The ASEAN Charter serves as a firm foundation in achieving the ASEAN Community by providing legal status and institutional framework for ASEAN. It also codifies ASEAN norms, rules and values; sets clear targets for ASEAN; and presents accountability and compliance.
The ASEAN Charter entered into force on 15 December 2008. A gathering of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers was held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta to mark this very historic occasion for ASEAN.
With the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter, ASEAN will henceforth operate under a new legal framework and establish a number of new organs to boost its community-building process.
In effect, the ASEAN Charter has become a legally binding agreement among the 10 ASEAN Member States. It will also be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations, pursuant to Article 102, Paragraph 1 of the Charter of the United Nations.
The importance of the ASEAN Charter can be seen in the following contexts:
- New political commitment at the top level
- New and enhanced commitments
- New legal framework, legal personality
- New ASEAN bodies
- Two new openly-recruited DSGs
- More ASEAN meetings
- More roles of ASEAN Foreign Ministers
- New and enhanced role of the Secretary-General of ASEAN
- Other new initiatives and changes