Academic journal article South Asian Studies

ASEAN's Institutional Structure and Economic Co-Operation

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

ASEAN's Institutional Structure and Economic Co-Operation

Article excerpt

The ASEAN Declarations

The ASEAN subscribes to high sounding goals approved by the member states:

The Bangkok Declaration, 1967

Affirming that all foreign bases are temporary and remain only with the expressed concurrence of the countries concerned and are not intended to be used directly or indirectly to subvert the national independence and freedom of States in the area or prejudice the orderly processes of their national development;

1. "To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors in the spirit of equity and prosperous and peaceful community of South East Asian nations.

2. To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the regions.

3. To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural and administrative fields.

4. To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres.

5. To collaborate more effectively for the greater utilization of their agriculture and industries"(Broinowski, 1982).

ASEAN assistance shall takes into account, among others, the following principles and objectives in the pursuit of political stability in region;

1. "Natural disaster and other major calamities can retard the peace of development of member states. They shall extend within their capabilities, assistance for relief of member states in distress.

2. Member states shall take cooperative action in their national and regional development programs, utilizing as far as possible the resources available in the ASEAN region to broaden the complementariness of their respective economies.

3. Member states, in the spirit of ASEAN solidarity, shall rely exclusively on peaceful processes in the settlement of intraregional differences" (Broinowski, 1982).

ASEAN's Institutional Structure

Over the last few decades regions and sub-regions of the world are being connected into regional cooperation organizations and different cooperation organizations are developing relationship with one another. These include, among others, association of ASEAN and the European Union (EU), the EU and the United States, the EU and Africa, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and much more ongoing bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral connectivity's the world over. This connectivity focuses on trade liberalization, business innovation, investment promotion, technology transfer, conservation of environment, overcoming the ecological hazards, climate change, and so on (Kalam, 2015).

The ASEAN machinery has evolved gradually. As illustrated in Chart A, under the Bangkok Declaration of 1967, the Annual Ministerial Meeting (AMM) of Foreign Ministers constituted the highest decision-making body of ASEAN. Below the AMM, a Standing Committee, chaired by the Foreign Minister of the country hosting the AMM and comprising the accredited Ambassadors of the other member countries, meets six times a year to carry out the work of the Association in between Meetings of Foreign Ministers. "A National ASEAN Secretariat was established under the charge of a Director-General in the Foreign Ministry of each member country to co-ordinate ASEAN activities at national level. As the seat of the Standing Committee rotates among member countries, so its member-ship changes annually, and its work is almost wholly effected by a prior preparatory meeting of Directors-General whose decisions are then essentially rubber-stamped by the Standing Committee. As the scope of ASEAN co-operation expanded various specialist committees comprising relevant officials from national ministries were formed on a permanent or ad hoc basis to initiate and implement programmes of co-operation in the areas under their purview" (Kalam, 2015). …

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