The Asia-Europe Culture Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM CMM) is a platform of culture co-operation between Asia and Europe. It is a response to ASEM leaders who emphasised that the already existing constructive bi-regional discourse in ASEM should serve to promote unity in diversity.

As a follow up to the Fourth ASEM Summit in Copenhagen 2002 decision, China hosted the first Ministerial meeting on Cultures and Civilisations (COCC) from 3 to 4 December 2003. It is called for the development of a long term plan on promoting dialogue among civilisations and stepping up cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe.

Subsequently during the 2nd ASEM COCC in Paris in June 2005, an Action Plan of Culture Ministers was developed and adopted. The conference ended with an agreement that the forum need to expand and intensify work of ASEM in the field of cultural. It also came out with a consent to rename the Ministers’ meeting to Asia-Europe Culture Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM CMM).

The meeting in the capital of Malaysia was held under the name “Cultural Diversity – Realising the Action Plan“. The participants of the debate made a number of references to the previous meetings and analysed progress made in the implementation of the “Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions“.

The 3rd ASEM CMM coincided with the “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue”, thus helping to spread the impact of the EU initiative to the Asian ASEM member countries. Another outcome of the Kuala Lumpur meeting was the official launch of the “Culture360” website, administered by the ASEF. The aim of the website is to inform the public about ASEM activities in the area of culture as well as to facilitate the achievement of ASEM’s objectives, especially through enabling contacts among artists, activists and employees of the cultural sector.

The meeting focused on the designation of concrete programmes and activities on the basis of the declaration adopted at the Hanoi Summit 2004 and the policy directions and Action Plan that was adopted during the two previous ministerial meetings.

The meeting was attended by delegations from 36 countries and the European Commission, civil society members and the Asia-Europe Foundation. This meeting saw ASEM Culture Ministers reaffirming their commitment on the implementation of the Cultural Action Plan as set out in the appended action plan, in particular by:

  1. further enhancing the networking amongst professionals in the cultural and audiovisual fields through existing professional networks;
  2. promoting exchanges and fostering the circulation of performances, exhibitions, literary works and audiovisual programmes between European and Asian countries, and to elaborate a calendar of events;
  3. facilitating the development of co-productions and cooperation between theatres, art centres, museums, publishers, audiovisual operators, as well as that of artist residences and training courses for young professionals;
  4. encouraging initiatives aimed at promoting understanding of the diverse cultures particularly among the younger generation;
  5. paying special attention to projects regarding sustainable and responsible cultural tourism, as well as the promotion of culture as a development factor;
  6. encouraging participation in cultural activities organized at ASEM Summits; and
  7. appointing within the existing structures, permanent Cultural Points of Contact to link the relevant administrations and to encourage flows of expertise