China and Viet Nam coordinated the ASEM4 Summit for the Asian participants and the EU Presidency and the European Commission acted as coordinators for the European ASEM partners.

In accordance with the informal and non-legally binding nature of ASEM, no real agenda was set for the discussions among the Heads of State and Government. Civil servants prepared an indicative list of topics that are assumed to be of common interest for discussion. In addition, the Heads of State and Government may raise any issue they want. At the 4th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM FMM4) on 6-7 June 2002 in Madrid, Spain, a Danish/European proposal on potential topics was approved as the basis for the Summit.

The political dialogue was based on the international situation after 11 September 2001 with the aim of discussing new security issues. In addition to international terrorism, potential topics included drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration, trafficking in human beings and other forms of cross-border crime. Several of these topics are already covered by ASEM activities. ASEM4 was the first opportunity for the ASEM Heads of State and Government to discuss these challenges. The first pillar also traditionally includes the topic of regional developments.

Under economic cooperation, the ASEM Heads of State and Government discussed the effects of global economic trends on the cooperation between Europe and Asia. Based on the discussions at the 4th ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM EMM4), an attempt will be made to promote trade and investment between ASEM countries by continuing the work of two existing ASEM initiatives in this field: the Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP) and the Investment Promotion Action Plan (IPAP). Other important and relevant themes include the contribution of as regional economic, financial and monetary integration as a factor in the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in November 2001 in Doha, Qatar, to promoting sustainable economic development through a balanced result as well enhancing economic growth. The last topic, together with combating the financing of terrorism and strengthening the international financial system, was among the main themes of the 4th ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM FinMM4).

Under the social, cultural and educational pillar, one topic was social measures to counteract the unintended effects of globalization. The main focus is expected to be on human resources development, including educational measures. For example, Denmark has launched an ASEM initiative in which Lifelong Learning is considered a prerequisite for ensuring continuing economic and social development. The results of this initiative could be included in the discussions. ASEM cooperation on environmental issues is also included in this pillar. The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg will probably comprise the basis for a discussion of ASEM activities in this field as part of the preparations for the 2nd ASEM Environment Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM EnvMM2) in 2003.

Finally, a working luncheon on Cultures and Civilizations was held on the confidence-building and contact-creating nature of the ASEM process. Intended as a reaction to 11 September, the idea is to have a frank and informal exchange of views on common values and the positive role that ASEM can play in bridging geographic, ethnic, religious and socioeconomic barriers in order to counterbalance efforts by terrorist organizations to split the international community.