Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership (2015-2019)

This Plan of Action (PoA) is aimed at implementing the goals and objectives of the ASEAN-Australia Summits and the Joint Declaration of the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership. To enhance and elevate the ASEAN-Australia comprehensive partnership in a broad-based, equal, and mutually beneficial manner, the PoA also aims to address emerging regional and global challenges over the next five years.

This PoA builds upon the strong cooperation between ASEAN and Australia that began in 1974, promotes the establishment of a peaceful, stable, integrated, prosperous, and caring ASEAN Community by 2015 and contributes to the ASEAN Community’s Post-2015 Vision.

ASEAN and Australia hereby endeavour to pursue cooperation in conformity with their obligations under international law and in accordance with their respective domestic laws, regulations, and policies.

1. Political and Security Cooperation

  1. Political Dialogue
    1. Convene a Commemorative ASEAN-Australia Summit in 2014, with a view to considering more regular ASEAN-Australia leaders’ meetings in the future;
    2. Deepen ASEAN-Australia consultations and cooperation through the following ASEAN-led fora: the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference with Australia (PMC+1), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), ASEAN-Australia Forum and the ASEAN-Australia Joint Cooperation Committee;
    3. Work closely to strengthen the EAS, with ASEAN as the driving force, as a leaders-led forum for dialogue and cooperation on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity and integration in East Asia; 
    4. Promote two-way Ministerial visits to raise the profile of ASEAN-Australia relations and to enhance political momentum for cooperation;
    5. Promote inter-Parliamentary exchanges and two-way visits by Speakers’ delegations;
    6. Strengthen engagement and dialogue through the resident Australian Ambassador to ASEAN, appointed in 2013;
    7. Develop ASEAN-Australia cooperation in multilateral fora, including in the United Nations and other bodies within the UN system, as well as in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Group of Twenty (G20) in order to strengthen the multilateral system, and, where appropriate, carry out consultations between ASEAN and Australia at the margins of those fora;
  2. Security Cooperation
    1. Promote dialogue and strengthen practical defence cooperation to address the challenges facing the region through the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) framework;
    2. Strengthen cooperation in the context of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and cooperate on the implementation of the Hanoi Plan of Action to Implement the ARF Vision Statement 2020, including in the areas of preventive diplomacy, disaster relief, counter-terrorism and transnational crime including cyber-security, non-proliferation and disarmament, maritime security as well as to explore possible cooperation on space security;
    3. Enhance synergies among relevant ASEAN-led mechanisms, including by promoting information sharing and coordination between them;
    4. Support the implementation of the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) as an effective instrument in promoting and strengthening nuclear non-proliferation and support efforts towards the accession of the Nuclear Weapons States to the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty;
    5. Promote cooperation among peacekeeping training centres in the region;
    6. Enhance defence exchanges and cooperation through dialogues at different levels, mutual visits, training, capacity building and other practical cooperation through the relevant and existing regional security frameworks;
  3. Good Governance and Human Rights
    1. Promote dialogue, consultations, and partnership among governments, private sector and other relevant stakeholders in the society to foster and enable new ideas, concepts and methods with a view to enhancing transparent, accountable, participatory and effective governance;
    2. Promote the universalisation and implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption;
    3. Encourage collaboration with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders in the society in promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR) within the region;
    4. Exchange best practices in promoting democracy and democratic institutions including lessons learned from mechanisms such as the  Bali Democracy Forum, as appropriate;
    5. Promote the role of good governance in the promotion of human rights;
    6. Explore  consultations and information sharing between the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the Australian Human Rights Commission;
    7. Explore encouraging and supporting the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and other relevant international human rights instruments to which ASEAN Member States are parties;
    8. Support the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN in accordance with the work plans of ASEAN related to human rights through regional dialogues, seminars and workshops, education and awareness raising activities, exchange of best practices and other capacity building initiatives aimed at enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights;
    9. Support the AICHR and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), and collaborate in the promotion of the rights of women and children and gender equality across the breadth of ASEAN pillars, including ways to expand women’s participation in the economy;
    10. Provide technical assistance to support programmes and projects for vulnerable groups;
    11. Encourage cooperation on interfaith and inter-civilisation dialogues, such as the Regional Interfaith Dialogue, and further contribute, internationally and regionally, to the promotion of tolerance and understanding through initiatives on the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) and promoting moderation as a core value to counter extremism in all aspects;
  4. Maritime Cooperation
    1. Promote maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded commerce, the exercise of self-restraint, the non-use of force or the threat to use force, and the resolution of disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the relevant standards and recommended practices by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
    2. Strengthen cooperation in maritime safety and search and rescue (SAR), including the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on Cooperation in Search and Rescue of Persons and Vessels in Distress at Sea and oil spill preparedness, such as through technical cooperation, training exercises, and exchange of visits of relevant ASEAN and Australian officials;
    3. Promote maritime cooperation, through appropriate ASEAN mechanisms, including the ASEAN Maritime Forum and its Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum, and where appropriate, promote technical cooperation, capacity building, exchange of experience and sharing of knowledge and expertise;
  5. Non-Traditional Security and Counter-Terrorism
    1. Enhance cooperation in preventing and combating transnational crimes such as illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, people-smuggling, money laundering, arms smuggling, piracy, terrorism and financing of terrorism and cybercrime, utilising existing regional and international institutions and agreements;
    2. Continue to convene regular Senior Officials’ Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) + Australia Consultations and implement annual work programmes on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime;
    3. Encourage training centres in ASEAN and Australia to enhance the development of human, institutional, and forensic capacities of law enforcement and investigation agencies through technology transfer, training programmes, joint exercises, and exchange of best practices;
    4. Support the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration and ASEAN Leaders’ Joint Statement in Enhancing Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons in Southeast Asia by enhancing the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons through the Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (AAPTIP 2013-2018) and the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime as appropriate;
    5. Continue to strengthen public outreach, preventive measures, and protection and reintegration of victims of trafficking, including through media and private sector participation;
    6. Enhance cooperation on border management as well as effectively responding to irregular movement of people and people smuggling through regular consultations between ASEAN Directors-General of Immigration Departments and the Heads of Consular Affairs Divisions of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (DGICM) and Australia and implementation of the annual DGICM-Australia work programme;
    7. Convene consultations between the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on Drugs (ASOD) and Australia to support capacity-building activities under the ASEAN Work Plan on Combating Illicit Drug Production, Trafficking and Use;
    8. Promote cooperation in addressing humanitarian aspects of landmines and other explosive remnants of war issues in the region, such as through the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) and in accordance with existing and applicable treaties, conventions and instruments and with respective domestic laws and policies;

2. Economic Cooperation

  1. ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA)
    1. Pursue the effective implementation of the AANZFTA and support business utilisation of the Agreement in recognition of the economic and wider benefits that will accrue from a stronger and more prosperous ASEAN and a more integrated regional economy;
    2. Pursue AANZFTA’s built-in agendas in seeking to ensure the Agreement continues to deliver real commercial benefits for traders and investors;
    3. Contribute to the facilitation of trade in services with and amongst ASEAN under the AANZFTA, including through economic cooperation and capacity building;
    4. Support, sustain, promote, enhance and increase the flow and opportunity of investment with and amongst ASEAN under the AANZFTA based on the provisions and obligations provided for under this Agreement;
    5. Utilise the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP) to enhance the capacity of ASEAN to implement the AANZFTA and manage the AANZFTA’s Economic Cooperation Work Program (ECWP);
    6. Support cooperation that builds the institutional capacity of AANZFTA Parties and the ASEAN Secretariat and contributes to sustainable development outcomes, including under the ECWP’s nine work components: (i) rules of origin (ROO) and other aspects of implementation of tariff commitments, (ii) sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, (iii) standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures (STRACAP), (iv) services, (v) investment, (vi) intellectual property, (vii) sectoral integration, (viii) customs, and (ix) competition policy;
    7. Promote and raise awareness of the business opportunities created by AANZFTA and other trade agreements in the region including by: enhancing business outreach activities; pursuing two-way trade and investment missions; and strengthening links between government and the private sector, with a particular focus on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Chambers of Commerce;
    8. Seek to ensure synergy between the AECSP and the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program Phase II (AADCPII) in supporting the AANZFTA’s implementation and realization of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC);
  2. Regional Economic Integration
    1. Continue to build on the engagement between ASEAN and Australian Trade and Economic Ministers, including at the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM), the EAS Economic Ministers and the Closer Economic Relations (CER) Consultations, to support regional economic integration;
    2. Pursue a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement that will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues;
    3. Strengthen sub-regional cooperation frameworks as test beds to accelerate the development and implementation of ASEAN agreements;
    4. Continue to support ASEAN economic integration and implementation of the AEC Blueprint through the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program Phase II (AADCP II);
    5. Support the creation of a certification system to improve trade of ASEAN food products;
    6. Strengthen consumer protection in ASEAN through research, exchange of best practices, training, seminars and capacity building as well as through promotion of public awareness among consumers and feedback mechanisms;
    7. Collaborate, where appropriate, with the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) to orient its policies and research activities towards the priorities and concerns of ASEAN and Australia as well as other EAS participating countries;
    8. Strengthen coordination and cooperation on G20-related matters, including supporting the continued participation of the ASEAN Chair in future G20 Summits and, where appropriate, its related Meetings;
    9. Support ASEAN’s efforts on regulatory improvement through exchange of best practices and capacity building;
    10. Strengthen the ASEAN Integration Monitoring Office (AIMO) as an institution for regional surveillance in support of regional economic integration;
    11. Further develop regional and global supply chain opportunities to promote inclusive growth between ASEAN and Australia;
    12. Continue strengthening cooperation in areas of mutual interest at the regional and multilateral levels to create more trade and investment opportunities;
  3. Finance
    1. Encourage the expansion of trade financing and other available funding support mechanisms for SMEs to stimulate trade;
    2. Support regional financial development and integration, through deepening the understanding of capital market development in ASEAN Member States and supporting the development of appropriate strategies to facilitate capital market development, including strengthening the capacity of financial regulators (ASEAN) in the areas of risk management, financial inclusion, and international payments and remittance services;
    3. Explore technical assistance in strengthening cooperation in taxation, particularly in addressing tax-related impediments to economic and financial integration;
    4. Explore Australia’s participation in collaboration on regional financial safety nets;
    5. Continue to deepen finance cooperation between ASEAN and Australia, including through the Informal EAS Finance Ministers’ Meeting;
  4. Transport
    1. Explore the possibility of convening consultations between ASEAN and Australia on transport and logistics cooperation to exchange experience on cross-border transportation, civil aviation and environmentally-friendly transport systems;
  5. Information Communication Technology (ICT)
    1. Promote cooperation and information sharing on ICT, including broadband and mobile telephone connectivity and e-commerce, with support for the implementation of the ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2015 and its successor documents;
  6. Energy and Resources
    1. Enhance cooperation and activities, including through the private sector, to promote energy security through the development of renewable and alternative energy sources as well as promotion of clean energy technologies and energy efficiency technologies;
    2. Explore the application of clean coal technologies and carbon capture and storage (CCS) as key mitigation technologies to reduce the environmental effects of coal use;
    3. Exchange best practices on energy regulatory frameworks and technical standards, consistent with the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC);
    4. Explore convening consultations between ASEAN Senior Officials on Minerals and Australia, including on the appropriate regulatory settings to encourage investments in the minerals industry and promote responsible development of mineral resources through exchange of information and sharing of best practices;
  7. Tourism
    1. Strengthen cooperation on tourism, including support for the implementation of the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for Tourism Professionals, with a focus on enhancing two-way tourism flows between Australia and ASEAN;
    2. Cooperate to strengthen local and coordinated regional responses to crisis situations, including by providing accurate and timely information to key stakeholders and exchanging information, experience, technology and best practices;
    3. Encourage the private sector’s participation in the annual ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) as buyers;
  8. Initiative for ASEAN Integration/Narrowing the Development Gap (IAI/NDG)
    1. Support ASEAN’s efforts in narrowing the development gap within and between ASEAN Member States through the implementation of IAI Work Plan II and its successor documents, as well as alleviating poverty and promoting sustainable development in order to realise the ASEAN Community and regional integration;
    2. Continue to support ASEAN-Australia development cooperation, including through Phase II of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP II);
  9. Forestry
    1. Support Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) through capacity building for measurement, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly through the South-East Asia Global Forest Observations Initiative regional forest monitoring workshops;
  10. Agriculture
    1. Promote closer cooperation in agriculture in key areas of mutual interest, including capacity building, strengthening agricultural markets and promoting linkages and cooperation between relevant agriculture authorities to enhance agricultural innovation and accessibility of ASEAN and Australian products to regional and global markets;

3. Socio-Cultural Cooperation

  1. Disaster Management
    1. Continue to support the implementation of the second phase of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme for 2013-2015 and beyond, and explore possible continued cooperation with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre);
    2. Continue to support the development of ASEAN-wide disaster risk assessment efforts through better hazard and vulnerability mapping and expand utilisation of InaSAFE by ASEAN Member States as a tool for disaster risk modelling; in addition, support regional networks for disaster risk management, including information sharing, exchange of best practices and capacity building;
    3. Continue consultations between the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and its partners including Australia to facilitate synergy between the AADMER Work Programme and disaster management cooperation under the frameworks of EAS, ADMM-Plus, and ARF;
    4. Increase public and private participation and exchanges of information facilitated by the AHA Centre on disaster preparedness and response;
    5. Explore technical assistance on risk modelling to increase insurance coverage in the ASEAN region, including the development of disaster risk insurance products such as property catastrophe insurance, disaster micro-insurance, and crop insurance;
  2. Education, Youth, and People-to-People Exchanges
    1. Strengthen engagement between Australian and ASEAN higher education institutions, staff and students and promote ASEAN and Australian awareness and studies, including through two-way mobility of students and staff, as well as through the New Colombo Plan and other scholarships programs;
    2. Explore enhancements to qualification recognition arrangements for students and academics between ASEAN and Australia, including encouraging the possible participation in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Recognition Convention and establishment of national information centres for qualifications recognition;
    3. Enhance the quality of basic education through sharing of best practices in regard to education curricula and syllabuses, teaching pedagogies, and resource development;
    4. Promote collaborative activities in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), in areas such as software development and online instructional design, so as to enhance the access to quality education;
    5. Promote regional collaboration in the area of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) through embedding the principles and quality indicators of the East Asia Summit TVET quality assurance framework and actively supporting the East Asia Summit TVET Provider Network;
    6. Enhance shared understanding of qualifications and qualifications frameworks, including through the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA)-supported ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework;
    7. Work collaboratively to share information and technical expertise about the development of occupational standards to more effectively meet the skills needs of local and regional labour markets;
    8. Encourage the development of life-long learning programmes and equipping students during their studies with the skills and knowledge to advance themselves, including by facilitating greater interaction and engagement between students and teachers across Australian classrooms and those in ASEAN Member States;
    9. Share expertise and knowledge gained from Australian Government grants and projects in areas of excellence in university learning and teaching, including professional development and recognition of staff;
    10. Encourage expansion of ASEAN-Australia youth exchange and internship programmes;
    11. Promote training and exchanges involving media, cultural experts, sports authorities and athletes;
    12. Engage with relevant stakeholders to support social protection, social inclusion and promote cohesive and multicultural societies;
    13. Promote training cooperation and exchange of information on safety and prevention of asbestos disease in the production industry;
  3. Public Health
    1. Continue to collaborate and share information on priority health issues, including but not limited to: Emerging Infectious Diseases; Communicable Diseases (including HIV and AIDS, particularly to support the implementation of ASEAN Cities Getting to Zeros Project (zero new infection, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS related deaths) in priority countries identified by ASEAN and Australia; and pandemics by supporting effective monitoring, prevention, preparedness and response systems, in coordination with relevant international and regional agencies currently collaborating with the ASEAN Health Sector;
    2. Enhance cross sector animal and human health coordination and collaboration in addressing zoonotic diseases and antimicrobial resistance;
    3. Promote collaboration in research and development on health issues identified as priorities by ASEAN and Australia;
    4. Continue to support the implementation of the EAS Declaration on “Regional Responses to Malaria Control and Addressing Resistance to Anti-malarial Medicines” through the Asia-Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) in consultation with relevant bodies;
  4. Science and Technology
    1. Encourage cooperation and cross-sectoral collaboration in science and technology, including on joint research and development (R&D) projects, thereby supporting the implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology and the Krabi Initiative;
    2. Encourage the exchange and mobility of scientists and researchers and encourage conducting joint research projects in ASEAN and Australia;
    3. Encourage cooperation among research centres of both parties to address shared challenges, including disaster management, climate change adaptation, food security and safety, tropical and communicable diseases, marine sciences, and natural resources management;
    4. Support the development of the ASEAN research activities by contributing, where possible, to the establishment of stronger ties between ASEAN and Australian research institutions through strategies, networks and researchers’ exchanges to be developed around shared regional priorities;
  5. Environment
    1. Promote regional cooperation to further implement the ASEAN Action Plan on Joint Response to Climate Change, including through other regional fora;
    2. Continue to promote biodiversity conservation and management in the region, including encouraging collaboration with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB);
    3. Support and promote conservation and sustainable management of ASEAN’s coastal and marine environment;
    4. Promote implementation of the Integrated Water Resources Management concept, public participation and awareness raising, partnership and cooperation, and capacity building to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of water resources management in the region;
  6. Sports
    1. Promote cooperation and public awareness in sports including by supporting or institutionalizing regional sports events, sharing best practices and expertise, research and development and training and exchange programs;
  7. Arts and Culture
    1. Encourage cooperation and collaboration on arts, heritage, and culture to foster understanding, appreciation, and appropriate preservation of culture, history and literature in Australia and ASEAN Member States;
    2. Encourage visits and exchanges between their countries of persons engaged in artistic, creative and cultural activities, including young artists and performers;
  8. Connectivity
    1. Continue cooperation on the ASEAN Connectivity agenda, including through communication, outreach and monitoring of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) and through other regional fora;
    2. Continue to convene informal, ad-hoc consultations between the ASEAN Connectivity Committee (ACCC) and Non-ASEAN EAS Participating Countries;
    3. Support the development of an ASEAN Public Private Partnership (PPP) development agenda, including in the areas of legal and regulatory reform and public sector capacity building to support the development of commercially viable PPP projects;
    4. Encourage private sector investment in infrastructure projects, including through public private partnership (PPP) schemes and other financing modalities for the implementation of the MPAC, particularly its prioritised projects, which will contribute to the ASEAN Community building;
  9. ASEAN Institutional Strengthening
    1. Support ASEAN’s efforts to implement measures aimed to build capacities in the ASEAN Secretariat as well as in other ASEAN institutions and bodies, particularly in corporate development and project management, in order to increase support to all ASEAN-centred institutions;
  10. Implementation Mechanisms
    1. This Plan of Action will be taken forward with the support, where appropriate, of funding mechanisms available through the Australian and ASEAN governments;
    2. Review of this Plan of Action will be made through appropriate mechanisms comprising ASEAN and Australian officials, including through the ASEAN-Australia Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) and the ASEAN-Australia Forum, with the assistance of the ASEAN Secretariat;
    3. Submit a summary progress report of the implementation of the Plan of Action to the annual Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) +1 session with Australia.