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What is ASEAN and what kind of organization is it?

oboloo Articles

What is ASEAN and what kind of organization is it?

What is ASEAN and what kind of organization is it?

ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a political and economic organisation that was founded in 1967. Comprised of ten member countries in the Southeast Asian region, ASEAN has become an important vehicle for cooperation and collaboration between these countries. But while many people are familiar with ASEAN as a regional grouping, few understand exactly what kind of organization it is, and how it works. In this blog post, we will explore the structure and purpose of ASEAN, looking at its goals and objectives to get a better understanding of what the organization does.

What is ASEAN?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten member states that are located in Southeast Asia. With over 650 million people living in its member states, ASEAN covers a land area of approximately 4.5 million square kilometers. The organization’s origins can be traced back to 1967, when five countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand – signed the Bangkok Declaration, which officially established ASEAN. Brunei joined the organization in 1984, followed by Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. ASEAN’s main goals are to promote regional peace and stability, foster economic growth and cooperation within the region, and promote social progress.

ASEAN has played an important role in promoting peace and stability in Southeast Asia. For example, the organization helped to resolve the Cambodian-Thai border dispute through negotiations between the two countries’ leaders. In addition, ASEAN has also worked to improve economic cooperation within the region through initiatives such as the establishment of an ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The AFTA aims to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers between member states so as to encourage greater trade and investment within Southeast Asia. To date, ASEAN has been successful in achieving many of its goals; however, challenges still remain.

The ASEAN Charter

The ASEAN Charter is the founding document of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It was adopted on 15 December 2008 at the 13th ASEAN Summit in Cha-am, Thailand. The Charter entered into force on 15 December 2015.

The ASEAN Charter sets out the principles and norms governing the conduct of relations among ASEAN member states, and provides a framework for further integration and cooperation in political, economic, social, cultural, and security affairs. The Charter also establishes ASEAN as a legal entity separate from its member states.

The following are some key points of the ASEAN Charter:
– Article 1 sets forth the purposes of ASEAN, which include promoting regional peace and stability; enhancing regional prosperity; promoting active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest; protecting regional stability; and expanding regional cooperation.
– Article 2 requires all members to uphold democratic values and principles, good governance, rule of law, universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
– Article 3 requires all members to strengthen their institutions to ensure effective implementation of the provisions of the charter.
– Article 4 contains provisions on membership in ASEAN. Any country wishing to join must first obtain the consent of all existing members through consultations held in accordance with their respective constitutional procedures.
– Articles 5-9 set forth the principles governing relations between ASEAN member states, including sovereign equality, territorial integrity, non-

The ASEAN flag and emblem

The ASEAN flag and emblem were adopted at the First ASEAN Summit in February 1976. The flag is a blue field with ten yellow stars, arranged in a circle. The emblem is a stylized map of the region, surrounded by two concentric circles. The outer circle represents unity, while the inner circle stands for solidarity.

The ASEAN Secretariat

The ASEAN Secretariat is the central organization of ASEAN. It is responsible for coordinating the activities of the ten ASEAN member states, and for promoting cooperation between them. The Secretariat is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The ASEAN Secretariat was established in 1976, shortly after the formation of ASEAN. Its first Secretary-General was Indonesian diplomat Mohammad Sadli. The current Secretary-General is Vietnamese diplomat Le Luong Minh.

The Secretariat has a small staff of around 60 people, who are responsible for carrying out the day-to-day work of the organization. The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the leaders of the ASEAN member states.

The main functions of the ASEAN Secretariat are to:

– coordinate the activities of the ASEAN member states;
– promote cooperation between them;
– provide secretarial support for the meetings of ASEAN bodies;
– disseminate information about ASEAN to the public; and
– carry out other tasks as assigned by the ASEAN leaders.

Member States of ASEAN

There are ten Member States of ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. ASEAN was founded on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member States of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Since its establishment 50 years ago, ASEAN has defended the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its Member States against external aggression and interference; promoted regional peace and stability; enhanced economic growth and prosperity; fostered intra-regional cohesion and cooperation; provided assistance to new entrants to the community in their post-accession transitional period;

And developed a comprehensive legal framework for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Objectives of ASEAN

There are various objectives of ASEAN, which can be categorized into three main types: economic, political-security, and socio-cultural.

1. Economic Objectives:
One of the key economic objectives of ASEAN is to promote regional economic growth and development. This is achieved through initiatives such as the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA). AFTA aims to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers between ASEAN member states, while the AIA seeks to liberalize investment rules and regulations in the region.

2. Political-Security Objectives:
Another key objective of ASEAN is to maintain peace and stability in the Southeast Asian region. This includes preventing the outbreak or escalation of conflict, as well as managing disputes peacefully. ASEAN also works towards promoting regional cooperation on security issues, including combating transnational crimes such as human trafficking and drug smuggling.

3. Socio-Cultural Objectives:
Lastly, ASEAN also has several socio-cultural objectives, one of which is to foster a sense of community amongst Southeast Asians. This is done through activities and programs that promote inter-cultural understanding and exchange. Another socio-cultural objective of ASEAN is to preserve and protect the region’s unique heritage and traditions.

Activities of ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, is a regional intergovernmental organization made up of ten Southeast Asian countries. Established on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, ASEAN now also includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Viet Nam.

The aims of ASEAN are to promote economic growth and regional stability in Southeast Asia. To this end, ASEAN has embarked on a number of initiatives and projects, such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Open Sky Agreement (AOSA). The AEC is a single market and production base that encompasses all ten ASEAN member states, while the AOSA liberalizes air transport in the region. Other important activities of ASEAN include disaster relief coordination and maritime security cooperation.


In summary, ASEAN is a regional intergovernmental organization which was founded in 1967 to promote economic and political cooperation among its ten member states. By promoting peace and stability through collective dialogue, engaging in economic partnerships for mutual benefit, and improving the lives of citizens across all nations involved, ASEAN has become an invaluable asset to Southeast Asia’s growth as a region. As it continues to grow into the future we can only expect its impact on global trade and politics to continue increasing.

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