ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series 2023, Session 1:  Reducing Uncertainty and Building Trust to Mitigate Conflict: Confidence Building Measures in ASEAN

ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series 2023, Session 1: Reducing Uncertainty and Building Trust to Mitigate Conflict: Confidence Building Measures in ASEAN

12 September 2023

Jakarta, Indonesia


The ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series is back in 2023! For the first time, the Discussion Series – which has become a signature activity of the Institute – was convened in-person following previous years’ virtual Discussion Series during the COVID-19 pandemic. This first session of this year put forward the theme of “Reducing Uncertainty and Building Trust to Mitigate Conflict: Confidence-Building Measures in ASEAN”.


More than 50 attended this kick-off in-person Session of the Series – where audiences included official representatives from ASEAN Member States, as well as ASEAN’s Partners (including Canada, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, as well as UN bodies), and many youth participants coming from various universities.


Audience of the ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series 2023, Session 1: Reducing Uncertainty and Building Trust to Mitigate Conflict: Confidence Building Measures in ASEAN


The session was organised with the support of the Republic of Korea, through the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund (AKCF).


The Executive Director of ASEAN-IPR, Mr. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, underscored the paramount significance of confidence building measures (CBM) within the ASEAN landscape, given that the region is no stranger to diversity. He underlined that the event aimed to facilitate discussion on CBM and encourage and support it from a perspective of peacebuilding within the region’s context.


In his remarks, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN, H.E. Lee Jang-keun, applauded ASEAN’s existing mechanism that represented the implementation of CBM, further underscored that other regions could learn from ASEAN in this domain. Ambassador Lee further viewed CBM in a more practical sense, highlighting how CBM is applied through a training and capacity building programme of ASEAN-IPR where the ROK is also supporting.


The session was moderated by Ms. Anisha Maulida, Analyst at Médecins Sans Frontières and brought three presentations from Dr. Collin Koh, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, RSIS; Colonel Kurniawan Syarifuddin, Deputy Director for Multilateral Defence International Cooperation at Indonesia Ministry of Defense; and Ms. Ida Scarpino, Political Affairs Officer at the UNRCPD.


In his presentation, Dr. Koh underscored his preference for the term Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBM), with a view that it promotes a wider range of measures. He provided a fundamental assumption in CSBM, which is “secrecy breeds suspicions, mistrust and tensions”, asserting that the use of force does not contribute to lasting peace. Dr. Koh put forward three different measures in a CSBM framework, consisting of dictatory measures, transparency measures and constraint measures, a workable framework in a variety of cases.


Col. Kurniawan Syarifuddin presented an ASEAN context of CBM through the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials Meeting (ADSOM). As a defence practitioner, he set forth several existing CBM in the region, including specific documents such as the ASEAN Defence Interaction Programme, Guidelines for Air Military Encounters and Guidelines for Maritime Interaction, as well as a more general principles such as the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Moving forward, he viewed that ASEAN centrality is to be maintained to ensure CBM in the region.


Ms. Ida Scarpino introduced the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, a UN body mandated to provide substantive support for initiatives regarding the implementation of peace and disarmament measures. Ms. Scarpino presented different UN mechanisms in the domain for discussions, such as the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA) and Military Expenditures (MiLEX) – with a view to promote transparency. She also acknowledged existing ASEAN and UN instruments as part CBM in the region. The three presentations were followed by a Q&A session.


The next session of the ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series will be held on 14 September 2023 at Erasmus Huis Jakarta entitled “Lessons Learned on Developing National Action Plan (NAP) on Youth, Peace & Security (YPS) in collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Jakarta.


Stay tuned to ASEAN-IPR’s website and social media platforms for other interesting events by the ASEAN-IPR!



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