Established in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) aims to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to promote regional peace and stability through the rule of law and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. The ASEAN Charter, which entered into force on 15 December 2008, provides a legal and institutional framework to support the realisation of ASEAN's objectives, including regional integration.
ASEAN comprises ten countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
ASEAN has ten Dialogue Partners: Australia, Canada, China, EU, India, Japan, New Zealand, ROK, Russia and the United States. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) also has dialogue status. Australia became ASEAN's first Dialogue Partner in 1974. The 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Australia dialogue relations will be celebrated in 2014.
ASEAN holds biennial Head of State/Government-level Summits.
ASEAN holds regular ministerial and senior officials’ meetings across a number of portfolios throughout the year. The main meetings involving the foreign ministers of ASEAN and its dialogue partners, including Australia, are the Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC), normally held in July, followed by the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The focal point of the year for economic ministers is the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meetings (AEM), normally held in August. The AEM is attended by Economic Ministers of ASEAN and a number of dialogue partners, including Australia.
ASEAN documents, statements and meeting schedules can be viewed at www.aseansec.org
The Chair of ASEAN is rotated among the ASEAN countries on an annual basis, and acts as host of the Summit and key ministerial meetings. The Chair of ASEAN for 2013 is Brunei, to be followed by Myanmar in 2014.
The ASEAN Secretariat, based in Jakarta, Indonesia, coordinates, initiates and implements ASEAN activities. The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General of ASEAN, who is appointed for a five-year term and accorded ministerial status. Le Luong Minh, former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, assumed the post of Secretary-General of ASEAN in January 2013.
Established by the ASEAN Charter, the Jakarta-based ASEAN Committee for Permanent Representatives (CPR) is tasked to engage Dialogue Partners.
Australia's Relationship with ASEAN
As its first Dialogue Partner, Australia has a longstanding and deep relationship with ASEAN, covering cooperation in a range of areas including security, culture, trade, education and development. In 2007, Australia and ASEAN signed the Joint Declaration on the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership. The Plan of Action to implement the Comprehensive Partnership provides a framework for engagement covering political and security, economic, socio-cultural and development cooperation.
Australia engages regularly with ASEAN leaders, ministers and officials and participates in ASEAN-centred groupings such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and East Asia Summit (EAS).
A leader’s level ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit is due to take place at the EAS in Myanmar in 2014. The Leaders of Australia and ASEAN member states have previously met on three occassions, including at the ASEAN-Australia Summit in 2010 in Hanoi, the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Commemorative Summit in 2004 in Vientiane, Lao PDR, and at the ASEAN-Australia meeting in 1977 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Links to the Statements for these meetings are attached below.
The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) entered into force on 1 January 2010. Australia is also engaged with ASEAN on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.
Australia's development cooperation partnership with ASEAN has been a key feature of our relationship since 1974. Vital elements of this partnership include the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP). Further information on Australia's development assistance to the region can be found in Australian Aid.
Australia is also a co-sponsor of the Regional Interfaith Dialogue, together with Indonesia, the Philippines and New Zealand. In addition to the co-sponsoring countries, the eight remaining ASEAN countries also participate in the Dialogue, as well as Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. The Dialogue has been held on six occasions, most recently in Semarang, Indonesia in March 2012. The theme of the Semarang Dialogue was "Strengthening Collaborative Communities to Promote Regional Peace and Security". The Semarang Dialogue followed on from a positive history of regional Dialogues: the Yogyakarta Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation (December 2004), the Cebu Dialogue on Regional Cooperation for Peace, Development and Human Dignity (March 2006), the Waitangi Dialogue on Building Bridges (May 2007), the Phnom Penh Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace and Harmony (April 2008), the Perth Dialogue on Future Faith Leaders: Regional Challenges and Co-operation (October 2009).
The Plan of Action from the sixth Dialogue is available here:
The Declarations from each of the five previous Dialogues are available here:
- Yogyakarta Declaration
- Cebu Declaration
- Waitangi Declaration
- Phnom Penh Declaration
- Perth Declaration
One of the recommendations from the Perth Declaration included the establishment of an interfaith website and online forum for participants in the Regional Interfaith Dialogue and others in the region interested in interfaith issues. The Regional Interfaith Network was launched in March 2011.
ASEAN-Australia documents and links
- ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) +1 Sessions – ASEAN Chairman's Statement. 1 July 2013, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
- The 18th AEM-CER Consultations – Joint Media Statement [PDF external]. 21 August 2013, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
- The 25th ASEAN-Australia Forum – Co-Chair’s Statement. 5-6 November, Manila.
- The 17th AEM-CER Consultations - Joint Media Statement. 31 August 2012, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
- ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) +1 Sessions – ASEAN Chairman's Statement. 11 July 2012, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- 24th ASEAN-Australia Forum - Co-Chairs' Statement. 5-6 September 2011, Canberra.
- The 16th AEM-CER Consultations - Joint media statement. 13 August 2011, Manado, Indonesia
- ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) +1 Sessions - ASEAN Chairman's Statement. 21-22 July 2011, Bali, Indonesia
- ASEAN-Australia Summit 2010 - Joint Statement [PDF]. 30 October 2010, Hanoi, Vietnam.
- ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) +1 Sessions - ASEAN Chairman's Statement. 22 July 2010, Hanoi, Vietnam
- 23rd ASEAN-Australia Forum – Co-Chairs' Statement. 19 March 2010, Singapore
- ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) +1 Sessions - ASEAN Chairman's Statement. 22 July 2009, Phuket, Thailand
- Media Release - Australia signs historic regional Free Trade Agreement. Minister for Trade Simon Crean, 27 February 2009
- ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA)
- ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) +1 Sessions - Chairman's Statement. 23 July 2008
- Joint Declaration on the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership. 1 August 2007
- Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership. 1 August 2007
- ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) +1 Sessions - Chairman's Statement. 1 August 2007
- ASEAN-Australia and New Zealand Commemorative Summit - Chairman's Statement. 30 November 2004, Vientiane, Laos
- ASEAN-Australia and New Zealand Commemorative Summit - Joint Declaration of the Leaders. 30 November 2004, Vientiane, Laos
- Meeting of the ASEAN Heads of Government and the Prime Minister of Australia, 1977 - Joint Press Statement
- ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation