ASEAN Fisheries Management - Chapter 11 - Natural Resources and the Law of the Sea - International Law Institute Series on International Law, Arbitration and Practice, Volume 2
Originally from Natural Resources and the Law of the Sea: Exploration, Allocation, Exploitation of Natural Resources in Areas under National Jurisdiction and Beyond - International Law Institute Series on International Law, Arbitration and Practice, Volume 2
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand. The document signed by the Foreign Ministers of the founding States is known as the Bangkok Declaration. The founding States of ASEAN are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
Since then, ASEAN has enlarged its membership to ten member States comprising all States of the region. However, the Bangkok Declaration which formed ASEAN was deemed not sufficient enough to bestow an international legal status upon the organization. Hence, ASEAN appeared to have a double life, resembling an international organization yet functioning unlike an international organization.
The forty years of uncertainty regarding its legal status ended in 2007 when the Member States of ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Charter, which subsequently entered into force in 2008. The Charter is now the most important document of the organization, as it established the legal and institutional framework for ASEAN in treaty form.
The ASEAN Charter also intensifies ASEAN’s community building through the establishment of the ASEAN Community. It is comprised of the ASEAN Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community, and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. The ASEAN Community started its implementation at the end of 2015.
One of the purposes of the ASEAN Community is to enhance economic resilience of the Member States through an increase of intra-trade relations by, among other measures, the elimination of tariffs, removal of non-tariff measures, the creation and implementation of expedited uniform customs clearance, and trade facilitation. The perception of the ASEAN Community as an economic-heavy concept is, however, prevalent. In fact, the ASEAN Community also serves as a tool to promote connectivity between people. The ASEAN Vision 2020 agreed to make ASEAN “outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies.”