The Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) is an intergovernmental organization created on 18 June 2002 to promote Asian cooperation at a continental level and to help integrate separate regional organizations. The main objectives of the ACD are to:
1. Promote interdependence among Asian countries in all areas of cooperation by identifying Asia’s common strengths and opportunities which will help reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for Asian people whilst developing a knowledge-based society within Asia and enhancing community and people empowerment.
2- Expand the trade and financial market within Asia and increase the bargaining power of Asian countries in lieu of competition and, in turn, enhance Asia’s economic competitiveness in the global market.
3- Serve as the missing link in Asian cooperation by building upon Asia’s potentials and strengths through supplementing and complementing existing cooperative frameworks so as to become a viable partner for other regions.
4- Ultimately transform the Asian continent into an Asian Community, capable of interacting with the rest of the world on a more equal footing and contributing more positively towards mutual peace and prosperity.
Origins and Early Development
The idea of an Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) was first broached in 2000 by Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai (Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2001–2006 and later Deputy Prime Minister).
Since the holding of the First Ministerial Meeting in Cha Am, Thailand in June 2002, The ACD’s membership has grown from 18 to 32 countries encompassing five different geographical areas of Asia: Central Asia, West Asia, East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia.
ACD Member States
Year of Accession country
2002 Brunel Darussalam
2002 Republic of Korea
2002 Lao PDR
2003 Sri Lanka
2005 Saudi Arabia
2007 Kyrgyz Republic
Significantly, the ACD is a forum rather than an organization. As such, it has developed in two dimensions: dialogue and projects. The dialogue dimension consists of annual ACD Ministerial Meetings. Foreign Ministers also meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to review ACD cooperation and deepen the “Asia’s voice” on the global stage.
The areas of concern for which the ACD member countries encourage close cooperation and develop worthwhile projects are varied and vast.
Prime Movers and Co-Prime Movers Areas of Cooperation
Bangladesh,Cambodia and Vietnam Poverty alleviation
China,Pakistan and Kazakhstan Agriculture
India , Kazakhstan and Myanmar Transport linkages
Malaysia Infrastructure fund
Malaysia and Iran E-Education
Pakistan Asian Institute of Standards
Singapore and Sri Lanka SMEs cooperation
Reublic of Korea and Russia IT development
Philippines Science and technology
Thailand , Cambodia, Myanmar,Pakistan
and Bahrain Tourism
Thailand and Kazakhstan Financial cooperation
Vietnam and Thailand Human resource development
Japan, Qatar and Bahrain Environmental education
Japan Strengthening legal infrastructure
Oman Road Safety
Russia Natural Disaster
Iran, India and Bahrain Cultural Cooperation
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, who meet annually, constitute the ACD’s “higher body.” In the period between ministerial meetings, Foreign Ministers hold working meetings in which they discuss implementation of the projects and programs, exchange their views on key international and regional issues on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
During the Third Meeting of ACD Foreign Ministers which was held in China, membership of the Islamic Republic of IRAN, was approved, on 20 June 2004, Given the importance and role of culture in friendship among nations and to create solidarity among Asian nations, Islamic Republic of Iran proposed the Initiative of cultural cooperation as the twentieth project to ACD.
Subsequently concept paper was prepared and approved by the Third Senior Officials Meeting. At the same meeting, Iran was elected as the prime mover of the project and India and Bahrain were selected as the co-prime movers.
Isl. Rep. of IRAN in the Ninth Ministerial Meeting of ACD which took place in Tehran, Iran, on 7 – 8 N0vemder 2010 presented certain proposals in the field of cultural cooperation between Member States. Subsequently the Meeting approved the presented proposals and placed Islamic Republic of Iran in charge of the executive state.
The First Meeting
The first ACD Officials Meeting on cultural cooperation was held in Tehran, Iran on 9-10 May 2011. The purpose of the meeting was planning, policy making and promotion of cultural cooperation among member states. Based on the agenda, three working committees under titles of a) cinema, theatre, radio & TV b) Research & Publication c) Anthropology & Cultural Interaction were held.
In the meeting, Islamic republic of Iran was elected as a Rapporteur and put forward sixteen proposals in the field of cultural cooperation which were approved by delegates. However the final approval of the projects was postponed until the next ACD Officials Meeting on cultural cooperation to be held in Delhi, India.
Islamic Republic of Iran’s specific recommendations were:
1. Establishing ACD Cultural Studies Center,
2. Establishing Cultural Seats in the universities of the member states,
3. Academic cooperation in the fields of Culture & Anthropology and Establishing the Network of Asian Anthropologists,
4. Establishing the Cinematic Research Center,
5 . Publishing a Research and Cultural Asia Quarterly Journal,
6. Publishing ACD Great Asian Encyclopedias,
7. Establishing a Database for ACD cultural activities (Under the management of the Islamic Republic of Iran),
8. Cultural Revitalization of the Silk Road,
9. Commemoration of Asian Prominent Cultural Custodians,
10. Promoting Asian Culture and Art Weeks,
11. Addressing the Outstanding Role of Women in Asian culture, as well as striving to introduce Asian Culture to children,
12. Establishing a center for ACD Cultural Archives in Iran,
13. Promoting Media Cooperation & Devising Mechanisms to facilitate Media Exchanges.
14. Facilitate the exchange of Films and TV series,
15. Establishing ACD Cultural Corner in Member States,
16. Establishing ACD Joint News Agency.
The 2nd Meeting
The Second Meeting of the ACD Cultural Senior Officials was held on 19-20 April 2012, in New Delhi. At this meeting, all the Islamic Republic of Iran proposal which were presented in written and detailed forms, were discussed and approved. However, in final report, the Member States, once again, called for operation plans, as well as detailed projects and plans by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Finally, it was agreed the next meeting to be held in Tehran.
The 3rd Meeting
The Third ACD Senior Officials Meeting on Cultural Cooperation was held in Tehran, on 7-8 May 2013 at Ministers of Culture level. The two-day meeting concluded with a twenty articles statement, emphasizing on the unique role of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue as the entity for the only Asia- wide forum to exchange views and promote cooperation in areas of mutual interests.
In accordance with the Article No.7 of this Agreement, they approved the establishment of the ACD Cultural Coordination Center, in Tehran, to ensure the implementation of cultural initiatives, as well as projects initiated by ACD Member States and the enhancement of cultural ties among Member States.
However, the action and implementation plan proposed by Islamic Republic of Iran in two previous meetings were not raised and discussed at the Third Meeting and the Session Concluded without any concrete result.
Following the presidential elections in Iran , in 2013 and the establishment of new government , his Excellency , Dr. Ali Jannati ,
the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance appointed Mr. Issa Rezazadeh as the president of cultural Coordination Center at ACD on August 2014.