An independent non-profit organization was established in Seoul in September, 2001 to facilitate the implementation of the ASEM-DUO initiative. The decision was derived from an Experts’ Group Meeting that was held in Seoul in April 2001. The meeting was attended by representatives from more than fifteen ASEM member countries and provided an opportunity for an exchange of views on the details of the ASEM-DUO Programme. The expert meeting, among others, recommended that a small secretariat be established for the efficient implementation of the Programme.
The mission of the Secretariat is to serve as a focal contact point and depository for relevant information of the Programme. A minimum coordination among individual DUO Programme is indeed indispensable in order to maintain consistency and avoid duplication of the Programme, as well as to maximize the effectiveness of the Programme and minimize the cost of implementation. The Secretariat may also serve, depending of each country's needs, as a center for the receipt and processing of applications. In that respect, the Secretariat is ready to work with any ASEM partner interested in joining the ASEM-DUO as a donor partner, so as to identify the procedures which would suit best the needs of each partner.
The expert meeting also recommended that the Secretariat be under the supervision of the ASEM SOM and submit reports to the ASEM SOM on its activities.