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By Angelaangkor Apr 09, 2013 4444 Words
The Association of
Southeast Asian Nations


Every country has its own sovereignty, independent, culture, traditional, religion language, and so on. Therefore, we have many differences basic interests according to each state preferable. However, each country can't be isolated or occupied by one country. Many conflict either domestic or international happed because the cause of different interested. Recently, the United States strongly concern with the masses destruction weapons in Iraq because America afraid of world peace securities experienced from its September 11, 2001 whereas some country mostly in Arab states did not concern as what America do. This is one of the major causes to the domestic and the world conflicts. To response for the above problem mentioned, there were many international organization established in order to help each state to cooperate in term of world peace and security. The organization is collective will of each nation to bind themselves together and friendship and cooperation in order to share the mutual interests and solve the conflict in peaceful ways for their people and for posterity the blessing of peace, freedom, and prosperity in each state as well as in the entire world.

The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) is the one of world organizations. It was originated in Southeast Asia in about 30 years ago for common action to promote regional cooperation in Southeast Asia toward regional solidarity, peace progress and prosperity in the region, to share a primary responsibility for strengthening the economic and social stability, to ensure their stability and security from external interference in order to preserve their national identities of their people.

2- History of ASEAN

The ASEAN was established by Bangkok declaration on 8 August 1967 of five leaders - the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand - sat down together in the main hall of the Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkok, Thailand and signed a document. By virtue of that document, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was born. The five Foreign Ministers who signed it - Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso R. Ramos of the Philippines, Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand. The document that they signed would be known as the ASEAN Declaration.

After the five original members countries had signed the declaration to establish the ASEAN its new member were Brunei since 8 January 1984, Vietnam since 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar since 23 July 1997 and Cambodia since 30 April 1999. The combination of the whole population in ASEAN has about 500(2) million living in a total area of 4.5 million square kilometers.

3- Objectives of ASEAN

The Declaration of ASEAN contents all its objectives, which is a primary goal of the Association. In 1995, the ASEAN Heads of States and Government re-affirmed that “Cooperative peace and shared prosperity shall be the fundamental goals of ASEAN.” as the following areas:

1- To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian nations.

2- To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.

3- To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields.

4- To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research felicities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative systems

5- To collaborate more effectively for the greater utilization of their agriculture and industries, the expansion of their trade, including the study of the problems of international community trade, the improvement of their transportation and communication facilities and the raising of the living standards of their propels.

6- To promote Southeast Asian studies through ASEAN University Network (AUN).

7- To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes, and to explore all avenue for even closer cooperation among themselves.


The highest decision-making body in ASEAN is the annual meeting of the ASEAN Heads of State and Government.  Whenever decided, the ASEAN Summit is preceded by a Joint Ministerial Meeting (JMM) that composed of Foreign and Economic Ministers. 

The ASEAN Standing Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Foreign Minister of the country-in-chair, is mandated to coordinate the work of the Association in between the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM). The ASEAN Chair and Vice Chair are elected based on alphabetical rotation of all ASEAN Member Countries. 

The ASEAN Secretariat headed by the Secretary-General of ASEAN, is mandated to “initiate, advise, coordinate, and implement ASEAN activities.”  Its office is located in Jakarta, Indonesia. It has four Bureaus, namely, the AFTA Bureau, and Bureau of ASEAN Cooperation and External Relations. The Secretariat Staff consists of Openly-Recruited Staff (Bureau Directors, Assistant Directors, and Senior Officers) and the Locally Recruited-Staff.

The Secretary-General is appointed on merit by the ASEAN Heads of Government with the recommendation of the AMM for a tern of five years. He is assisted by two Deputy Secretaries-General who are appointed by ASEAN Member States by rotation. One Deputy Secretary-General will assist the Secretary-General on AFTA and Economic Cooperation while the other will assist in Functional Cooperation, ASEAN Cooperation and Dialogue Relations and Administration, Finance and Personnel. He is accorded ministerial status with the mandate to initiate, advise, coordinate and implement ASEAN activities.

The Protocol Amending the Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Secretariat, signed in Manila on 22 July 1992, provides that the Secretary-General is responsible to the Heads of Government Meeting and to all Meetings of ASEAN Ministers when they are in session and to the chairmen of the ASC. He also chairs all meetings of the ASC Chairman, except the first and the last.

The AEM was institutionalized at the 1977 Kuala Lumpur Summit. Its meeting helps annually to talk both formal and informal to direct ASEAN economic cooperation. By AEM the ASEAN Free Trade Area Council was established by the Fourth Summit in Singapore 1992 to supervise, coordinate, and review the implementation of the CEPT Scheme for AFTA. The AEM and AMM report jointly to the ASEAN Heads of Government during an ASEAN Summit.  

The ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) is an annually meeting of all Foreign Ministers of each member states. Since the AMM, was established by the 1967 Bangkok Declaration, It is responsible for the formulation of policy guidelines and coordination of ASEAN activities. At the 1977 Kuala Lumpur Summit, the ASEAN Heads of Government agreed that the AMM could include other relevant Ministers as and when necessary. During an ASEAN Summit, the AMM and AEM report jointly to the ASEAN Heads of Government.

At the third Summit in Manila on 14-15 December 1987, the SEOM was established as part of the ASEAN machinery. The SEOM comprises the heads of trade, industry, finance and commerce of the ASEAN Member Countries. The Fourth ASEAN Summit agreed that the five ASEAN Economic Committees on Finance and Banking (COFAB); Food, Agriculture and Forestry (COFAF); Industry, Minerals and Energy (COIME); Transportation and Communications (COTAC); and Trade and Tourism (COTT) be dissolved and SEOM be tasked to handle all aspects of ASEAN economic cooperation. The SEOM meets regularly and reports to the AEM.

The primary responsibility of SOM was to carry of the ASEAN political cooperation. It is also formally institutionalized as part of the ASEAN machinery at the 1987 Manila summit. The SOM meets as and when necessary and reports directly to the AMM. SOM consists of heads of the Foreign Ministries of the ASEAN Member Countries.

The JMM, established by the 1987 Manila Summit, Meets as and when necessary to facilitate the cross-sect oral coordination of and consultation on ASEAN activities. The JMM comprises the ASEAN Foreign Ministers and Economic Ministers under the joint chairmanship on the AMM and AEM chairmen. Such a joint meeting can be initiated either by the Foreign Ministers or the Economic Ministers. The JMM usually meets prior to the Summit.

Ministers for specific sectors of economic cooperation meet as and when necessary to give guidance on ASEAN cooperation. These are meetings of Ministers on Energy, Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry, Ministers on Tourism, and Ministers on Transport. The sect oral Economic Ministers report to the AEM. The ASEAN Finance Ministers have also agreed to meet regularly. Their first meeting was held in Phuket in February 1997.

Meeting of Ministers in other fields of ASEAN cooperation, such as Health, Environment, Labor, Social Welfare, Education, Science and Technology, information and Justice/Law, are held regularly. While there is coordination between meetings of other Ministers and the AMM, each meeting of Ministers may report directly to the Heads of Government.

Other ASEAN Senior Officials Meetings comprise the ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment (ASOEN) and ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD) as well as ASEAN Committee such as Committee on Social Development (COSD), Committee on Science and Technology (COST), ASEAN Conference on Civil Service Matters (ACCSM) and Committee on Culture and Information (COCI). These bodies report to the ASC and to the relevant meetings of Ministers.

Each ASEAN country has a National Secretariat in the Foreign Ministry which organizes and implements ASEAN-related activities at the country level. At the head of each National Secretariat is a Director-General.

ASEAN has established committees in its Dialogue Partner countries to handle ASEAN’s external relations with these countries and international organizations. These committees comprise the heads of diplomatic missions of the ASEAN Member Countries in the host country. They conduct consultative meetings with their host governments. Presently, there are fourteen ASEAN Committees in third countries, namely: Beijing, Bonn, Brussels, Canberra, Geneva, London, Moscow, Ottawa, Paris, Seoul, Tokyo, Washington, Wellington and New Delhi. The Chairmen of the ASEAN Committees in Third Countries submit progress reports to the ASC on the activities of the Committees and seek guidance as needed from the ASC.

ASEAN has established linkages with other regional groupings. On the occasion of the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, ASEAN Foreign Ministers meet their counterparts from the Economic Cooperation Organization, Gulf Cooperation Council, Rio Group, and South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation.

The ASEAN Regional Forum was established in 1994 by ASEAN to sustain and enhance peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. It now consists of all ASEAN member countries, all Dialogue Partners (except UNDP and Pakistan), Papua New Guinea and Mongolia.


 The TAC stated that ASEAN political and security dialogue and cooperation should aim to promote regional peace and stability by enhancing regional resilience. Regional resilience shall be achieved by cooperating in all fields based on the principles of self-confidence, self-reliance, mutual respect, cooperation, and solidarity, which shall constitute the foundation for a strong and viable community of nations in Southeast Asia.

 Some of the major political accords of ASEAN are as follows: • ASEAN Declaration, Bangkok, 8 August 1967;
• Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality Declaration, Kuala Lumpur, 27 November 1971; • Declaration of ASEAN Concord, Bali, 24 February 1976; • Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Bali, 24 February 1976; • ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea, Manila, 22 July 1992; • Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, Bangkok, 15 December 1997; and • ASEAN Vision 2020, Kuala Lumpur, 15 December 1997.

When ASEAN was established, trade among the Member Countries was insignificant. Estimates between 1967 and the early 1970s showed that the share of intra-ASEAN trade from the total trade of the Member Countries was between 12 and 15 percent. Thus, some of the earliest economic cooperation schemes of ASEAN were aimed at addressing this situation. One of these was the Preferential Trading Arrangement of 1977, which accorded tariff preferences for trade among ASEAN economies. Ten years later, an Enhanced PTA Programme was adopted at the Third ASEAN Summit in Manila further increasing intra-ASEAN trade.  

The Framework Agreement on Enhancing Economic Cooperation was adopted at the Fourth ASEAN Summit in Singapore in 1992, which included the launching of a scheme toward an ASEAN Free Trade Area or AFTA. The strategic objective of AFTA is to increase the ASEAN region’s competitive advantage as a single production unit. The elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers among the member countries is expected to promote greater economic efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. The Fifth ASEAN Summit held in Bangkok in 1995 adopted the Agenda for Greater Economic Integration, which included the acceleration of the timetable for the realization of AFTA from the original 15-year timeframe to 10 years.  

In 1997, the ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020, which called for ASEAN Partnership in Dynamic Development aimed at forging closer economic integration within the region. The vision statement also resolved to create a stable, prosperous and highly competitive ASEAN Economic Region, in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investments, capital, and equitable economic development and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities. The Hanoi Plan of Action, adopted in 1998, serves as the first in a series of plans of action leading up to the realization of the ASEAN vision.

The year under review was an active year for ASEAN cooperation in social and human resource development, particularly in consolidating work in response to the social impact of the 1997-1998 regional financial and economic crisis.  The work has evolved into managing social changes brought about by the forces of globalizations and trade liberalization in the region.   To contribute to narrowing the development gap in ASEAN, several human resource flagship programmes are being developed.

The restructuring of mechanisms for ASEAN social development cooperation has been completed with a view to revitalize and refocus cooperation on policy and strategic issues, such as the implications of economic integration and greater trade and services liberalization, including the impact of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on social issues.  Over the past year, several inaugural meetings of the newly-restructured ASEAN bodies were held.  Preparations of work plans for social welfare and development and disaster management are underway.

Although cost-sharing is increasingly used as a modality for funding priority regional activities, ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, UN specialized agencies, the World Bank and other institutions continue to support projects on labor, health, education, women and children. Collaboration with the East Asian partners, which currently covers the field of labor, will soon be extended to health, social welfare and development, and rural development and poverty eradication.

In response to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Special ASEAN Leaders' Meeting and the Special ASEAN-China Leaders' Meeting on SARS were held in Bangkok, Thailand on 29 April 2003.  At the Meetings, ASEAN and China expressed common resolve to act in concert and do what is necessary to contain SARS and eliminate the disease from the region.

The Leaders’ resolve was reflected in the two key documents that resulted from the Meetings, namely the Joint Declaration of the Special ASEAN Leaders' Meeting on SARS; and the Joint Statement of the Special ASEAN-China Leaders' Meeting on SARS.  The Leaders decided to undertake coordinated measures to contain SARS, including exchange of information, appointing a focal/contact point in every country, carrying out research and training programme, and pre-departure screening for international travelers.  The Leaders agreed to set up a Joint Ministerial-Level Task Force to follow up

The ASEAN Ministers of Rural Development, at their Third Meeting held in December 2002, expressed concern regarding the possible impact of globalizations and trade liberalization on the question of poverty in the region. The Ministers have requested the ASEAN Secretariat to undertake a comprehensive review of regional cooperation on poverty eradication and rural development. The review is expected to chart strategic directions to respond to emerging trends, especially with respect to emerging global concerns and their impact on current plans of action as well as focus cooperation on issues. The review would also look at how the current institutional mechanisms for cooperation could be further streamlined and improved, including the mobilization of the resources of Member Countries for priority regional projects.

ASEAN countries, in collaboration with the World Bank and the Japanese Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development (FASID), will engage in an exchange of experiences in promoting community participation approaches for rural poverty reduction beginning in June 2003.  The project aims to share lessons learned in addressing the exclusion and vulnerability of rural populations and in devising economic activities to assist them.

ASEAN and UNICEF have agreed to formulate a work plan on the welfare of children and young persons as a guide for long-term cooperation.  The work plan will address priorities identified in the Declaration of Commitments on Children in ASEAN adopted by the 4th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Social Welfare (AMRSW) in August 2001, “A World Fit for Children” adopted by the UNGA Special Session on Children, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

In March 2003, UNICEF provided technical assistance for the ASEAN project on early childcare and development, which extended the project into second phase.  Two of the planned four regional policy seminars have been convened.  The second seminar, held in Thailand, looked at ways to strengthen and improve monitoring systems for promoting early child care and development through better indicators and management and dissemination of information. The seminar was convened with financial support from the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).  The next regional policy seminar in the series will be hosted by Indonesia in 2004.

5.7- WOMEN
The first meeting of the restructured ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) was held in October 2002 and discussed the need to formulate a work plan on women’s advancement and gender equality.  The ACW agreed to publish the Third Regional Report on the Advancement of Women by 2005 in conjunction with the ten-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action.  The ACW has agreed that the format of the Regional Report should be in accordance with the progress reports prepared by Member Countries on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.  This will facilitate the compilation of data and eliminate duplication of efforts.  The ACW has agreed that the theme for the 2nd ACW Meeting in 2003 would focus on gender-based violence.   The ACW has also agreed to formulate an ASEAN Declaration Against Gender-Based Violence.

Eight priority activities under the ASEAN Labor Ministers Work Programme and the flagship Technical Assistance Programme for the CLMV countries intended to meet the labor and employment challenges of closer regional integration were presented at the IAI Development Cooperation Forum (IDCF), which was held in August 2002 at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.  A joint review between the International Labor Organization (ILO) and ASEAN to identify areas of collaboration, especially where ILO technical assistance and on-going/planned activities could be mobilized, was conducted between 15 and 25 January 2003 in Lao PDR, Viet Nam and Thailand.

The 12th Meeting of the ASEAN Experts Group on Disaster Management (AEGDM), held on 16-18 September 2002 in Viet Nam, agreed to restructure the AEGDM into an ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM).  To intensify ASEAN cooperation in disaster management, the Committee also decided to meet annually instead of once every two years.  The Committee’s revised Terms of Reference was adopted by the 2nd Meeting of the 36th ASEAN Standing Committee in February 2003.The ASEAN Regional Programme on Disaster Management (ARPDM) has been adopted.  It was formulated with the assistance of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC).  Under the ARPDM, cooperation among the Member Countries will cover capacity building, sharing of information and resources, engaging external partnerships, and public education, awareness and advocacy in disaster management.

The newly restructured ASEAN Committee on Education (ASCOE) held its first meeting in September 2002 in Cambodia with a re-focused mission to promote ASEAN awareness in primary and secondary schools.  ASCOE has agreed to develop a Framework for a Plan of Action on Promoting ASEAN Awareness in the Schools.  Member Countries will share information on their existing activities to promote ASEAN awareness with a view to opening appropriate activities for participation by other ASEAN countries. Organized on an annual basis, the Third Students Exchange Programme at the Secondary Level was held from July 19 to August 1, 2002 in Thailand with the theme Education for Conservation of Historical Sites and for the Promotion of Eco-Tourism.  Indonesia will be hosting the Fourth Exchange Programme in October 2003.

Now on its eight year, the ASEAN University Network (AUN) continues to promote collaborative studies and research programs among its 17-member educational institutions.  The AUN continues to implement activities, such as developing ASEAN Studies Programme; Student and Faculty Exchange Programme; Scholarships for Graduate Students at ASEAN Countries, information networking among ASEAN Universities, and Collaborative Research. 

Under the Student and Faculty Exchange Programme, the University of Malaya launched a Master’s Degree Programme in ASEAN Studies in June 2003 and offer scholarships to interested ASEAN applicants.  The Third ASEAN Graduate Business/Economics Programme annual meeting was held at the National University of Singapore on 20 November 2002.  The Pasundan University in Bandung hosted the International University Students Conference on 3-9 February 2003. 

To implement its own program ASEAN collects the budget from all member states in equal contributions. The operational budget is prepared annually by its secretariat and also supported by several specialize center of excellence based on different ASEAN capital. Committee in Third Countries also supports ASEAN's budget. The amount of contribution will be based in the capitals of the ASEAN Dialogue Partner and other countries, which led, by its Ambassadors.

Having seen so far ASEAN faced many difference challenging cause by political and global affect. These challenging included territorial and jurisdictional disputes of South China Sea, nuclear proliferation in Northeast Asia and South Asia, terrorist, mass destruction weapons and the effect of globalizations, but the most challenging today is terrorist and the effect of globalization.

Concerning with the effect of the globalizations, ASEAN did not get along well with its member state such as Myanmar. ASEAN used to threat to expel Myanmar from its member state in the case of detaining a democratic leader- Aung San Suu Kyi in her house arrested, but Myanmar backed China did not care about this expelling even the United Nations, the United states and European Unions announced the same issue and put a lot of pressure and sanction on this country. China assisted Myanmar by signing many contract related to their business. Because of this cooperation Myanmar ignored all pressure form ASEAN, UN, US and EU E. By its vision of 2020, ASEAN have a plan of extending its member state known as ASEAN+3 China, Korea and Japan. This is only a reason that ASEAN could not expel Myanmar.

ASEAN likes other world organizations have obligation to ensure the peace and security in the region that affected by terrorists. To take the responsibility against terrorist ASEAN has consistently pursued a policy of cooperation in seeking of peaceful settlement among its member states. Recently, an extraordinary meeting of Defend Ministers of each ASEAN member states took place in Jakarta, Indonesia to strengthen peace and security in the region threat by terrorism, which was seen by exposing of bomb in Jakarta this year.

The causing of SARS outbreak, the ASEAN economic came down very fast especially in tourist sector. The rate of tourists each country declined when their ambassadors announced and ban their nations does not visit in our region. Some small and medium industries factory was closed and led to bankrupt. However, ASEAN tried the best afford to handle and fight back this issue. Fortunately, we are strongly enough to prevent our nations from the effect of SARS issue.


The creation of a community called the Association of Southeast Asia Nations at peace with one another and at the peace with the world communities as well as with other states. ASEAN is rapidly achieving prosperity for the nations in its region and steadily improving of good cooperation in term of helping one another in order to fostering a strong sense of ASEAN. The major achievements of ASEAN were high economic growth, stability and significant poverty alleviation over the past few years, enjoyed substantial trade and investment flows from significant liberalization measures.

Though ASEAN have no enough power to handle its issue in same areas, I see the ASEAN playing a very important role in the international cooperation and advancing ASEAN's common interests and also intensified relationship with it dialogue partners and other regional organizations based on equal partnership and mutual respect for the world securities and peaceful resolutions.

I only wish to see other new achievements, but not its failure. I would like to have a strongly request that ASEAN should not be interfered, it would be a well functioning, independent regional supervisor and a trusted partner of the United Nations.


1. World Book- Encyclopedia, Deluxe Edition 20004,
2. International Relations- Prepared by Dr. Khiev Thavika in 2002, 3. International Organizations Part II - Compiled for Undergraduate Students Program in 2004 by Nagakawa Kasumi, PUC Lecturer. 4. ASEAN home page:



Pannasastra University of Cambodia

Course: International Organizations


Prepared by: Kimseng Houth

Academic Year: 2004
















Working Group

Working Group

Working Group

ASEAN Secretariat

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