There are avenues for ASEAN to involve itself in the problem, especially in delivering humanitarian assistance, accessing the troubled areas for needs assessment, building border control capacity, and combating trafficking in persons, radicalisation and terrorism.
ASEAN should maintain the consensus-based decision-making mechanism where possible, and adopt a majority-vote system in dealing with issues on which consensus is impossible.
ASEAN prioritised logistics integration by endorsing the Roadmap for the Integration of Logistics in 2008, which includes liberalization and facilitation measures. As of 2016, much still need to be done to enhance logistics integration in ASEAN.
Going forward, ASEAN countries will need to strengthen industries in their individual economies, educate their bureaucrats comprehensively on AEC measures, place equal importance to building national infrastructure and economic cooperation, and devote more financial and human resources to regional integration.
The East Asia Summit retains utility in contested Asia by helping to stabilise the strategic order, increase the influence of weaker states, and enhance ASEAN’s security influence.
The ruling is likely to put ASEAN unity over the South China Sea under strain at a series of upcoming meetings.
The TPP's labour provisions are likely to pose challenges especially for participating Southeast Asian countries in which national labour laws are not properly implemented or are not aligned to international standards. At the same time, the provisions allow for flexible interpretations, presumably to avoid creating major problems for countries party to the agreement.
While tariff elimination has been achieved and many AEC issues have come to be recognized as necessarily long-term work-in-progress processes, better connectivity has become the next phase of regional integration.
For ASEAN countries, many of the TPP commitments, such as competition policy or intellectual property rights (IPR), are not altogether new. By providing an additional impetus for domestic reforms in national economies, the TPP will strengthen ASEAN’s own integration, and help deliver on growth and development over time.
The US-ASEAN Connect in February 2016 by President Obama at the US-ASEAN Summit in Sunnylands, CA, is poised to enhance US-ASEAN economic relations.
US maritime allies Japan and Australia have adopted tailored policy initiatives to enhance their own and ASEAN member-states’ defence capacity-building programmes in accordance with the rebalancing strategy’s overall vision of regional collective defence.
“Strengthening the Secretariat” has been a recurrent entreaty and aspiration in ASEAN’s diplomatic history. However, since the failure of ASEAN’s foreign ministers to issue a joint communiqué in 2012, some commentators have increasingly tied the prospects of ASEAN’s cohesion and centrality in Asian security to the status of its Secretariat in Jakarta.