Mandate, Vision, and Objectives

ASEAN Science & Technology Network

Mandate, Vision, and Objectives ​

Mandate for ASEAN Science and Technology Cooperation

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established by the ASEAN Declaration of 8 August 1967. The mandate for ASEAN cooperation in science and technology can be found in the ASEAN Declaration, which states that

“ASEAN shall promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields and provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres.”


The ASEAN Heads of State and Government issued ASEAN Vision 2020 during the 2nd ASEAN Informal Summit in Kuala Lumpur, 15 December 1997.

The Vision sets out what ASEAN should be in Year 2020, “A Concert of Southeast Asian Nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies”.

A major foundation of that vision is “a technologically competitive ASEAN, competent in strategic and enabling technologies, with an adequate pool of technologically qualified and trained manpower, and strong networks of scientific and technological institutions and centres of excellence”.


ASEAN regional cooperation on science and technology was initiated when an Ad-hoc Committee on Science and Technology met in Jakarta on 27-29 April 1970. With the ASEAN Declaration as the guiding principle, the meeting established the following objectives for ASEAN cooperation in science and technology:

  1. to initiate and intensify regional cooperation in scientific and regional activities;
  2. to generate and promote development of scientific and technological expertise and manpower in the ASEAN region;
  3. to facilitate and accelerate the transfer of scientific developments and technologies among ASEAN countries and from the more advanced industrialized countries to the ASEAN region;
  4. to provide support and assistance in the application of the results of research and development, and in the more effective use of natural resources in the ASEAN region; and
  5. to provide support towards the implementation of present and future ASEAN programmes.

Terms of Reference

Article 10(2) of the ASEAN Charter provides that “each ASEAN Sectoral Ministerial Body may have under its purview the relevant senior officials and subsidiary bodies to undertake its functions as contained in Annex 1.” Annex 1 (ASEAN Sectoral Ministerial Bodies) has under Section II (ASEAN Economic Community) the Senior Economic Officials Meeting under the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.

The ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI) shall be responsible for all aspects of ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation cooperation and integration as outlined in the various science, technology and innovation developments and plans of action of ASEAN, including ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation (APASTI) 2016-2025 supportive of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025, ASEAN Declaration on Innovation and those concluded between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners and external parties, such as:

(a) to implement APASTI and decisions taken by AMMSTI and ASEAN leaders and monitor the progress and evaluate the outcomes of APASTI objectives;

(b) to promote an innovation culture and entrepreneurship through inclusive cooperation in science and technology;

(c) to raise the level of scientific, technological and innovation engagement to meet priority challenges in ASEAN;

(d) to enhance and develop human resources in science, technology and innovation, and promote cross-sectoral talent mobility in ASEAN;

(e) to facilitate and accelerate technology transfer and commercialization to MSMEs and promote information sharing and system interoperability leveraging digital technologies so as to enhance ASEAN economic cooperation and diversification; and

(f) to provide support and assistance to MSMEs in AMS by facilitating access to expertise, STI infrastructure and other relevant resources.

The functions of the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI) shall be as follows:

a) support the ASEAN Ministerial Bodies for Science, Technology and Innovation. in the effort to achieve economic integration and cooperation towards the AEC.

b) Initiate, direct and oversee the development, implementation, operation, monitoring, and evaluation of all relevant legal instruments, programmes and activities in support of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation (APASTI), relevant ASEAN Blueprint and roadmaps and other directives from the ASEAN Leaders, science and technology and related Ministers.

c) provide strategic guidance, and supervise and coordinate the work of the following subsidiary bodies:

i. Board of Advisers to COSTI (BAC)

ii. Sub-Committee on Biotechnology (SCB)

iii. Sub-Committee on Food Science and Technology (SCFST)

iv. Sub-Committee on S&T Infrastructure and Resources Development (SCIRD)

v. Sub-Committee on Meteorology and Geophysics (SCMG)

vi. Sub-Committee on Microelectronics and Information Technology (SCMIT)

vii. Sub-Committee on Marine Science and Technology (SCMSAT)

viii. Sub-Committee on Materials Science and Technology (SCMST)

ix. Sub-Committee on Sustainable Energy Research (SCSER)

x. Sub-Committee on Space Technology and Application (SCOSA)

xi. Experts Group on Metrology (EGM)

xii. Other subsidiary bodies under the purview of COSTI.

d) adopt, where appropriate, decisions and recommendations of subsidiary bodies;

e) carry out any other functions as mandated by the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation (AMMSTI).

4. In carrying out its functions, COSTI shall initiate and develop programmes and leverage existing policies to enhance ASEAN Community cooperation and integration.

5. The scope of work of COSTI shall be, but not limited to:

a) planning, initiating, monitoring, coordinating and evaluating cooperation to support science, technology and innovation cooperation and integration in ASEAN with ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners and external parties;

b) developing initiatives, programmes, and activities to attain the goals of APASTI;

c) carrying out the decisions of the AMMSTI with the support of its subsidiary bodies;

d) organizing the AMMSTI meetings and supporting AEC Council meetings as well as the ASEAN Summit and other related meetings;

e) coordinating with other ASEAN Community pillars on cross-cutting issues; and

f) engaging the relevant stakeholders to advance the ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation agenda.

In accomplishing its scope of work as specified above, COSTI shall be guided by the following in setting the agenda: 

a) align COSTI’s agenda to the priorities outlined by the AMMSTI, AEC Council, ASEAN Summit and the ASEAN economic and socio-cultural agreements, plans of action and other documents as well as those between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners and external parties; and 

b) focus on policy and cross sectoral issues in ASEAN science, technology and innovation integration and cooperation with Dialogue Partners and external parties. 

COSTI may undertake to establish, merge and/or dissolve subsidiary bodies. In addition, COSTI may establish ad-hoc groups. 

Ad-hoc groups under the purview of COSTI shall be: 

a) ad-hoc in nature and be convened only as and when the need arises to address specific policy issues and/or perform specific tasks/programmes in support of the work programme of COSTI; 

b) provided with clear terms of reference and specific programme of work duly approved by COSTIand 

c) dissolved at the discretion of COSTI if agreed by all ASEAN Member States, when their mandates are completed. 

In moving forward the ASEAN science, technology and innovation agenda, COSTI shall: 

a) communicate the policies and decisions of higher level ASEAN bodies and provide clear guidance to the various subsidiary bodies for effective follow up and implementation of these policies and decisions; 

b) delegate responsibilities and provide guidance to subsidiary bodies; and 

c) conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of the activities of the subsidiary bodies. 

COSTI decisions shall be based on consultation and consensus. 

COSTI decisions may also be made in-between first COSTI meeting or second COSTI meeting through email communication. Any inter-sessional decisions will be confirmed by the chairperson through email communication by ASEAN Secretariat, addressed to all National COSTI chairperson and Secretariats. 

The Chairmanship of COSTI will follow the schedule based on rotation of Chairmanship by alphabetical order, as attached in the annex. 

The Chairperson shall: 

a) Chair COSTI meetings and other relevant meetings; 

b) Plan and coordinate all activities required for convening of meetings, in coordination with the host country and ASEAN Secretariat. These include the following: 

i. Preparation of agenda and their annotations, information papers on policy issues and other related documents for discussion in the meeting; 

ii. Issuance of meeting announcement and invitation letters; and 

iii. Preparations of draft report of the meeting for adoption, and its subsequent reproduction; 

c) Propose agenda of and report to AMMSTI and address questions on progress of ASEAN COSTI; 

d) Represent COSTI, where and when deemed necessary, at meetings of other ASEAN bodies or relevant fora; 

e) Maintain regular communications and enhance links with National COSTI chairpersons, ASEAN Secretariat, other sectoral bodies and counterparts in Dialogue Countries; 

f) Preside over regular ASEAN COSTI meetings, preparatory meetings for the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation (AMMSTI) and other relevant meetings. 

g) Chair and/or Co-Chair Meetings and represent the ASEAN COSTI in meetings under the purview of ASEAN-Dialogue Relations, with the support of the Country Coordinator for the Dialogue Partner and ASEAN Secretariat. These include, but are not limited to: 

i. ASEAN-China Joint Science and Technology Committee (ACJSTC); 

ii. ASEAN-EU Dialogue on Science and Technology (AEUDST); 

iii. ASEAN-India Working Group on S&T (AIWGST); 

iv. ASEAN-Japan Cooperation Committee on Science and Technology (AJCCST) 

v. ASEAN-ROK Joint Science and Technology Committee (AKJSTC); 

vi. ASEAN-Russia Working Group on S&T (ARWGST); 

vii. ASEAN-US Consultation on Science and Technology (AUSCST); 

viii. ASEAN COSTI Plus Three Meeting; 

ix. Governing Council of the ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund (GC-AISTDF) 

h) Chair and/or co-Chair Meetings and represent the ASEAN COSTI in meetings under the purview of other relevant platforms, supported by ASEAN Secretariat. These include, but are not limited to Forums and related meetings convened by the Senior Economic Officials Meeting (SEOM); ASEAN Secretariat, Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR); Committee of the Whole; SOC-COM; AMMSTI, etc. 

i) Hand over the chairmanship to the new chairperson, at the end of chairperson’s term. 

The Chairperson, supported by the National COSTI Secretariats and ASEAN Secretariat, shall: 

(a) facilitate and coordinate the execution and follow-up of the decisions of the ASEAN Summit, AMMSTI, COSTI and other relevant meetings under ASEAN Dialogue relations; 

(b) ensure the archival of minutes of meetings and relevant documents of AMMSTI, COSTI and its subsidiary bodies, in close cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat; 

(c) prepare handover notes at the end of the Chairperson’s term. 

15. COSTI shall have two (2) regular meetings in a year and these shall be organized as follows: 

(a) COSTI Meeting shall deliberate on issues requiring decision and/or guidance. To facilitate discussion of these issues, the chairperson or his/her designated representative is required to be present in the particular COSTI Meeting; 

(b) COSTI shall plan ahead the schedule of its meetings; and 

(c) COSTI may consider the use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing, if necessary, for the conduct of the meetings. 

16. COSTI may conduct additional special meetings/retreats to discuss issues requiring additional intervention. 

17. All ASEAN Member States (AMS) should be represented in COSTI and meetings of subsidiary bodies under its purview to the extent possible. Representatives of AMS should have the appropriate mandate to take decisions. In the event where some AMS’s representatives are unable to travel and be present at the meetings in person: 

a) comments by the AMS who are unable to be present at the meeting on documents for discussion at the meeting are to be submitted and circulated early, prior to the start of the meeting; 

b) participation of those AMS may be conducted through teleconferencing or videoconferencing, where possible; and 

c) the summary record of outcomes of the meeting are to be adopted on an ad referendum basis. 

18. Within a reasonable timeframe after the last ASEAN Summit of the year, National COSTI Secretariats and ASEAN Secretariat, with inputs from Chairs of subsidiary bodies, to draw up its work programme for the new AMMSTI cycle. The work programme shall not only cover the necessary follow-up actions to the decisions arising from the AMMSTI, ASEAN Summit and other related meetings but also include a list of indicative deliverables for the AMMSTI and ASEAN Summit within that cycle. The work programme can also be circulated and adopted inter-sessionally. 

19. COSTI, through the ASEAN Secretariat, shall communicate this annual work programme to all subsidiary bodies, both under and those outside its purview, before the start of the next AMMSTI cycle. Subsidiary bodies under COSTI’s purview shall be strictly guided by this annual work programme and all efforts should be exerted to ensure that the targets set therein are met and delivered to COSTI prior to the AMMSTI and/or Summit. 

COSTI shall directly report to the AMMSTI