Association of Southeast Asian Nations

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Association of Southeast Asian Nations
FlagEmblem
Motto: 
"One Vision, One Identity, One Community"[1]
Anthem: The ASEAN Way
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HeadquartersIndonesia Jakarta, Indonesiaa
Working language
Membership
Leaders
 - Secretary GeneralVietnam Lê Lương Minh[2]
 - Summit Presidency Burma (Myanmar)[3]
Establishment
 - Bangkok Declaration8 August 1967 
 - Charter16 December 2008 
Area
 - Total4,479,210.5 km2
2,778,124.7 sq mi
Population
 - 2011 estimate602,658,000
 - Density135/km2
216/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2011 estimate
 - TotalUS$ 3.574 trillion[4]
 - Per capitaUS$ 5,930
GDP (nominal)2013 estimate
 - TotalUS$ 2.403 trillion
 - Per capitaUS$ 3,909
HDI (2013)Increase 0.669b
medium
Currency
Time zoneASEAN (UTC+9 to +6:30)
Calling code
Internet TLD
Website
a.Address: Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.70A, South Jakarta.
b.Calculated using UNDP data from member states.
 
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Association of Southeast Asian Nations
FlagEmblem
Motto: 
"One Vision, One Identity, One Community"[1]
Anthem: The ASEAN Way
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
HeadquartersIndonesia Jakarta, Indonesiaa
Working language
Membership
Leaders
 - Secretary GeneralVietnam Lê Lương Minh[2]
 - Summit Presidency Burma (Myanmar)[3]
Establishment
 - Bangkok Declaration8 August 1967 
 - Charter16 December 2008 
Area
 - Total4,479,210.5 km2
2,778,124.7 sq mi
Population
 - 2011 estimate602,658,000
 - Density135/km2
216/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2011 estimate
 - TotalUS$ 3.574 trillion[4]
 - Per capitaUS$ 5,930
GDP (nominal)2013 estimate
 - TotalUS$ 2.403 trillion
 - Per capitaUS$ 3,909
HDI (2013)Increase 0.669b
medium
Currency
Time zoneASEAN (UTC+9 to +6:30)
Calling code
Internet TLD
Website
a.Address: Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.70A, South Jakarta.
b.Calculated using UNDP data from member states.

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

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

History[edit]

MaldivesNepalSri LankaBhutanBangladeshIndiaThailandMyanmarAfghanistanPakistanCambodiaVietnamLaosTurkmenistanIranTajikistanUzbekistanAzerbaijanTurkeyKazakhstanKyrgyzstanChinaRussiaBruneiIndonesiaMalaysiaPhilippinesSingaporeKuwaitBahrainOmanQatarSaudi ArabiaUnited Arab EmiratesJapanMongoliaSouth KoreaArmeniaGeorgiaIraqIsraelJordanLebanonNorth KoreaPalestineSyriaTaiwanTimor-LesteYemenBay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic CooperationMekong–Ganga CooperationSouth Asian Association for Regional CooperationAssociation of Southeast Asian NationsEconomic Cooperation OrganizationTurkic CouncilShanghai Cooperation OrganizationGulf Cooperation CouncilAsia Cooperation Dialogue
A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various Asian regional organisations vde

ASEAN was existing before by an organisation called the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), a group consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand that was formed in 1961. The bloc itself, however, was inaugurated on 8 August 1967, when foreign ministers of five countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand – met at the Thai Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkok and signed the ASEAN Declaration, more commonly known as the Bangkok Declaration. The five foreign ministers – Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand – are considered the organisation's Founding Fathers.[12]

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

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

Continued expansion[edit]

On 28 July 1995, Vietnam became the seventh member.[14] Laos and Myanmar (Burma) joined two years later on 23 July 1997.[15] Cambodia was to have joined together with Laos and Burma, but was deferred due to the country's internal political struggle. The country later joined on 30 April 1999, following the stabilisation of its government.[15][16]

During the 1990s, the bloc experienced an increase in both membership and drive for further integration. In 1990, Malaysia proposed the creation of an East Asia Economic Caucus[17] comprising the then members of ASEAN as well as the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea, with the intention of counterbalancing the growing influence of the United States in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and in the Asian region as a whole.[18][19] This proposal failed, however, because of heavy opposition from the United States and Japan.[18][20] Despite this failure, member states continued to work for further integration and ASEAN Plus Three was created in 1997.

In 1992, the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme was signed as a schedule for phasing tariffs and as a goal to increase the region’s competitive advantage as a production base geared for the world market. This law would act as the framework for the ASEAN Free Trade Area. After the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, a revival of the Malaysian proposal was established in Chiang Mai, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative, which calls for better integration between the economies of ASEAN as well as the ASEAN Plus Three countries (China, Japan, and South Korea).[21]

Aside from improving each member state's economies, the bloc also focused on peace and stability in the region. On 15 December 1995, the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty was signed with the intention of turning Southeast Asia into a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. The treaty took effect on 28 March 1997 after all but one of the member states have ratified it. It became fully effective on 21 June 2001, after the Philippines ratified it, effectively banning all nuclear weapons in the region.[22]

East Timor and Papua New Guinea[edit]

East Timor submitted a letter of application to be the eleventh member of ASEAN at the summit in Jakarta in March 2011. Indonesia has shown a warm welcome to East Timor.[23][24][25]

Papua New Guinea was accorded Observer status in 1976 and Special Observer status in 1981.[26] Papua New Guinea is a Melanesian state. ASEAN embarked on a programme of economic cooperation following the Bali Summit of 1976. This floundered in the mid-1980s and was only revived around 1991 due to a Thai proposal for a regional free trade area.

Environment[edit]

Satellite image of the 2006 haze over Borneo

At the turn of the 21st century, issues shifted to include a regional approach to the environment. The organisation started to discuss environmental agreements. These included the signing of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution in 2002 as an attempt to control haze pollution in Southeast Asia.[27] Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful due to the outbreaks of the 2005 Malaysian haze and the 2006 Southeast Asian haze. Other environmental treaties introduced by the organisation include the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security,[28] the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network in 2005,[29] and the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, both of which are responses to the potential effects of climate change. Climate change is of current interest.

Through the Bali Concord II in 2003, ASEAN has subscribed to the notion of democratic peace, which means all member countries believe democratic processes will promote regional peace and stability. Also, the non-democratic members all agreed that it was something all member states should aspire to.[30]

ASEAN Plus Three[edit]

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

In 2006, ASEAN was given observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.[31] As a response, the organisation awarded the status of "dialogue partner" to the United Nations.[32]

Free Trade[edit]

2007 was the fortieth anniversary of ASEAN's beginning, and 30 years of diplomatic relations with the US.[33] On 26 August 2007, ASEAN stated that it aims to complete all its free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand by 2013, in line with the start of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.[34][35] In November 2007 the ASEAN members signed the ASEAN Charter, a constitution governing relations among the ASEAN members and establishing ASEAN itself as an international legal entity.[citation needed] During the same year, the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security was signed in Cebu on 15 January 2007, by ASEAN and the other members of the EAS (Australia, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea), which is in favour of energy security by finding energy alternatives to conventional fuels.[citation needed]

On 27 February 2009 a Free Trade Agreement with the ASEAN regional block of 10 countries and Australia and its close partner New Zealand was signed, it is believed that this FTA would boost combine GDP across the 12 countries by more than US$48 billion over the period 2000–2020.[36][37] ASEAN members together with the group’s six major trading partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – have began the first round of negotiations on 26–28 February 2013 in Bali, Indonesia, on establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.[38]

The ASEAN way[edit]

ASEAN members' flags in Jakarta

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

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

Thus the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia adopted fundamental principles:[39]

The ‘ASEAN way’ is said to contribute durability and longevity within the organisation, by promoting regional identity and enhancing a spirit of mutual confidence and cooperation.[40] ASEAN agreements are negotiated in a close, interpersonal process. The process of consultations and consensus is designed to engender a democratic approach to decision making. These leaders are wary of any effort to legitimise efforts to undermine their nation or contain regional co-operation.

Critical reception[edit]

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

The ASEAN way can be seen as divergent from the contextual contemporary political reality at the formative stages of the association. A critical distinction is made by Amitav Acharya, that the ‘ASEAN Way’ indicates “a process of ‘regional interactions and cooperation based on discreteness, informality, consensus building and non-confrontational bargaining styles’ that contrasts with ‘the adversarial posturing, majority vote and other legalistic decision-making procedures in Western multilateral organisations’".[41]

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

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

Michael Yahuda,[42] explains, in his book International Politics of the Asia Pacific (2003) second and revised edition, the limitations of the ASEAN way. In summary of his argument, unlike the European Union, ‘the ASEAN Way’ has made ASEAN members never aspired to an economic and political union. It was designed to sustain the independence and sovereignty of member states and to encourage regional and national stability. ASEAN differed in assessment of external threat and they operated within conditions in which legality and the rule of law were not generally consolidated within member states. ASEAN wasn’t a rule making body subjecting its members to the discipline of adhering its laws and regulations. It was operated through consensus and informality. Also, the member states avoided to confront certain issues if they were to result in conflicts.[43]

Meetings[edit]

ASEAN Summits[edit]

A billboard in Jakarta welcoming ASEAN Summit 2011 delegates

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

The ASEAN Leaders' Formal Summit was first held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976. Its third meeting was held in Manila in 1987 and during this meeting, it was decided that the leaders would meet every five years.[44] Consequently, the fourth meeting was held in Singapore in 1992 where the leaders again agreed to meet more frequently, deciding to hold the summit every three years.[44] In 2001, it was decided to meet annually to address urgent issues affecting the region. Member nations were assigned to be the summit host in alphabetical order except in the case of Burma which dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from the United States and the European Union.[45]

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

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

ASEAN Formal Summits
NoDateCountryHostHost leader
1st23–24 February 1976 IndonesiaBaliSoeharto
2nd4–5 August 1977 MalaysiaKuala LumpurHussein Onn
3rd14–15 December 1987 PhilippinesManilaCorazon Aquino
4th27‒29 January 1992 SingaporeSingaporeGoh Chok Tong
5th14‒15 December 1995 ThailandBangkokBanharn Silpa-archa
6th15‒16 December 1998 VietnamHanoiPhan Văn Khải
7th5‒6 November 2001 BruneiBandar Seri BegawanHassanal Bolkiah
8th4‒5 November 2002 CambodiaPhnom PenhHun Sen
9th7‒8 October 2003 IndonesiaBaliMegawati Soekarnoputri
10th29‒30 November 2004 LaosVientianeBounnhang Vorachith
11th12‒14 December 2005 MalaysiaKuala LumpurAbdullah Ahmad Badawi
12th11‒14 January 20071 Philippines2CebuGloria Macapagal-Arroyo
13th18‒22 November 2007 SingaporeSingaporeLee Hsien Loong
14th327 February – 1 March 2009
10–11 April 2009
 ThailandCha Am, Hua Hin
Pattaya
Abhisit Vejjajiva
15th23 October 2009 ThailandCha Am, Hua Hin
16th38–9 April 2010 VietnamHanoiNguyễn Tấn Dũng
17th28–31 October 2010 VietnamHanoi
18th47–8 May 2011 IndonesiaJakartaSusilo Bambang Yudhoyono
19th414–19 November 2011 IndonesiaBali
20th3–4 April 2012 CambodiaPhnom PenhHun Sen
21st17–20 November 2012 CambodiaPhnom Penh
22nd24–25 April 2013 BruneiBandar Seri BegawanHassanal Bolkiah
23rd9–10 October 2013 BruneiBandar Seri Begawan
1 Postponed from 10‒14 December 2006 due to Typhoon Utor.
2 hosted the summit because Burma backed out due to enormous pressure from US and EU
3 This summit consisted of two parts.
The first part was moved from 12‒17 December 2008 due to the 2008 Thai political crisis.
The second part was aborted on 11 April due to protesters entering the summit venue.
4  Indonesia hosted twice in a row by swapping years with  Brunei, as it will play host to APEC (and the possibility of hosting the G20 summit which ultimately fell to Russia) in 2013.

During the fifth Summit in Bangkok, the leaders decided to meet "informally" between each formal summit:[44]

ASEAN Informal Summits
NoDateCountryHostHost leader
1st30 November 1996 IndonesiaJakartaSoeharto
2nd14‒16 December 1997 MalaysiaKuala LumpurMahathir Mohamad
3rd27‒28 November 1999 PhilippinesManilaJoseph Estrada
4th22‒25 November 2000 SingaporeSingaporeGoh Chok Tong

East Asia Summit[edit]

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

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a pan-Asian forum held annually by the leaders of 16 countries in East Asia and the region, with ASEAN in a leadership position. The summit has discussed issues including trade, energy and security and the summit has a role in regional community building.

The members of the summit are all 10 members of ASEAN plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. These nations represent nearly half of the world's population. In October 2010, Russia and the United States were formally invited to participate as full members, with presidents of both countries to attend the 2011 summit.[46]

The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on 14 December 2005 and subsequent meetings have been held after the annual ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting.

MeetingCountryLocationDateNote
First EAS MalaysiaKuala Lumpur14 December 2005Russia attended as a guest.
Second EAS PhilippinesCebu City15 January 2007Rescheduled from 13 December 2006.

Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security

Third EAS SingaporeSingapore21 November 2007Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment[47]

Agreed to establish Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia

Fourth EAS ThailandCha-am and Hua Hin25 October 2009The date and location of the venue was rescheduled several times, and then a Summit scheduled for 12 April 2009 at Pattaya, Thailand was cancelled when protesters stormed the venue. The Summit has been rescheduled for October 2009 and transferred again from Phuket[48] to Cha-am and Hua Hin.[49]
Fifth EAS VietnamHanoi30 October 2010[50]Officially invited the US and Russia to participate in future EAS as full-fledged members[46]
Sixth EAS IndonesiaBali19 November 2011The United States and Russia to join the Summit.
Seventh EAS CambodiaPhnom Penh20 November 2012
Eighth EAS BruneiBandar Seri Begawan10 October 2013
Ninth EAS Burma (Myanmar)NaypyidawTBA

Commemorative summit[edit]

Main article: ASEAN Free Trade Area

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

MeetingHostLocationDateNote
ASEAN–Japan Commemorative Summit JapanTokyo11, 12 December 2003To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and Japan. The summit was also notable as the first ASEAN summit held between ASEAN and a non-ASEAN country outside the region.
ASEAN–China Commemorative Summit ChinaNanning30, 31 October 2006To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and China
ASEAN–Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit Republic of KoreaJeju-do1, 2 June 2009To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and Republic of Korea
ASEAN–India Commemorative Summit IndiaNew Delhi20, 21 December 2012To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and India.

Regional Forum[edit]

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

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is a formal, official, multilateral dialogue in Asia Pacific region. As of July 2007, it consists of 27 participants. ARF objectives are to foster dialogue and consultation, and promote confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the region.[51] The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: all the ASEAN members, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, the People's Republic of China, the European Union, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor, United States and Sri Lanka.[52] The Republic of China (also known as Taiwan) has been excluded since the establishment of the ARF, and issues regarding the Taiwan Strait are neither discussed at the ARF meetings nor stated in the ARF Chairman's Statements.

Other meetings[edit]

Aside from the ones above, other regular[53] meetings are also held.[54] These include the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting[55] as well as other smaller committees.[56] Meetings mostly focus on specific topics, such as defence[53] or the environment,[53][57] and are attended by Ministers, instead of heads of government.

Another Three[edit]

The ASEAN Plus Three is a meeting between ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea, and is primarily held during each ASEAN Summit. Until now China, Japan and South Korea have not yet formed Free Trade Area (FTA), the meeting about FTA among them will be held at end of 2012.[58]

Asia–Europe Meeting[edit]

The Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal dialogue process initiated in 1996 with the intention of strengthening cooperation between the countries of Europe and Asia, especially members of the European Union and ASEAN in particular.[59] ASEAN, represented by its Secretariat, is one of the 45 ASEM partners. It also appoints a representative to sit on the governing board of Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), a socio-cultural organisation associated with the Meeting.

ASEAN–Russia Summit[edit]

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

ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting[edit]

The 44th annual meeting was held in Bali on 16 to 23 July 2011. Indonesia proposed a unified ASEAN travel visa to ease travel within the region for citizens of ASEAN member states.[60] The 45th annual meeting was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. For the first time in the history of ASEAN there was no diplomatic statement issued by the bloc at the end of the meeting. This was due to tensions over China's claim of ownership over near the entirety of the South China Sea and the counterclaim to such ownership by neighbouring states.

Economic community[edit]

ASEAN has emphasised regional cooperation in the “three pillars”, which are security, sociocultural integration, and economic integration.[61] The regional grouping has made the most progress in economic integration by creating an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.[62] The average economic growths of ASEAN's member nations during 1989–2009 was Singapore with 6.73 percent, Malaysia with 6.15 percent, Indonesia with 5.16 percent, Thailand with 5.02 percent, and the Philippines with 3.79 percent. This economic growth was greater than the average Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic growth, which was 2.83 percent.[63]

From CEPT to AEC[edit]

A Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme to promote the free flow of goods within ASEAN lead to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).[62] The AFTA is an agreement by the member nations of ASEAN concerning local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries. The AFTA agreement was signed on 28 January 1992 in Singapore.[64] When the AFTA agreement was originally signed, ASEAN had six members, namely, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Burma in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. The latecomers have not fully met the AFTA's obligations, but they are officially considered part of the AFTA as they were required to sign the agreement upon entry into ASEAN, and were given longer time frames in which to meet AFTA's tariff reduction obligations.[65]

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

Since 2007, the ASEAN countries gradually lower their import duties among them and targeted will be zero for most of the import duties at 2015.[66]

Since 2011, AEC has agreed to strengthen the position and increase the competitive edges of small and medium enterprises (SME) in the ASEAN region.[67]

Comprehensive Investment Area[edit]

The ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Area (ACIA) will encourage the free flow of investment within ASEAN. The main principles of the ACIA are as follows[68]

Full realisation of the ACIA with the removal of temporary exclusion lists in manufacturing agriculture, fisheries, forestry and mining is scheduled by 2010 for most ASEAN members and by 2015 for the CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Burma, and Vietnam) countries.[68]

Trade in Services[edit]

An ASEAN Framework Agreement on Trade in Services was adopted at the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in December 1995.[69] Under AFAS, ASEAN Member States enter into successive rounds of negotiations to liberalise trade in services with the aim of submitting increasingly higher levels of commitments. The negotiations result in commitments that are set forth in schedules of specific commitments annexed to the Framework Agreement. These schedules are often referred to as packages of services commitments. At present, ASEAN has concluded seven packages of commitments under AFAS.[70]

Single Aviation Market[edit]

The ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASEAN-SAM), is the region's major aviation policy geared towards the development of a unified and single aviation market in Southeast Asia by 2015. The aviation policy was proposed by the ASEAN Air Transport Working Group, supported by the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting, and endorsed by the ASEAN Transport Ministers.[71] The ASEAN-SAM is expected to fully liberalise air travel between member states in the ASEAN region, allowing ASEAN countries and airlines operating in the region to directly benefit from the growth in air travel around the world, and also freeing up tourism, trade, investment and services flows between member states.[71][72] Since 1 December 2008, restrictions on the third and fourth freedoms of the air between capital cities of member states for air passengers services have been removed,[73] while from 1 January 2009, full liberalisation of air freight services in the region took effect.[71][72] On 1 January 2011, full liberalisation on fifth freedom traffic rights between all capital cities took effect.[74]

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

Free-trade agreements with other countries[edit]

ASEAN has concluded free trade agreements with China (expecting bilateral trade of $500 billion by 2015),[75] Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.[76] ASEAN-India bilateral trade crossed the $70 billion target in 2012 (target was to reach the level only by 2015).[citation needed] The agreement with People's Republic of China created the ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which went into full effect on 1 January 2010. In addition, ASEAN is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union.[77] Republic of China (Taiwan) has also expressed interest in an agreement with ASEAN but needs to overcome diplomatic objections from China.[78]

ASEAN six majors[edit]

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

CountryGDP (nominal)GDP (PPP)GDP (Per Capita)
 Indonesia867,468,000,0001,284,789,000,0005,214
 Thailand400,916,000,000674,344,000,0009,875
 Malaysia312,413,000,000525,039,000,00017,748
 Singapore297,941,000,000348,700,000,00064,584
 Philippines278,260,000,000471,254,000,0004,682
 Vietnam170,020,000,000358,889,000,0004,012

Development gap[edit]

ASEAN members by
Human Development Index
[79]
CountryHDI (2013)
 Singapore0.901very high
 Brunei0.852very high
 Malaysia0.773high
 Thailand0.722high
 Indonesia0.684medium
 ASEAN0.669medium
 Philippines0.660medium
 Vietnam0.638medium
 Cambodia0.584medium
 Laos0.569medium
 Myanmar0.524low

When Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia joined ASEAN in the late 1990s, concerns were raised about a certain developmental divide regarding a gap in average per capita GDP between older and the newer members. In response, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) was formed by ASEAN as a regional integration policy with the principal goal of bridging this developmental divide, which, in addition to disparities in per capita GDP, is manifested by disparities in dimensions of human development such as life expectancy and literacy rates. Other than the IAI, other programmes for the development of the Mekong Basin - where all four newer ASEAN members are located - that tend to focus on infrastructure development have been effectively enacted. In general, ASEAN does not have the financial resources to extend substantial grants or loans to the new members. Therefore, it usually leaves the financing of these infrastructure projects to international financial institutions and to developed countries. Nevertheless, it has mobilised funding from these institutions and countries and from the ASEAN-6 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, and Thailand) themselves for areas where the development gap needs to be filled through the IAI programme. Other programmes intended for the development of the ASEAN-4 take advantage of the geographical proximity of the CLMV countries and tend to focus on infrastructure development in areas like transport, tourism, and power transmission.[80]

From CMI to AMRO[edit]

Due to Asian financial crisis of 1997 to 1998 and long and difficult negotiations with International Monetary Fund, ASEAN+3 agreed to set up a mainly bilateral currency swap scheme known as the 2000 Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) to anticipate another financial crisis or currency turmoil in the future. In 2006 they agreed to make CMI with multilateralisation and called as CMIM. On 3 May 2009, they agreed to make a currency pool consist of contribution $38.4 billion each by China and Japan, $19.2 billion by South Korea and totally $24 billion by all of ASEAN members, so the total currency pool was $120 billion.[81] A key component has also newly been added, with the establishment of a surveillance unit.[82]

The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic and Research Office (AMRO) started its operation in Singapore in May 2011.[83] It performs a key regional surveillance function as part of the $120 billion of Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) currency swap facility that was established by Finance Minister and Central Bank Governors of ASEAN countries plus China, Japan and South Korea in December 2009.[84]

According to some analysts, the amount of $120 billion is relatively small (cover only about 20 percent of needs), so coordination or help from International Monetary Fund is still needed.[85] On 3 May 2012 ASEAN+3 finance ministers agreed to double emergency reserve fund to $240 billion.[86]

Foreign Direct Investment[edit]

In 2009, realised Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was $37.9 billion and increase by two-fold in 2010 to $75.8 billion. 22 percent of FDI came from the European Union, followed by ASEAN countries themselves by 16 percent and then followed by Japan and US.

Intra-ASEAN travel[edit]

With the institutionalisation of visa-free travel between ASEAN member states, intra-ASEAN travel has boomed, a sign that endeavours to form an ASEAN Community shall bear fruit in years to come. In 2010, 47 percent or 34 million out of 73 million tourists in ASEAN member-states were from other ASEAN countries.[87]

Intra-ASEAN trade[edit]

Until end of 2010, Intra-Asean trade were still low which mainly of them were mostly exporting to countries outside the region, except Laos and Myanmar were ASEAN-oriented in foreign trade with 80 percent and 50 percent respectively of their exports went to other ASEAN countries.[88]

ASEAN Capital Market Forum[edit]

ASEAN Capital Market Forum (ACMF) consist of:

Charter[edit]

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

On 15 December 2008, the members of ASEAN met in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to launch a charter, signed in November 2007, with the aim of moving closer to "an EU-style community".[90] The charter turns ASEAN into a legal entity and aims to create a single free-trade area for the region encompassing 500 million people. President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that "This is a momentous development when ASEAN is consolidating, integrating and transforming itself into a community. It is achieved while ASEAN seeks a more vigorous role in Asian and global affairs at a time when the international system is experiencing a seismic shift", he added, referring to climate change and economic upheaval, and concluded "Southeast Asia is no longer the bitterly divided, war-torn region it was in the 1960s and 1970s". The fundamental principles include:

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

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

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

d) reliance on peaceful settlement of disputes;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

n) adherence to multilateral trade rules and ASEAN's rules-based regimes for effective implementation of economic commitments and progressive reduction towards elimination of all barriers to regional economic integration, in a market-driven economy.[91]

However, the ongoing global financial crisis was stated as being a threat to the goals envisioned by the charter,[92] and also set forth the idea of a proposed human rights body to be discussed at a future summit in February 2009. This proposition caused controversy, as the body would not have the power to impose sanctions or punish countries who violate citizens' rights and would therefore be limited in effectiveness.[93] 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.

Cultural activities[edit]

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

ASEAN Media Cooperation[edit]

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

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

The concept was stressed during the 11th AMRI Conference[94] adopting the theme: ”Media Connecting Peoples and Bridging Cultures Towards One ASEAN Nation”. ASEAN Ministers believed that the new and traditional media are important mediums to connect ASEAN people and bridging the cultural gap.

Accessing information towards the goal of creating a One ASEAN nation requires participation among the nation members and its citizens. During the 18th ASEAN Summit[95] in May 2011, the Chair stated the important role of a participatory approach among people and stakeholders of ASEAN towards a “people-oriented , people centred and rule-based ASEAN”.

Several key initiatives that were initiated under the AMC:[96]

New media and social media[edit]

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

SEA Write Award[edit]

Logo of the SEA Write Award

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

ASAIHL[edit]

ASAIHL or the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1956 that strives to strengthen higher learning institutions, espescially in teaching, research, and public service, with the intention of cultivating a sense of regional identity and interdependence.

Heritage Parks[edit]

ASEAN Heritage Parks[101] is a list of nature parks launched 1984 and relaunched in 2004. It aims to protect the region's natural treasures. There are now 35 such protected areas, including the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park and the Kinabalu National Park.[102]

ASEAN Heritage Sites[edit]

SiteCountrySiteCountry
Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park BurmaAo Phang-nga Marine National Park Thailand
Apo Natural Park PhilippinesImperial City, Huế Vietnam
Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park IndonesiaGunung Leuser National Park Indonesia
Gunung Mulu National Park MalaysiaHa Long Bay Vietnam
Hoi An Ancient Town VietnamMounts Iglit-Baco National Park Philippines
Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary BurmaInlé Lake Wildlife Sanctuary Burma
Kaeng Krachan National Park ThailandKerinci Seblat National Park Indonesia
Khakaborazi National Park BurmaKhao Yai National Park Thailand
Kinabalu National Park MalaysiaKomodo National Park Indonesia
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long VietnamLampi Kyun Wildlife Reserve Burma
Lorentz National Park IndonesiaMeinmhala Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary Burma
Mu Ko Surin-Mu Ko Similan Marine National Park ThailandNam Ha Protected Area Laos
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park VietnamPreah Monivong (Bokor) National Park Cambodia
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park PhilippinesSungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Singapore
Taman Negara National Park MalaysiaTarutao Marine National Park Thailand
Tasek Merimbun Wildlife Sanctuary BruneiThung Yai-Huay Kha Khaeng National Park Thailand
Ujung Kulon National Park Indonesia
Virachey National Park CambodiaKeraton Yogyakarta Indonesia
Mỹ Sơn VietnamCitadel of Ho Dynasty Vietnam
Mount Malindang PhilippinesVigan City Philippines
Taal Volcano PhilippinesMayon Volcano Philippines

Songs and music[edit]

Education and human development[edit]

As the "collective entity to enhance regional cooperation in education", the ASEAN Education Ministers have determined four priorities that ASEAN efforts toward improved education would address: (1) Promoting ASEAN awareness among ASEAN citizens, particularly youth; (2) Strengthening ASEAN identity through education; (3) Building ASEAN human resources in the field of education; and (4) Strengthening ASEAN university networking.[103] Nations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines have experienced rapid development over the past 20 years, and this has been visibly evident in their educational systems. Each country has developed unique - yet interconnected through ASEAN initiatives - human and physical infrastructure to provide youth education, a primary determinant in future capabilities and sustained economic growth for the entire region.[104] Various programmes and projects have been and are currently in the process of being developed to fulfil these directives and to reach these future goals.[103]

At the 11th ASEAN Summit in December 2005, ASEAN Leaders set new directions for regional education collaboration when they welcomed the decision of the ASEAN Education Ministers to convene the ASEAN Education Ministers’ Meetings (ASED) on a regular basis. The Leaders also called for ASEAN Education Ministers to focus on enhancing regional cooperation in education.[105] The ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting, which meets annually, oversees ASEAN cooperation efforts on education at the ministerial level. With regard to implementation, such programmes and activities resulting from such efforts are for the most part carried out by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Education (SOM-ED), which reports to the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting. SOM-ED also manages cooperation on higher education through the ASEAN University Network (AUN). The AUN was established to assist ASEAN in (1) promoting cooperation among ASEAN scholars, academics, and scientists in the region; (2) developing academic and professional human resources in the region; (3) promoting information dissemination among the ASEAN academic community; and (4) enhancing the awareness of regional identity and the sense of "ASEAN-ness" among members.[103]

Education indicators outlined hereafter belong to primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Primary education is generally defined as the level of education where children are provided with basic reading, writing, and mathematical skills together with elementary understanding of such subjects as history, geography, natural science, social science, art, and music. Secondary education continues to build up on the knowledge provided by primary education and aims at laying the foundations for lifelong learning and human development with more advanced material and learning mechanisms. Tertiary education, whether or not leading to an advanced research qualification, requires minimally the successful completion of secondary education for admission and entails the level of education within some college or university.[106]

School enrollment and participation[edit]

Participation in formal education is usually measured by the metric Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) and Net Enrollment Ratio (NER). The NER demonstrates the extent of participation in a given age-specific level of education. The purpose of the GER is to show the total enrollment in a level of education regardless of age. The GER is expressed as a percentage of the official school-age population corresponding to the same level of education.[107]

Primary education[edit]

We can make a few observations based on reported data on primary education enrollment. Brunei Darussalam had almost reached 100% net enrollment by 2001, while Indonesia has slowly moved downward from close to that enrolment percentage thereafter. The Philippines has been inching closer and closer to this target in recent years. The data indicate two groups of countries - one which has consistently attained a net enrollment ratio of more than 90% (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore) and the other group with around 80% (Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar). Vietnam started in the lower group and has moved to the upper group in the last few decades. Thailand has not provided data for both sexes, but the separate net enrolment ratio for girls and boys indicates that the overall ratio would be between 86% and 87%, and as such would be closer to the higher group. The primary net enrolment ratios of boys were almost always higher than those of girls for all reporting countries except Malaysia. For Singapore and Indonesia since 1998, however, the net enrolment ratios for girls and boys were not significantly different. A marked widening of gender gap was noticeable in the Philippines in 1997 but in 1999 the net enrolment ratios for girls exceeded that for boys.[108]

It is also useful to look at retainment and efficiency rates in education throughout ASEAN. The effectiveness of efforts to extend literacy depends on the ability of the education system to ensure full participation of school-age children and their successful progression to reach at least grade 5, which is the stage when they are believed to have firmly acquired literacy and numeracy. The usual indicator to measure the level of this efficiency achievement is the proportion of pupils starting grade 1 reaching grade 5 of primary education.[109]

Most reporting countries in ASEAN have steadily improved retention rates of pupils through 5th grade. At the top are Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, which have shown consistent survival rates of close to 100%, indicating a very high retention of children in school through at least 5th grade. Among the rest of the countries with rates ranging from 57% to 89% towards the end of the past century, Myanmar has maintained the largest improvements over the years.[110]

Secondary education[edit]

High school students in Laos assemble a jigsaw puzzle map of Southeast Asia. Laos is a member of ASEAN but most students know little about the other 9 member countries. The map is one of many hands-on activities offered by Big Brother Mouse, a not-for-profit literacy and education project.

By 2001, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines had achieved improvements in net enrolment ratios for secondary education of 11%-19% over those of 1990 or 1991. Vietnam experienced the fastest growth rate in net enrolment between the years 1993 and 1998. Singapore, the country with the highest overall achievement, has maintained consistently high net enrolment rates of above 90% since 1994. With regard to gender differences, the difference in the ratios of females to males ranges from 0.2%-6% (for the six countries for which these ratios are available: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). "The overall pattern is that girls seem to exhibit appreciably higher net enrolment ratios for secondary education, except in the case of Singapore where the ratios for girls and boys converged in the second half of the reporting period."[111]

Tertiary education[edit]

While the HPAEs (High Performing Asian Economies) and ASEAN-6 (the 6 oldest ASEAN members) have invested heavily in public education, and, unlike many other developing nations, have concentrated on primary and secondary schooling, tertiary education has been left largely to the private sector.[112] Tertiary education in Southeast Asia is, in general, relatively weak. In most cases universities are focused on teaching and service to government rather than academic research. Additionally, universities in Southeast Asia, both in terms of academic salaries and research infrastructure (libraries, laboratories), tend to be financially handicapped and poorly supported. Moreover, regional academic journals cater to their 'home' informed audiences and respond less to international standards which makes universal or regional benchmarking difficult.[113]

University Network[edit]

Public efforts[edit]

Financial resources[edit]

Governments have a vested interest in investing in education and other aspects of human capital infrastructure, especially those governments of rapidly developing nations such as those within ASEAN. In the short run, investment spending directly supports aggregate demand and growth. In the longer term, investments in physical infrastructure, in productivity enhancements by businesses, and especially in the public provision of education and health services determine the potential for growth.[116]

To measure the investments in education by governments, we use the metrics of public current expenditure on primary education as a percent of GDP and expenditure per pupil as a percent of GDP. These two indicators are based on public current expenditure at all government levels on all public primary schools and subsidies to private educational institutions, teachers and pupils. In some instances regarding figures used in these calculations, data on current public expenditure on education may refer only to the Ministry of Education, excluding other ministries that spend a part of their budget on educational activities.[106]

Primary education expenditure in the reporting ASEAN countries is usually lower than 3% of GDP, with the exception of Indonesia, which reported 5%. Two countries that show noticeable rising trends are the Philippines and Lao PDR. Malaysia has experienced a gradual downward trend throughout the 1990s but stabilised around the year 2000. Indonesia experienced a sharp decline in primary education expenditure as a percent of GDP between 1995 and 1999 from almost 10% to 5%. Singapore has maintained a stable 0.6% up until 2000 and increased slightly to 0.7% in 2001.[117]

While the public current expenditure on primary education as percentage of GDP can never be close to 100%, it is theoretically possible to have the public current expenditure per pupil as percentage of GDP per capita to reach or exceed 100%. Except for Singapore, this indicator fluctuates somewhat, but seems to have stabilised at around 10% for two reporting countries of ASEAN at the end of the 1990s decade. Since 1996, the indicator has steadily risen in the Philippines reaching almost 14% by 1998. Upward or downward trend for this indicator can have many causes which include sharp changes in enrolment rates of government expenditures on primary education.[117]

Scholarship[edit]

The ASEAN Scholarship is a scholarship programme offered by Singapore to the 9 other member states for secondary school, junior college, and university education. It covers accommodation, food, medical benefits & accident insurance, school fees, and examination fees.[118] Scholarship recipients who then perform well in the GCE Advanced Level Examination may apply for ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarships, which are tailored specifically for undergraduate institutions in Singapore and in other ASEAN member countries.[119] Singapore has effectively used this programme to attract many of the best students from the ASEAN region over the past several years, and scholars for the most part tend to remain in Singapore to pursue undergraduate studies through the ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship programme.[120]

Education as a determinant of human development[edit]

Statistically, educational attainment (as measured by average years of schooling) strongly correlates with subsequent income levels and development capabilities. An improvement in educational attainment will have a positive effect on a country's income and human development (humanity) growth.[121]

It is therefore evident that "universal access to, and completion of, primary or basic education is a self-evident goal upon which the foundations for building the human capacity rests. Increased participation, regardless of sex, in secondary and tertiary levels of education is a necessary step to be able to move forward in the process of achieving equity, capacity building, access to information, and strengthening science."[117]

Literacy rates[edit]

Literacy indicators provide us with a measure of the number of literate persons within the population who are capable of using written words in daily and to continue to learn.[122] The literacy rate essentially reflects the cumulative accomplishment of education in spreading literacy. The literacy rate is usually linked to school enrolment ratios and school retainment rates (through at least grade 5) of primary education, both of which contribute to the literate population.

The data of literacy rates in reporting countries of 15 to 24 years old reflect outcomes of the basic education process and is therefore considered an accepted measure of the effectiveness of that country's education system's investment in children. Among the eight ASEAN countries reporting six have made significant progress towards 100% literacy by 2000. This progress is comprable with member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an impressive accomplishment. Overall, there is not much disparity between male and female literacy with the exceptions of Cambodia and Lao PDR, where the literacy rate for females is about 10% lower than that of males in 1999. The results of overall improvement in literacy rates, though, indicate positive effectiveness of the primary education systems of these countries throughout the 1990s.[123][124]

CountryYear (most recent)Adult (15+) Literacy Rate TotalAdult MenAdult WomenYouth (15-24) Literacy Rate TotalYouth MenYouth Women
 Brunei200995%97%94%100%100%100%
 Cambodia200878%85%71%87%89%86%
 Indonesia200892%95%89%99%100%99%
 Laos200573%82%63%84%89%79%
 Malaysia200992%95%90%99%98%99%
 Burma200992%95%90%96%96%95%
 Philippines200895%95%96%98%97%98%
 Singapore200995%97%92%100%100%100%
 Thailand200594%96%92%98%98%98%
 Vietnam200993%95%91%97%97%96%

Looking at adult (defined as the entire population 15 and older) literacy rates, we can see that most reporting countries have made significant progress in this demographic as well. All but two reporting countries reached adult literacy rates of around 90% or better. Looking at the differences in literacy rates by sex, we can see a visible gender gap. This gap is most apparent in Cambodia and Laos, with percentage differences between adult men and adult women literacy rates of 14% and 19%, respectively.[125] Only in the Philippines is the literacy rate among women higher than among men.

Sports[edit]

Southeast Asian Games[edit]

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

ASEAN Para Games[edit]

Logo of the ASEAN Para Games.

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

FESPIC Games / Asian Para Games[edit]

The FESPIC Games, also known as the Far East and South Pacific Games for the persons with disability, was the biggest multi-sports games in Asia and South Pacific region. The FESPIC Games were held nine times and bowed out, a success[126] in December 2006 in the 9th FESPIC Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Games re-emerged as the 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, China. The 2010 Asian Para Games debuted shortly after the conclusion of the 16th Asian Games, using the same facilities and venue made disability-accessible. The inaugural Asian Para Games, the parallel event for athletes with physical disabilities, is a multi-sport event held every four years after every Asian Games.

Football Championship[edit]

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

ASEAN 2030 FIFA World Cup bid[edit]

January 2011: As a result of ASEAN Foreign ministers at Lombok meeting, they agreed bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2030 as a single entity.[127]

May 2011: ASEAN will go ahead with its bid for the FIFA 2030 World Cup. It was a follow up to the agreement reached in January before.[128]

ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration[edit]

Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have established defence industries. To cut cost and plan to be self-sufficient by 2030, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to promote the creation of the ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration (ADIC).[129] The United States military reportedly has said that ADIC could have additional benefits beyond cost savings for ASEAN members, including facilitating a set of standards, similar to NATO, that will improve interoperability among ASEAN and U.S. militaries and increase the effectiveness of regional response to threats to Asia-Pacific peace and stability.[130]

Criticism[edit]

Non-ASEAN countries have criticised ASEAN for being too soft in its approach to promoting human rights and democracy in the junta-led Burma.[131] Despite global outrage at the military crack-down on unarmed protesters in Yangon, ASEAN has refused to suspend Burma as a member and also rejects proposals for economic sanctions.[132] This has caused concern as the European Union, a potential trade partner, has refused to conduct free trade negotiations at a regional level for these political reasons.[133] International observers view it as a "talk shop",[134] which implies that the organisation is "big on words but small on action".[135][136] However, leaders such as the Philippines' Foreign Affairs Secretary, Alberto Romulo, said it "is a workshop not a talk shop".[137] Others have also expressed similar sentiment.[138]

Head of the International Institute of Strategic Studies – Asia, Tim Huxley cites the diverse political systems present in the grouping, including many young states, as a barrier to far-reaching cooperation outside the economic sphere. He also asserts that in the absence of an external threat to rally against with the end of the Cold War, ASEAN has begun to be less successful at restraining its members and resolving border disputes such as those between Burma and Thailand and Indonesia and Malaysia.[139]

During the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu, several activist groups staged anti-globalisation protests.[140] According to the activists, the agenda of economic integration would negatively affect industries in the Philippines and would cause thousands of Filipinos to lose their jobs.[141]

ASEAN competitions[edit]

See also[edit]

Literature[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Organisation
Summits
ASEAN organisations