This Plan of Action will implement over the next five years (2008-2013) the Joint Declaration on the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership signed in Manila, the Philippines on 1 August 2007.

In implementing this Plan of Action, ASEAN Member Countries and Australia commit to support ASEAN integration, including narrowing the development gap, to attain the end goal of the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015, consisting of three pillars, namely security, economic and socio-cultural, and to support enhanced Australian engagement with the region, in ways which are mutually agreed by all parties.

ASEAN Member Countries and Australia commit to implement the Plan in accordance with our international legal obligations and the laws, regulations and national policies of ASEAN Member Countries and Australia.

I. Political and Security Cooperation

1. Promote deeper understanding of the political systems and historical, social and cultural traditions of each side through increasing people-to-people contacts, including track-two activities, such as academic conferences, workshops, seminars and exchange of visits;

2. Strengthen democracy, the rule of law, judiciary system and legal infrastructure, efficient civil services, and good governance, through information sharing, conferences, seminars, visits and training;

3. Promote continued cooperation through regional security fora and note the emergence of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) as a new forum for addressing security in the region;

4. Support ASEAN’s efforts in implementing the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism, signed on 13 January 2007, and other initiatives/measures on counter terrorism, including the Work Programme to Implement the ASEAN-Australia Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism;

5. Deepen and broaden cooperation in response to common security interests in terrorism, other transnational crime, non-proliferation and non-traditional security threats within the framework of national legislation and applicable international laws, agreements and protocols by:

  1. continuing cooperation in the fight against terrorism including technical cooperation and exchange of information on the organisation, activities, methods, financing, and movement of terrorists;
  2. continuing cooperation on the development of appropriate legislative and regulatory frameworks;
  3. strengthening links between relevant agencies in ASEAN Member Countries and Australia;
  4. providing technical assistance and capacity-building activities to ASEAN Member Countries through regional training centres such as the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC), the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT) in Kuala Lumpur and the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok and other regional facilities;
  5. strengthening law enforcement cooperation between ASEAN Member Countries and Australia including in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance, where applicable;
  6. strengthening cooperation in the prevention of trafficking in, and reducing demand for, illicit drugs and supporting ASEAN’s efforts in pursuit of a Drug Free ASEAN 2015 through, among other things, rendering assistance to the countries in need and strengthening cooperation in supply reduction efforts, such as by improving collaboration among law enforcement agencies in the prevention and suppression of illicit drug trafficking; promoting the exchange of experience among relevant authorities; fostering concrete enforcement actions and cooperation among relevant authorities in the implementation of measures to prevent the diversion of precursor chemicals, as called for under UN counter-narcotics conventions; as well as cooperating in sustainable alternative development with a view to eliminating narcotic plants; and enhancing demand reduction efforts through training and sharing of information and best practices;
  7. increasing cooperation in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), in particular to move the ARF process from Confidence Building Measures to Preventive Diplomacy through information sharing, capacity building and cooperative activities; and
  8. increasing cooperation in APEC, the East Asia Summit (EAS), the United Nations (UN) and other regional and international fora;

6. Promote cooperation in human rights through consultation, information sharing and capacity building;

7. Strengthen collaboration and assist ASEAN’s efforts in implementing the ASEAN Declaration against Trafficking in Persons particularly Women and Children, including cooperation among law enforcement agencies as called for under the relevant and applicable UN conventions;

8. In the framework of applicable national and international law, intensify cooperation to combat corruption, including denying a safe haven to those guilty of public corruption and those who corrupt them, and cooperate in the recovery and return of the proceeds of corruption, as well as cooperate in the extradition and prosecution of those engaged in bribery, including in international business transactions, according to the means of each concerned country;

9. Deepen understanding of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), noting that Australia’s accession reflects our firm commitment to the promotion of peace and stability in the region;

II. Economic Cooperation

10. Foster favorable environments for trade, investment and other economic linkages between ASEAN and Australia;

11. Maintain and enhance cooperation under the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP) and, where applicable, other regional and sub-regional development programmes to assist ASEAN members with their trade and investment liberalization efforts consistent with their commitments under the WTO, bilateral and regional FTAs as well as within APEC, taking into account ASEAN’s efforts for regional integration and narrowing the development gap within ASEAN;

12. Encourage greater communication among stakeholders in government, industry and academia to support the successful establishment and implementation of the ASEAN Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA); including support to allow the less developed and the developing ASEAN Member Countries to meaningfully participate in and benefit from the AANZFTA;

13. Continue to provide technical support, especially to the CLMV, for ASEAN’s regional economic integration objectives, particularly the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015;

14. Improve flows of goods, services and investment between ASEAN Member Countries and Australia by:

  1. improving domestic business environments through improved transparency of laws and regulations as well as promoting understanding of each other’s legislation and regulations on trade and investment, including anti-dumping, tariff and non-tariff measures;
  2. cooperating in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure a successful conclusion of the Doha Round which results in new commercial opportunities across all areas of the negotiations agriculture, Non-Agricultural Market Access and services, taking into account the importance of ensuring that development aspects are integrated in the outcome; to address the special concerns of developing and less-developed countries;
  3. strengthening cooperation in areas of mutual interest at the regional and multilateral levels to create more trade and investment opportunities;
  4. enhancing cooperation on:
    • treatment of rules of origin
    • simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures;
    • addressing non-tariff barriers to trade;
    • treatment of services;
    • dispute settlement/resolution mechanisms;
    • standards, conformity assessment procedures and technical regulations on industrial and agricultural products; toward establishing Mutual Recognition Agreement on any mutually agreed sectors
    • IPRs; and
    • statistics;
  5. enhancing capacity building on competition policy and sanitary and phytosanitary
  6. exchanging information on mutual recognition arrangements to further enhance the existing trade exchanges and exports of products and services between ASEAN and Australia;
  7. ;encouraging cooperation and interaction between the business communities of ASEAN Member Countries and Australia through regional initiatives, such as Business Summits and trade fairs held in ASEAN Member Countries and Australia, investment missions, seminars, business linkages and other initiatives which bring together potential business partners; and
  8. developing cooperative measures and activities for promoting mutual investment, including exchanges of experts and information on investment opportunities;

15. Promote further cooperation and linkages, through seminars, workshops, technical assistance, scholarship schemes, training, joint research and development projects, and institutional linkages so as to exchange information, experience, know-how, technology, and best practices, where appropriate, in the following areas:

  • trade and investment promotion and facilitation;
  • regional financial development and integration;
  • food safety;
  • emergency food supplies;
  • agriculture, fisheries, livestock, animal health and forestry;
  • mineral resources;
  • transport;
  • customs procedures;
  • tourism;
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development;
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT); and
  • standards and conformance;

16. Promote energy diversification through information exchanges and research on alternative, low emission, new and renewable energy development such as solar, wind, tidal and waves, hydro, geothermal, clean coal technology, natural gas, sustainable biofuels, biomass, marsh gas, and others, taking into consideration each country’s specific national circumstances; and as appropriate for those Member Countries which choose to do so, the use of civilian nuclear energy, while giving careful and due regards to the security, environment, health, and internationally-recognized safety standards of the energy source;

17. Continue to support the early accession of the Lao PDR to the WTO;

III. Socio-cultural Cooperation

18. Strengthen cooperation in the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);

19. Assist ASEAN’s efforts in implementing the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response and continue cooperation activities, including capacity building in disaster response and preparedness, disaster prevention, mitigation and rehabilitation, records recovery plan, and consider support for the operationalization of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre);

20. Continue strengthening networks of tsunami early warning systems (including the Indian and Pacific Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation Systems) and other hazards at scales appropriate to each hazard. In addition, support regional networks for disaster risk management and records recovery plan, including information sharing, exchange of best practices, capacity building and transfer of sustainable, advanced technology;

21. Strengthen collaboration on research and development and human resources development in the areas related to public health, including joint research and development, seminars, workshops and training courses both in scientific and management aspects of public health, exchange of visits and scholarships for officials and experts;

22. Continue to cooperate to address the threat of communicable and emerging infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, SARS and avian influenza, at sub-regional, regional and global levels, including through:

  1. technical assistance and capacity-building activities;
  2. sharing information, best practices and experiences;
  3. conducting specialised training, workshops and seminars;
  4. promoting research and development of antiviral drugs, vaccines and diagnostics especially for avian influenza; and
  5. supporting ASEAN’s efforts in providing better accessibility to safe, non-counterfeit, affordable and effective medication;

23. Continue cooperation in education, including through scholarship programmes, and by encouraging and facilitating regional student and academic mobility and exchange, and addressing any barriers to these. In particular, promote cooperation in the following areas:

  1. raising quality assurance frameworks and standards, including courses delivered online;
  2. recognition of education and professional qualifications;
  3. credit transfer, as appropriate, between universities in ASEAN Member Countries and Australia;
  4. common competency-based standards for teachers, particularly in science and mathematics;
  5. development of common recognition of technical skills across the region in order to meet the overall skills needs of the economic base of the region;
  6. cooperative programmes and activities through linkages between ASEAN University Network (AUN) universities and Australian universities through Universities Australia;
  7. enhance cooperation in human resources development, especially, academic scientists, technologists and administrative personnel of ASEAN Member Countries, through fellowship programmes, training courses, field trip studies, seminars and exchange of visits, professional exchanges and grassroots interactions;
  8. continue to provide undergraduate and graduate scholarships for each ASEAN Member Country;

24. Continue cooperation in science and technology, including through the exchange of information, knowledge, and researchers, the adoption of best practices, the development and application of technology, joint research and development, specialized training and workshop and institutional linkages, especially in the fields of:

  1. biotechnology;
  2. food technology;
  3. geoinformatics;
  4. information technology;
  5. renewable energy;
  6. meteorology;
  7. water resource management;
  8. marine sciences;
  9. space technology;
  10. material science;
  11. mineral resources development; and
  12. forensic and analytical science;

25. Forge closer cooperation in environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources including through public awareness and environmental education, the exchange of information and best practices, specialized training and workshops and enhanced institutional linkages, especially in the following areas:

  1. sustainable forest management;
  2. biological diversity and natural heritage conservation;
  3. application of advanced and environmental-friendly technologies and best practices;
  4. responsible mining and mineral development;
  5. public awareness and environmental education; and
  6. multilateral environmental agreements; in particular climate change and chemical and chemical waste related conventions and partnerships;

26. Consider closer cooperation in environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources, especially in the following areas:

  1. transboundary environmental pollution reduction, particularly transboundary haze pollution;
  2. sustainable water resource management, including ground
  3. water;
  4. coastal and marine environment;
  5. urban environmental management and governance; and
  6. air quality management;

27. Strengthen cooperation to combat illegal logging, promote afforestation and reforestation and avoiding deforestation and forest degradation; and in this regard, express appreciation for regional forest initiatives such as the Heart of Borneo Initiative and Indonesia’s Forestry Eleven Forum Initiative;

28. Cooperate to support the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and cooperation in migratory species and wetlands management;

29. Support ASEAN’s efforts to strengthen the capabilities of the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) and ASEAN Earthquake Information Centre (AEIC) and other regional facilities in providing services to communities through rapid dissemination of weather-related and seismic-related information, training of specialists and joint research in the areas of meteorology and seismology;

30. Cooperate in the acquisition, protection, preservation, management and promotion of cultural heritage, including through programmes of visits and exchanges between ASEAN and Australian archivists, librarians, and curators;

31. Conduct activities to promote tolerance of racial, religious and cultural diversity in the region, including through regional interfaith dialogue, performing arts exchanges, exchanges of arts experts and other visit and exchange programmes between ASEAN Member Countries and Australia;

32. Support the activities and projects of the ASEAN Foundation in promoting ASEAN integration and ASEAN awareness, including through the publishing of information on ASEAN in native languages of the ASEAN Member Countries, as well as people-to-people contacts among ASEAN Member Countries and with Australia; and

IV. Development Cooperation

33. Continue to support efforts to reduce poverty, narrow the development gap and promote sustainable development in ASEAN, through the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP), other current and future programmes, and ongoing policy dialogue;

V. Follow-Up

34. The ASEAN Secretariat and Australia mutually determine to develop a schedule and projects for the implementation of the Plan of Action. This Plan of Action will be reviewed through existing mechanisms, including at the annual Joint Planning Committee (JPC) Meeting and the biennial ASEAN-Australia Forum (AAF). Ministers will be updated regularly on the progress of the implementation of the Plan of Action.