEAN countries to take part in a specially-organised familiarisation trip that will showcase the old towns in the central provinces of Ayutthaya, Ang Thong and Suphan Buri, some of which have played vital roles in the history of the ASEAN region.[194]

While Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia convened at a ministerial retreat in Ho Chi Minh City, where dialogues on easing travel barriers and issuing a single visa topped the agenda. ACMECS, which stands for Ayeyawadi – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, is a political, economic, and cultural organization among the five countries. The Ayeyawadi, Chao Phraya, and Mekong are rivers that greatly affect the socio-economic development of the involved nations. The countries have taken a step closer to the plan, with Thailand and Cambodia running a pilot single visa policy, under which an international tourist obtaining a visa to enter Thailand is allowed to enter Cambodia, and vice versa.[193]

For this purpose, the Ministers and tourism authorities of Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Secretary of Tourism of the Philippines have expressed their intention to collaborate with relevant government agencies and other stakeholders to facilitate travel in the region by developing a common smart visa system, and have signed the “Statement of Intent on SMART Visa” at the 22nd World Economic Forum on East Asia. The meeting is taking place in Nay Pyi Taw from 5 to 7 June 2013.[192]

While Malaysia is playing pivotal role in promoting intra-ASEAN tourism. They have been promoting short haul travel, encouraging travelers to travel in a more affordable and easier way to our neighbours in ASEAN. In this respect, Malaysia has introduced the 3-2-1 Heritage Tour package — three UNESCO heritage sites (Melaka, Penang and Borobudur) in two countries (Malaysia and Indonesia) at one price.[191]

All ten ASEAN countries already collaborate actively to grow tourism in the region. As Singapore serves as a good access node in the regional tourism network, the Singapore Tourism Board hope to continue to strengthen cooperation among ASEAN members to harness the tourism potential of the region. Such collaboration is significant to the growth of the regional tourism industry. One example is the potential of the region’s cruise industry. Southeast Asia’s diverse culture, landscapes and cuisines, coupled with its year-round good climate and presence of many islands, adds to its ability to become a viable cruising destination that will draw passengers from the region and beyond. As the lead coordinator for the ASEAN Cruise Development initiative, Singapore Tourism Board will continue to work closely with the rest of ASEAN to develop the immense potential of the cruise industry in the region.[190]

As of Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) 2013 report, Singapore placed 1st, Malaysia placed 8th, Thailand placed 9th, Indonesia placed 12th, Brunei placed 13th, Vietnam placed 16th, Philippines placed 17th and Cambodia placed 20th in the top destination of travelers in the Asia Pacific region.[189]

As of 2012, it is estimated to account for 4.6 percent of ASEAN GDP and 10.9 percent when taking into account all indirect contributions. It directly employs 9.3 million people, or 3.2 percent of total employment, and indirectly supports some 25 million jobs.[188] This year, Malaysia attracted 25 million; Thailand, 22.3 million; Singapore, 14.4 million; Indonesia, 8 million; Vietnam, 6.8 million; Philippines, 4.7 million.

  1. Experiential Travel
  2. The Green Movement
  3. Tourism as experience and memory
  4. Demand for public programming
  5. Creative Industries and Tourism
  6. Redefining Backpacking
  7. The Three New Ss (Sun and Sea and Sand)
  8. Increasing importance of interest/Niche/Activity Based Tourism
  9. The Growing trend in Cities as Attractions
 10. Voluntourism

There are a number of emerging trends in visitor motivations and behavior that must be taken into account in developing a successful marketing strategy for Southeast Asia.

5. While the intention of the marketing strategy is to attract visitors to the region it is also important that the NTOs work effectively together to promote travel within the region under the theme “ASEAN for ASEAN”. This objective recognizes that visitors within the region are a significant source of economic development and that people from ASEAN will play a significant role in meeting the overall strategy of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity that encourages greater intra-ASEAN people mobility.

4. To guide budgetary decisions related to positioning the region and various dimensions of the travel experience.

3. To ensure that the power of tourism as a development tool is recognised and incorporated into a marketing approach that will be directed at meeting specific social, economic and cultural goals.

2. To determine how the ASEAN NTOs, using their resources, can contribute to the overall positioning of the region as a preferred destination. This will require the NTOs to effectively leverage their existing marketing and promotional activities towards the regional efforts.

1. To ensure that there are an increased number of international visitors traveling to Southeast Asia and visiting more than one country. (It is recognised that the objective of each country is to increase visitation to its own nation. This strategy is designed to increase visitation to more than one ASEAN country thereby adding value to the efforts of the individual NTOs).

The objectives of the ASEAN Tourism marketing strategy are:

On January 2012, the ASEAN Tourism Ministers calls for the development of a marketing strategy. This marketing strategy represents the consensus of the ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) on important strategic marketing directions for the ASEAN region moving forwards to 2015 based on objectives agreed to by all of the NTOs.[187]

Tourism has been one of the key growth sectors in ASEAN and has proven resilient amid economic challenges globally. The wide array of tourist attractions across the region has drawn 81 million tourists to ASEAN in 2011, up by 30% compared to 62 million tourists in 2007. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism directly contributed to ASEAN’s GDP (4.4%) and employment (3.2%) in 2011. In addition, the sector accounted for an estimated 8% of total capital investment in the region.[186]

ASEAN cooperation in tourism was formalised in 1976, following formation of Sub-Committee on Tourism (SCOT) under ASEAN Committee on Trade and Tourism. The 1st ASEAN Tourism Forum was held on 18–26 October 1981, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On 1986, established ASEAN Promotional Chapter for Tourism (APCT) in Hong Kong, West Germany, UK, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, and North America by I, M, P, S, T.[185]


The manufacturing sector also has areas for improvement in transportation, storage, customs and payment services. Countries like Singapore and Indonesia, have one of the highest internet penetration rates in Asia, whereas, countries like Cambodia and Myanmar have very low rates of internet penetration. The supply chain industry and the member governments could pool resources to enhance connectivity and the flow of goods and services in the region.

The biggest challenge and opportunity for the SCM industry in gearing up for AEC 2015 is the industrial shift from manufacturing to services. With the services sector growing rapidly and accounting for an ever larger share of the GDP of countries in the region, services liberalization is crucial. In terms of SCM, it present challenges for the free movement of labour and demands for the new and adaptive processes for certification, customs, transportation, and other logistics – especially with respect to the issue of transparency – a core element of AEC 2015. If the SCM industry can provide logistics for professional services and basic services such as finance, health care, travel, and real estate, the interconnected and people-to-people community of AEC 2015 could provide more opportunities than challenges.

A study by Logistics Institute-Asia Pacific; as shared by Vinod K. Aggarwal and Boa Park found that the greatest impediment that the SCM industry faced is in customs procedures and inspections, which include time consuming documentation requirements, and different classification of goods in different countries. Land transportation barriers continue to exist owing to regulations on the operation of trucks in cross-boarder and in-country transportation. In ASEAN, Singapore ranked very good in logistics friendliness followed by Brunei and Thailand which were ranked good; Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Malaysia on the average rank while Indonesia were ranked weak. Many of the issues facing SCM stem from the lack of business representation and dialogue with government officials. Aside from facing the barriers to finance, logistics, technology development and human development in the region, it also lack opportunities to provide input into policy making or update information on policies that affect their enterprises.

The supply chain industry should prepare for the shift towards a bigger services sector in the ASEAN economics.

Implications for Supply Chain Management (SCM)[184]

As ASEAN moves towards an Integrated Community in 2015 and beyond, Food Security should be an integral part of the ASEAN community building agenda and deserves more attention. A paper on ASEAN Food Security: Towards a more Comprehensive Framework by Desker, Anthony and Teng - Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore also recommends infusion of a new thinking on food security that is responsive to emerging global threats and challenges.[183]

The MARKET project will provide flexible and demand-driven support to the ASEAN Secretariat, while bringing more private-sector and civil-society input into regional agriculture policy dialogue. By building an environment that reduces barriers to trade, ASEAN trade will increase, thereby decreasing the risk of another food price crisis.[182]

The 2007-2008 food crisis experience that sparked discussions on the importance of food security convinced ASEAN that it was an issue critical for the future of the region. A strong desire to improve food security is one of the factors that led to the launching in July 2012 of a three-year project to facilitate the trade of food commodities in Southeast Asia. The project dubbed as MARKET - Maximizing Agricultural Revenue through Knowledge, Enterprise Development, and Trade aims to improve food security for ASEAN Member States and contribute to ASEAN regional integration by enabling freer movement of food products and commodities.[181]

Food supply security can be enhanced through cooperation and interdependence among the ASEAN member countries. In this scenario, ASEAN countries would be producing and trading food in such a manner that trade complements domestic production and reserves as a means of assuring supply. ASEAN countries should agree not to restrict food trade through embargoes, export taxes, and other restraints except in highly exceptional cases.[180]

If regional integration and cooperation means moving towards a common goal using a common strategy, then it is essential that the ASEAN member countries agree on what food security collectively means to them, and what food items are important to each of them and the region in general, so that regional integration and cooperation under the auspices of ASEAN can be better promoted.[180]

In a case study by Amelia Bello from the University of the Philippines Los Banos, Philippines suggested the following:

Part of the aim for ASEAN Integration is collectively achieve food security via trade in rice and maze. Trade facilitation measures and the harmonization/equivalency of food regulation and control standards will reduce the cost of trade in food products. While specialization and revealed comparative and competitive indices point to complementarities between trade patterns among the ASEAN member countries, intra-ASEAN trade in agriculture is quite small. However, integration could address this problem.[179]

The ASEAN member nations recognize the importance of strengthening food security to maintain stability and prosperity in the region. Food security comprises both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences. The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. [178]

Food Security

The Filipino Franchise Show will be held at the World Trade Center with this year’s show bears the theme “ASEAN Integration through franchising.” The event will be composed of exhibits of franchises, product and services of support industries, regional products and services, retailers and distributors. The Filipino ASEAN Franchise Conference is also a part of the show along with the ASEAN Pavilion and other special events.[177]

Fernando said that Filipino companies should try to be at par with their neighbors not just within the region but also globally. Ricardo Cuna, Chairman of the 2014 Filipino Franchise Show, said that the ASEAN integration is more of a challenge for Filipino entrepreneurs to compete worldwide.[177]

AFFI President Victor Fernando announced that there will be a Franchisee Conference this year for the first time as part of the Filipino Franchise Show which will be held on October 3 to 5, 2014. The Franchisee Conference will be a venue to empower, recognize, and showcase the best practices of franchisees. Representatives from ASEAN countries are invited to the conference to share their franchisee experiences.[177]

“The upcoming ASEAN 2015 integration is expected to act as a further impetus for AFFI members to go overseas. The integration opens up the region’s capital and labor markets to competition. This is expected to lead an influx of foreign franchise brands into the country,” said AFFI.[176]

There are currently 12 Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI) members who are global franchisors with 76 overseas outlets.

The franchising industry in the Philippines eyed strong growth as it begins expanding to international markets.[176]

Double Digit Growth for Franchising Sector

The ASEAN Secretariat, in particular through the IAI and NDG Division, supports the implementation and management of the IAI Work Plan and coordinates activities related to sub-regional frameworks. This includes servicing meetings, assisting in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and reporting of projects, resource mobilization and overall operational coordination among various IAI&NDG-related stakeholders. The Division works closely with the Dialogue Partners and international agencies to develop strategies and programmes to assist in promoting and implementing IAI and NDG activities in ASEAN.[175]

ASEAN Secretariat - IAI and NDG Division

The IAI Task Force, composed of representatives of the Committee of Permanent Representatives and its working group from all ten ASEAN member states, is in charge of providing general advice and policy guidelines and directions in the design and implementation of the IAI Work Plan. All 10 ASEAN Member States are represented in the IAI Task Force, with the Task Force chaired by representatives of the four CLMV countries. Chairmanship is rotated annually in alphabetical order. The chair for 2014 is Cambodia.

The six-year IAI Work Plans have been developed to assist the CLMV countries as well as ASEAN's other sub-regions to ensure that the economic wheels of their economies move at an accelerated pace. IAI Work Plan I was implemented from 2002 to 2008, prior to the development of the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015). IAI Work Plan II (2009-2015) supports the goals of the ASEAN Community and is composed of 182 prescribed actions, which includes studies, training programmes and policy implementation support conducted through projects supported by ASEAN-6 countries, and ASEAN’s Dialogue partners and external parties. The IAI Work Plan is patterned after and supports the key programme areas in the three ASEAN Community Blueprints: ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint, ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint.

Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG) is ASEAN’s framework for addressing various forms of disparities among and within Member States where pockets of underdevelopment exist. Under NDG, ASEAN has continued coordinating closely with other subregional cooperation frameworks in the region (e.g., BIMP-EAGA, IMT-GT, GMS, Mekong programmes), viewing them as “equal partners in the development of regional production and distribution networks” in the AEC, and as a platform to “mainstream social development issues in developing and implementing projects,” in the context of the ASCC.[175]

Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG)

However in the recent years, the Singapore government has been slowly cutting down the number of foreign workers to challenge companies in upgrading their hiring qualifications and offer more jobs for local residents. Nonetheless, the International Monetary Fund has warned that the Singapore policy of reducing the number of foreign talents could hurt the country's economic potential growth and lower its competitiveness.[174]

Singapore is the major ASEAN destination for skilled migrants from other ASEAN countries, mostly from Malaysia and the Philippines. Total employment in Singapore doubled between 1992 and 2008 from 1.5 million to three million, and the number of foreign workers almost tripled, from less than 400,000 to almost 1.1 million. High-skilled foreign talents (customer service, nursing, engineering, IT, etc.) are earning at least US$2,000 a month and with a credential (usually a college degree) receive S Passes, Employment Passes, including an EP-1 for those earning more than $7,000 a month, EP-2 for those earning $3,500 to $7,000 a month, and EP-3 for those earning $2,500 to $3,500 a month.[173]

The AEC also envisions free flow of overseas labour. However, certain receiving countries of foreign workers would require the latter to take licensing examinations on those territories to practice their professions. This is regardless of whether or not they have secured a professional license from their home countries.[172]

According to Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, ASEAN was already the seventh largest economy in the world and the third largest in Asia in 2013, estimated at USD2.3 trillion. A recent study by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited has projected that five of the top 15 manufacturing locations in the world will be in ASEAN by 2018. Furthermore, by 2050, ASEAN is also expected to be the fourth-largest economy in the world (after the European Union, United States and China). - [171]

While Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand have eliminated 99.65 percent of their tariff lines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have decreased tariffs on 98.86 percent of their lines to the 0-5 percent tariff range in 2010, and are projected to eliminate tariffs on these goods by 2015, with the ability to do so for a few import duty lines until 2018.[171]

The AEC Scorecard is purely quantitative. It only examines whether an ASEAN member state has performed the AEC task or not. The more “yes” answers, the higher the AEC Scorecard score.[167]

To date, two official scorecards have been published, one in 2010[169] and the other in 2012.[170] According to the AEC Scorecard 2012, the implementation rates of AEC’s four primary objectives: (a) single market and production base; (b) competitive economic region; (c) equitable economic development; and (d) integration into the global economy were 65.9 percent, 67.9 percent, 66.7 percent, and 85.7 percent, respectively, with 187 out of 277 measures being fully implemented by 2011.[162]

The AEC Scorecard is also a compliance tool that makes it possible to monitor the implementation of ASEAN agreements and the achievement of milestones indicated in the AEC Strategic Schedule. The Scorecard outlines specific actions that must be undertaken by ASEAN collectively and by its member states individually to establish an AEC by 2015.[168]

To track the progress of the AEC, the AEC Scorecard, a compliance tool developed based on the EU Internal Market Scorecard, was adopted by ASEAN.[162] This regional economic scorecard is the only scorecard in effect [167] and is expected to serve as an unbiased assessment tool to measure the extent of integration among its members and the economic health of the region. It is expected to provide relevant information about regional priorities and in this way foster productive, inclusive and sustainable growth. Moreover, scores create incentives for improvement by highlighting what is working and what is not.[168]

The AEC Scorecard

To lessen the impact of this consolidation, countries with banking sectors considered smaller by global standards must expand regionally. S&P in a follow up report recently cited the Philippines for “shoring up its network bases and building up capital ahead of the banking integration – playing defense and strengthening their domestic networks.’ [166]

The Philippines, with its overcrowded banking sector for example is among the ASEAN-member countries who are forecasted to feel the most pressure as the integration welcomes tighter competition with the entry of bigger, more established foreign banks.[166]

Two separate reports by credit-rating firm Standard & Poor entitled “Asean Financial Integration: The Long Road to Bank Consolidation” and “The Philippines’ Banking System: The Good, the Bad and the Ambivalent.” respectively, outlined the challenges ASEAN financial institutions are facing as they prepare for the 2020 banking integration.

While the ASEAN financial Integration isn’t going to take effect until 2020, experts from the financial services industry have already forecasted a shaky economic transition, especially for smaller players in the banking and financial services industry.

As the flow of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor between countries are liberalised with the ASEAN Economic Integration in 2015, the need arises for ASEAN banking institutions to accommodate and expand its services to a greater intra-ASEAN market.

2020 ASEAN Banking Integration Framework (ABIF)

Lessening the vulnerabilities of Phl “to foreign competition and exposure to market risks” is also the concern of Rafael Alunan III in his article “2015: Asean Integration, ready or not?.” The sectors which will be affected are the agribusiness and manufacturing industries. This is extra challenging to the agricultural industry which has to work double time in achieving its self-sufficiency status and surplus growth for export. Like Sicat, Alunan III also shares his two cents on making these identified sectors ready for the Asean integration in 2015. The author shares that by providing “adequate incentives, critical infrastructures and universal access to know-how capital” and addressing “high business costs, low import duties and extensive technical smuggling” the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors, respectively, will improve. The present manufacturing industry should be developed into an industry capable of producing dual purpose factories “producing for the domestic and export markets, supported by vital infra and systems, to spur industrialization.” It is also implied that the Phl’s defense should be built up to its “minimum desired level” to make the economy more competitive.

The report written by Mia Aznar further discusses the challenges the Philippines will encounter when the integration takes place in 2015. According to Mia’s interview with Philippine Stock Exchange president and CEO Hans Sicat, ASEAN “only constitutes (the) 17 percent share of (the Philippines’) exports” as compared to East Asia with 50.1 percent export share. It is a question whether the integration will become beneficial to the country? China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North and South Korea and Taiwan compose the East Asia group. Other points raised by Sicat in the article titled “Asean integration in 2015 will be challenge for PH: PSE president” are Philippines has “a small economy, its citizens have a low awareness about the integration initiative, it has limited products and a small investor base.” Sicat also offers solutions to lessen the challenges that lie ahead. These include having political will, implementing arrangements, coordinating and mobilizing resources, capacity building, strengthening institutions and consulting with public and private sectors.

Manila Bulletin writer Reynaldo Lugtu Jr. in his article titled ASEAN 2015 — challenges and opportunities adds “Entry of imported products” and “The challenge to innovate” as the other challenges entrepreneurs in the region will face when the integration is fully implemented next year. The former will see local manufacturers compete in the market share, where cheaper and competitive products are made available. On the other hand, the latter will see companies invest “in research and development, market research, and new technologies of production.” This is inevitable and expected since the business sector needs to deliver goods to consumers in a faster way (The challenge of speed). As Lugtu Jr. shares the ASEAN single market comprises 600 million consumers and with $1.9 trillion in combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On top of these challenges, he sees opportunities such as “Access to a bigger market,” and “Supply of human capital,” where member-nations with large population, like the Philippines whose population is now at 100 million and most members of workforce speak English, can take advantage.

Member-nations will place the right infrastructure to keep up with the fast changing ASEAN economic landscape. It also poses challenges, especially to member-nations like the Philippines whose economy is starting to boom. Journalist-businessman Wilson Lee Flores in his column titled Bull Market, Bull Sheet interviewed tycoons and identified different challenges that ASEAN businessmen face. They are the challenge of size or scale (family businesses can survive or flourish by becoming big or remaining small); the challenge of competitive spirit (market players should work harder); the challenge of speed (increase in transactions and productivity and developing new ideas); the challenge of efficiency (investment in technology and human resources); and the challenge of having a global mindset (thinking the international way).

The ASEAN Integration 2015 will see member-nations converge with one market economy, where trade is done with less restrictions (like no tariffs). The business playing field is flowing with goods (raw materials and products) and services (manpower). Nationalities are given a wide array of product choices which range from low end to high end. The integration encourages competition (showcasing the best) and complementarity (providing unique products).

One Market Economy

F. Narrowing the Development Gap

E.4. Engagement with the community

E.3. Promotion of cultural creativity and industry

E.2. Preservation and promotion of ASEAN cultural heritage

E.1. Promotion of ASEAN awareness and a sense of community

E. Building ASEAN Identity

D.11. Promoting sustainable forest management

D.10. Responding to climate change and addressing its impacts

D.9. Promoting the sustainability of freshwater resources

D.8. Promoting sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity

D.7. Promoting the sustainable use of coastal and marine environment

D.6. Harmonizing environmental policies and databases

D.5. Promoting quality living standards in ASEAN cities/urban areas

D.4. Promoting environmentally sound technology (EST)

D.3. Promoting sustainable development through environmental education and public participation

  D.2.1. Transboundary haze pollution
  D.2.2. Transboundary movement of hazardous wastes

D.2. Managing and preventing transboundary environmental pollution

D.1. Addressing global environmental issues

D. Ensuring Environmental Sustainability

C.3. Promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR)

C.2. Protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers

C.1. Promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities

C. Social Justice and Rights

B.7. Building disaster-resilient nations and safer communities

B.6. Ensuring a drug-free ASEAN

B.5. Improving capability to control communicable diseases

B.4. Access to healthcare and promotion of healthy lifestyles

B.3. Enhancing food security and safety

B.2. Social safety net and protection from the negative impacts of integration and globalization

B.1. Poverty alleviation

B. Social Welfare and Protection

A.7. Building civil service capability

A.6. Strengthening entrepreneurship skills for women, youth, elderly and persons with disabilities

A.5. Facilitating access to applied science and technology

A.4. Promoting information and communication technology

A.3. Promotion of decent work

A.2. Investing in human resource development

A.1. Advancing and prioritising education

A. Human Development

The ASCC Blueprint lists specific objectives and action points under each of the following agenda to concretize the ASCC vision.

It was also during the 14th ASEAN Summit that the Heads of States/Governments of ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint. The ASCC envisions an "ASEAN Community that is people-centered and socially responsible with a view to achieving enduring solidarity and unity among the nations and peoples of ASEAN by forging a common identity and building a caring and sharing society which is inclusive and harmonious where the well-being, livelihood, and welfare of the peoples are enhanced." Among its focus areas are human development, social welfare and protection, social justice and rights, ensuring environmental sustainability, building the ASEAN identity, and narrowing the development gap.

ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint

C.3. Strengthening Consultations and Cooperation on Multilateral Issues of Common Concern

C.2. Promoting Enhanced Ties with External Parties

C.1. Strengthening ASEAN Centrality in Regional Community Building

C. A Dynamic and Outward-looking Region in an Increasingly Integrated and Interdependent World

B.6. Effective and Timely Response to Urgent Issues or Crisis Situations Affecting ASEAN

B.5. Strengthen ASEAN Cooperation on Disaster Management and Emergency Response

  B.4.1. Strengthen cooperation in addressing non-traditional security issues, particularly in combating transnational crimes and other transboundary challenges
  B.4.2. Intensify counter-terrorism efforts by early ratification and full implementation of the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism

B.4. Non-Traditional Security Issues

  B.3.1. Strengthen ASEAN humanitarian assistance
  B.3.2. Implement human resources development and capacity building programmes in post-conflict areas
  B.3.3. Increase cooperation in reconciliation and further strengthen peace-oriented values

B.3. Post-Conflict Peace-building

  B.2.1. Build upon existing modes of pacific settlement of disputes and consider strengthening them with additional mechanisms as needed
  B.2.2. Strengthen research activities on peace, conflict management and conflict resolution
  B.2.3. Promote regional cooperation to maintain peace and stability

B.2. Conflict Resolution and Pacific Settlement of Disputes

  B.1.1. Strengthen confidence-building measures
  B.1.2. Promote greater transparency and understanding of defence policies and security perceptions
  B.1.3. Build up the necessary institutional framework to strengthen the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) process in support of the APSC
  B.1.4. Strengthen efforts in maintaining respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity of ASEAN Member States as stipulated in the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations
  B.1.5. Promote the development of norms that enhance ASEAN defence and security cooperation

B.1. Conflict Prevention/Confidence Building Measures

B. A Cohesive, Peaceful and Resilient Region with Shared Responsibility for Comprehensive Security

  A.2.1. Adjust ASEAN institutional framework to comply with the ASEAN Charter
  A.2.2. Strengthening cooperation under the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC)
  A.2.3. Ensure full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) for peace and stability in the South China Sea
  A.2.4. Ensure the implementation of the South East Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEAN WFZ) Treaty and its Plan of Action
  A.2.5. Promote ASEAN maritime cooperation

A.2. Shaping and Sharing of Norms

  A.1.1. Promote understanding and appreciation of political systems, culture and history of ASEAN Member States
  A.1.2. Lay the groundwork for an institutional framework to facilitate free flow of information for mutual support and assistance among ASEAN Member States
  A.1.3. Establish programmes for mutual support and assistance among ASEAN Member States in the development of strategies for strengthening the rule of law and judiciary systems and legal infrastructure
  A.1.4. Promote good governance
  A.1.5. Promotion and protection of human rights
  A.1.6. Increase the participation of relevant entities associated with ASEAN in moving forward ASEAN political development initiatives
  A.1.7. Prevent and combat corruption
  A.1.8. Promote principles of democracy
  A.1.9. Promote peace and stability in the region

A.1. Cooperation in Political Development

A. A Rules-based Community of Shared Values and Norms

The APSC aims to create an ASEAN Community that portrays the following characteristics: a rules-based community of shared values and norms; a cohesive, peaceful, stable and resilient region with shared responsibility for comprehensive security, and a dynamic and outward-looking region in an increasingly integrated and interdependent world. To achieve this, the APSC Blueprint puts forward the following agenda, each with a list of action points detailed in the said document.

During the 14th ASEAN Summit held 26 February to 1 March 2009, the ASEAN Heads of States/Governments adopted the APSC Blueprint. This document is designed to create a robust political-security environment within the ASEAN, with programs and activities outlined to establish the APSC by 2015. It carries the principles and purposes of the ASEAN Charter and is based on the ASEAN Security Community Plan of Action, the Vientiane Action Programme, and other relevant decisions of various ASEAN Sectoral Bodies.

ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint

This is not the first time that AEC faces a probable delay: In 2012, the commencement of the AEC was postponed to December 31, 2015 from the original plan of January 1, 2015. Despite ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan’s firm reassurance that “[t]here will be no more delays and that all ten ASEAN countries will participate,” even the most fervent proponents of AEC are beginning to worry about the increasingly diminishing chance of delivering AEC on time as 2015 closes in.[162]

In January 2014, Former ASEAN Secretary-General, Rodolfo C. Severino, wrote: “While ASEAN should not be condemned for its members’ failure to make good on their commitments, any failure to deliver will likely lead to a loss of credibility and could mean that member countries fall further behind in the global competition for export markets and foreign direct investment (FDI).”[165]

3. The general awareness deficit of ASEAN and AEC across the region. An ASEAN Secretariat survey [164] in 2013 found that three out of four ASEAN citizens lack even a basic understanding of ASEAN. This is party owed to the use of English as the ASEAN’s only working language. The very low English proficiency in the region makes it very hard for ordinary ASEAN citizens to follow regional agendas.[162]

2. The ASEAN member-states’ inability or unwillingness to see themselves as a true single market. One example is Indonesia refraining from ratifying the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement for Full Liberalization of Air Freight Services (MAFLAFS), to protect its domestic aviation industry from regional competitors, primarily from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Without the participation of Indonesia, the single aviation or “open sky” market exists in name only.[162] Another is Malaysia, which has been reluctant to liberalize auto trade barriers for fear of competition from regional car-manufacturing powerhouse Thailand. The Philippines has also kept in place heavy restrictions on foreign investors that critics say are aimed at shielding domestic businesses from competition.[163]

1. The structural incapacity of the ASEAN to pull the AEC as its Secretariat “lacks the financial and intellectual resources to act in that capacity. Astonishingly, the resources at its disposal have remained unchanged for 15 years, even though the region’s GDP had more than quadrupled.” Comparing the ASEAN Secretariat to the European Commission, the former is understaffed with about 300 employees compared to the latter’s 34,000.[162]

Ji Xianbai, in his article “Why ASEAN Economic Community Will Struggle. Serious weaknesses within ASEAN threaten the realization of the bloc’s regional project”, points out what he believes to be significant causes of the delayed ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) implementation:[162]

In 2014, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ASEAN Business Outlook Survey 2015 [161] highlighted the widespread concern that the much-anticipated ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) would not be launched by the end-2015 deadline.[161]

David Lozada of the 2012 ASEAN Student Forum echoes the position of economic experts that the region is not yet ripe for economic integration as not all member-countries are on the same level of economic growth, with some having unstable economies due to political contexts.[160]

Standard & Poor's, an American Financial Services Company, also believed that banks in the Philippines are not yet prepared for the tougher competition that would result from the integration of Southeast Asian economies. In one of its latest publications, S&P said banks in the country, although profitable and stable, have a much smaller business scale compared with their counterparts in the region.[159]

Nestor Tan, who heads the Philippines’ largest bank - BDO Unibank Inc. said that while some businesses see the Asian Economic Blueprint (AEC) as an opportunity, the Integration would be more of a threat to local firms. "I think the Philippine industries are not ready yet," he said. President Nestor Tan said that protecting the country's agricultural and financial services sectors, as well as the labor sector, would be necessary for the implementation of AEC by 2015.[158]

One late criticism is from former Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Secretary General Romulo A. Virola, who said in 2012 that the Philippines does not appear to be ready to benefit from ASEAN integration due to its “wobbly” economic performance compared to other ASEAN member countries. According to Virola, the Philippines continues to lag behind in terms of employment rate, tourism, life expectancy, and cellular subscription.[157]

Dr. Gerardo P. Sicat, a Filipino economist, accounted his own interpretations of these in two separate articles. He mentioned the country’s preparedness would be bent on how expedient the government would be on the reforms,[155] such as the revisit of the trade and investment policies so as to encompass as many virtuous and money-spinning businesses, maximizing our opportunities in trade agreements, and the improvement of our constitution and industrial practices and principles,.[156]

Some panelists enumerated other matters to be cogitated for the successful take off. Among them were massive consciousness from the 600 million people living in the concerned region, a heightened level of comprehension from the business sector, current visa arrangements, demand for specific skills, banking connections, and economic differences between member-nations and within their localities.

"please do not expect a big bang event in 2015 where everything is going to happen overnight when the ASEAN Economic Community comes into being. We've made progress in some areas and unfortunately regressed in some areas.[154]

The ASEAN integration has raised concerns, particularly on its realization goals by 2015. Business and economy experts who attended the Lippo-UPH Dialogue in Naypidaw, Malaysia cited issues relating to aviation, agriculture, human resources development. The timing has also been a topic for discussion, as effects may not be realized based on set timelines due to several factors (such as cultural barriers and other regional differences), although some panelists, among them, Kishore Mahbubani, forewarned the very high expectations at the onset. He stated:

Reception and Criticisms

ASEAN Free Trade AREA (FTA) is not generous to its members, it favors more countries under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), because of its greater scope than ASEAN FTA. This gap is a potential risk to the integration, the objective of AFT is defeated by GATT benefits. Therefore, other ASEAN members may deal with non-ASEAN countries who have efficient process and more productive us.[153]

Regional economic integration can enhance the possible incomes among ASEAN member countries, though ASEAN is concerned with the wide disparities of incomes and other human development among members. We hope for the possible assurance that ASEAN member countries would benefit from the progress of regional integration particularly our country.

ASEAN members established the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)which is a part of ASEAN Vision 2020. Important achievement of the summit included the unprocessed agricultural products in the Common Effective Preferential Tarifss (CEPT) scheme.

3. Non-ASEAN members were able to take advantage of the AFTA privilege, however ASEAN has the parameter that measures the scope of liberalization.

2. ASEAN member countries like Singapore and Indonesia may have multilateral with other non-ASEAN countries who have efficient production process. Indonesia's trade direction to non-ASEAN is 86.4 percent, while 13.5% were traded to ASEAN members.

1. Will the ASEAN Free trade agreement caused the rampant smuggling activities in our country?

ASEAN Economic Community has a noble goal for its neighboring members, however, I would like to ask if the economic trade regional integration scheme benefits its member countries in terms of economic growth with more export and poverty alleviation? I would to cite challenges that we may encounter in our country and may have negative impact on our economy:

The Asean Leaders were able to start transforming ASEAN into a stable, and progressive region with equitable economic development that alleviate poverty and socio-economic disparities (ASEAN Vision 2020)[152]

ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, started since 1967.

ASEAN will officially declare the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community by end December 2015. For the ASEAN economies and citizens, it will be business as usual – mainly because the key agreements and regulations that will govern the business and economic relationships under the AEC are already in place and operational.[148]

The AEC is the realization of the end goal of economic integration as espoused in the Vision 2020 (brought forward to 2015), which is based on a convergence of interests of ASEAN Member States to deepen and broaden economic integration through existing and new initiatives with clear timelines. In establishing the AEC, ASEAN shall act in accordance to the principles of an open, outward-looking, inclusive, and market-driven economy consistent with multilateral rules as well as adherence to rules-based systems for effective compliance and implementation of economic commitments. The value of an AEC Blueprint is that it showed the world that ASEAN was serious about its plans and goals.[148]

The formulation of an AEC Blueprint (with clearly stated goals, timelines and implementing strategies) which the ASEAN Leaders ratified during the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore in November 2007, established the members’ commitment to a common goal as well as ensuring compliance with stated objectives and timelines. The AEC Blueprint lays out the overall vision as well as the goals, implementing plans and strategies (actions) as well as the strategic schedule (timeline) for achieving the establishment of the AEC by 2015.[148]

The ASEAN Economic Community or AEC is the embodiment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ vision of “… a stable, prosperous and highly competitive ASEAN economic region in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investment and a freer flow of capital, equitable economic development and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities.” AEC 2015 is a tagline or catchphrase that came about as a means to remind people that the target date for establishing the AEC is in 2015 – thus “AEC 2015.” [148]

The ASEAN Economic Community is the goal of regional economic integration by 2015. Its characteristics include: (1) a single market and production base, (2) a highly competitive economic region, (3) a region of fair economic development, and (4) a region fully integrated into the global economy. The areas of cooperation include human resources development; recognition of professional qualifications; closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies; trade financing measures; enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity; development of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN; integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing; and enhancing private sector involvement. Through the free movement of skilled labor, goods, services and investment, the ASEAN will rise globally as one market with each member gaining from each other's strength, thus will increase its total competitiveness and opportunities for development.[151]

2. TASK concerned Ministers, assisted by the ASEAN Secretariat, to implement the AEC Blueprint and to report to us regularly, through the Council of the ASEAN Economic Community, on the progress of its implementation.

1. ADOPT the AEC Blueprint which each ASEAN Member Country shall abide by and implement the AEC by 2015. The AEC Blueprint will transform ASEAN into a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy. The AEC Blueprint including its strategic schedule is annexed to this Declaration.

Do Hereby:

WE, the Heads of State/Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, Member Countries of ASEAN, on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN and the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore;

The declaration of ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint :

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is now often referred to as the "AEC 2015" since its acceleration from the original target date of 2020 to 2015. As one of the three pillars of the ASEAN, it aims to "implement economic integration initiatives" in order to create a single market across ASEAN nations. Thus, on November 20, 2007, during the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore, its blueprint, which serves as a coherent master plan guiding the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 was adopted.[150]

ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint

1. Agro-based products
2. Fisheries
3. Wood-based products
4. Rubber-based products
5. Textiles & Apparels
6. Automotive
7. Electronics
8. Air Travel
9. Tourism
10. Health care
11. e-ASEAN (ICT)

There are 11 priority integration sectors which consist of the following:

  1. Coherent approach towards external economic relations
  2. Enhanced participation in global supply networks

Region Fully Integrated into the Global Economy

  1. SME development
  2. Initiative for ASEAN Integration

Region of Equitable Economic Development

  1. Competition policy
  2. Consumer protection
  3. Intellectual property rights
  4. Infrastructure development
  5. Taxation & e-commerce

Competitive Economic Region

  1. Free flow of goods
    - includes the elimination of non-tariff and tariff barriers to internal trade as well as the coordination of rules of coordination the trade facilitation and customs.
  2. Free flow of services
    - comes with the removal of the restrictions on trade-in services. Priority sectors are air transport, healthcare, logistics services, and tourism. This aims to gradually allow ASEAN countries' equity participation for all service sectors.
  3. Free flow of investment
    - enables an enhanced investment protection to all ASEAN investors and their investments in other ASEAN countries.
  4. Free flow of capital
    - allows for greater harmonization in ASEAN capital markets standards.
  5. Free flow of skilled labour
    - facilitates the issuance of visa and employment passes for ASEAN professionals.

Single Market Production Base

ASEAN Economic Community (AEC 2015): key characteristics[149]

At the conclusion of the 14th ASEAN Summit, held in Cha-am, Thailand in 2009, the Heads of State signed the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Roadmap for the ASEAN Community (2009-2015). The Roadmap includes blueprints for each of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community. The blueprints describe the specific political-security, economic, and socio-cultural characteristics the ASEAN Community intends to achieve by 2015, and outlines specific action points to achieve such characteristics.

At the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore, from 18–22 November 2007 with the theme "One ASEAN at the Heart of Dynamic Asia," leaders of the member States endorsed the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint on a plan to establish a single market and production base in the ASEAN region by 2015. The ASEAN Member States adopted the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, a comprehensive document that lays out the overall vision as well as the goals, implementing plans and strategies (actions) as well as the strategic schedule (timeline) for achieving the establishment of the AEC by 2015.[148]

The ASEAN Community was originally envisioned by the Leaders to commence in 2020. It was during the 30th anniversary of ASEAN when the ten Heads of State/Government adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020 through the Bali Concord II, signed on 27 October 2003. The ASEAN Vision 2020 agreed on “a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies.” The Bali Concord II established the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, namely, the ASEAN Security Community (which later became the ASEAN Political-Security Community, APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC). However, during the 12th ASEAN Summit held in January 2007 in Cebu, Philippines, the Leaders decided to accelerate the regional integration to 2015. One of the primary reasons for the decision to fast track regional integration was to reinforce ASEAN’s centrality and to ensure that ASEAN remains as the driving force in drawing the continuously evolving regional architecture.[147] Also during the 12th ASEAN Summit, the Member States signed five agreements aimed in further strengthening the integration of ASEAN and further enhancing political, economic and social cooperation in the region. The major output of this Summit is the signing of the "Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015."

In connection with IAI, universities in the ASEAN members started to accept students locally and from ASEAN region. For instance, last academic year 2008-2009, Batangas State University's president at that time, Dr. Nora Lumbera - Magnaye, accepted Vietnamese professors from Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry to undergo intensive English Course at the said university. Last August 5, 2008, His Excellency, Vu Xuan Truong, the ambassador of the Republic of Vietnam, together with Dr. Tuan Anh, the Director of the International Training Program of Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry, visited these professors. The other purpose of the visit is to strengthen the relationship between the two Universities by discussing the extension of the undergraduate, Masters and Doctorate Programs. As of this date, Batangas State University still continues to serve students from the ASEAN region as the answer to help CLMV.[146]

The IAI has set-up four human resource development training centers in the new member States and by 2002 there were more than 10,000 participants in the program in various fields such as English Language, Information and Communication Technology, Trade and Tourism.

The Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) was launched 2000 by ASEAN Heads of States to contribute to the objectives of Narrowing the Development Gap and to accelerate the integration of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV), the newer and lesser developed Member States of ASEAN. By augmenting the capacity of CLMV to implement regional agreements, the IAI hopes to accelerate the regional integration process as a whole.[145]

ASEAN Integration 2015

Looking at adult (defined as the entire population 15 and older) literacy rates, we can see that most reporting countries have made significant progress in this demographic as well. All but two reporting countries reached adult literacy rates of around 90% or better. Looking at the differences in literacy rates by sex, we can see a visible gender gap. This gap is most apparent in Cambodia and Laos, with percentage differences between adult men and adult women literacy rates of 14% and 19%, respectively.[144] Only in the Philippines is the literacy rate among women higher than among men.

Country Year (most recent) Adult (15+) Literacy Rate Total Adult Men Adult Women Youth (15-24) Literacy Rate Total Youth Men Youth Women
 Brunei 2009 95% 97% 94% 100% 100% 100%
2008 78% 85% 71% 87% 89% 86%
 Indonesia 2008 92% 95% 89% 99% 100% 99%
 Laos 2005 73% 82% 63% 84% 89% 79%
 Malaysia 2009 92% 95% 90% 99% 98% 99%
 Burma 2009 92% 95% 90% 96% 96% 95%
 Philippines 2008 95% 95% 96% 98% 97% 98%
 Singapore 2009 95% 97% 92% 100% 100% 100%
 Thailand 2005 94% 96% 92% 98% 98% 98%
 Vietnam 2009 93% 95% 91% 97% 97% 96%

[143][142] The data of literacy rates in reporting countries of 15 to 24 years old reflect outcomes of the basic education process and is therefore considered an accepted measure of the effectiveness of that country's

Literacy indicators provide us with a measure of the number of literate persons within the population who are capable of using written words in daily and to continue to learn.[141] The literacy rate essentially reflects the cumulative accomplishment of education in spreading literacy. The literacy rate is usually linked to school enrolment ratios and school retainment rates (through at least grade 5) of primary education, both of which contribute to the literate population.

Literacy rates

It is therefore evident that "universal access to, and completion of, primary or basic education is a self-evident goal upon which the foundations for building the human capacity rests. Increased participation, regardless of sex, in secondary and tertiary levels of education is a necessary step to be able to move forward in the process of achieving equity, capacity building, access to information, and strengthening science."[136]

Statistically, educational attainment (as measured by average years of schooling) strongly correlates with subsequent income levels and development capabilities. An improvement in educational attainment will have a positive effect on a country's income and human development (humanity) growth.[140]

Education as a determinant of human development

The ASEAN Scholarship is a scholarship programme offered by Singapore to the 9 other member states for secondary school, junior college, and university education. It covers accommodation, food, medical benefits & accident insurance, school fees, and examination fees.[137] Scholarship recipients who then perform well in the GCE Advanced Level Examination may apply for ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarships, which are tailored specifically for undergraduate institutions in Singapore and in other ASEAN member countries.[138] Singapore has effectively used this programme to attract many of the best students from the ASEAN region over the past several years, and scholars for the most part tend to remain in Singapore to pursue undergraduate studies through the ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship programme.[139]


While the public current expenditure on primary education as percentage of GDP can never be close to 100%, it is theoretically possible to have the public current expenditure per pupil as percentage of GDP per capita to reach or exceed 100%. Except for Singapore, this indicator fluctuates somewhat, but seems to have stabilised at around 10% for two reporting countries of ASEAN at the end of the 1990s decade. Since 1996, the indicator has steadily risen in the Philippines reaching almost 14% by 1998. Upward or downward trend for this indicator can have many causes which include sharp changes in enrolment rates of government expenditures on primary education.[136]

Primary education expenditure in the reporting ASEAN countries is usually lower than 3% of GDP, with the exception of Indonesia, which reported 5%. Two countries that show noticeable rising trends are the Philippines and Lao PDR. Malaysia has experienced a gradual downward trend throughout the 1990s but stabilised around the year 2000. Indonesia experienced a sharp decline in primary education expenditure as a percent of GDP between 1995 and 1999 from almost 10% to 5%. Singapore has maintained a stable 0.6% up until 2000 and increased slightly to 0.7% in 2001.[136]

To measure the investments in education by governments, we use the metrics of public current expenditure on primary education as a percent of GDP and expenditure per pupil as a percent of GDP. These two indicators are based on public current expenditure at all government levels on all public primary schools and subsidies to private educational institutions, teachers and pupils. In some instances regarding figures used in these calculations, data on current public expenditure on education may refer only to the Ministry of Education, excluding other ministries that spend a part of their budget on educational activities.[125]

Governments have a vested interest in investing in education and other aspects of human capital infrastructure, especially those governments of rapidly developing nations such as those within ASEAN. In the short run, investment spending directly supports aggregate demand and growth. In the longer term, investments in physical infrastructure, in productivity enhancements by businesses, and especially in the public provision of education and health services determine the potential for growth.[135]

Financial resources

Public efforts

  • The ASEAN University Network (AUN) is a consortium of Southeast Asian universities. It was originally founded in November 1995 by 11 universities within the member states.[133] Currently AUN comprises 26 Participating Universities.[134]
  • The Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (SEED-NET) Project, was officially established as an autonomous sub-network of the ASEAN University Network (AUN) in April 2001'. AUN/SEED-Net aimed at promoting human resources development in engineering in ASEAN. The Network consists of 19 leading Member Institutions (selected by the Ministries in charge of higher education of respective countries) from 10 ASEAN countries with the support of 11 leading Japanese Supporting Universities (selected by Japanese Government). AUN/SEED-Net is mainly supported by the Japanese Government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and partially supported by the ASEAN Foundation. AUN/SEED-Net activities are implemented by the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat with the support of the JICA Project for AUN/SEED-Net, now based at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.

University Network

While the HPAEs (High Performing Asian Economies) and ASEAN-6 (the 6 oldest ASEAN members) have invested heavily in public education, and, unlike many other developing nations, have concentrated on primary and secondary schooling, tertiary education has been left largely to the private sector.[131] Tertiary education in Southeast Asia is, in general, relatively weak. In most cases universities are focused on teaching and service to government rather than academic research. Additionally, universities in Southeast Asia, both in terms of academic salaries and research infrastructure (libraries, laboratories), tend to be financially handicapped and poorly supported. Moreover, regional academic journals cater to their 'home' informed audiences and respond less to international standards which makes universal or regional benchmarking difficult.[132]

Tertiary education

[130]By 2001, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines had achieved improvements in net enrolment ratios for secondary education of 11%-19% over those of 1990 or 1991. Vietnam experienced the fastest growth rate in net enrolment between the years 1993 and 1998. Singapore, the country with the highest overall achievement, has maintained consistently high net enrolment rates of above 90% since 1994. With regard to gender differences, the difference in the ratios of females to males ranges from 0.2%-6% (for the six countries for which these ratios are available: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). "The overall pattern is that girls seem to exhibit appreciably higher net enrolment ratios for secondary education, except in the case of Singapore where the ratios for girls and boys converged in the second half of the reporting period."
High school students in Laos assemble a jigsaw puzzle map of Southeast Asia. Laos is a member of ASEAN but most students know little about the other 9 member countries. The map is one of many hands-on activities offered by Big Brother Mouse, a not-for-profit literacy and education project.

Secondary education

Most reporting countries in ASEAN have steadily improved retention rates of pupils through 5th grade. At the top are Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, which have shown consistent survival rates of close to 100%, indicating a very high retention of children in school through at least 5th grade. Among the rest of the countries with rates ranging from 57% to 89% towards the end of the past century, Myanmar has maintained the largest improvements over the years.[129]

It is also useful to look at retainment and efficiency rates in education throughout ASEAN. The effectiveness of efforts to extend literacy depends on the ability of the education system to ensure full participation of school-age children and their successful progression to reach at least grade 5, which is the stage when they are believed to have firmly acquired literacy and numeracy. The usual indicator to measure the level of this efficiency achievement is the proportion of pupils starting grade 1 reaching grade 5 of primary education.[128]

We can make a few observations based on reported data on primary education enrollment. Brunei Darussalam had almost reached 100% net enrollment by 2001, while Indonesia has slowly moved downward from close to that enrolment percentage thereafter. The Philippines has been inching closer and closer to this target in recent years. The data indicate two groups of countries - one which has consistently attained a net enrollment ratio of more than 90% (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore) and the other group with around 80% (Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar). Vietnam started in the lower group and has moved to the upper group in the last few decades. Thailand has not provided data for both sexes, but the separate net enrolment ratio for girls and boys indicates that the overall ratio would be between 86% and 87%, and as such would be closer to the higher group. The primary net enrolment ratios of boys were almost always higher than those of girls for all reporting countries except Malaysia. For Singapore and Indonesia since 1998, however, the net enrolment ratios for girls and boys were not significantly different. A marked widening of gender gap was noticeable in the Philippines in 1997 but in 1999 the net enrolment ratios for girls exceeded that for boys.[127]

Primary education

Participation in formal education is usually measured by the metric Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) and Net Enrollment Ratio (NER). The NER demonstrates the extent of participation in a given age-specific level of education. The purpose of the GER is to show the total enrollment in a level of education regardless of age. The GER is expressed as a percentage of the official school-age population corresponding to the same level of education.[126]

School enrollment and participation

Education indicators outlined hereafter belong to primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Primary education is generally defined as the level of education where children are provided with basic reading, writing, and mathematical skills together with elementary understanding of such subjects as history, geography, natural science, social science, art, and music. Secondary education continues to build up on the knowledge provided by primary education and aims at laying the foundations for lifelong learning and human development with more advanced material and learning mechanisms. Tertiary education, whether or not leading to an advanced research qualification, requires minimally the successful completion of secondary education for admission and entails the level of education within some college or university.[125]

Universities in the Philippines are evidently promoting the cooperation on ASEAN University Network (AUN). In the Philippines, for instance, Batangas State University is encouraging some of its faculty members, who are engineers by profession, to apply for ASEAN Engineer thru ASEAN Engineering Register (AER). The AER is on an important mission from 1998 to spearhead the mobility of engineers within ASEAN.[123] As a result, seven (7) Mechanical Engineers and two (2) Industrial Engineers of BatStateU were conferred as ASEAN Engineers. In addition to that, the new Batangas State University President, Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo is the first Engineer in the province of Batangas to be conferred as an ASEAN Engineer.[124] This initiative is in line with the ASEAN Secretarial Program for the liberalization of professional services within ASEAN to prepare for globalization under the World Trade Organization (WTO) initiative.[123]

At the 11th ASEAN Summit in December 2005, ASEAN Leaders set new directions for regional education collaboration when they welcomed the decision of the ASEAN Education Ministers to convene the ASEAN Education Ministers’ Meetings (ASED) on a regular basis. The Leaders also called for ASEAN Education Ministers to focus on enhancing regional cooperation in education.[122] The ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting, which meets annually, oversees ASEAN cooperation efforts on education at the ministerial level. With regard to implementation, such programmes and activities resulting from such efforts are for the most part carried out by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Education (SOM-ED), which reports to the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting. SOM-ED also manages cooperation on higher education through the ASEAN University Network (AUN). The AUN was established to assist ASEAN in (1) promoting cooperation among ASEAN scholars, academics, and scientists in the region; (2) developing academic and professional human resources in the region; (3) promoting information dissemination among the ASEAN academic community; and (4) enhancing the awareness of regional identity and the sense of "ASEAN-ness" among members.[120]

As the "collective entity to enhance regional cooperation in education", the ASEAN Education Ministers have determined four priorities that ASEAN efforts toward improved education would address: (1) Promoting ASEAN awareness among ASEAN citizens, particularly youth; (2) Strengthening ASEAN identity through education; (3) Building ASEAN human resources in the field of education; and (4) Strengthening ASEAN university networking.[120] Nations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines have experienced rapid development over the past 20 years, and this has been visibly evident in their educational systems. Each country has developed unique - yet interconnected through ASEAN initiatives - human and physical infrastructure to provide youth education, a primary determinant in future capabilities and sustained economic growth for the entire region.[121] Various programmes and projects have been and are currently in the process of being developed to fulfil these directives and to reach these future goals.[120]

Education and human development

Songs and music

Site Country Site Country
Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park  Burma Ao Phang-nga Marine National Park  Thailand
Apo Natural Park  Philippines Imperial City, Huế  Vietnam
Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park  Indonesia Gunung Leuser National Park  Indonesia
Gunung Mulu National Park  Malaysia Ha Long Bay  Vietnam
Hoi An Ancient Town  Vietnam Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park  Philippines
Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary  Burma Inlé Lake Wildlife Sanctuary  Burma
Kaeng Krachan National Park  Thailand Kerinci Seblat National Park  Indonesia
Khakaborazi National Park  Burma Khao Yai National Park  Thailand
Kinabalu National Park  Malaysia Komodo National Park  Indonesia
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long  Vietnam Lampi Kyun Wildlife Reserve  Burma
Lorentz National Park  Indonesia Meinmhala Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary  Burma
Mu Ko Surin-Mu Ko Similan Marine National Park  Thailand Nam Ha Protected Area  Laos
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park  Vietnam Preah Monivong (Bokor) National Park
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park  Philippines Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve  Singapore
Taman Negara National Park  Malaysia Tarutao Marine National Park  Thailand
Tasek Merimbun Wildlife Sanctuary  Brunei Thung Yai-Huay Kha Khaeng National Park  Thailand
Ujung Kulon National Park  Indonesia
Virachey National Park
Keraton Yogyakarta  Indonesia
Mỹ Sơn  Vietnam Citadel of Ho Dynasty  Vietnam
Mount Malindang  Philippines Vigan City  Philippines
Taal Volcano  Philippines Mayon Volcano  Philippines

ASEAN Heritage Sites

ASEAN Heritage Parks[118] is a list of nature parks launched 1984 and relaunched in 2004. It aims to protect the region's natural treasures. There are now 35 such protected areas, including the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park and the Kinabalu National Park.[119]

Heritage Parks

ASAIHL or the teaching, research, and public service, with the intention of cultivating a sense of regional identity and interdependence.


The S.E.A. Write Award is a literary award given to Southeast Asian poets and writers annually since 1979. The award is either given for a specific work or as a recognition of an author's lifetime achievement. Works that are honoured vary and have included poetry, short stories, novels, plays, folklore as well as scholarly and religious works. Ceremonies are held in Bangkok and are presided by a member of the Thai royal)

Logo of the SEA Write Award

SEA Write Award

Citizen Involvement in One ASEAN Community[117] In building the Asean Community by 2015, the Asean Ministers Responsible for Information (Amri) Technical Working Group call for citizen involvement in “connectivity master plan.” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma said the interaction must not only come from government officials at the political levels but also from the citizens themselves. He stressed the importance of the participation of students, saying the way to build Asean consciousness and awareness is through the youth. Asean saw the need for breaching digital divide, increasing internet penetration and harmonizing technology to enhance ties. In Malaysia, Balakrishnan Kandasamy said this has been actively executed in his country, where usage of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has been increasing. Communication plan focused on the three key pillars of the Asean Community, namely political-security community, economic community and socio-cultural community.

14. H.E.Mr. Sun Gyu Bang, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea

13. Mr. Soichiro Seki, Director General for International Affairs, Global ICT Strategy Bureau, representing Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan

12. H.E.Mr. Cai Mingzhao, Minister of State Council Information Office, People’s Republic of China

11. H.E.Mr.Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN

10. H.E. Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung,Vice Minister of Information and Communications, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

9. H.E. Mr. Pisanu Suvanajata, Ambassador of Thailand to Myanmar, representing Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office

8. H.E. Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, Singapore

7. H.E.Mr.Sonny Coloma, Secretary, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Philippines

6. H.E U Aung Kyi, Union Minister of Information, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar

5. H.E Mr. Jailani bin Johari, Deputy Minister of Communication and Multimedia, Malaysia

4. H.E Mr.Savankhone Razmoutry, Vice Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR

3. Dr. Suprawoto, Secretary-General, representing Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Indonesia

2. H.E Dr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Cambodia

1. H.E Dato Paduka Haji Abd. Wahab bin Juned. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Brunei Darussalam

List of Ministers Attended

21. The Minister expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of Myanmar for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the 12th AMRI Conference. The Conference was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN solidarity and cordiality.

20. The Ministers agreed to convince the 13th Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (13th AMRI) and its related meetings with Dialogue Partners in the Philippines in 2016.

Closing and Acknowledgement

19. The ASEAN Ministers noted a proposal from the Republic of Korea on possible ways in which ASEAN and the ROK could collaborate, in addition to the ASEAN Plus Three framework. The ASEAN Ministers welcomed the furtherance of media exchanges with the ROK, including exchanges in digital broadcasting technology as well as co-production of digital content, exchanges and training of journalists and the development of human resources.

18. The ASEAN Minister welcomed the progress of cooperation with Japan on digital content, especially local content development and human resource development. The ASEAN Ministers expressed their appreciation for Japan’s plan on cooperation to promote authorized distribution of broadcast content, shared knowledge of content, and strength people and cultural exchanged based on the recognition that information and media could contribute to enhancing ASEAN connectivity including people-to-people connectivity.

17. The ASEAN Ministers appreciated China’s efforts to use broadcasting and publications for fostering the ASEAN-China friendly ties and good-neighbourly relationships. The ASEAN Ministers noted that China pay s great attention to the friendly exchanges and cooperation in the field of information and media within the ASEAN Plus Three framework with the understanding that the AMRI-3 is an important mechanism for pragmatic cooperation aimed at promotion mutual understanding and trust and maintaining peace, stability and development in the region.

16. The ASEAN Plus Three Minister reviewed the progress of the ASEAN-China Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN-China Cooperation through information and Media (2010-2015), and the Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Through Information and media (2012-2017). The Ministers noted that several initiatives are being discussed to further enhance cooperation between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries.

15. The Ministers exchanges views on the progress of ASEAM Plus Three cooperation and possible measures to further enhance cooperation between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries in the field of information and media.

Enhancing Cooperation with Dialogue Partners

14. The Ministers shared positive views on the necessary expansion and improvement of the information and media cooperation in ASEAN so that it will effectively enhance the existing programmers in disseminating information on ASEAN, and educate our peoples on the progress of the ASEAN community building process. In this regard, the Ministers noted the set up of three Working Groups, namely ASEAN Digital Broadcasting (ADB), Working Group on Information, Media, and Training; and Working Group on Content and Production, to strengthen the information and media cooperation in ASEAN.

13. At the Conference, the Ministers agreed to adopt the Declaration on Social Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous Community. The Declaration (appeared as ANNEX 2) is a guiding document to further strengthen cooperation in the fields of information and media through undertaking programmes and joint activities, and by leveraging on all forms of media.

12. The Ministers agreed that the information and media shall cover more cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder issues to support creating a sense of belonging and enhancing deeper mutual understanding among ASEAN Member States about their culture, history, religion and civilization. The Ministers also highlighted the need to deepen media cooperation to support communication building through closer coordination, joint projects, media networking and human resources development especially the younger generation, to support ASEAN’s concerted efforts in promoting ASEAN awareness and building the ASEAN Community.

Social Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous ASEAN Community

11. In the area of technical standards, the Ministers endorsed a recommendation on the development of an ASEAN-wide DVB-T2 Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD) specification to reap the benefits of economics of scale for affordable DVB-T2 IRDs in ASEAN Member States who already adopted DVB-T2 for DTTB.

10. With regard to digital broadcasting, the Ministers welcomed initiatives that were identified to benefit leapfrogging to Digital Video Broadcasting— Terrestrial Second Generation (DVB-T2), and noted regional efforts in the implementation of the ‘Guidelines for ASEAN Digital Switch-Over’ (2015-2020). The Ministers commended the completion of the first-ever TV co-production programme on ‘Rice: Seed of Life in a series of ‘Color of ASEAN’ in High Definition format.

9. The Ministers noted with satisfactions that several initiatives have been taken up to address the requirement of a growing population using social media, amongst those which include the new website for ASEAN’s culture and information which replaces the ASEAN Media Portal and the ASEAN Culture and Information Portal, social media and an ASEAN Virtual Learning Resources Centre (AVLRC). All of which will serve as resourceful platforms that enable online users seamless navigations on culture, history and place of interest in ASEAN.

8. The Ministers noted a steady progress and outcomes of key projects aiming to increase ASEAN awareness and mutual understanding through the ASEAN information and media cooperation process, such as the television and radio news exchanges (ASEAN Television News and ASEAN-in-Action respectively), and the ASEAN Quiz (regional and national levels), etc.

7. Appreciating the need to implement a comprehensive communications plan to meet the vision of One ASEAN Community by 2015, the Ministers called for stronger coordination and effective communication among the different sectoral bodies in implementation of the ASCC Blueprint, optimizing opportunities for cross-sectoral cooperation to inform the public about the benefit of ASEAN’s integration and community building.

Steady Progress of Information and Media Cooperation

6. The Chairman in his opening statement stated that the year 2014 is an important year for Myanmar as she is taking the rotating chair of ASEAN for the first time after joining ASEAN in 17 years. 2014 is also a key timeline towards marking the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015. He further highlighted the Myanmar is taking all necessary steps to implement the responsibilities of ASEAN Chair in accordance with the theme for 2014 ASEAN Chair as “Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community”. In this regard, he stressed that the information and media sector shall be engaged and cooperated with the governments and other stakeholders to ensure sufficient information about ASEAN will reach our peoples, and to provide an opportunity to educating peoples about the benefits of ASEAN’s integration and ASEAN community building process.

5. The Conference was chaired by His Excellency (HE) U Aung Kyi, Union Minister, Ministry of Information of Myanmar. The list of Ministers from all ASEAN Member States and the Plus Three Countries is presented in ANNEX 1.

4. The ASEAN Anthem ‘The ASEAN Way’ was played at the opening ceremony.

3. The Conference was officiated by the Vice President Dr. Sai Mauk Kham. In his Opening Address, the Honourable Vice President emphasized that as we are moving forward to set up a people-centred ASEAN Community and enhancing connectivity for an ASEAN Community, media cooperation plays an important role in linking our societies and encouraging civil society to participate in regional-community building. He referred to the outcomes of the 11th AMRI Meeting held in Malaysia in 2012 on the positive role that social media can contribute to enhance cultural values, understanding and solidarity amongst peoples of ASEAN. As such, he concluded that the theme for the 12th AMRI Meeting—“Social Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous Community”—is timely to further promote media development and cooperation in building the ASEAN Community.

Opening Ceremony

2. The Conferences were preceded by the Senior Officials Meeting for the 12th AMRI on 10 June 2014, and the ASEAN Plus three Senior Officials Meeting for the 3rd AMRI+3 on 11 June 2014.

1. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar hosted the Twelfth Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (12th AMRI) and the Third Conference of ASEAN Plus Three Ministers Responsible for Information (3rd AMRI+3) in Nay Pyi Taw, on 12 June 2014.

Joint Media Statement

Twelfth Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information and Third Conference of ASEAN Plus Three Ministers Responsible for Information (Venue: Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, 12 June 2014)

12th ASEAN AMRI [116]

15. HE Dato' Misran Karmain, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community

14. HE Mr. Kim Yong Hwan, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea

13. HE Mr. Tetsuo Yamakawa, Vice Minister for Policy Coordination, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan

12. HE Mr. Wang Chen, Minister of State Council Information Office, People's Republic China

11. HE Nguyen Thanh Hung, Vice Minister of Information, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

10. HE Tongthong Chandransu, Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, Thailand

9. HE Ms. Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts & the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore

8. HE Mr. Herminio B. Coloma Jr., Secretary, Presidential Communications Operations Office, the Philippines

7. HE Mr. Soe Win, Deputy Minister of Information, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar

6. HE Datuk Maglin Dennis D'Cruz, Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Malaysia

5. HE Mr. Savankhone Razmountry, Vice Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR

4. HE Mr. Freddy Herman Tulung, Director General of Information and Public Communication, Republic of Indonesia

3. HE Dr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Kingdom of Cambodia

2. HE Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (R) Dato Seri Setia (Dr.) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office, Brunei Darussalam

1. HE Dr. Rais Yatim, Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Malaysia – Chairperson of 11th AMRI and 2nd AMRI+3

List of Ministers Attended

19. The Ministers expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Malaysia for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the 11th AMRI Conference. The Conference was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN solidarity and cordiality.

18. The Ministers agreed to convene the 12th Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (12th AMRI) and its related meetings with Dialogue Partners in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in 2014.

Closing and Acknowledgment

17. ASEAN Plus Three Ministers endorsed the Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Through Information and Media 2012 – 2017, which listed out programmes ASEAN and the Plus Three countries could collaborate on. ASEAN Member States have agreed to take the lead in coordinating 17 concrete activities listed in the Work Plan. ASEAN Ministers appreciated the support provided by the Plus Three Countries towards the implementation of these projects.

Development of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation on Information

16. Appreciating the need to implement a comprehensive communications plan to meet the vision of One ASEAN Community by 2015, the Ministers directed a technical working group to study the immediate communications need and recommend an effective communications plan, using media channels that are available in Member States. It is envisioned that this plan will promote a clearer understanding on what One ASEAN Community means for the entire region and its peoples.

15. The Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress in the implementation of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint, in particular the ongoing projects to increase ASEAN awareness such as the television and radio news exchanges (ASEAN TV News and ASEAN-In-Action) and the implementation of the ASEAN Quiz.

The role of AMRI in the ASEAN Community Building Efforts

14. In addition, the Ministers considered the proposal to review the current format of the successful ASEAN Quiz programme. After a decade of implementation, the Ministers recognised that it is timely to have a more structured and standardised format both at national and regional levels as well as, a repository of quiz questions based on a complementary curriculum developed by the Education Sector. By including an online element, the proposal will provide easier access to ASEAN resources, with a view to enhancing knowledge and increasing awareness of ASEAN among the younger generation.

13. To reflect current realities of social media, the Ministers considered the proposal to consolidate the ASEAN Culture and Information Portal and the ASEAN Media Portal, incorporating new media elements. The Ministers concurred that both portals could be integrated and requested the ASEAN Secretariat to study and make recommendations on improvements to be made.

12. To this end, the Ministers called for active discussion among ASEAN Member States to identify appropriate programmes and activities that would utilise social media positively to inculcate cultural values, understanding and solidarity among the peoples of ASEAN.

11. The Ministers recognised the emergence of new and social media as an important tool for communications and interaction in ASEAN today. The Ministers agreed that efforts should be made to leverage on social media to promote ASEAN awareness towards achieving an ASEAN Community by 2015.

New and Social Media

10. The Ministers also took note of Japan's input on the constantly evolving digital technology and that adoption of the standard may vary under different socio-economic situations.

9. In the area of technical standards, the Ministers noted that ADB recognizes that Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial Second Generation (DVB-T2) is a more advanced technology compared to DVB-T and acknowledges the benefits of migrating directly to DVB-T2. The Ministers also noted that the ADB will be developing common specifications for DVB-T2 receivers to enjoy economies of scale.

8. In addition, the Ministers supported the ADB's initiatives to embark on the joint production of a television series entitled, 'Colours of ASEAN' in High Definition (HD) to be completed by December 2013. The Ministers noted that ADB will seek funding from the ASEAN-COCI to support this project.

7. The ASEAN Ministers noted the progress in the implementation of digital broadcasting in ASEAN Member States towards Analogue Switch-Off from 2015 to 2020. The Ministers also endorsed the 'Guidelines for ASEAN Digital Switch-Over' which will serve as a shared blueprint to aid all Member States in their transition towards digital broadcasting. This guideline is based on the best practices of the various ASEAN Member States and referencing the "Guidelines for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting" developed by the ITU.

ASEAN Digital Broadcasting

6. At the Conference, the Ministers agreed to adopt the theme "Media: Connecting Peoples and Bridging Cultures Towards One ASEAN Community". The Ministers recognized that the theme was highly relevant as both the new and traditional media would continue to play a significant role in the dissemination of information to the peoples of ASEAN, subsequently connecting them beyond their borders and bridging the cultural gap.

5. The Chairman in his opening statement highlighted that ASEAN should leverage on the popularity of social media that would keep it current and relevant as a disseminator of information. He expressed his view that the Information Ministers should re-look their engagement through new media and the social network, especially with the younger generation, otherwise they may not be able to play an effective role in promoting ASEAN awareness or building the ASEAN Community.

11th AMRI's Theme: "Media: Connecting Peoples and Bridging Cultures Towards One ASEAN Community"

4. The Conference was chaired by His Excellency (HE) Dr. Rais Yatim, Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Malaysia. The list of Ministers from all ASEAN Member States as well as Plus Three Countries is presented in Annex 1.

3. The Conference was officiated by the Honourable Tan Sri Dato' Haji Muhyiddin bin Haji Mohd Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. In his Opening Address, the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister emphasized the need to lay out a multi-platform framework, engaging both the main stream and the social media to facilitate the free flow of information to enlighten the ASEAN people. He urged this be given utmost priority so that the people of the ASEAN region are not left in the dark as to this important development and are empowered with the right kind of information. The Malaysian National Anthem 'Negaraku' and ASEAN Anthem 'The ASEAN Way' were played at the opening ceremony.

Opening Ceremony

2. The conferences were preceded by the Senior Officials Meeting for the 11th AMRI on 28 February 2012 and the ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting for the 2nd AMRI+3 on 29 February 2012.

1. Malaysia hosted the Eleventh Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (11th AMRI) and the Second Conference of ASEAN Plus Three Ministers Responsible for Information (2nd AMRI+3) in Kuala Lumpur, on 1 March 2012.

Joint Media Statement [115]

During the 11th ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ASEAN leaders recognised the emergence of new and social media as an important tool for communications and interaction in ASEAN today. The Ministers agreed that efforts should be made to leverage on social media to promote ASEAN awareness towards achieving an ASEAN community by 2015. Initially, ASEAN will consolidate the ASEAN Culture and Information Portal and the ASEAN Media Portal to incorporate new media elements.


11. H.E. Mr Sayakane Sisouvong, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political-Security Community.

10. H.E. Mr Le Doan Hop, Minister of Information and Communications, Viet Nam;

9. H.E. Mr Satit Wongnongtaey, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Thailand;

8. Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, Singapore;

7. H.E. Mr Conrado A. Limcaoco, Jr, Secretary, Philippine Information Agency and Government Mass Media Group, Philippines;

6. H.E.Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan, Minister of Information, Myanmar;

5. H.E. Dato’ Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim, Minister of Information Communications and Culture, Malaysia;

4. H.E. Mounkeo ORABOUN, Minister of Information and Culture, Lao PDR;

3. H.E. Sutjiptohardjo Donokusumo, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Lao PDR, Indonesia;

2. H.E. Mr Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Kingdom of Cambodia;

Attendees: 1. H.E. Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (RTD) Dato Seri Pahlawan Awang Hj Mohammad Bin Hj Daud, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Brunei Darussalam;

Realizing that ASEAN Dialogue Partners, namely China, Japan, Republic of Korea, India and the European Union have moved ahead in digital broadcasting implementation, the Ministers agreed that ASEAN would explore collaboration with these dialogue partners on digital terrestrial TV deployment and capacity building.

To meet the demand for digital content, the Ministers called for more collaboration among ASEAN Member States to co-produce digital content and promote exchanges of content. They agreed on the need to train personnel with the necessary skills set for HD production.

Recognizing that Member States are at different stages of readiness for digital TV implementation, the Ministers agreed that ASEAN adopts a phased approach towards Analogue Switch-off over a period of time from 2015 to 2020. Guidelines will be developed for digital switch-on. There will be a common set of technical specifications for Standard digital set-top boxes for ASEAN, thereby helping to lower the price of set-top boxes for regional consumers.

ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Cooperation The Ministers endorsed the progress in ASEAN Digital Broadcasting cooperation. Since the 9th AMRI, ASEAN Member States have made progress on the roadmap for the implementation of digital broadcasting in the region. ASEAN Member States affirm the importance of early digitalization to reap the benefits of the digital dividend and to ensure that terrestrial broadcasting remains relevant in the face of competition from new media platforms such as mobile and IPTV.

National Communication Plans on ASEAN Awareness and Understanding The Ministers noted the reports from Member States on the implementation of the National Communication Plans on ASEAN Awareness and Understanding leading up to the 10th AMRI. The Ministers agreed on the need to realign the National Communication Plans with the three communication plans of the APSC, AEC and ASCC. The Ministers also agreed to explore the idea of having public information centres on ASEAN in each Member State. They agreed on the need for greater collaboration with ASEAN Dialogue Partners to promote ASEAN to the international community.

The Ministers viewed the ASEAN Media Portal and the ASEAN Culture and Information Portal as important platforms to create awareness on ASEAN and enhance media cooperation.

The Ministers emphasized the role of ASEAN youths as future leaders to reinforce the sense of ASEAN Community. The Ministers commended the following activities to engage the youths in ASEAN, namely, ASEAN Regional Quiz, where students from the region compete against each other on their knowledge of ASEAN; the ASEAN Computer Game, to foster a sense of regional identity in an entertaining way will be completed by end January 2010; and the ASEAN Newsmaker project, which provided students with skills to create content about life in their country that promoted cross-cultural understanding among ASEAN youths through digital media.

The Ministers supported the use of the ASEAN Anthem, titled "The ASEAN Way", and other ASEAN symbols, including the ASEAN motto “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”, to raise ASEAN awareness. The Ministers also noted that a compilation of ASEAN pop songs has been produced and will be distributed to enhance appreciation of our cultures.

The Ministers noted the ongoing projects to increase ASEAN awareness, such as the television and radio news exchanges (ASEAN Television News and ASEAN-in-Action respectively).

The Ministers explored ways in which the information sector could enhance the effectiveness of the existing programmes to further support ASEAN community building.

The Ministers noted that the information sector plays an important role in creating a sense of belonging and enhancing deeper mutual understanding among ASEAN Member States about their culture, history, religion and civilisation. They agreed on the need to deepen media cooperation to support community building through closer coordination, projects, media networking and human resources development.

H.E. Dr Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lao PDR, officially opened the 10th Conference of AMRI while H.E. Mounkeo ORABOUN, Minister of Information and Culture of Lao PDR, acted as the chair.[114]

The 10th Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI)[113] was held in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 2–7 November 2009, attended by ministers responsible for Information and senior officials from all ASEAN Member States, as well as representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat.

The 10th Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI)

ASEAN Member States promote cooperation in information to help build an ASEAN identity. One of the main bodies in ASEAN cooperation in information is the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (COCI). Established in 1978, its mission is to promote effective cooperation in the fields of information, as well as culture, through its various projects and activities. The COCI comprises representatives from national institutions like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministries of Culture and Information, national radio and television networks, museums, archives and libraries, among others. Together, they meet once a year to formulate and agree on projects to fulfil their mission.[112]

ASEAN AMRI (ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information)

  • ASEAN Media Portal, The new ASEAN Media Portal[108] was launched 16 November 2007 by the ASEAN Secretary-General, Mr Ong Keng Yong, and witnessed by Singapore’s Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang. The said portal aims to provide a one-stop site that contains documentaries, games, music videos, and multimedia clips on the culture, arts and heritage of the ASEAN countries to showcase the rich ASEAN culture and the capabilities of its media industry.
  • ASEAN NewsMaker Project, an initiative launched in 2009 that trains students and teachers to produce informational video clips about the lifestyle in their country. The project was initiated by Singapore to work closely with 500 primary and secondary students, aging from 9 to 16 years old, along with their mentors from the 10 ASEAN countries to produce informative videos promoting their respective country’s culture. Students underwent training for the NewsMaker software use, video production and responsible internet use and hope to develop the language skills and story narration among the said students. Engaging the youth using new media is an approach to create a One Asean Community as stressed by Dr Soeung Rathchavy, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community: “Raising ASEAN awareness amongst the youth is part and parcel of our efforts to build the ASEAN Community by 2015. Using ICT and the media, our youths in the region will get to know ASEAN better, deepening their understanding and appreciation of the cultures, social traditions and values in ASEAN.”[109]
  • ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Meeting, an annual forum for ASEAN members to set digital television standards and policies, and to discuss progress in the implementation of the blueprint to switchover from analogue to digital TV broadcasting by 2020. During the 11th ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Meeting,[110] members updated the status on DTV implementation and agreed to inform ASEAN members on the Guidelines for ASEAN Digital Switchover.[111] An issue was raised on the availability and affordability of Set Top Boxes (STB), thus ASEAN members were asked to make policies to determine funding for the STB, methods of allocation, subsidies and rebates and other methods for the allocation of STB. It was also agreed in the meeting to form a task force to develop STB specifications for DVB-T2 to ensure efficiency.
  • ASEAN’s Next Top Chef and The Legend of the Golden Talisman, two interactive games developed to raise awareness about ASEAN, and its people, places and cultures

Several key initiatives that were initiated under the AMC:[107]

Accessing information towards the goal of creating a One ASEAN nation requires participation among the nation members and its citizens. During the 18th ASEAN Summit[106] in May 2011, the Chair stated the important role of a participatory approach among people and stakeholders of ASEAN towards a “people-oriented , people centred and rule-based ASEAN”.

The concept was stressed during the 11th AMRI Conference[105] adopting the theme: ”Media Connecting Peoples and Bridging Cultures Towards One ASEAN Nation”. ASEAN Ministers believed that the new and traditional media are important mediums to connect ASEAN people and bridging the cultural gap.

The ASEAN member countries aim media sector towards digitalisation and further regional media coaction. AMC establishes partnerships between ASEAN news media, and cooperate on information sharing, photo swapping, technical cooperation, exchange programmes, and facilitating joint news coverage and exchange of news footage.

The ASEAN Media Cooperation (AMC) set digital television standards, policies and create in preparation for broadcasters to transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, better promote media collaboration and information exchange to enhance voice, understanding, and perspective between ASEAN people on the international stage.

ASEAN Media Cooperation

The organisation hosts cultural activities in an attempt to further integrate the region. These include sports and educational activities as well as writing awards. Examples of these include the ASEAN University Network, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award, and the Singapore-sponsored ASEAN Scholarship.

Cultural activities

However, the ongoing global financial crisis was stated as being a threat to the goals envisioned by the charter,[103] and also set forth the idea of a proposed human rights body to be discussed at a future summit in February 2009. This proposition caused controversy, as the body would not have the power to impose sanctions or punish countries who violate citizens' rights and would therefore be limited in effectiveness.[104] The body was established later in 2009 as the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). In November 2012, the Commission adopted the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.

n) adherence to multilateral trade rules and ASEAN's rules-based regimes for effective implementation of economic commitments and progressive reduction towards elimination of all barriers to regional economic integration, in a market-driven economy.[102]

m) the centrality of ASEAN in external political, economic, social and cultural relations while remaining actively engaged, outward-looking, inclusive and non-discriminatory; and

l) respect for the different cultures, languages and religions of the peoples of ASEAN, while emphasising their common values in the spirit of unity in diversity;

k) abstention from participation in any policy or activity, including the use of its territory, pursued by an ASEAN Member State or non-ASEAN State or any non-State actor, which threatens the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political and economic stability of ASEAN Member States;

j) upholding the United Nations Charter and international law, including international humanitarian law, subscribed to by ASEAN Member States;

i) respect for fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of human rights, and the promotion of social justice;

h) adherence to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government;

g) enhanced consultations on matters seriously affecting the common interest of ASEAN;

f) respect for the right of every Member State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion and coercion;

e) non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States;

d) reliance on peaceful settlement of disputes;

c) renunciation of aggression and of the threat or use of force or other actions in any manner inconsistent with international law;

b) shared commitment and collective responsibility in enhancing regional peace, security and prosperity;

a) respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all ASEAN Member States;

On 15 December 2008, the members of ASEAN met in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to launch a charter, signed in November 2007, with the aim of moving closer to "an EU-style community".[101] The charter turns ASEAN into a legal entity and aims to create a single free-trade area for the region encompassing 500 million people. President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that "This is a momentous development when ASEAN is consolidating, integrating and transforming itself into a community. It is achieved while ASEAN seeks a more vigorous role in Asian and global affairs at a time when the international system is experiencing a seismic shift", he added, referring to climate change and economic upheaval, and concluded "Southeast Asia is no longer the bitterly divided, war-torn region it was in the 1960s and 1970s". The fundamental principles include:

The Secretariat of ASEAN at Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.70A, South Jakarta, Indonesia


The 44th annual meeting was held in Bali on 16 to 23 July 2011. Indonesia proposed a unified ASEAN travel visa to ease travel within the region for citizens of ASEAN member states.[100] The 45th annual meeting was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. For the first time in the history of ASEAN there was no diplomatic statement issued by the bloc at the end of the meeting. This was due to tensions over China's claim of ownership over near the entirety of the South China Sea and the counterclaim to such ownership by neighbouring states.

ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting

The ASEAN–Russia Summit is an annual meeting between leaders of member states and the President of Russia.

ASEAN–Russia Summit

The Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal dialogue process initiated in 1996 with the intention of strengthening cooperation between the countries of Europe and Asia, especially members of the European Union and ASEAN in particular.[99] ASEAN, represented by its Secretariat, is one of the 45 ASEM partners. It also appoints a representative to sit on the governing board of Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), a socio-cultural organisation associated with the Meeting.

Asia–Europe Meeting

The ASEAN Plus Three is a meeting between ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea, and is primarily held during each ASEAN Summit. Until now China, Japan and South Korea have not yet formed Free Trade Area (FTA), the meeting about FTA among them will be held at end of 2012.[98]

ASEAN Plus Three

Aside from the ones above, other regular[93] meetings are also held.[94] These include the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting[95] as well as other smaller committees.[96] Meetings mostly focus on specific topics, such as defence[93] or the environment,[93][97] and are attended by Ministers, instead of heads of government.

Other meetings

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is a formal, official, multilateral dialogue in Asia Pacific region. As of July 2007, it consists of 27 participants. ARF objectives are to foster dialogue and consultation, and promote confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the region.[91] The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: all the ASEAN members, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, the People's Republic of China, the European Union, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor, United States and Sri Lanka.[92] The Republic of China (also known as Taiwan) has been excluded since the establishment of the ARF, and issues regarding the Taiwan Strait are neither discussed at the ARF meetings nor stated in the ARF Chairman's Statements.

ASEAN full members
ASEAN observers
ASEAN candidate members
ASEAN Plus Three
East Asia Summit
ASEAN Regional Forum

Regional Forum

Meeting Host Location Date Note
ASEAN–Japan Commemorative Summit  Japan Tokyo 11, 12 December 2003 To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and Japan. The summit was also notable as the first ASEAN summit held between ASEAN and a non-ASEAN country outside the region.
ASEAN–China Commemorative Summit  China Nanning 30, 31 October 2006 To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and China
ASEAN–Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit  Republic of Korea Jeju-do 1, 2 June 2009 To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and Republic of Korea
ASEAN–India Commemorative Summit  India New Delhi 20, 21 December 2012 To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and India.

A commemorative summit is a summit hosted by a non-ASEAN country to mark a milestone anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and the host country. The host country invites the heads of government of ASEAN member countries to discuss future cooperation and partnership.

Commemorative summit

Meeting Country Location Date Note
First EAS  Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 14 December 2005 Russia attended as a guest.
Second EAS  Philippines Cebu City 15 January 2007 Rescheduled from 13 December 2006.

Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security

Third EAS  Singapore Singapore 21 November 2007 Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment[86]

Agreed to establish Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia

Fourth EAS  Thailand Cha-am and Hua Hin 25 October 2009 The date and location of the venue was rescheduled several times, and then a Summit scheduled for 12 April 2009 at Pattaya, Thailand was cancelled when protesters stormed the venue. The Summit has been rescheduled for October 2009 and transferred again from Phuket[87] to Cha-am and Hua Hin.[88]
Fifth EAS  Vietnam Hanoi 30 October 2010[89] Officially invited the US and Russia to participate in future EAS as full-fledged members[90]
Sixth EAS  Indonesia Bali 19 November 2011 The United States and Russia to join the Summit.
Seventh EAS
Phnom Penh 20 November 2012
Eighth EAS  Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan 10 October 2013
Ninth EAS  Burma (Myanmar) Naypyidaw 12–13 November 2014

The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on 14 December 2005 and subsequent meetings have been held after the annual ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting. The summit has discussed issues including trade, energy and security and the summit has a role in regional community building.

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a pan-Asian forum held annually by the leaders of 18 countries in the East Asian region, with ASEAN in a leadership position. Membership was initially all 10 members of ASEAN plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand, but expanded to include the United States and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011.

Participants of the East Asia Summit
  ASEAN Plus Three
  ASEAN Plus Six

East Asia Summit

ASEAN Informal Summits
No Date Country Host Host leader
1st 30 November 1996  Indonesia Jakarta Soeharto
2nd 14‒16 December 1997  Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Mahathir Mohamad
3rd 27‒28 November 1999  Philippines Manila Joseph Estrada
4th 22‒25 November 2000  Singapore Singapore Goh Chok Tong
[84]During the fifth Summit in Bangkok, the leaders decided to meet "informally" between each formal summit:
ASEAN Formal Summits
No Date Country Host Host leader
1st 23–24 February 1976  Indonesia Bali Soeharto
2nd 4–5 August 1977  Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Hussein Onn
3rd 14–15 December 1987  Philippines Manila Corazon Aquino
4th 27‒29 January 1992  Singapore Singapore Goh Chok Tong
5th 14‒15 December 1995  Thailand Bangkok Banharn Silpa-archa
6th 15‒16 December 1998  Vietnam Hanoi Phan Văn Khải
7th 5‒6 November 2001  Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan Hassanal Bolkiah
8th 4‒5 November 2002
Phnom Penh Hun Sen
9th 7‒8 October 2003  Indonesia Bali Megawati Soekarnoputri
10th 29‒30 November 2004  Laos Vientiane Bounnhang Vorachith
11th 12‒14 December 2005  Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
12th 11‒14 January 20071  Philippines2 Cebu Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
13th 18‒22 November 2007  Singapore Singapore Lee Hsien Loong
14th3 27 February – 1 March 2009
10–11 April 2009
 Thailand Cha Am, Hua Hin
Abhisit Vejjajiva
15th 23 October 2009  Thailand Cha Am, Hua Hin
16th3 8–9 April 2010  Vietnam Hanoi Nguyễn Tấn Dũng
17th 28–31 October 2010  Vietnam Hanoi
18th4 7–8 May 2011  Indonesia Jakarta Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
19th4 14–19 November 2011  Indonesia Bali
20th 3–4 April 2012
Phnom Penh Hun Sen
21st 17–20 November 2012
Phnom Penh
22nd 24–25 April 2013  Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan Hassanal Bolkiah
23rd 9–10 October 2013  Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan
24th 10–11 May 2014  Myanmar Nay Pyi Taw Thein Sein
25th 10–12 November 2014  Myanmar Nay Pyi Taw
1 Postponed from 10‒14 December 2006 due to Typhoon Utor.
2 hosted the summit because Burma backed out due to enormous pressure from US and EU
3 This summit consisted of two parts.
The first part was moved from 12‒17 December 2008 due to the 2008 Thai political crisis.
The second part was aborted on 11 April due to protesters entering the summit venue.
4  Indonesia hosted twice in a row by swapping years with  Brunei, as it will play host to APEC (and the possibility of hosting the G20 summit which ultimately fell to Russia) in 2013.
  • Leaders of member states would hold an internal organisation meeting.
  • Leaders of member states would hold a conference together with foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
  • A meeting, known as ASEAN Plus Three, is set for leaders of three Dialogue Partners (People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea)
  • A separate meeting, known as ASEAN-CER, is set for another set of leaders of two Dialogue Partners (Australia, New Zealand).

The formal summit meets for three days. The usual itinerary is as follows:

By December 2008, the ASEAN Charter came into force and with it, the ASEAN Summit will be held twice in a year.

The ASEAN Leaders' Formal Summit was first held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976. Its third meeting was held in Manila in 1987 and during this meeting, it was decided that the leaders would meet every five years.[84] Consequently, the fourth meeting was held in Singapore in 1992 where the leaders again agreed to meet more frequently, deciding to hold the summit every three years.[84] In 2001, it was decided to meet annually to address urgent issues affecting the region. Member nations were assigned to be the summit host in alphabetical order except in the case of Burma which dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from the United States and the European Union.[85]

The organisation holds meetings, known as the ASEAN Summit, where heads of government of each member meet to discuss and resolve regional issues, as well as to conduct other meetings with other countries outside of the bloc with the intention of promoting external relations.

A billboard in Jakarta welcoming ASEAN Summit 2011 delegates

ASEAN Summits


The overall response from the students of the ASEAN region is positive. However, we can characterize the responses as ranging from enthusiastic and positive. The greatest "ASEAN enthusiasm" is found in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Respondents from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines all exhibit and largely positive attitude toward ASEAN. Singapore respondents suggested a perspective which is not negative. Myanmar evidenced for substantial "ASEAN skepticism."[83]

Students from the Philippines and Thailand do not perceive ASEAN countries to be either economically or politically similar, though not as a strong for the students from Singapore, Myanmar, and Brunei.

4) ASEAN commonalities and divergence among ASEAN countries. These are the three dimensions of similarity and difference: cultural, economic and political. These dimensions were the most important criteria for organizing the relationship among countries in ASEAN. The results of this survey mirror those on citizenship and benefits of ASEAN by students from less aflluent and newer members of ASEAN, (aside from Myanmar). Students from Singapore and Brunei, followed by those from Myanmar and Malaysia, registered the most general disagreements. Laos and Vietnam generally perceived ASEAN countries to be similar, at a rate of about 60% agreement, when the responses were averaged across 3 dimensions.

3) IS ASEAN MEMBERSHIP BENEFICIAL TO MY COUNTRY ? Respondents agreed overwhelmingly over 90 percent (90%). Laos students responded with 99% agreed that ASEAN membership is beneficial to their country. Myanmar agreed that ASEAN membership is beneficial to their country with 75% agreement.

2) "I FEEL I AM A CITIZEN OF ASEAN. Agreement was overwhelmingly to the affirmative, to a degree that we found surprising. In Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam strongly agreed. Over 80% agreed in Brunei and Malaysia and over tw-thirds in Indonesia, The Philippines and Thailand. Respondents from Singapore, has the weakest agreement, where student-respondents split 14.7%. While in Myanmar nearly 60% agreed with the statement.

Regional students are very positive in their orientation toward. There is an evidence of the ASEAN attitude among substantial numbers of the students that were interviewed. Though this ASEAN enthusiasm is not evenly spread across the region, it is the strongest among students in the newest and least affluent of ASEAN member nations, specifically Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, and weakest. Respondents from Myanmar produced a unique bi-modal distribution suggesting there is a distinct split between ASEAN enthusiasts and others whom we might call strong ASEAN-skeptics.

1) KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ASEAN. Students were asked to identify the ten ASEAN countries on a map. The effective number of respondents is approximately 200-220 or higher for Malaysia and Singapore, with the exception of the map question where the N is approximately 100-110 for each university. The respondents age ranged from 14 to 39.

A survey was conducted among ASEAN students and gathered data with regards to ATTITUDES toward ASEAN, their KNOWLEDGE about the regional association, ORIENTATION toward the region and countries, SOURCES of information about the region, and ASPIRATIONS for integration and action. We wanted to know how they see the future development of ASEAN association as a group. Two versions of the questionnaire were administered at each university. The versions wee identical in all respects, except for the substantive question, which used two methods for student-respondent:

ASEAN has formulated a planned integration among its ten member nations and has challenged its citizens to embrace a regional identity. The call for ASEAN identity delivers a challenge to construct dynamic institutions and foster sufficient amounts of social capital. The underlying assumption is that the creation of a regional identity is of special interest to ASEAN and the intent of the 2020 Vision policy document was to reassert the belief in a regional framework designed as an action plan related to human development and civic empowerment. Accordingly, these assumptions will be the basis for recommendations and strategies in developing a participatory regional identity.[82]

ASEAN Identity

Michael Yahuda,[79] explains, in his book International Politics of the Asia Pacific (2003) second and revised edition, the limitations of the ASEAN way. In summary of his argument, unlike the European Union, ‘the ASEAN Way’ has made ASEAN members never aspired to an economic and political union. It was designed to sustain the independence and sovereignty of member states and to encourage regional and national stability. ASEAN differed in assessment of external threat and they operated within conditions in which legality and the rule of law were not generally consolidated within member states. ASEAN wasn’t a rule making body subjecting its members to the discipline of adhering its laws and regulations. It was operated through consensus and informality. Also, the member states avoided to confront certain issues if they were to result in conflicts.[80][81]

Additionally, the preference for informal discussions to adversarial negotiations limits the leverage of diplomatic solutions within ASEAN.

However, critics argue that the ASEAN Way serves as the major stumbling-block to it becoming a true diplomacy mechanism. Due to the consensus-based approach every member has a veto, so contentious issues must remain unresolved until agreements can be reached. Moreover, it is claimed that member nations are directly and indirectly advocating that ASEAN be more flexible and allow discourse on internal affairs of member countries.

The ASEAN way can be seen as divergent from the contextual contemporary political reality at the formative stages of the association. A critical distinction is made by [78]

Royal Thai Embassy in Helsinki flying its own national flag as well as Asean flag

Critical reception

Bilaterally, ASEAN maintains strategic relations with Australia, Canada, the PRC, the EU, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, and the US (ASEAN 2013b). As discussed in chapter 1, bilateral free trade and investment agreements have been signed with Australia and New Zealand, the PRC, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea; while India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the US have also created bilateral programs in support of economic cooperation for ASEAN’s Mekong River countries — Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.[77]

Other scholars, however, without denying the importance of following the ASEAN Way, have also stressed the urgency to update some of its principles in order to improve the group’s efficiency and effectiveness (Soesastro 2006; Capannelli 2011b). Needed reforms are identified in consensus decision-making, equality in financial contributions, and the absence of sanctions against member countries that do not adhere to commitments (section 5.3). While the ASEAN Way could evolve through efficiency updates to boost its relevance and influence in an increasingly multipolar world, over the years ASEAN has taken center stage in Asian regionalism, especially in its role as “honest broker” in security and economic arenas. It has been able to create an ASEAN-Plus framework of relationships based on pragmatism and flexibility. It has developed an articulated system of dialogue partnerships and alliances with major powers such as the United States (US), the PRC, the EU, and Japan. And it has also played a cohesive role among major Asian economies in providing dynamism — and never being perceived as a threat.

The ‘ASEAN way’ is said to contribute durability and longevity within the organisation, by promoting regional identity and enhancing a spirit of mutual confidence and cooperation.[76] ASEAN agreements are negotiated in a close, interpersonal process. The process of consultations and consensus is designed to engender a democratic approach to decision making. These leaders are wary of any effort to legitimise efforts to undermine their nation or contain regional co-operation.

  • Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations
  • The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion
  • Non-interference in internal affairs
  • Settlement of differences or disputes in a peaceful manner
  • Renunciation of the threat or use of force
  • Effective regional cooperation

Thus the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia adopted fundamental principles:[75]

There was a move to unify the region under what was called the ‘ASEAN Way’ based on the ideals of non-interference, informality, minimal institutionalisation, consultation and consensus, non-use of force and non-confrontation. ASEAN members (especially Singapore) approved of the term ‘ASEAN Way’ to describe a regional method of multilateralism.

Since the post-independence phases of Southeast Asian states, efforts were made to implement regional foreign policies, but with a unifying focus to refrain from interference in domestic affairs of member states.

ASEAN members' flags in Jakarta

The ASEAN way

Through the Bali Concord II in 2003, ASEAN has subscribed to the notion of democratic peace, which means all member countries believe democratic processes will promote regional peace and stability. Also, the non-democratic members all agreed that it was something all member states should aspire to.[74]

At the turn of the 21st century, issues shifted to include a regional approach to the environment. The organisation started to discuss environmental agreements. These included the signing of the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security,[72] the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network in 2005,[73] and the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, both of which are responses to the potential effects of climate change. Climate change is of current interest.

Satellite image of the 2006 haze over Borneo


Europe and China are the main sources of tourists in the last 4 years.[70]

Through consultative meetings, Tuason-Fores said the Departments of Tourism and of Trade and Industry will be able to get inputs for the roadmap of Philippine Tourism in 2015 and Beyond (with support from USAID Advancing Philippine Competitiveness).[69]

In an article by Danessa O. Rivera for GMA News, the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) is holding a series of workshops and creating awareness among its stakeholders for upcoming Asean integration in 2015. The TCP is a national organization of tourism enterprises created by virtue of the Tourism Act of 2009. In an email statement by the TCP President Rosanna Tuason-Fores explained the consultative meetings are to increase awareness level of the implications of the economic integration to tourism enterprises and to identify the market access opportunities for the business in the Philippines and other ASEAN economies.


With the institutionalisation of visa-free travel between ASEAN member states, intra-ASEAN travel has boomed, a sign that endeavors to form an ASEAN Community shall bear fruit in years to come. In 2010, 47 percent or 34 million out of 73 million tourists in ASEAN member-states were from other ASEAN countries.[68]

Intra-ASEAN travel

According to some analysts, the amount of $120 billion is relatively small (cover only about 20 percent of needs), so coordination or help from International Monetary Fund is still needed.[66] On 3 May 2012 ASEAN+3 finance ministers agreed to double emergency reserve fund to $240 billion.[67]

The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic and Research Office (AMRO) started its operation in Singapore in May 2011.[64] It performs a key regional surveillance function as part of the $120 billion of Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) currency swap facility that was established by Finance Minister and Central Bank Governors of ASEAN countries plus China, Japan and South Korea in December 2009.[65]

Due to Asian financial crisis of 1997 to 1998 and long and difficult negotiations with International Monetary Fund, ASEAN+3 agreed to set up a mainly bilateral currency swap scheme known as the 2000 Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) to anticipate another financial crisis or currency turmoil in the future. In 2006 they agreed to make CMI with multilateralisation and called as CMIM. On 3 May 2009, they agreed to make a currency pool consist of contribution $38.4 billion each by China and Japan, $19.2 billion by South Korea and totally $24 billion by all of ASEAN members, so the total currency pool was $120 billion.[62] A key component has also newly been added, with the establishment of a surveillance unit.[63]

From CMI to AMRO

ASEAN has concluded free trade agreements with China (expecting bilateral trade of $500 billion by 2015),[58] Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.[59] ASEAN-India bilateral trade crossed the $70 billion target in 2012 (target was to reach the level only by 2015). The agreement with People's Republic of China created the ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which went into full effect on 1 January 2010. In addition, ASEAN is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union.[60] Republic of China (Taiwan) has also expressed interest in an agreement with ASEAN but needs to overcome diplomatic objections from China.[61]

Free-trade agreements

The ASEAN Single Aviation Market policy will supersede existing unilateral, bilateral and multilateral air services agreements among member states which are inconsistent with its provisions.

The ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASEAN-SAM), is the region's major aviation policy geared towards the development of a unified and single aviation market in Southeast Asia by 2015. The aviation policy was proposed by the ASEAN Air Transport Working Group, supported by the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting, and endorsed by the ASEAN Transport Ministers.[54] The ASEAN-SAM is expected to fully liberalise air travel between member states in the ASEAN region, allowing ASEAN countries and airlines operating in the region to directly benefit from the growth in air travel around the world, and also freeing up tourism, trade, investment and services flows between member states.[54][55] Since 1 December 2008, restrictions on the third and fourth freedoms of the air between capital cities of member states for air passengers services have been removed,[56] while from 1 January 2009, full liberalisation of air freight services in the region took effect.[54][55] On 1 January 2011, full liberalisation on fifth freedom traffic rights between all capital cities took effect.[57]

Single Aviation Market

Full realisation of the ACIA with the removal of temporary exclusion lists in manufacturing agriculture, fisheries, forestry and mining is scheduled by 2010 for most ASEAN members and by 2015 for the CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Burma, and Vietnam) countries.[53]

  • All industries are to be opened up for investment, with exclusions to be phased out according to schedules
  • National treatment is granted immediately to ASEAN investors with few exclusions
  • Elimination of investment impediments
  • Streamlining of investment process and procedures
  • Enhancing transparency
  • Undertaking investment facilitation measures

The ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Area (ACIA) will encourage the free flow of investment within ASEAN. The main principles of the ACIA are as follows[53]

Comprehensive Investment Area

Since 2011 has agreed to strengthen the position and increase the competitive edges of small and medium enterprises (SME) in the ASEAN region.[52]


Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Initial in 2012 East Asia Summit and negotiations of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are predicted to be concluded in end of 2015. RCEP consists of all ten ASEAN countries plus 6 countries (China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, New Zealand) which have trade agreement with ASEAN countries. RCEP covers 45 percent of world population and about a third of world's total GDP. For example, New Zealand export about 60 percent of its goods to RCEP countries. RCEP is extension of ASEAN plus three and then ASEAN plus six.[50][51]

When Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia joined ASEAN in the late 1990s, concerns were raised about a certain developmental divide regarding a gap in average per capita GDP between older and the newer members. In response, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) was formed by ASEAN as a regional integration policy with the principal goal of bridging this developmental divide, which, in addition to disparities in per capita GDP, is manifested by disparities in dimensions of human development such as life expectancy and literacy rates. Other than the IAI, other programmes for the development of the Mekong Basin - where all four newer ASEAN members are located - that tend to focus on infrastructure development have been effectively enacted. In general, ASEAN does not have the financial resources to extend substantial grants or loans to the new members. Therefore, it usually leaves the financing of these infrastructure projects to international financial institutions and to developed countries. Nevertheless, it has mobilised funding from these institutions and countries and from the ASEAN-6 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, and Thailand) themselves for areas where the development gap needs to be filled through the IAI programme. Other programmes intended for the development of the ASEAN-4 take advantage of the geographical proximity of the CLMV countries and tend to focus on infrastructure development in areas like transport, tourism, and power transmission.[49]

ASEAN members by
Human Development Index
Country HDI (2013)
 Singapore 0.901 very high
 Brunei 0.852 very high
 Malaysia 0.773 high
 Thailand 0.722 high
 Indonesia 0.684 medium
 ASEAN 0.669 medium
 Philippines 0.660 medium
 Vietnam 0.638 medium
0.584 medium
 Laos 0.569 medium
 Myanmar 0.524 low
Development gap
  • ASEAN Exchanges which is a collaboration of the 7 exchanges of Malaysia, Vietnam (2 exchanges), Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore to promote the growth. It covers 70 percent of the transaction values of 7 ASEAN Stock Exchanges,[47] with objective to integrate ASEAN Stock Exchanges to compete with International Stock Exchanges
  • Mutual Recognition of Disclosure Standards, which aims to harmonise and equal of ASEAN Standards
  • Mutual Recognition of Collective of Investment Scheme (CIS), which aims to harmonise all regulations in ASEAN

The ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) consists of:

Country GDP (nominal) GDP (PPP) GDP (Per Capita)
 Indonesia 867,468,000,000 1,284,789,000,000 5,214
 Thailand 400,916,000,000 674,344,000,000 9,875
 Malaysia 312,413,000,000 525,039,000,000 17,748
 Singapore 297,941,000,000 348,700,000,000 64,584
 Philippines 278,260,000,000 471,254,000,000 4,682
 Vietnam 170,020,000,000 358,889,000,000 4,012

ASEAN six majors refer to the six largest economies in the area with economies many times larger than the remaining four ASEAN countries.

An ASEAN Framework Agreement on Trade in Services was adopted at the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in December 1995.[45] Under AFAS, ASEAN Member States enter into successive rounds of negotiations to liberalise trade in services with the aim of submitting increasingly higher levels of commitments. At present, ASEAN has concluded seven packages of commitments under AFAS.[46]

Until end of 2010, Intra-Asean trade were still low which mainly of them were mostly exporting to countries outside the region, except Laos and Myanmar were ASEAN-oriented in foreign trade with 80 percent and 50 percent respectively of their exports went to other ASEAN countries.[44] In 2009, realised Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was $37.9 billion and increase by two-fold in 2010 to $75.8 billion. 22 percent of FDI came from the European Union, followed by ASEAN countries themselves by 16 percent and then followed by Japan and US.

By the end of 2015, ASEAN plans to establish a common market based upon the four freedoms. The single market will the free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labour and the freer flow of capital.

Internal Market

Since 2007, the ASEAN countries gradually lower their import duties among them and targeted will be zero for most of the import duties at 2015.[43]

  • single market and production base
  • highly competitive economic region
  • region of equitable economic development
  • region fully integrated into the global economy

The next step is ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) with main objectives are to create a:

The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) which was signed on 28 January 1992[23] included a Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) to promote the free flow of goods between member states.[39] When the AFTA agreement was originally signed, ASEAN had six members, namely, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Burma in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. The latecomers have not fully met the AFTA's obligations, but they are officially considered part of the AFTA as they were required to sign the agreement upon entry into ASEAN, and were given longer time frames in which to meet AFTA's tariff reduction obligations.[42]

ASEAN has emphasized “three pillars” of regional cooperation: security, sociocultural integration, and economic integration.[38] The regional group has decided to pursue economic integration by creating an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 to establish a common market.[39] The average economic growth of ASEAN's member nations during 1989–2009 was between 3.8% and 7%. This economic growth was greater than the average grwoth of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which was 2.83 percent.[40] ASEAN has in recent years become a hub for digital adoption. Asia Briefing that e-commerce in the region, specifically in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines have seen dramatic gains, with Singapore and Malaysia leading the pack, accounting for 50 percent of total online sales for ASEAN.[41]

Formation and overview


On 27 February 2009 a Free Trade Agreement with the ASEAN regional bloc of 10 countries and Australia and its close partner New Zealand was signed, it is believed that this FTA would boost combined GDP across the 12 countries by more than US$48 billion over the period 2000–2020.[35][36] ASEAN members together with the group’s six major trading partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – began the first round of negotiations on 26–28 February 2013 in Bali, Indonesia, on establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.[37]

2007 was the 40th anniversary of ASEAN's beginning, and 30 years of diplomatic relations with the US.[32] On 26 August 2007, ASEAN stated that it aims to complete all its free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand by 2013, in line with the start of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.[33][34] In November 2007 the ASEAN members signed the ASEAN Charter, a constitution governing relations among the ASEAN members and establishing ASEAN itself as an international legal entity. During the same year, the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security was signed in Cebu on 15 January 2007, by ASEAN and the other members of the EAS (Australia, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea), which is in favour of energy security by finding energy alternatives to conventional fuels.

The Coordinating Committee on the Implementation of the ATIGA (CCA) oversees the implementation of the ATIGA and supervises the implementation of the provisions of the agreement and its trade facilitation initiatives [31]

Trade facilitation initiatives in ASEAN are spearheaded by the implementation of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and Agreement on Customs. These agreements are supported by work done by several sectoral bodies plan and execute the trade facilitation measures, guided by the provisions and the requirements of ATIGA and the Agreement on Customs. The progress being made by these sectoral bodies forms the backbone for achieving the targets of the AEC Blueprint and establishing the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

Free Trade

In 2006, ASEAN was given [30]

Leaders of each country felt the need to further integrate the region. Beginning in 1997, the bloc began creating organisations within its framework with the intention of achieving this goal. ASEAN Plus Three was the first of these and was created to improve existing ties with the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea. This was followed by the even larger East Asia Summit, which now includes these countries as well as India, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia. This new grouping acted as a prerequisite for the planned East Asia Community, which was supposedly patterned after the now-defunct European Community. The ASEAN Eminent Persons Group was created to study the possible successes and failures of this policy as well as the possibility of drafting an ASEAN Charter.

ASEAN Plus Three

East Timor submitted a letter of application to be the eleventh member of ASEAN at the summit in Jakarta in March 2011. Indonesia has shown a warm welcome to East Timor.[26][27][28]

Aside from improving each member state's economies, the bloc also focused on peace and stability in the region. On 15 December 1995, the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty was signed with the intention of turning Southeast Asia into a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. The treaty took effect on 28 March 1997 after all but one of the member states have ratified it. It became fully effective on 21 June 2001, after the Philippines ratified it, effectively banning all nuclear weapons in the region.[25]

After the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, a revival of the Malaysian proposal was established in Chiang Mai, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative, which calls for better integration between the economies of ASEAN as well as the ASEAN Plus Three countries (China, Japan, and South Korea).[24]

In 1992, the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme was signed as a schedule for phasing tariffs and as a goal to increase the region’s competitive advantage as a production base geared for the world market. This law would act as the framework for the ASEAN Free Trade Area. The AFTA is an agreement by the member nations of ASEAN concerning local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries. The AFTA agreement was signed on 28 January 1992 in Singapore.[23]

During the 1990s, the bloc experienced an increase in both membership and drive for further integration. In 1990, Malaysia proposed the creation of an East Asia Economic Caucus[19] comprising the then members of ASEAN as well as the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea, with the intention of counterbalancing the growing influence of the United States in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and in the Asian region as a whole.[20][21] This proposal failed, however, because of heavy opposition from the United States and Japan.[20][22] Despite this failure, member states continued to work for further integration and ASEAN Plus Three was created in 1997.

On 28 July 1995, Vietnam became the seventh member.[16] Laos and Myanmar (Burma) joined two years later on 23 July 1997.[17] Cambodia was to have joined together with Laos and Burma, but was deferred due to the country's internal political struggle. The country later joined on 30 April 1999, following the stabilisation of its government.[17][18]

Held together somewhat tenuously in its early years, ASEAN achieved a new cohesion in the mid-1970s following the changed balance of power in Southeast Asia after the end of the Vietnam War. The region’s dynamic economic growth during the 1970s strengthened the organization, enabling ASEAN to adopt a unified response to Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in 1979. ASEAN’s first summit meeting, held in Bali, Indonesia, in 1976, resulted in an agreement on several industrial projects and the signing of a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and a Declaration of Concord. The end of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s allowed ASEAN countries to exercise greater political independence in the region, and in the 1990s ASEAN emerged as a leading voice on regional trade and security issues.[15]

A clickable • •

Expansion and further integration

The ASEAN Charter provides the ASEAN Community’s legal status and institutional framework, codifies ASEAN norms, rules and values, and sets clear targets and guidelines for accountability and compliance. With its entry into force on 15 December 2008, the Charter serves as the foundation for ASEAN’s new legal framework and the establishment of new organs and mechanisms to boost ASEAN’s community-building process.

The three pillars of the ASEAN Community—the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community—will work in tandem to realise ASEAN’s regional integration under the guidance of the ASEAN Charter.

With a shared vision of ASEAN as a unified body of Southeast Asian nations living in peace, stability and prosperity, and bonded together in partnership for dynamic development and as a community of caring societies, ASEAN Leaders in 2003 resolved to establish an ASEAN Community in 2020. In 2007, the Leaders affirmed their strong commitment to regional integration and agreed to accelerate the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015.

Papua New Guinea was accorded Observer status in 1976 and Special Observer status in 1981.[14] Papua New Guinea is a Melanesian state. ASEAN embarked on a programme of economic cooperation following the Bali Summit of 1976. This floundered in the mid-1980s and was only revived around 1991 due to a Thai proposal for a regional free trade area.

The block grew when Brunei Darussalam became the sixth member on 8 January 1984, barely a week after gaining independence on 1 January.[13]

The motivations for the birth of ASEAN were so that its members’ governing elite could concentrate on nation building, the common fear of communism, reduced faith in or mistrust of external powers in the 1960s, and a desire for economic development.


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