Formally, ASEAN cooperation in the environmental field began in 1978. Institutionally, ASEAN cooperation in the Environment sector is under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Pillar.
ASEAN cooperation in the field of environment is currently based on the 2025 ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint (ASCC Blueprint) which aims to realize an ASEAN community that is inclusive, sustainable, resilient and dynamic. In accordance with its vision, ASEAN cooperation in the environmental sector mainly focuses on the sustainability aspects of the ASCC Blueprint 2025.
Under the ASCC Blueprint 2025, the ASEAN Strategic Plan on Environment (ASPEN) was developed which includes seven strategic priorities, namely: nature conservation and biodiversity; coastal and marine environment; water resources management; environmentally sustainable cities; climate changes; chemicals and waste; environmental education and sustainable consumption and production.