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Asean group reviews role of secreta

Subject: Asean group reviews role of secretariat

Asean group reviews role of secretariat

AS a new century approaches, the secretariat of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (Asean) should act as a coordinating body that could later be
developed into a ''pro-active'' one, according to a special working group
reviewing the secretariat's role. 

In addition, the Jarkata-based Asean secretariat, whose priority is functional
works, should be expanded to include political and security cooperation. 

These views were put forward at a Feb 11 and 12 meeting of Asean director
generals to review the Asean secretariat's role. The meeting was held in

The secretariat has employed PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to do research on
roles and functions, said a Foreign Ministry press release. The secretariat is
a body that administers the functional work of Asean, which groups Burma,
Brunei, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and

The rapidly changing and complex regional situations and the expansion of
to cover ten Southeast Asian nations made it a priority for the secretariat to
improve its resource capacity and structure. 

''The PWC has proposed three choices for developing the secretariat. First,
secretariat could be a reactive one; second, it could be a coordinating one
and, third, a pro-active one,'' said the press release. 

The meeting concluded that the secretariat should adopt the second choice and
develop it to the third one in the future. 

The meeting also resolved that the secretariat should carry out an annual
operation plan and a three-year management plan which will emphasise on

The secretariat should also provide a bigger role for public relations on its
work and the Asean grouping. 

Asean has been exploring the possibility of developing its secretariat into
European Union commissioner-type body which does more than secretariat work
is empowered to have a say when the group makes policy decisions. 

The Nation