The Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) is an intergovernmental forum for ensuring dialogue and consultations, making decisions and taking efforts based on consensus regarding interaction within Asia in different areas of political and economic cooperation.
The Republic of Kazakhstan together with Oman, Sri Lanka, and Kuwait joined the ACD membership in June 2003 during the 2nd ACD Ministerial Meeting in Chiang Mai (Thailand).
The idea to establish the ACD was raised by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra and was, for the first time, announced during the 1st International Conference of Asian Political Parties held on September 17-20, 2000 in Manila (the Philippines). T. Shinawatrapointed out the necessity to create such organization in the absence of an Asian forum to discuss a wide range of issues of mutually beneficial cooperation at that moment.
The ACD establishment was consideredat the 34th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Hanoi (Viet Nam) in July 2001 and the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat in Phuket (Thailand) in February 2002.
The ACD was inaugurated in June 19, 2002 in Cha-Am (Thailand) at the 1st ACD Ministerial Meeting.
Later, this idea was widely supported by the Heads of States, Governments and Foreign Services of Asian countries.
The ACD consists of 33 states: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan (since 2003), Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
The main objectives of the ACD are as follows:
1. To 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. To 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. To 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. To 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.
Kazakhstan defined four priority areas of cooperation within the ACD: energy security, finance, transport and agriculture.
Kazakhstan is the ACD co-coordinator in transport and agriculture. As the ACD co-coordinator,Kazakhstan developed such draft concept documents as ACD Transport Links and Cooperation in Agriculture. Currently, these projects are being aligned with the ACD coordinating countries (Transport – Republic of India, agriculture – China, Pakistan.)
The ACD Foreign Ministers have met 12 times at the ACD Ministerial Meetings in Cha-Am (Thailand, 2002), Chiang Mai (Thailand, 2003), Qingdao (China, 2004), Islamabad (Pakistan, 2005), Doha (Qatar, 2006), Seoul (Korea, 2007), Astana (Kazakhstan, 2008), Colombo (Sri Lanka, 2009), Tehran (Iran, 2010), Kuwait City (Kuwait, 2011), Dushanbe (Tajikistan, 2013), and Manama (Bahrain, 2013) to discuss ACD developments, issues of regional cooperation and ways to enhance and solidify Asian unity.
On the projects dimension, currently, 20 ACD cooperation programs have been announcedin such areas as energy, tourism, ITdevelopment, financial cooperation, environmental education, human resourcedevelopment, SMEs cooperation, road safety, agriculture, standardization, natural disaster, e-education, transport linkages, infrastructure fund, poverty alleviation, biotechnology, e-commerce, science and technology, strengthening legal infrastructure, and cultural cooperation.
The 1st ACD Summit was convened at the initiative of Kuwait and was held in Kuwait City on October 15 – 17, 2012. As an outcome document, the Summit adopted the Kuwait Declaration envisaging further development of cooperation and trade and economic ties between the Member States.
The participants of the meeting took stock of the 10 years of cooperation and discussed prospects of interaction, including further institutionalization of the Dialogue.
At the Summit, Kuwait also encouraged the Member States to mobilize 2 bln USD in the interest of Asia’s underdeveloped countries (mostly non-Arab countries) to implement medium-sized projects. In this regard, Kuwait promised to contribute in amount of 300 mln USD.
The 14th ACD Ministerial meeting will host on March 8-10, 2016 in Bangkok (Kingdom of Thailand) and the 2ndACD Summit is planned in the fourth quarter of 2016 in Thailand.
According to information of ACD Provisional Secretariat, the UAE proposed to host the 15th ACD Ministerial meeting in the first half of 2017 in Abu Dhabi.