THE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) commemorated a golden jubilee on Aug. 8.
As the current chair of ASEAN, the Philippines has been hosting numerous ASEAN meetings this year, including the last 35th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) in September. This meeting of the highest level in ASEAN energy has prompted the member states to reflect on their energy cooperation, its achievements, and challenges.
Throughout the 50 years of ASEAN, the region was successfully transformed into a promising economic community. Today, ASEAN is the sixth largest world economy with $2,559 billion of gross domestic products (GDP), which skyrocketed from $23 billion in 1967.
This ASEAN’s rapid development was inevitable due to the role of energy cooperation which is fundamental for the region.
The journey of ASEAN’s energy cooperation started in the oil and gas sector, with the declaration of the ASEAN Council on Petroleum in 1975. Then, on Feb. 24, 1976, the ASEAN founders signed the ASEAN Concord with which each member state made the commitment to assist each other by prioritizing supply of individual country’s needs and commodities (in particular food and energy). These moves show that the ASEAN Member States (AMS) realize the importance of energy in strengthening the economy and unity of ASEAN.
Following the ASEAN Concord, the Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers on Energy Cooperation (now AMEM) was held in September 1980. This meeting aimed to formulate a framework of energy cooperation within the region. In 1986, an Agreement on ASEAN Energy Cooperation was signed by the Member States.
In April 1981, ASEAN expanded its cooperation to coal and the power sector by conducting the First Meeting of ASEAN Experts Group on Coal (now ASEAN Forum on Coal) and the Heads of ASEAN Power Utilities/Authorities. ASEAN then widened the cooperation to renewable energy (RE) by conducting a first review meeting on the new and renewable sources of energy in 1987.
The article was originally published by The Business World on 14 December 2017. Please read the rest of it here.