As agreed by ASEM Foreign Ministers during the 3rd ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting (ASEM FMM3) on 24-25 May 2001 in Beijing, China, and bearing in mind the purposes and guiding principles of the ASEM process established at the previous Summits and Foreign Ministers' Meetings, including in the Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework 2000 (AECF 2000), adopted during the 3rd ASEM Summit (ASEM3) in 2000 in Seoul, Korea, which outlines the working methods of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) process.
With a view to further consolidating the process, the ASEM Senior Officials recommended the following measures to improve the ASEM working methods:
- Meetings should be more informal and interactive. To this end the Chair should be active in realizing this goal. Appropriate informal intervals and retreat sessions could be useful tools.
- By setting focused agendas with a few topics, ASEM added value will be assured for all meetings. ASEM partners could also consult regularly before international meetings.
- ASEM activities/initiatives should be linked to the dialogue and be supportive of it. Presenting activities in clusters can facilitate reaching synergies within the ASEM process but also within a cluster; organizers/facilitators especially within a cluster are invited to consult in particular on agendas and timing.
- In order to gain more time for dialogue the Chair shall be responsible for reflecting fairly the outcome of meetings in short and factual statements. For Summits and Ministers' Meetings consensus on Chair's Statements (CS) should be reached through close coordination among partners. However, it was confirmed at the meeting that consensus shall not be interpreted as meaning that texts would be negotiated word for word. Separate negotiated political declarations on specific subjects in addition to CS, if appropriate, could be issued, thereby raising the visibility of the issue treated.
- In order to raise the visibility of ASEM, reaching out to the public is necessary. The ASEM Senior Officials saw the importance of involvement of various sectors of society in the ASEM process. On the occasion of ASEM events, host countries may, at their discretion, organize activities with business, think tanks and other sectors of society. These events will be open to all ASEM partners.
These conclusions are based on a thorough discussion among all ASEM partners of the so called VADEMECUM - Modalities for Future ASEM Dialogue; Taking the Process Forward.
ASEM is not an international organisation and has no Secretariat. Foreign Ministers and their senior officials (ASEM SOM) also have an overall coordinating role within the ASEM process, and are assisted in this by an informal group of Coordinators (2 from the Asian side and 2 from the European side).