ASEAN: a Global Necessity

ASEAN: A World Necessity

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN is getting stronger each year. It has been established that it benefits the Philippines and its members, but ASEAN is actually advantageous to all nations across the globe.

What is ASEAN: a brief recap
ASEAN is an organization composed of ten Southeast Asian countries that promotes intergovernmental cooperation and accelerates economic, educational, military, political, security, and socio-cultural integration not only within its region, but also around the world. It has been established since 1967, having started only with five countries. Since then, it has gained another five members and has become one of the dominant players in the Asia Pacific.

How can it change the world?
Initially, ASEAN’s diversity has been perceived as a hurdle to its progress, but in the past 50 years, it has become one of its strengths. Although it just covers a mere 3% of land area, ASEAN considered as a sole entity would rank it as the 6th largest economy in the world, joining economic juggernauts like the United States, China, and Japan. Besides the improved effect on its economies, what are the reasons why other countries should invest and collaborate with ASEAN?

Regular dialogues between each country in a setting specifically meant for that purpose allows for more room to discuss sensitive issues in a diplomatic manner. Regularly discussing such concerns helps to build and fortify bridges between nations. It’s also a learning experience for attending parties — whether there’s a discussion about politics or implementing new ideas and/or goals. For instance, last March, an Australia-ASEAN dialogue was held in Sydney where both agreed to start cooperating on regional infrastructure. 

Human Capital
The ASEAN population is the 3rd largest in the world at 600 million people and half of that number is under the age of 30. Their youth, which has a strong inclination towards tech, has the great potential to become a powerful workforce that can transform the world’s business landscape.

Due to its prime location, ASEAN is a major trading body in partnerships with China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Canada, and the European Union. Because of these good trade relations, cheaper prices for different kinds of goods and services have been possible throughout the years. 

Most ASEAN countries enjoy no-VISA entries and have cheaper airfares, and this has contributed to a boost in tourism for these countries. Of course, with the additional help from ASEAN to further develop their infrastructure and transportation concerns, this has given said countries bigger chances to improve their respective tourist attractions.

One of the reasons why the ASEAN has been organised was to address the guerilla conflicts between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. True enough, these conflicts are now part of the past. ASEAN promotes the spirit of inclusion, and these neighboring countries get along peacefully due to the yearly summits and regular dialogues. 

Paradigm for globalisation
ASEAN’s success has become a beacon for troubled regions in other parts of the world; Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Colombia have formed the Pacific Alliance to follow ASEAN’s steps. This is because ASEAN represents what the rest of the world wants to establish as a whole — unity, and collaboration between countries to achieve improved economies, to provide better lifestyles and opportunities to its peoples, to increase safety beyond borders, and so much more.

Small nations, big feats
It is vital to examine how ASEAN, seemingly a mere 10 out of 195 countries with different cultures, languages, and economic stabilities, have managed to form a secure alliance that continuously makes a difference to the lives of hundreds of millions of people. If the rest of the world — and not just the troubled ones, take the same measures to connect and collaborate with each other, humanity can move further into the 21st century as a unified and stronger species where no one gets left behind.