The EU and ASEAN share common interest to maintain peace, stability, security, and the rules-based order at sea. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) plays an important role in fostering dialogue, mutual trust and confidence on maritime issues, as one of the foundations of regional peace and security. From 2018 to 2021, the EU, along with Australia and Viet Nam, co-chaired the ARF cycle on Maritime Security. A series of activities and workshops were organised during this period, with topics and priority areas on the implementation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), enhancing maritime law enforcement cooperation, maritime domain awareness, ferry safety, dispute resolution and the law of the sea.
On 19 April 2021, 27 Foreign Ministers of EU Member States adopted the new EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Ocean governance in full compliance with international law, is one of the seven priority areas under the strategy, with the main objective to ensure the sustainable management of the ocean’s resources and safeguarding biodiversity.