Thailand initiated the ACD to be a continent-wide cooperative framework guided by positive thinking and the comfort level of participants. The ACD aims to consolidate Asian strengths and fortify Asia’s competitiveness by maximizing the diversity and rich resources in Asia.
The First ACD Ministerial Meeting was held between 18-19 June 2002 in Cha-Am, Thailand. This first Meeting was an historic and successful event that brought together countries representing the sub-regions of Asia and provided a venue where Asian countries could freely discuss issues of common interest and put forward measures to enhance mutual cooperation in all areas. Ministers were enthusiastic in expressing their support for the ACD and in creating a formidable synergy within Asia. Indeed, they agreed that the ACD represented a forum that could consolidate political will among Asian Governments and offer opportunities for them to develop common approaches to positive issues.
The ACD currently comprises 31 countries from East to West Asia and is the first forum ever that aims to eventually encompass all countries in Asia.
The main objectives of the ACD
1) To promote interdependence among Asian countries in all areas of cooperation by identifying Asia’s common strengths and opportunities which will help reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for Asian people whilst developing a knowledge-based society within Asia and enhancing community and people empowerment.
2) To expand the trade and financial market within Asia and increase the bargaining power of Asian countries in lieu of competition and, in turn, enhance Asia’s economic competitiveness in the global market.
3) To serve as the missing link in Asian cooperation by building upon Asia’s potentials and strengths through supplementing and complementing existing cooperative frameworks so as to become a viable partner for other regions;
4) To ultimately transform the Asian continent into an Asian Community, capable of interacting with the rest of the world on a more equal footing and contributing more positively towards mutual peace and prosperity.
The core values agreed upon at the Meeting are an important and unique aspect of the ACD. The ACD is meant to serve as the missing link in Asian cooperation while constituting an informal and non-institutionalized forum for Asian Foreign Ministers to regularly exchange views on issues of mutual interest. The ACD is an incremental and evolving process. It is characterized by a top-down nature and emphasizes positive thinking, inclusiveness and the comfort level of all participants.
Member States of the ACD
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