The goals of an ASEAN Community by 2020 is an ambitious one, but without ambitions ASEAN will get nowhere. ASEAN is now at a crossroad after almost 40 years of its existence. It needs to achieve a qualitative jump in cooperation if it is to maintain its relevance or it risks fading into oblivion.
The decision to review the future of ASEAN and look into the drafting of an ASEAN Charter is a recognition of this need. The key question now is no longer whether or not ASEAN needs a Charter, but what kind of Charter that ASEAN ought to have.
The ASEAN-ISIS network of scholars had in 2006 got together to brainstorm what an ASEAN Charter should contain. In April, we submitted a memo to the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) and the respective foreign ministries containing detailed recommendations of what we think the ASEAN Charter should address and reflect.