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  Association of South East Asian Nations

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.  Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.


The ASEAN region has a population of about 500 million, a total area of 4.5 million square kilometers, a combined gross domestic product of US$737 billion, and a total trade of US$ 720 billion.


Objectives of ASEAN


The ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are:

  1. to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian nations, and 
  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.


In 1995, the ASEAN Heads of States and Government re-affirmed that “Cooperative peace and shared prosperity shall be the fundamental goals of ASEAN.”


Structure of ASEAN


The highest decision-making organ of ASEAN is the Meeting of the ASEAN Heads of State and Government.  The ASEAN Summit is convened every year.  The ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (Foreign Ministers) is held on an annual basis.  Ministerial meetings on several other sectors are also held: agriculture and forestry, economics, energy, environment, finance, information, investment, labour, law, regional haze, rural development and poverty alleviation, science and technology, social welfare, transnational crime, transportation, tourism, youth, the AIA Council and, the AFTA Council. 


Supporting these ministerial bodies are 29 committees of senior officials and 122 technical working groups.


ASEAN Secretary General


The Secretary-General of ASEAN is appointed on merit and accorded ministerial status.  The Secretary-General of ASEAN, who has a five-year term, is mandated to initiate, advise, coordinate, and implement ASEAN activities.  The members of the professional staff of the ASEAN Secretariat are appointed on the principle of open recruitment and region-wide competition.


Inter-Governmental Cooperation


ASEAN has several specialized bodies and arrangements promoting inter-governmental cooperation in various fields: ASEAN University Network, ASEAN-EC Management Centre, ASEAN Centre for Energy, ASEAN Agricultural Development Planning Centre, ASEAN Earthquake Information Centre, ASEAN Poultry Research and Training Centre, ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, ASEAN Rural Youth Development Centre, ASEAN Specialized Meteorological Center, ASEAN Tourism Information Centre, and ASEAN Timber Technology Centre.


ASEAN Associates and NGOs  


In addition, ASEAN promotes cooperative activities with organizations with related aims and purposes: ASEAN-Chambers of Commerce and Industry, ASEAN Business Forum, ASEAN Tourism Association, ASEAN Council on Petroleum, ASEAN Ports Association, ASEAN Vegetable Oils Club, and the ASEAN-Institutes for Strategic and International Studies.  Furthermore, there are 53 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which have formal affiliations with ASEAN.


FASA is one of the 53 NGOs which is affiliated with ASEAN. It participates in ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group Meetings regularly. A list of activities under the Transport and Communication Arm of ASEAN is available from the ASEAN website at


A full range of the ASEAN activities are available from its website at


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