The Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) was inaugurated in June 2002 in Cha-Am, Thailand
, where 18 Asian Foreign Ministers met together for the first time. The ACD is a continent-wide forum, the first of its kind in Asia. More specifically, the ACD aims to constitute the missing link in Asia by incorporating every Asian country and building an Asian Community without duplicating other organizations or creating a bloc against others. A key principle is to consolidate Asian strengths and fortify Asia's competitiveness by maximizing the diversity and rich resources evident in Asia. The core values of the ACD are positive thinking; informality; voluntarism; non-institutionalization; openness; respect for diversity; the comfort level of member countries; and the evolving nature of the ACD process.
Since its inception, the ACD has rapidly developed in two dimensions, namely, dialogue and projects. On the dialogue dimension
, ACD Ministers have met annually at the ACD Ministerial Meetings in Cha-Am (2002), Chiang Mai (2003), Qingdao (2004), Islamabad (2005), Doha (2006), Seoul (2007), Astana (2008), Colombo (2009), Tehran (2010) and Kuwait City (2011) to discuss ACD developments, issues of regional cooperation and ways to enhance and solidify Asian unity. In between, Foreign Ministers also meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September to update each other on the progress of ACD project cooperation, to hold constructive discussions on international issues of concern and to strengthen the 'voice of Asia' in the international arena.
On the projects dimension
, currently, many countries have proposed to be prime movers in 20 areas of cooperation, such as energy, agriculture, biotechnology, tourism, poverty alleviation, IT development, e-education and financial cooperation.
At the community level
, Thailand hosted the First ACD Think Tanks Symposium in December 2004 and has put together an ACD Think Tank Network composed of academic institutions, development networks and research groups nominated by ACD countries to serve as the academic arm of ACD. The objectives are to conduct in-depth study and support the development of the ACD as well as facilitate prime mover projects.
Currently, the ACD comprises 32 countries
: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, with Afghanistan recently admitted at the ACD Foreign Ministers Breakfast Meeting on the Sidelines of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City in September 2012.
The Fifth ACD Ministerial Meeting
took place in Doha, Qatar between 23-24 May 2006. It was preceded by the Prime and Co-Prime Movers’ Consultation on 22 May 2006, held for the first time at a high ranking official level to review the progress made in various ACD projects. The Consultation resulted in recommendations to the Ministerial Meeting in 9 project areas, namely Energy, Finance, Agriculture, Tourism, E-Education, Environmental Education, IT Cooperation, Natural Disasters and Poverty Alleviation. ACD Ministers subsequently agreed on these recommendations. The Ministerial Meeting had a wide-ranging discussion on cooperation in the areas of Energy and Finance. Ministers endorsed the establishment of the ACD Energy Forum and welcomed the drawing up of an ACD Energy Action Plan. Ministers reiterated the need to make productive use of Asia