Aims and Purposes

Against a backdrop of the Cold War and the tumultuous transition to independence in many Southeast Asian states, ASEAN’s objective at its establishment was “to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of South-East Asian Nations”.

As set out in the ASEAN Declaration, the other aims and purposes of ASEAN are:

  • To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationships among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations (UN) Charter;
  • To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields;
  • To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres;
  • To collaborate more effectively for the greater utilisation of agriculture and other industries, the expansion of trade (including the study of problems of international commodity trade), the improvement of transportation and communications facilities, and raising the living standards of their peoples;
  • To promote Southeast Asian studies; and
  • To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes, and explore all avenues for even closer cooperation among themselves.