Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional inter-governmental organization comprising 10 member states. It was established by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand on August 8, 1967, and was later joined by Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Burma* and Laos (1997) and Cambodia (1999).

The objectives of ASEAN are to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development; promote regional peace and stability, and respect for justice and the rule of law; and increase collaboration across a vast range of economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative spheres. ASEAN is working toward establishing the ASEAN Community, which would comprise the ASEAN Political Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Social Cultural Community, by December 31, 2015.

In 2008, ASEAN members adopted the ASEAN Charter, which overhauled its management structure, and officially created ASEAN as a legal entity and established several institutional bodies, such as the bi-annual ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN Coordinating Council and the ASEAN Community Council. The ASEAN Secretariat, located in Jakarta, Indonesia, and led by the secretary-general, coordinates the work plans, projects and meetings of ASEAN-associated bodies. The ASEAN Secretariat is also responsible for coordinating ASEAN’s relationship with external partners, such as Canada.