The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was established in 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Over the past twenty years Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia have also joined, with the last, Cambodia, joining in 1999. The aims and purposes of the Association are firstly to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and secondly to promote regional peace and stability. In 2003, the ASEAN Leaders resolved that an ASEAN Community shall be established based on three pillars, the ASEAN Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
The ASEAN Vision 2020 set out the end goal of a stable, prosperous and highly competitive ASEAN economic region in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investment and a freer flow of capital, equitable economic development and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities in year 2020. As a stepping stone the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is now in place and aims to promote the region’s competitive advantage as a single production unit. Socially and culturally ASEAN aims to raise the standard of living of disadvantaged groups and the rural population. It also seeks to ensure that its work force shall be prepared for, and benefit from, economic integration by investing more resources for basic and higher education, training, science and technology development, job creation, and social protection. ASEAN will also intensify cooperation in the area of public health, including in the prevention and control of infectious and communicable diseases.
The highest decision-making organ of ASEAN is the Meeting of the ASEAN Heads of State and Government, which meets annually. Below this Ministerial meetings are held on a wide range of sectors, supported by committees of senior officials, technical working groups and task forces.
ASEAN cooperation activities are always regional in nature and are focused on three areas: enhancing regionalism through the promotion of wider ASEAN cooperation; economic integration through harmonization of trade and economic practices; and enhancing competitiveness through the provision of basic support to private sectors and the community in the adjustment process to adapt to the changing environment in the global economy.
ASEAN development cooperation activities are usually designed and implemented so they complement national development activities and are open to innovations and new ideas which would enhance ASEAN regionalism.
ASEAN Heads of Statistical Offices adopted a framework of cooperation in 2001 which set out to enhance cooperation amongst ASEAN statistical offices and harmonise the definition, classification and measurement of statistics in order to promote the production of comparable statistics and the development of regional indicators. The framework’s objectives also included the promotion of high standards, the enhancement of technical and management capacity and advocacy for greater support and commitment to statistical programmes amongst member states.
A plan of action in support of this framework was agreed at the same time under which the Statistical Offices agreed to intensify their cooperation activities to: improve their support for ASEAN policy and planning initiatives; harmonise definitions and methodologies; adopt international best practice in the promotion of transparency and greater awareness of statistics amongst the public; and, build technical expertise and skills. In support of capacity building the plan promotes cooperation of technical expertise within the region and seeks technical and financial support from relevant training facilities and donors where necessary.
The ASEAN website publishes a range of statistical indicators for the region.
Received 2008. Update 2010 Pending