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The ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS ( ASEAN
ASEAN
/ˈɑːsi.ɑːn/ _AH-see-ahn_ , /ˈɑːzi.ɑːn/ _AH-zee-ahn_ ) is a regional intergovernmental organisation comprising ten Southeast Asian
Southeast Asian
states which promotes Pan-Asianism , intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members and Asian states . Since its formation on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia
Indonesia
, Malaysia
Malaysia
, the Philippines
Philippines
, Singapore , and Thailand
Thailand
, the organisation's membership has expanded to include Brunei
Brunei
, Cambodia
Cambodia
, Laos
Laos
, Myanmar
Myanmar
, and Vietnam
Vietnam
. Its principal aims include accelerating economic growth , social progress , and sociocultural evolution among its members, alongside the protection of regional stability and the provision of a mechanism for member countries to resolve differences peacefully. ASEAN
ASEAN
is an official United Nations
United Nations
Observer.

ASEAN
ASEAN
covers a land area of 4.4 million square kilometres, 3% of the total land area of Earth. ASEAN
ASEAN
territorial waters cover an area about three times larger than its land counterpart. Member countries have a combined population of approximately 625 million people, 8.8% of the world's population. In 2015, the organisation's combined nominal GDP had grown to more than US$2.8 trillion. If ASEAN
ASEAN
were a single entity, it would rank as the sixth largest economy in the world, behind the USA, China, Japan, India
India
and Germany. ASEAN
ASEAN
shares land borders with India
India
, China
China
, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, East Timor
East Timor
, and Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
, and maritime borders with India, China, Palau
Palau
, and Australia
Australia
. Both East Timor and Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
are backed by certain ASEAN
ASEAN
members for their membership in the organisation.

ASEAN
ASEAN
has been establishing itself as a platform for Asian integrations and cooperations, working with other Asian nations to promote unity, prosperity, development and sustainability of the region, as well as working on solutions to resolve disputes and problems in the region. While mainly focusing on the Asia-Pacific nations, ASEAN
ASEAN
also established communications with other parts of the world, to better promote world peace and stability. The organisation has a global reputation of promoting goodwill and diplomacy among nations, shutting out any biased opinion or decision, and carrying the principle of non-interference.

CONTENTS

* 1 Purpose

* 2 History

* 2.1 Foundation * 2.2 Expansion and further integration * 2.3 Charter * 2.4 The ASEAN Way * 2.5 ASEAN Plus Three
ASEAN Plus Three
* 2.6 ASEAN
ASEAN
Plus Six

* 3 Economy

* 3.1 Overview

* 3.2 Internal market

* 3.2.1 Free flow of skilled labour

* 3.3 Free trade
Free trade
* 3.4 ASEAN
ASEAN
six majors * 3.5 ASEAN
ASEAN
Capital Markets Forum (ACMF)

* 3.6 Development gap

* 3.6.1 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

* 3.7 Monetary union * 3.8 Free-trade agreements * 3.9 From CMI to AMRO

* 4 Single aviation market * 5 Tourism
Tourism

* 6 Foreign affairs and summits

* 6.1 ASEAN
ASEAN
identity * 6.2 ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit * 6.3 East Asia
Asia
Summit * 6.4 Commemorative summit * 6.5 Regional Forum * 6.6 Other meetings

* 7 Mass media

* 7.1 ASEAN
ASEAN
Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) * 7.2 ASEAN
ASEAN
Media Cooperation

* 8 ASEAN
ASEAN
Community 2015

* 9 ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community Blueprint

* 9.1 Reinforcing ASEAN
ASEAN
relations * 9.2 2020 ASEAN
ASEAN
Banking Integration Framework * 9.3 Roadmap for ASEAN
ASEAN
financial integration * 9.4 Food security * 9.5 Reception and criticisms

* 10 ASEAN
ASEAN
Political-Security Community Blueprint

* 10.1 ASEAN
ASEAN
Defence Industry Collaboration

* 11 ASEAN
ASEAN
Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint

* 11.1 The AEC Scorecard * 11.2 Narrowing the Development Gap

* 12 ASEAN
ASEAN
Communication Master Plan * 13 ASEAN
ASEAN
security blueprint * 14 Environment

* 15 Education

* 15.1 Educational integration

* 15.1.1 ASEAN
ASEAN
university network * 15.1.2 Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Engineering Education Development Network Project * 15.1.3 ASEAN
ASEAN
Scholarship

* 15.2 Literacy rates
Literacy rates

* 16 Culture
Culture
and sport

* 16.1 Heritage parks * 16.2 Songs and music * 16.3 ASEAN
ASEAN
competitions * 16.4 2030 FIFA world cup bid * 16.5 Performance in international competitions

* 17 Criticism * 18 Current leaders of ASEAN
ASEAN
* 19 See also * 20 Literature * 21 References * 22 Further reading * 23 External links

PURPOSE

As set out in the ASEAN Declaration , the aims and purposes of ASEAN are:

* To accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region. * To promote regional peace and stability. * To promote collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest. * To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities. * To collaborate for the better utilisation of agriculture and industry to raise the living standards of the people. * To promote Southeast Asian studies . * To maintain close, beneficial co-operation with existing international organisations with similar aims and purposes.

HISTORY

See also: Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian
Southeast Asian
Nations

Wikisource has original text related to this article: BANGKOK DECLARATION

The member states of ASEAN
ASEAN
Myanmar
Myanmar
Laos
Laos
Vietnam
Vietnam
Thailand
Thailand
Cam- bodia Philippines
Philippines
Brunei
Brunei
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia
Singapore
Singapore
I n d o n e s i a

FOUNDATION

ASEAN
ASEAN
was preceded by an organization formed in 31 July 1961 called the ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIA (ASA), a group consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand. ASEAN
ASEAN
itself was created on 8 August 1967, when the foreign ministers of five countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, signed the ASEAN Declaration, more commonly known as the Bangkok Declaration .

The creation of ASEAN
ASEAN
was motivated by a common fear of communism , and a thirst for economic development.

ASEAN
ASEAN
grew when Brunei
Brunei
Darussalam became its sixth member on 7 January 1984, barely a week after gaining independence.

EXPANSION AND FURTHER INTEGRATION

See also: Enlargement of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various Asian regional organisations v • d • e

ASEAN
ASEAN
achieved greater cohesion in the mid-1970s following the changed balance of power in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
after the end of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War. The region's dynamic economic growth during the 1970s strengthened the organization, enabling ASEAN
ASEAN
to adopt a unified response to Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia
Cambodia
in 1979. ASEAN's first summit meeting, held in Bali, Indonesia
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
Cold War
between the United States
United States
and the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s allowed ASEAN
ASEAN
countries to exercise greater political independence in the region, and in the 1990s ASEAN
ASEAN
emerged as a leading voice on regional trade and security issues.

In 1987, Brunei
Brunei
became ASEAN's sixth member and on 28 July 1995, Vietnam
Vietnam
became ASEAN's seventh member. Laos
Laos
and Myanmar
Myanmar
(Burma) joined two years later on 23 July 1997. Cambodia
Cambodia
was to have joined at the same time as Laos
Laos
and Burma, but its entry was delayed due to the country's internal political struggle. It later joined on 30 April 1999, following the stabilization of its government.

In 1990, Malaysia
Malaysia
proposed the creation of an East Asia
Asia
Economic Caucus composed of the members of ASEAN
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
United States
in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and in the Asian region as a whole. However, the proposal failed because of heavy opposition from the US and Japan. Member states continued to work for further integration, and ASEAN Plus Three
ASEAN Plus Three
was created in 1997.

In 1992, the Common Effective Preferential Tariff
Tariff
(CEPT) scheme was adopted as a schedule for phasing out tariffs with the 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 (AFTA). AFTA is an agreement by member nations concerning local manufacturing in ASEAN
ASEAN
countries. The AFTA agreement was signed on 28 January 1992 in Singapore.

After the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, a revival of the Malaysian proposal, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative , was put forward in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
, Thailand. It called for better integration of the economies of ASEAN
ASEAN
as well as the ASEAN Plus Three
ASEAN Plus Three
countries, China, Japan, and South Korea.

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
Southeast Asia
into a nuclear-weapon-free zone . The treaty took effect on 28 March 1997 after all but one of the member states had ratified it. It became fully effective on 21 June 2001 after the Philippines
Philippines
ratified it, effectively banning all nuclear weapons in the region.

CHARTER

Main article: ASEAN Charter The Secretariat of ASEAN
ASEAN
at Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.70A, South Jakarta
Jakarta
, Indonesia
Indonesia

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

The 2008 global financial crisis was seen as being a threat to the goals envisioned by the charter, 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 which violated citizens' rights and would therefore be limited in effectiveness. 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 .

THE ASEAN
ASEAN
WAY

The ' ASEAN
ASEAN
Way' refers to a methodology or approach to solving issues that respects the cultural norms of Southeast Asia. Masilamani and Peterson summarise it as:

A working process or style that is informal and personal. Policymakers constantly utilize compromise, consensus, and consultation in the informal decision-making process... it above all prioritizes a consensus-based, non-conflictual way of addressing problems. Quiet diplomacy allows ASEAN
ASEAN
leaders to communicate without bringing the discussions into the public view. Members avoid embarrassment that may lead to further conflict.

It has been said that the merits of the ASEAN
ASEAN
Way might "be usefully applied to global conflict management". However, critics have argued that such an approach can be only applied to Asian countries to specific cultural norms and understandings notably due to a difference in mindset and level of tension. :pp113-118

Critics object claiming that the ASEAN
ASEAN
Way's emphasis on consultation, consensus, and non-interference, forces the organisation to adopt only those policies which satisfy the lowest common denominator. Decision making by consensus requires members to see eye-to-eye before ASEAN
ASEAN
can move forward on an issue. Members may not have a common conception of the meaning of the ASEAN
ASEAN
Way. Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos
Laos
emphasise non-interference while older member countries focus on co-operation and co-ordination. These differences hinder efforts to find common solutions to particular issues, but also make it difficult to determine when collective action is appropriate in a given situation. :161-163

ASEAN
ASEAN
PLUS THREE

The 16 member countries of the RCEP BLUE: ASEAN
ASEAN
PURPLE: ASEAN Plus Three
ASEAN Plus Three
TEAL: ASEAN
ASEAN
Plus Six

The leaders of each country felt the need to further integrate the nations in the region. Beginning in 1997, the bloc started creating organisations with the intention of achieving this goal. " ASEAN
ASEAN
Plus Three" was the first of these and was created to improve existing ties with the People\'s Republic of China
China
, Japan
Japan
, and South Korea
South Korea
. This was followed by the even larger East Asia
Asia
Summit (EAS), which included ASEAN Plus Three
ASEAN Plus Three
countries as well as India, Australia, New Zealand. This new group acted as a prerequisite for the planned East Asia Community which was supposedly patterned after the now-defunct European Community . The ASEAN
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 .

In 2006, ASEAN
ASEAN
was given observer status at the United Nations General Assembly . In response, the organisation awarded the status of "dialogue partner" to the UN.

ASEAN
ASEAN
PLUS SIX

ASEAN
ASEAN
became ASEAN
ASEAN
Plus Six with additional countries: Australia, New Zealand and India. Codification of the relations between these nations has seen progress through the development of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free-trade agreement involving the 16 countries of ASEAN
ASEAN
plus six. RCEP would, in part, allow the members to protect local sectors and give more time to comply with the aim for developed country members.

ECONOMY

Selection of GDP PPP data (top 10 countries and blocks) in no particular order

OVERVIEW

ASEAN
ASEAN
is built on three pillars: the ASEAN
ASEAN
Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC), and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

ASEAN
ASEAN
sought economic integration by creating the AEC by the end of 2015. This established a common market . 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 growth of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ( APEC
APEC
), which was 2.8%.

The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), which was established on 28 January 1992, includes a Common Effective Preferential Tariff
Tariff
(CEPT) to promote the free flow of goods between member states. When the AFTA agreement was originally signed, ASEAN
ASEAN
had only six members: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos
Laos
and Burma
Burma
in 1997, and Cambodia
Cambodia
in 1999. The newcomers have not fully met 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.

The next steps are to create a single market and production base, a competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region that is fully integrated into the global economy.

Since 2007, ASEAN
ASEAN
countries have gradually lowered their import duties to member nations. The target is zero import duties by 2016.

In February 2016, President Obama
President Obama
initiated the inaugural US-ASEAN Summit at Sunnylands for closer engagement with ASEAN, as China's economic and trade growth have dimmed. The territorial disputes in the South China
China
Sea were also discussed. However, in a final joint statement, the Sunnylands Declaration did not allude to the South China
China
Sea by name, instead calling for "respect for each nation's sovereignty and for international law". Analysts believe the wording indicated divides within the group on how to respond to China's maritime strategy.

ASEAN
ASEAN
countries have many economic zones (industrial parks, eco-industrial parks, special economic zones, technology parks, and innovation districts). UNIDO Viet Nam ( United Nations
United Nations
Industrial Development Organization) has compiled in 2015 a list of economic zones in the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community in a report titled "Economic Zones in the ASEAN", written by Arnault Morisson.

INTERNAL MARKET

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

Until the end of 2010, intra- ASEAN
ASEAN
trade was still low. Trade involved mainly exports to countries outside the region, with the exception of Laos
Laos
and Myanmar, whose foreign trade was ASEAN-oriented, with 80% and 50% respectively of their exports going to other ASEAN countries.

In 2009, realised foreign direct investment (FDI) was US$37.9 billion and increased two-fold in 2010 to US$75.8 billion. 22% of FDI came from the European Union
European Union
, followed by ASEAN
ASEAN
countries (16%), and by Japan
Japan
and the USA.

The ASEAN
ASEAN
Framework Agreement on Trade
Trade
in Services (AFAS) was adopted at the ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit in Bangkok in December 1995. 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 commitment. At present, ASEAN
ASEAN
has concluded seven packages of commitments under AFAS.

Free Flow Of Skilled Labour

Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) have been agreed upon by ASEAN for eight professions: physicians, dentists, nurses, architects, engineers, accountants, surveyors, and tourism professionals. Individuals in these professions will be free to work in any ASEAN nation after the AEC goes into effect on 31 December 2015. Applicants must be licensed and recognised professionals in these fields in their home countries. They can move to other ASEAN
ASEAN
countries to practice, but they must pass that country's licensing test. In Thailand, licensing tests will be in the Thai language . In addition, one cannot be an independent practitioner. Any foreign professional intending to work must collaborate with a local business. Given these hurdles, it is unlikely that there will be significant migrations of professionals in the near-term. A Chulalongkorn University
Chulalongkorn University
study predicts that more developed countries stand to benefit the most from the free flow of professionals.

FREE TRADE

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

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

On 27 February 2009, a free trade agreement (FTA) with the ASEAN regional bloc of ten countries and Australia
Australia
, and its close partner New Zealand
New Zealand
was signed. It is believed that this FTA would boost combined GDP across the twelve countries by more than US$48 billion over the period between 2000 and 2020. ASEAN
ASEAN
members, together with the group's six major trading partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea), began the first round of negotiations on 26–28 February 2013, in Bali, Indonesia
Indonesia
on the establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

ASEAN
ASEAN
SIX MAJORS

Six majors refers to the six largest economies in the area that are many times larger than the remaining four ASEAN
ASEAN
countries:

COUNTRY Population (in millions) GDP (nominal 2016) (millions of US dollars) GDP (nominal per capita) (US dollars) GDP (PPP 2017) (millions of US dollars) GDP (PPP per capita) (US dollars)

Indonesia
Indonesia
260.6 $932,448 $3,640 $3,257,123 $12,432

Thailand
Thailand
68.9 $406,949 $5,939 $1,226,407 $17,749

Philippines
Philippines
103.3 $304,696 $2,982 $878,980 $8,270

Singapore
Singapore
5.6 $296,967 $53,431 $514,837 $90,724

Malaysia
Malaysia
31.5 $296,359 $9,360 $922,057 $28,636

Vietnam
Vietnam
95.3 $201,326 $2,173 $648,234 $6,925

ASEAN
ASEAN
CAPITAL MARKETS FORUM (ACMF)

The ACMF is a collaboration among the seven stock exchanges of Malaysia
Malaysia
, Vietnam
Vietnam
(2 exchanges), Indonesia
Indonesia
, Philippines
Philippines
, Thailand
Thailand
, and Singapore
Singapore
. It includes 70% of the transaction values of the seven ASEAN
ASEAN
stock exchanges . Its objective is the integration of ASEAN stock exchanges so as to compete with international exchanges.

DEVELOPMENT GAP

ASEAN
ASEAN
members by Human Development Index
Human Development Index
:22–24 COUNTRY HDI (2016)

Singapore
Singapore
0.925 very high

Brunei
Brunei
0.865 very high

Malaysia
Malaysia
0.789 high

Thailand
Thailand
0.740 high

Indonesia
Indonesia
0.689 medium

ASEAN 0.684 medium

Vietnam
Vietnam
0.683 medium

Philippines
Philippines
0.682 medium

Laos
Laos
0.568 medium

Cambodia
Cambodia
0.563 medium

Myanmar
Myanmar
0.556 medium

When Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia
Cambodia
joined ASEAN
ASEAN
in the late 1990s, concerns were raised about a gap in average per capita GDP between older and newer members. In response, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) was formed by ASEAN
ASEAN
as a regional integration policy with the 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
ASEAN
members are located—that tend to focus on infrastructure development were enacted. In general, ASEAN
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 mobilised funding from these institutions and countries, and from the ASEAN-6 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei
Brunei
Darussalam, Singapore, and Thailand) themselves, for areas where the development gap needs to be bridged through the IAI programme. Other programmes intended for the development of the ASEAN-4 take advantage of the geographical proximity of the CLMV (Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam) countries and tend to focus on infrastructure development in areas like transport , tourism , and power transmission .

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

RCEP consists of all ten ASEAN
ASEAN
countries plus six countries (China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, and New Zealand) which have trade agreements with ASEAN
ASEAN
countries. RCEP covers 45% of the world's population and about a third of the world's total GDP. For example, 60% of New Zealand
New Zealand
's exports are to RCEP countries. RCEP is an extension of ASEAN
ASEAN
plus three, and then ASEAN
ASEAN
plus six.

MONETARY UNION

The concept of an Asian Currency Unit (ACU) started in the middle of the nineties, prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis . It is a proposed basket of Asian currencies, similar to the European Currency Unit, which was the precursor of the Euro
Euro
. The Asian Development Bank is responsible for exploring the feasibility and construction of the basket.

Since the ACU is being considered to be a precursor to a common currency in the future, it has a dynamic outlook of the region. The overall goal of a common currency is to contribute to the financial stability of a regional economy, including price stability. It means lower cost of cross-border business through the elimination of currency risk for the members of the 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 save by not having to change money when travelling 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: the intensity of intra-regional trade and the convergence of macroeconomic conditions. Substantial intra- ASEAN
ASEAN
trade and economic integration is an incentive for a monetary union. Intra- ASEAN
ASEAN
trade is growing, partly as a result of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community.

However, some obstacles remain. ASEAN
ASEAN
currently trades more with other countries (80%) than among its member countries (20%). Therefore, ASEAN
ASEAN
economies are more concerned about currency stability against major international currencies, like the US dollar. On macroeconomic conditions, ASEAN
ASEAN
member countries have different levels of economic development, capacity, and priorities that translate into different levels of interest and readiness. Monetary integration however implies less control over national monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate the economy. Therefore, greater convergence in macroeconomic conditions is being enacted to improve conditions and confidence in a common currency. On the other hand, there are also constraints on the adoption of one currency, such as the following: 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 co-operation and a common currency.

FREE-TRADE AGREEMENTS

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

TREATY OF AMITY AND COOPERATION

The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in South-East Asia, signed at the First ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit on 24 February 1976, declared that in their relations with one another, the High Contracting Parties should be guided by the following fundamental principles:

* 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 the internal affairs of one another * Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner * Renunciation of the threat or use of force * Effective co-operation among themselves

FROM CMI TO AMRO

Due to the Asian financial crisis of 1997 to 1998, and the long and difficult negotiations with the International Monetary Fund , ASEAN+3 agreed to set up a mainly bilateral currency swap scheme known as the 2000 Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) in anticipation of another financial crisis in the future. In 2006 they agreed to meld the CMI with multilateralisation and call it CMIM. On 3 May 2009, they agreed to make a currency pool consisting of contributions: US$38.4 billion each by China
China
and Japan, US$19.2 billion by South Korea, and US$24 billion from all ASEAN
ASEAN
members, totalling US$120 billion. A key component has also been added recently, with the establishment of a surveillance unit.

The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic and Research Office (AMRO) started operations in Singapore
Singapore
in May 2011. It performs a key regional surveillance function of the US$120 billion Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) currency swap facility.

Some analysts think that the sum of US$120 billion is relatively small (covering only about 20% of needs), so co-ordination or help from the IMF is still needed. On 3 May 2012, ASEAN+3 finance ministers agreed to double emergency reserve funds to US$240 billion.

SINGLE AVIATION MARKET

The ASEAN
ASEAN
Single Aviation Market (ASEAN-SAM) is the region's aviation policy geared towards the development of a unified and single aviation market in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
. The aviation policy was proposed by the ASEAN
ASEAN
Air Transport
Transport
Working Group, supported by the ASEAN
ASEAN
Senior Transport
Transport
Officials Meeting, and endorsed by the ASEAN
ASEAN
Transport Ministers. The ASEAN-SAM is expected to liberalise air travel between member-states in the ASEAN
ASEAN
region, allowing ASEAN
ASEAN
airlines to benefit directly from the growth in air travel, and also free up tourism, trade, investment, and service flows between member states. Since 1 December 2008, restrictions on the third and fourth freedoms of the air between capital cities of member states for air passenger services have been removed, while from 1 January 2009, full liberalisation of air freight services in the region took effect. On 1 January 2011, full liberalisation on fifth freedom traffic rights between all capital cities took effect. The ASEAN
ASEAN
Single Aviation Market policy supersedes existing unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral air services agreements among member states which are inconsistent with its provisions.

TOURISM

With the institutionalisation of visa-free travel between ASEAN member states, intra- ASEAN
ASEAN
travel has boomed, a sign that endeavours to form an ASEAN
ASEAN
community may bear fruit in years to come. In 2010, 47% or 34 million out of 73 million tourists in ASEAN
ASEAN
member-states were from other ASEAN
ASEAN
countries.

ASEAN
ASEAN
co-operation in tourism was formalised in 1976, following formation of the Sub-Committee on Tourism
Tourism
(SCOT) under the ASEAN Committee on Trade
Trade
and Tourism. The 1st ASEAN
ASEAN
Tourism
Tourism
Forum was held on 18–26 October 1981 in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
. In 1986, ASEAN
ASEAN
Promotional Chapters for Tourism
Tourism
(APCT) were established in Hong Kong, West Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand, Japan, and North America.

Tourism
Tourism
has been one of the key growth sectors in ASEAN
ASEAN
and has proven resilient amid global economic challenges. The wide array of tourist attractions across the region drew 81 million tourists to ASEAN
ASEAN
in 2011, up by 30% compared to 62 million tourists in 2007. As of 2012, tourism was estimated to account for 4.6% of ASEAN GDP—10.9% when taking into account all indirect contributions. It directly employed 9.3 million people, or 3.2% of total employment, and indirectly supported some 25 million jobs. In addition, the sector accounted for an estimated 8% of total capital investment in the region.

In January 2012, ASEAN
ASEAN
tourism ministers called for the development of a marketing strategy. The strategy represents the consensus of ASEAN
ASEAN
National Tourism
Tourism
Organisations (NTOs) on marketing directions for ASEAN
ASEAN
moving forward to 2015.

In the 2013 _Travel and Tourism
Tourism
Competitiveness Index_ (TTCI) report, Singapore
Singapore
placed 1st, Malaysia
Malaysia
placed 8th, Thailand
Thailand
placed 9th, Indonesia
Indonesia
placed 12th, Brunei
Brunei
placed 13th, Vietnam
Vietnam
placed 16th, Philippines
Philippines
placed 17th, and Cambodia
Cambodia
placed 20th as the top destinations of travellers in the Asia
Asia
Pacific region.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND SUMMITS

ASEAN
ASEAN
IDENTITY

Royal Thai Embassy, Helsinki, flying its own national flag as well as ASEAN's flag

ASEAN's planned integration of its ten member nations 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
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.

ASEAN
ASEAN
SUMMIT

Main article: ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit A billboard in Jakarta
Jakarta
welcoming delegates for the 2011 ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit

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

The first ASEAN
ASEAN
summit was held in Bali
Bali
in 1976. Its third meeting was in Manila
Manila
in 1987 and during this meeting, it was decided that the leaders would meet every five years. The fourth meeting was held in Singapore
Singapore
in 1992 where the leaders decided to meet more frequently, every three years. 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
Burma
which dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from the United States
United States
and the European Union
European Union
.

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

The formal summit meets for three days. The typical agenda is as follows:

* Leaders of member states would hold an internal organisation meeting. * Leaders of member states hold a conference together with foreign ministers of the ASEAN
ASEAN
Regional Forum. * A meeting, known as ASEAN
ASEAN
Plus Three, is set for leaders of three dialogue partners (People\'s Republic of China
China
, Japan
Japan
, South Korea
South Korea
) * A separate meeting, known as ASEAN-CER, is with the two dialogue partners ( Australia
Australia
and New Zealand
New Zealand
).

EAST ASIA SUMMIT

Main article: East Asia
Asia
Summit Participants of the East Asia Summit ASEAN
ASEAN
ASEAN Plus Three
ASEAN Plus Three
Additional members Observer

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

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

EAST ASIA SUMMITS

MEETING COUNTRY LOCATION DATE NOTE

First EAS Malaysia
Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
14 December 2005 Russia
Russia
attended as a guest.

Second EAS Philippines
Philippines
Cebu City 15 January 2007 Rescheduled from 13 December 2006.

Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security

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

Agreed to establish Economic Research Institute for ASEAN
ASEAN
and East Asia
Asia

Fourth EAS Thailand
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
Pattaya
, Thailand was cancelled when protesters stormed the venue. The Summit has been rescheduled for October 2009 and transferred again from Phuket to Cha-am and Hua Hin.

Fifth EAS Vietnam
Vietnam
Hanoi
Hanoi
30 October 2010 Officially invited the US and Russia
Russia
to participate in future EAS as full-fledged members

Sixth EAS Indonesia
Indonesia
Bali
Bali
19 November 2011 The United States
United States
and Russia
Russia
to join the Summit.

Seventh EAS Cambodia
Cambodia
Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh
20 November 2012

Eighth EAS Brunei
Brunei
Bandar Seri Begawan 10 October 2013

Ninth EAS Myanmar
Myanmar
Naypyidaw
Naypyidaw
13 November 2014

Tenth East Asia
Asia
Summit Malaysia
Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
21–22 November 2015

Elevent East Asia
Asia
Summit Laos
Laos
Vientiane
Vientiane
6–8 September 2016

COMMEMORATIVE SUMMIT

Main article: ASEAN Free Trade Area

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

COMMEMORATIVE SUMMITS

MEETING HOST LOCATION DATE NOTE

ASEAN– Japan
Japan
Commemorative Summit Japan
Japan
Tokyo
Tokyo
11–12 December 2003 To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN
ASEAN
and Japan. The summit was also notable as the first ASEAN
ASEAN
summit held between ASEAN
ASEAN
and a non- ASEAN
ASEAN
country outside the region.

ASEAN– China
China
Commemorative Summit China
China
Nanning
Nanning
30–31 October 2006 To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN
ASEAN
and China.

ASEAN–Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit Republic of Korea Jeju-do
Jeju-do
1–2 June 2009 To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN
ASEAN
and Republic of Korea.

ASEAN– India
India
Commemorative Summit India
India
New Delhi
New Delhi
20–21 December 2012 To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN
ASEAN
and India.

REGIONAL FORUM

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

The ASEAN
ASEAN
Regional Forum (ARF) is a formal, official, multilateral, dialogue in the Asia
Asia
Pacific region. As of July 2007, it consists of twenty-seven participants. ARF's objectives are to foster dialogue and consultation, and to promote confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the region. The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are: all ASEAN
ASEAN
members, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, the European Union
European Union
, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor, the United States, and Sri Lanka.

Taiwan has been excluded since the establishment of the ARF, and issues regarding the Taiwan Strait are neither discussed at ARF meetings nor stated in the ARF Chairman's Statements.

OTHER MEETINGS

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

* The ASEAN
ASEAN
PLUS THREE is a meeting between ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea, and is held primarily during each ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit. Until now, China, Japan, and South Korea
South Korea
have not yet formed a Free Trade Area (FTA); the meeting about FTA among them will be held at end of 2012. * The ASIA–EUROPE MEETING (ASEM) is an informal dialogue process initiated in 1996 with the intention of strengthening co-operation between the countries of Europe and Asia, especially members of the European Union
European Union
and ASEAN
ASEAN
in particular. ASEAN, represented by its Secretariat, is one of the forty-five 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. * The ASEAN–US SUMMIT is an annual meeting between leaders of member states and the President of the US . * The ASEAN–RUSSIA SUMMIT is an annual meeting between leaders of member states and the President of Russia
Russia
. * The ASEAN–INDIA SUMMIT is an annual meeting between leaders of member states and the Prime Minister of India
India
.

MASS MEDIA

ASEAN
ASEAN
MINISTERS RESPONSIBLE FOR INFORMATION (AMRI)

ASEAN
ASEAN
member states promote co-operation in information to help build an ASEAN
ASEAN
identity. One of the main bodies in ASEAN
ASEAN
co-operation in information is the ASEAN
ASEAN
Committee on Culture
Culture
and Information (COCI). Established in 1978, its mission is to promote effective co-operation in the fields of information, as well as culture, through its various projects and activities. The COCI includes representatives from national institutions like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministries of Culture
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.

ASEAN
ASEAN
MEDIA COOPERATION

ASEAN
ASEAN
Media Cooperation (AMC) sets digital television standards and policies in preparation for broadcasters to transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. This collaboration was conceptualised during the 11th ASEAN
ASEAN
Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) Conference in Malaysia
Malaysia
on 1 March 2012 where a consensus declared that both new and traditional media were keys to connecting ASEAN
ASEAN
peoples and bridging cultural gaps in the region.

Several key initiatives under the AMC include:

* The ASEAN
ASEAN
Media Portal
Portal
was launched 16 November 2007. The 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
ASEAN
countries to showcase ASEAN
ASEAN
culture and the capabilities of its media industry. * The ASEAN
ASEAN
NewsMaker Project, an initiative launched in 2009, trains students and teachers to produce informational video clips about their countries. The project was initiated by Singapore. Students trained in NewsMaker software, video production, together with developing narrative storytelling skills. Dr Soeung Rathchavy, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN
ASEAN
for ASEAN
ASEAN
Socio-Cultural Community noted that: "Raising ASEAN
ASEAN
awareness amongst the youth is part and parcel of our efforts to build the ASEAN
ASEAN
Community by 2015. Using ICT and the media, our youths in the region will get to know ASEAN
ASEAN
better, deepening their understanding and appreciation of the cultures, social traditions and values in ASEAN." * The ASEAN
ASEAN
Digital Broadcasting Meeting, is an annual forum for ASEAN
ASEAN
members to set digital television (DTV) standards and policies, and to discuss progress in the implementation of the blueprint from analogue to digital TV broadcasting by 2020. During the 11th ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Meeting members updated the status on DTV implementation and agreed to inform ASEAN
ASEAN
members on the _Guidelines for ASEAN
ASEAN
Digital Switchover_. An issue was raised around the availability and affordability of set-top boxes (STB), thus ASEAN members were asked to make policies to determine funding for STBs, methods of allocation, subsidies and rebates, and other methods for the allocation of STBs. It was also agreed in the meeting to form a task force to develop STB specifications for DVB-T2 to ensure efficiency.

ASEAN
ASEAN
COMMUNITY 2015

For nearly two decades, the ASEAN
ASEAN
was composed of only five countries, its 8 August 1967 founders: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Other southeast Asian countries joined at different times: Brunei
Brunei
(1984), Vietnam
Vietnam
(1995), Laos
Laos
and Myanmar
Myanmar
(1997), and Cambodia
Cambodia
(1999).

Beginning in 1997, heads of each member state adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020 during ASEAN's 30th anniversary meeting held in Kuala Lumpur. This vision, as a means for the realisation of a single ASEAN community, sees Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
becoming a group of nations which are: "outward looking, living in peace, stability and propsperity". Included in ASEAN
ASEAN
Vision 2020 were provisions on: peace and stability, being nuclear-free, closer economic integration, human development, sustainable development, cultural heritage, being drug-free, environment, among others. The Vision also aimed to: "see an outward-looking ASEAN
ASEAN
playing a pivotal role in the international fora, and advancing ASEAN's common interests". Such vision was formalised and made comprehensive through the Bali
Bali
Concord II in 2003. Three major pillars of a single ASEAN
ASEAN
community were originally established: (1) ASEAN
ASEAN
Security Community, (2) ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community and (3) ASEAN
ASEAN
Socio-Cultural Community. The ASEAN Community, initially planned to commence by 2020, was accelerated to begin by 31 December 2015. This was decided upon by heads of member states during the 12th ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit in Cebu
Cebu
in 2007.

On 20 November 2007, the ASEAN Charter was signed in Singapore, forty years after the founding of ASEAN. Also concurrently signed was the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint. This was to establish stronger rules-based norms and values shared among all member states. The charter was later ratified in 2008. To full embody the three Bali Concord II pillars as part of the 2015 integration, blueprints for ASEAN
ASEAN
Political-Security Community (APSC) and ASEAN
ASEAN
Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) were subsequently adopted in 2009 in Cha-Am , Thailand.

ASEAN
ASEAN
ECONOMIC COMMUNITY BLUEPRINT

_ This section needs to be UPDATED. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2016)_

ASEAN
ASEAN
leaders sign the declaration of the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community during the 27th ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit in Kuala Lumpur, 2015

The ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC) is now generally referred to as "AEC 2015" since its original implementation date was brought forward from 2020 to 31 December 2015. As one of the three pillars of the ASEAN, it aims to "implement economic integration initiatives" to create a single market across ASEAN
ASEAN
nations. On 20 November 2007, during the 13th ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit in Singapore, its blueprint, which serves as a master plan guiding the establishment of the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community 2015, was adopted.

The ASEAN
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 co-operation 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 labour, goods, services and investment, ASEAN
ASEAN
will rise globally as one market with each member gaining from each other's strengths, thus increasing its competitiveness and opportunities for development.

The AEC is the embodiment of the ASEAN's vision of: "...a stable, prosperous and highly competitive ASEAN
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".

The formulation of an AEC Blueprint 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 end-2015.

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

REINFORCING ASEAN
ASEAN
RELATIONS

The conduct of the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Trade
Trade
Fair and Business Leaders Conference on 22–26 October 2014 in Davao City, Philippines, signified the renewed commitment of the four member countries namely, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines
Philippines
(BIMP) to further the cause of the East ASEAN
ASEAN
Growth Area (EAGA) co-operation as a model for the 2015 ASEAN
ASEAN
Integration. During the Conference, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN
ASEAN
for the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community, Dr. Lim Hong Hin, said that the convergence of the BIMP-EAGA and Indonesia
Indonesia
Malaysia Thailand
Thailand
– Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) will amplify the subregions ’ full potential and maximise its initial gain towards greater engagement in the larger ASEAN
ASEAN
community. The vision of the BIMP-EAGA initiative is to realise socially acceptable and sustainable economic development, and the full participation of the subregion in the ASEAN development process. BIMP-EAGA was proposed in 1992 by then Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos as a major economic initiative in ASEAN. The idea of expanding the economic co-operation among the border areas of Brunei
Brunei
Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines
Philippines
was supported by the leaders of the three countries which eventually led to the creation of BIMP-EAGA launched on 24 March 1994 in Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines. The subregion covers a land-area of 1.54 million square kilometres and a population of 70 million.

The improved regional-subregional collaborations will spur trade, investment, and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development through enhanced backward linkages, production system, and forward linkages. The convergence will also facilitate the completion of region wide infrastructure projects such as the Sumatra Port Development, Melaka-Pekan Baru Power Interconnection, and Sumatra Toll Roads Project. The subregions’ convergence will create synergy in transport facilitation by forging the Greater Mekong Subregion
Subregion
(GMS) Cross Border Trade
Trade
Arrangement and BIMP-EAGA Cross Border Arrangement, promote clustering and branding through collaborative tourism promotion, tailored agro-based industries strategies, and addressing environmental issues. The greater co-ordination among the subregions, maximising synergy with the full participation of the stakeholders will ensure equitable economic benefits of the ASEAN
ASEAN
countries facing the challenge of globalisation.

2020 ASEAN
ASEAN
BANKING INTEGRATION FRAMEWORK

As the flow of goods, services, investment, capital, and skilled labour between countries is liberalised with the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Integration in 2015, the need arises for ASEAN
ASEAN
banking institutions to accommodate and expand their services to a greater intra- ASEAN
ASEAN
market. While the ASEAN
ASEAN
financial integration is not going to take effect until 2020, experts from the financial services industry have already forecast a shaky economic transition, especially for smaller players in the banking and financial services industry.

Two separate reports by Standard & Poor\'s , entitled _ASEAN Financial Integration: The Long Road to Bank Consolidation_ and _The Philippines' Banking System: The Good, the Bad and the Ambivalent_, outline the challenges ASEAN
ASEAN
financial institutions are facing as they prepare for the 2020 banking integration. The Philippines, with its overcrowded banking sector, for example, is among the ASEAN-member countries who are forecast to feel the most pressure as the integration welcomes tighter competition with the entry of bigger, more established foreign banks. 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
Philippines
for "shoring up its network bases and building up capital ahead of the banking integration – playing defence and strengthening their domestic networks".

ROADMAP FOR ASEAN
ASEAN
FINANCIAL INTEGRATION

The Roadmap for the Integration of ASEAN
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 realisation of the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community that was launched by the ASEAN
ASEAN
leaders in October 2003 in Bali. The AEC is the end-goal of economic integration as outlined in the ASEAN
ASEAN
Vision 2020 and the Bali
Bali
Concord II to establish a single market and production base, characterised by the free movement of goods, services, investment, and a freer flow of capital. The AEC will also facilitate the movement of business professionals, skilled labour, and talent within the region. As in the EU, adoption of an ASEAN
ASEAN
common currency, when conditions are ripe, could be the final stage of the ASEAN
ASEAN
Economic Community. Under the roadmap, approaches and milestones have been identified in areas deemed crucial to financial and monetary integration, namely: (a) capital market development, (b) capital account liberalisation, (c) financial services liberalisation, and (d) ASEAN
ASEAN
currency co-operation. 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 harmonisation between capital markets in the region. Orderly capital account liberalisation will be promoted with adequate safeguards against volatility and systemic risks. To expedite the process of financial services liberalisation, ASEAN
ASEAN
has agreed on a positive list modality and adopted milestones to facilitate negotiations. Currency co-operation would involve exploration of possible currency arrangements, including an ASEAN
ASEAN
currency payment system for trade in local goods to reduce the demand for US dollars and to help promote stability of regional currencies, such as by settling intra- ASEAN
ASEAN
trade using regional currencies.

While in the offing of an ASEAN
ASEAN
common currency, the leaders of the member-states of ASEAN
ASEAN
agreed in November 1999 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
ASEAN
agreed through the " Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Initiative" to plan for closer monetary and financial co-operation. The "Chiang Mai Initiative" or CMI, named after the City of Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
in Thailand, has two components: an expanded ASEAN
ASEAN
Swap Arrangement, and a network of bilateral swap arrangements among ASEAN
ASEAN
countries, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. The ASEAN
ASEAN
Swap Arrangement or ASA preceded the regional financial crisis. ASA was originally established by the ASEAN
ASEAN
central bank and monetary authorities of the five founding members of ASEAN
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
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. The original CMI was signed on 9 December 2009 which took effect on 20 March 2014, while the amended version, the multilateralisation of CMI (CMIM), was on 17 July 2014. CMIM is a multilateral currency swap arrangement with a 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
ASEAN
countries' authorities. In addition, an independent regional surveillance unit called the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) was established to monitor and analyse regional economies, and to support the CMIM decision-making process. 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%–30%, 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.

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 at the Monetary Authority of Singapore
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. Stability in the financial system is a precondition to maintain the momentum of ASEAN
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.

FOOD SECURITY

ASEAN
ASEAN
member nations recognise the importance of strengthening food security to maintain stability and prosperity in the region. 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".

Part of the aim for ASEAN
ASEAN
integration is to achieve food security collectively via trade in rice and maize. Trade
Trade
facilitation measures and the harmonisation/equivalency of food regulation and control standards will reduce the cost of trade in food products. While specialisation and revealed comparative and competitive indices point to complementarities between trade patterns among the ASEAN
ASEAN
member countries, intra- ASEAN
ASEAN
trade in agriculture is quite small. However, integration could address this problem. The MARKET project will provide flexible and demand-driven support to the ASEAN
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
ASEAN
trade will increase, thereby decreasing the risk of another food price crisis.

As ASEAN
ASEAN
moves towards an integrated community in 2015 and beyond, food security should be an integral part of the ASEAN
ASEAN
community building agenda and deserves more attention.

RECEPTION AND CRITICISMS

ASEAN's integration plan has raised concerns. In particular, meeting the 2015 deadline has been questioned. Business and economy experts who attended the Lippo-UPH Dialogue in Naypyidaw
Naypyidaw
cited unresolved issues relating to aviation, agriculture, and human resources. Some panellists, among them, Kishore Mahbubani , warned against high expectations at the onset. He stated:

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

Some panellists enumerated other matters to be dealt with for a successful launch. Among them were the communications issues involving the 600 million citizens living in the region, creating a heightened level of understanding in the business sector, current visa arrangements, demand for specific skills, banking connections, and economic differences between member-nations. Former Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Secretary General Romulo A. Virola, said in 2012 that the Philippines
Philippines
does not appear to be ready to benefit from ASEAN
ASEAN
integration due to its "wobbly" economic performance compared to other ASEAN
ASEAN
member countries. According to Virola, the Philippines
Philippines
continues to lag behind in terms of employment rate, tourism, life expectancy, and cellular subscriptions. Nestor Tan, head of 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. Tan added that protecting the Philippines' agricultural and financial services sectors, as well as the labour sector, would be necessary for the implementation of AEC by 2015. Standard & Poor\'s also believed that banks in the Philippines
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 they have not had a chance to study the ASEAN
ASEAN
market, and have only exported small amounts of steel to ASEAN
ASEAN
countries. Another challenge for Vietnam, the article stated, is the need to compete with other countries in the ASEAN
ASEAN
market to export raw products since the country had mainly exported raw products.

The Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
also has doubts about Cambodia's ability to meet the AEC deadline in 2015. The leading economist of ADB, Jayant Menon, said that Cambodia
Cambodia
needs to speed up its customs reform and to press ahead with automating processes to reduce trade costs and minimise the opportunities for corruption and be ready for the implementation of its National Single Window by 2015.

ASEAN
ASEAN
POLITICAL-SECURITY COMMUNITY BLUEPRINT

During the 14th ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit held 26 February to 1 March 2009, the ASEAN
ASEAN
heads of state/governments adopted the _ ASEAN
ASEAN
Political-Security Community Blueprint_ (APSC). This document is aimed at creating a robust political-security environment within ASEAN, with programs and activities outlined to establish the APSC by 2016. The document is based on the principles and purposes of the ASEAN
ASEAN
charter, the ASEAN Security Community Plan of Action, the Vientiane
Vientiane
Action Programme, and other relevant decisions.

In essence, the APSC aims to create a community that portrays the following characteristics: a rules-based community of shared values and norms; a cohesive, peaceful, stable and resilient region with a shared responsibility toward comprehensive security; and a dynamic and outward-looking region in an increasingly integrated and interdependent world.

ASEAN
ASEAN
DEFENCE INDUSTRY COLLABORATION

The ASEAN
ASEAN
Defence Industry Collaboration (ADIC) was proposed at the 4th ASEAN
ASEAN
Defence Ministers' Meeting on 11 May 2010 in Hanoi
Hanoi
. The emergence of this concept was triggered by the fact that the majority of the ASEAN
ASEAN
member states are regular importers of defence and security equipment. One of the purposes of this concept is to reduce defence imports from non- ASEAN
ASEAN
countries by half (i.e., from US$25 billion down to US$12.5 billion a year) and to further develop the defence industry in the region.

The concept was formally adopted during the 5th ASEAN
ASEAN
Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) on 19 May 2011, in Jakarta, Indonesia, in line with the ADMM agreement to enhance security co-operation in the following areas: maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-terrorism, and military medicine. Its goal points toward actions that will enhance security in each of the ASEAN member states.

The main focus of the concept is to industrially and technologically boost the security capability of the ASEAN, consistent with the principles of flexibility and non-binding and voluntary participation among the ASEAN
ASEAN
member states. The concept revolves around education and capability building programmes to develop the skills and capabilities of manpower, sharing in the production of capital for defence equipment, components, and spares, and the provision of repair and maintenance services to address all the defence and security needs of each ASEAN
ASEAN
country. It also aims to develop the defence trade in the region by encouraging ASEAN
ASEAN
member states to participate in the intra- ASEAN
ASEAN
defence trade and support trade shows and exhibitions.

ADIC aims to establish a strong defence industry relying on the local capabilities of each ASEAN
ASEAN
member state, and limit annual procurement from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) outside the region. Countries like the USA, Germany, Russia, France, Italy, UK, China, South Korea, Israel, and the Netherlands are among the major suppliers to ASEAN.

Military expenditures in ASEAN
ASEAN
reached US$35.5 billion in 2013 (excluding Brunei
Brunei
and Myanmar), which surpassed the 2004 figure (US$14.4 billion) by 147% and is expected to exceed US$40 billion by 2016. Factors affecting the increase in military budget are economic growth, ageing equipment, and the plan to strengthen the establishment of the defence industry in the region.

There are challenges to the defence collaboration effort in the ASEAN; the unequal level of capabilities among ASEAN
ASEAN
member states in the field of defence industry, and the lack of established defence trade among them. Prior to the adoption of the ADIC concept, the status of the defence industry base in each of the ASEAN
ASEAN
member states was at disparate level. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand are among the top ASEAN
ASEAN
member states with an established defence industry base. But, even these four countries possess different levels of capacity, while the remaining member states like the Philippines, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia
Cambodia
have yet to develop and enhance their capabilities in this aspect.

Of the ten ASEAN
ASEAN
member states, Singapore
Singapore
and Indonesia
Indonesia
are among the most competitive players in the defence industry. Indonesia
Indonesia
is the only ASEAN
ASEAN
member state recognised as one of the top 100 global defence suppliers from 2010-2013. ASEAN
ASEAN
member states purchase virtually no defence products from within ASEAN. Singapore
Singapore
purchases defence products from Germany, France, and Israel, but none from any of the ASEAN
ASEAN
member states. Malaysia
Malaysia
purchased only 0.49% from ASEAN, Indonesia
Indonesia
0.1%, and Thailand
Thailand
8.02%.

ASEAN
ASEAN
SOCIO-CULTURAL COMMUNITY BLUEPRINT

It was also during the 14th ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit that the member governments of ASEAN
ASEAN
adopted the _ ASEAN
ASEAN
Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint_ (ASCC). The ASCC envisions an: " ASEAN
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.

THE AEC SCORECARD

To track the progress of the AEC, the AEC Scorecard, a compliance tool was developed based on the EU Internal Market Scorecard, and was adopted by ASEAN. This regional economic scorecard is the only scorecard in effect 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.

The AEC Scorecard is also a compliance tool that makes it possible to monitor the implementation of ASEAN
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.

To date, two official scorecards have been published, one in 2010, and the other in 2012. 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%, 67.9%, 66.7%, and 85.7%, respectively, with 187 out of 277 measures being fully implemented by 2011.

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

While Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand
Thailand
have eliminated 99.65% of their tariff lines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam
Vietnam
have decreased tariffs on 98.86% of their lines to the 0-5% 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.

According to Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore's Minister for Trade
Trade
and Industry, ASEAN
ASEAN
was already the seventh largest economy in the world, and the third largest in Asia
Asia
in 2013, estimated at US$2.3 trillion. A recent study by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited has projected that five of the top fifteen manufacturing locations in the world will be in ASEAN
ASEAN
by 2018. Furthermore, by 2050, ASEAN
ASEAN
is also expected to be the fourth-largest economy in the world (after the European Union, the US, and China).

The AEC envisions the free flow of overseas labour. However, receiving countries may require would-be workers to take licensing examinations in those countries regardless of whether or not the worker has a professional license from their home country.

Singapore
Singapore
is the major ASEAN
ASEAN
destination for skilled migrants from other ASEAN
ASEAN
countries, mostly from Malaysia
Malaysia
and the Philippines. Total employment in Singapore
Singapore
doubled between 1992 and 2008 from 1.5 million to three million, and the number of foreign workers almost tripled, from fewer than 400,000 to almost 1.1 million. High-skilled foreign talents (customer service, nursing, engineering, IT) earn 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 US$7,000 a month; EP-2 for those earning US$3,500—7,000 a month; and EP-3 for those earning US$2,500–3,500 a month.

In the recent years, Singapore
Singapore
has been slowly cutting down the number of foreign workers to challenge companies to upgrade their hiring criteria and offer more jobs to local residents. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the Singapore
Singapore
policy of reducing the number of foreign workers could retard the country's economic growth and lower its competitiveness.

NARROWING THE DEVELOPMENT GAP

Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG) is ASEAN's framework for addressing disparities among, and within, member-states where pockets of underdevelopment exist. Under NDG, ASEAN
ASEAN
has continued co-ordinating closely with other subregional co-operation 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.

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
ASEAN
Community (2009-2015). IAI Work Plan II (2009-2015) supports the goals of the ASEAN
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
ASEAN
Community Blueprints: ASEAN
ASEAN
Political-Security Community Blueprint, ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, and ASEAN
ASEAN
Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint.

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 ten ASEAN
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 by country name.

The ASEAN
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 mobilisation, and overall operational co-ordination among various IAI"> Haze over Borneo
Borneo
, 2006

* PLASTIC WASTE DUMPING: A study based on 2010 data concluded that five ASEAN
ASEAN
nations are among the top ten (of 192 countries with ocean shorelines, Laos
Laos
not among them as it is landlocked) dumpers of plastic waste into the ocean. Indonesia
Indonesia
was ranked the second worst polluter; the Philippines
Philippines
third; Vietnam
Vietnam
fourth; Thailand
Thailand
sixth; and Malaysia
Malaysia
eighth. * THREATENED MAMMAL SPECIES: ASEAN
ASEAN
nations fared poorly in this World Bank
World Bank
study: Indonesia
Indonesia
was number one of 214 nations (1=worst, 214= best) on the world list of threatened mammals, with 184 species under threat. The remaining ASEAN
ASEAN
nations were ranked, Malaysia, 7; Thailand, 9; Vietnam, 12; Myanmar, 14; Laos, 15; the Philippines, 19; Cambodia, 20; Brunei, 25; and Singapore, 93, of 214 countries. * THREATENED FISH SPECIES: ASEAN
ASEAN
member-state Indonesia
Indonesia
ranked fifth of 215 nations (1=worst, 215=best) in fish species at risk; Thailand ranked 12; the Philippines, 18; Malaysia, 19; Vietnam, 20; Laos, 29; Cambodia, 51; Myanmar, 52; Singapore, 84; and Brunei, 175. * THREATENED (HIGHER) PLANT SPECIES: The World Bank
World Bank
estimated in 2014 that, worldwide, 13,583 higher plant species are threatened. Of 215 nations, Malaysia
Malaysia
ranked number two of 215 (1=worst, 216=best) in number of species threatened (133 species). Indonesia
Indonesia
ranked sixth; the Philippines, 16; Vietnam, 21; Thailand, 26; Brunei, 33; Singapore, 53; Myanmar, 59; Cambodia, 74; and Laos, 75. * DEFORESTATION : Indonesia
Indonesia
lost 17 million hectares of tree cover from 2001-2013, the fifth largest loss of 203 nations. Malaysia
Malaysia
ranked eighth (5 Mha loss); Myanmar, 19 (2 Mha); Cambodia, 23 (1.5 Mha); Laos, 24 (1.4 Mha); Vietnam, 27 (1.3 Mha); Thailand, 29 (1.1 Mha); the Philippines, 39 (664 Kha); Brunei, 117 (18 Kha); and Singapore, 155 (867 ha).

At the turn of the 21st century, ASEAN
ASEAN
began to discuss environmental agreements. These included the signing of the ASEAN
ASEAN
Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution in 2002 as an attempt to control haze pollution in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful due to the outbreaks of haze in 2005 , 2006 , 2009 , 2013 , and 2015 . As of 2015, thirteen years after signing the ASEAN
ASEAN
Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution , the situation with respect to the long term issue of Southeast Asian haze
Southeast Asian haze
has not been changed for 50% of the ASEAN
ASEAN
member states, and still remains as a crisis every two years during summer and fall.

Yet other serious issues like the dumping of trash from foreign nations such as Japan
Japan
and Canada to ASEAN
ASEAN
has yet to be discussed. In 2015, tons of trash labelled as plastics for recycling, was shipped from Canada to Manila; an issue that has yet to be resolved.

EDUCATION

While high performing Asian economies and the six oldest ASEAN members have invested heavily in public education at the primary and secondary levels, tertiary education has been left largely to the private sector. Tertiary education in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
is, in general, relatively weak in terms of technological capacity and integration such as in credit transfer schemes. Singapore
Singapore
is highly focused on innovation while the rest of the region lags behind. In most cases, universities are focused on teaching and service to government rather than academic research . Universities in Southeast Asia, both in terms of academic salaries and research infrastructure (libraries, laboratories), tend to be poorly supported financially. Moreover, regional academic journals cater to their local audiences and respond less to international standards which makes universal or regional benchmarking difficult.

Governments have a vested interest in investing in education and other aspects of human capital infrastructure, especially 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, productivity enhancements, and provision of education and health services determine the potential for growth.

EDUCATIONAL INTEGRATION

To enhance regional co-operation in education, ASEAN
ASEAN
education ministers have agreed four priorities for education: (1) Promoting ASEAN
ASEAN
awareness among ASEAN
ASEAN
citizens, particularly youth; (2) Strengthening ASEAN
ASEAN
identity through education; (3) Building ASEAN human resources in the field of education; and (4) Strengthening the ASEAN
ASEAN
University Network .

At the 11th ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit in December 2005, ASEAN
ASEAN
leaders set new directions for regional education collaboration when they welcomed the decision of the ASEAN
ASEAN
education ministers to convene meetings on a regular basis. The annual ASEAN
ASEAN
Education Ministers Meeting oversees ASEAN
ASEAN
co-operation efforts on education at the ministerial level. With regard to implementation, programmes, and activities are carried out by the ASEAN
ASEAN
Senior Officials on Education (SOM-ED). SOM-ED also manages co-operation on higher education through the ASEAN
ASEAN
University Network (AUN).

ASEAN
ASEAN
University Network

Main article: ASEAN
ASEAN
University Network

The ASEAN
ASEAN
University Network (AUN) is a consortium of Southeast Asian tertiary institutions of which thirty currently belong as participating universities. Founded in November 1995 by eleven universities within the member states , the AUN was established to:

* Promote co-operation among ASEAN
ASEAN
scholars, academics, and scientists in the region * Develop academic and professional human resources in the region * Promote information dissemination among the ASEAN
ASEAN
academic community * Enhance awareness of a regional identity and the sense of "ASEAN-ness" among members

Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Engineering Education Development Network Project

The Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Engineering Education Development Network (SEED-Net) Project, was established as an autonomous sub-network of the ASEAN
ASEAN
University Network (AUN) in April 2001. SEED-Net is aimed at promoting human resource development in engineering in ASEAN. The network consists of twenty-six member institutions selected by higher education ministries of each ASEAN
ASEAN
member state, and eleven supporting Japanese universities selected by the Japanese government . This network is mainly supported by the Japanese government through the Japan
Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and partially supported by the ASEAN
ASEAN
Foundation. SEED-Net activities are implemented by the SEED-Net secretariat with the support of the JICA Project for SEED-Net now based at Chulalongkorn University
Chulalongkorn University
.

ASEAN
ASEAN
Scholarship

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

LITERACY RATES

The table below shows literacy rates among 15- to 24-year-old youths from 10 ASEAN
ASEAN
member states as reported to the United Nations
United Nations
.

COUNTRY YEAR (MOST RECENT) ADULT (15+) LITERACY RATE ADULT MEN ADULT WOMEN YOUTH (15-24) LITERACY RATE YOUTH MEN YOUTH WOMEN

Brunei
Brunei
2009 95% 97% 94% 100% 100% 100%

Cambodia
Cambodia
2008 78% 85% 71% 87% 89% 86%

Indonesia
Indonesia
2008 92% 95% 89% 99% 100% 99%

Laos
Laos
2005 73% 82% 63% 84% 89% 79%

Malaysia
Malaysia
2015 96% 95% 94% 93% 95% 96%

Myanmar
Myanmar
2009 92% 95% 90% 96% 96% 95%

Philippines
Philippines
2015 98% 97% 96% 98% 98 % 98%

Singapore
Singapore
2009 95% 97% 92% 100% 100% 100%

Thailand
Thailand
2005 94% 96% 92% 98% 98% 98%

Vietnam
Vietnam
2009 93% 95% 91% 97% 97% 96%

CULTURE AND SPORT

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
ASEAN
Centre for Biodiversity and the ASEAN
ASEAN
Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award

HERITAGE PARKS

Main article: ASEAN
ASEAN
Heritage Parks

ASEAN
ASEAN
Heritage Parks aim to protect the region's natural treasures. There are now 37 such protected areas, including the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park and the Kinabalu National Park .

SONGS AND MUSIC

* " The ASEAN Way ", the official regional anthem of ASEAN. Music by Kittikhun Sodprasert and Sampow Triudom; lyrics by Payom Valaiphatchra. * " ASEAN
ASEAN
Song of Unity" or " ASEAN
ASEAN
Hymn ". Music by Ryan Cayabyab . * "Let Us Move Ahead", an ASEAN
ASEAN
song. Composed by Candra Darusman. * " ASEAN
ASEAN
Rise ", ASEAN's 40th anniversary song. Music by Dick Lee ; lyrics by Stefanie Sun . * " ASEAN
ASEAN
Spirit", ASEAN's 50th anniversary song. Performed by Christian Bautista ; directed by Joaquin Pedro Valdes.

ASEAN
ASEAN
COMPETITIONS

* Southeast Asian
Southeast Asian
Games * ASEAN
ASEAN
University Games * ASEAN
ASEAN
School Games * ASEAN
ASEAN
Para Games * ASEAN
ASEAN
Football Championship

2030 FIFA WORLD CUP BID

In January 2011 ASEAN
ASEAN
foreign ministers agreed to bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2030 as a single entity.

PERFORMANCE IN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS

Main article: Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries in sporting events

CRITICISM

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Critics have charged that ASEAN
ASEAN
is too soft in its approach to promoting human rights and democracy, particularly in junta-led Burma. Some scholars think that non-interference has hindered ASEAN
ASEAN
efforts to handle the problems of Myanmar, human rights abuse, and haze pollution in the area. Despite global outrage at the military crack-down on unarmed protesters in Yangon, ASEAN
ASEAN
has refused to suspend Burma
Burma
as a member, and also rejects proposals for economic sanctions. This has caused concern as the European Union
European Union
has refused to conduct free trade negotiations at a regional level for these political reasons. Some international observers view ASEAN
ASEAN
as a "talk shop ", stating that the organisation is: "big on words, but small on action". " ASEAN
ASEAN
policies have proven to be mostly rhetoric, rather than actual implementation", according to Pokpong Lawansiri, a Bangkok-based independent analyst of ASEAN. "It has been noted that less than 50% of ASEAN
ASEAN
agreements are actually implemented, while ASEAN
ASEAN
holds more than six hundred meetings annually".

The 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 co-operation 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
Cold War
, ASEAN
ASEAN
has begun to be less successful at restraining its members and resolving border disputes such as those between Burma
Burma
and Thailand
Thailand
and Indonesia
Indonesia
and Malaysia. During the 12th ASEAN
ASEAN
Summit in Cebu
Cebu
, several activist groups staged anti-globalisation protests. According to the activists, the agenda of economic integration would negatively affect industries in the Philippines
Philippines
and would cause thousands of Filipinos to lose their jobs.

There are also several territorial dispute between ASEAN
ASEAN
members that affecting the unity between ASEAN
ASEAN
nations such as the Cambodian–Thai border dispute ( Khao Phra Wihan National Park ) and the continuous claim over parts of Malaysia
Malaysia
by certain politicians in the Philippines, who also seems supporting militants raids over neighbouring country. Beside that, the biggest criticism ASEAN currently facing is the tensions caused by the South China
China
Sea dispute , which involves the following four member states: the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei.

The Philippines
Philippines
has been the most vocal against Chinese incursions in the dispute, even bringing its case against China
China
to a United Nations international tribunal in the Hague, the first case filed by a nation against China. Vietnam, Japan, and other Western countries, especially the United States, have strongly supported the Philippines. Vietnam, bordered both by land and sea with China, has also claims all the Spratly Islands . This dispute focuses on the Paracel Islands
Paracel Islands
, which China
China
has occupied following the Battle of the Paracel Islands
Paracel Islands
, in 1974. Brunei, claiming only one reef, has been silent on the issue ever since it began, mostly because of its trade with China. Malaysia, a nation with deep economic ties to China, and a nation with billions in Chinese investment, has remained neutral and 'China-friendly' over the conflict. This despite China
China
claiming various reefs and islands in the Spratlys as well as most of its territorial waters and exclusive economic zones in Borneo.

ASEAN
ASEAN
has yet to be united in the face of China's massive reclamation activities and incursions in the South China
China
Sea, especially when China
China
is heavily supported by member states. Myanmar
Myanmar
and Laos
Laos
have been former 'satellite nations' of China
China
and are still heavily influenced by China. Thailand
Thailand
has yet to take a concrete stand on the issue. Of the member states not yet involved in the dispute, Indonesia has supported the diplomatic approach of the Philippines
Philippines
many times. Indonesia's exclusive economic zone in its Natuna Islands overlaps with the nine-dash line of China. Taiwan, also a claimant, has no concrete relations with any ASEAN
ASEAN
states, but has an informal office in the Philippines. China
China
has only accepted bilateral talks for solving the disputes. Vietnam, the Philippines, China, Malaysia, and even Taiwan have been building their military bases and there is great concern over the possibility of military conflict over the issue.

Corruption remains a widespread issue across the member states, as “tea money” remains an important requirement to grease business transactions and to receive public services in Southeast Asia. Following the release of the _Corruption Perceptions Index 2015_ by Berlin-based graft watchdog Transparency International on 27 January, its Asia
Asia
Pacific director, Srirak Plipat, noted that: “if there was one common challenge to unite the Asia-Pacific region, it would be corruption”, noting that: “from campaign pledges to media coverage to civil society forums, corruption dominates the discussion. Yet despite all this talk, there’s little sign of action.”

During a general meeting in 2016, ASEAN
ASEAN
failed to include a united statement which includes the International Court ruling on the South China
China
Sea, filed and won by the Philippines
Philippines
against China, due to Cambodia's rejection of the ruling being part of the official ASEAN statement.

At the last summit in China, two countries, Turkey
Turkey
and Mongolia
Mongolia
have spoken out to the chairman Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about their intentions to join the association of countries. Duterte has stated that there is no problem with this and might consider their inclusion to the association despite their geographical locations.

ASEAN
ASEAN
has also failed to abolish human rights violations in West Papua , including Irian Jaya, committed by Indonesian military officials and political authorities. It is estimated that more than 500,000 indigenous Papuans have been killed in the name of Indonesian nationalism by Indonesian authorities. Native Papuans have been lobbying for independence from Indonesia
Indonesia
since the 1900s, however, they have not succeeded due to intense Indonesian army operations which resulted in expansive genocide. Independence organizations in the western half of Papua vocalized their concerns and aspiration to ASEAN, however, no action was made by the association. In 2014, all independence movement groups in West Papua and Iriran Jaya finally formed under a single umbrella organization, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). Due to the December 2016 Independence Rally in West Papua, where more than 500 native Papuans were arrested by Indonesian officials, a bloc of nations swore to support the West Papua Independence Movement in the entrance of 2017. Among these coalition of nations are Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
, Vanuatu
Vanuatu
, Tonga , Tuvalu
Tuvalu
, Palau
Palau
, and the Marshall Islands . The FLNKS , which represents New Caledonia
New Caledonia
Independence Movement, also supported the West Papua independence movement. The bloc of nations lambasted Indonesia's human rights record in West Papua, which includes Irian Jaya, and the referendum conducted by Indonesia
Indonesia
to control the region, where only 0.02% of the population were allowed by Indonesia
Indonesia
to vote in a previous referendum marred by political threats from Indonesian authorities. The ambassador of Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau
implied that the movement is the same with the movement made by Timor-Leste , and thus should be respected. The probable support base of the African leader is due to the support of the late Bishop Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu
of South Africa
South Africa
, who backed West Papuan independence from Indonesia. On the other hand, the ambassador of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
spoke against the coalition of nations due to ties with Indonesia, despite being ethnically and geographically related to West Papua. All of the statements made were committed during the 2017 meeting of Council of Ministers of the 79-member Africa Caribbean Pacific Group of States (ACP). The indigenous Maori people of New Zealand
New Zealand
also expressed their support for West Papua during the ULMWP's visit in the country. The Aborigines of Australia
Australia
also expressed their support for the movement.

CURRENT LEADERS OF ASEAN

*

BRUNEI Sultan HASSANAL BOLKIAH *

CAMBODIA Prime Minister HUN SEN *

INDONESIA President JOKO WIDODO *

LAOS Prime Minister THONGLOUN SISOULITH *

MALAYSIA Prime Minister NAJIB RAZAK *

MYANMAR President HTIN KYAW *

PHILIPPINES President RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE *

SINGAPORE Prime Minister LEE HSIEN LOONG *

THAILAND Prime Minister PRAYUTH CHAN-OCHA *

VIETNAM Prime Minister NGUYễN XUâN PHúC

SEE ALSO

* Geography portal * Asia
Asia
portal * Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
portal

* ASEAN Common Time * ASEAN- India
India
Car Rally 2012 * ASEAN
ASEAN
Sculpture Garden * Asian Monetary Unit * Asia
Asia
Pacific Forum * Blue card system – ASEAN
ASEAN
motor insurance scheme * Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia
Asia
* List of ASEAN
ASEAN
countries by GDP (nominal) * List of country groupings * List of multilateral free-trade agreements * Mekong-Ganga Cooperation * Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Treaty Organisation

LITERATURE

* _ ASEAN
ASEAN
Community in Figures (ACIF) 2012_ (PDF), Jakarta: Association of Southeast Asian
Southeast Asian
Nations, 2012, ISBN 978-602-7643-22-2 * Acharya, Amitav (2009), _Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN
ASEAN
and the problem of regional order_ (2nd ed.), Abingdon Oxon/New York: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-41428-9 * Collins, Allan (2013), _Building a People-oriented Security Community the ASEAN
ASEAN
Way_, Abingdon Oxon/New York: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-46052-1 * Fry, Gerald W. (2008), _The Association of Southeast Asian Nations_, New York: Chelsea House, ISBN 978-0-7910-9609-3 * Lee, Yoong Yoong, ed. (2011), _ ASEAN
ASEAN
Matters! Reflecting on the Association of Southeast Asian
Southeast Asian
Nations_, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, ISBN 978-981-4335-06-5 CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * Haacke, Jürgen; Morada, Noel M., eds. (2010), _Cooperative Security in the Asia-Pacific: The ASEAN
ASEAN
Regional Forum_, Abingdon Oxon/New York: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-46052-1 CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * Seah, Daniel (2015) _Problems Concerning the International Law-Making Practice of ASEAN_ Asian Journal of International Law (Cambridge University Press) * Severino, Rodolfo (2008), _ASEAN_, Singapore: ISEAS Publications, ISBN 978-981-230-750-7 * Amador III J, Teodoro J. (2014), A united region: The ASEAN Community 2015

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FURTHER READING

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

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