ASEAN-IPR Focused Group Discussion (FGD) Session 2: “Lessons Learned on Engaging Constituents for Peace Building in the Region””
ASEAN-IPR FOCUSED GROUP DISCUSSION (FGD) SESSION 2:
LESSONS LEARNED ON ENGAGING CONSTITUENTS FOR PEACE BUILDING IN THE REGION
7-8 December 2021
Melia Bali, Nusa Dua, Indonesia
Entering its tenth anniversary year, and back-to-back ahead of the 14th Bali Democracy Forum, the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (ASEAN-IPR) collaborated with the Institute for Peace & Democracy (IPD) to convene a second session of its Focused Group Discussion (FGD) in Bali on 7-8 December 2021, with the theme “Lessons Learned on Engaging Constituents for Peace Building in the Region.” The FGD is envisioned to be a basis for ASEAN-IPR to engage and collaborate with think tanks in the region, to share best practices and lessons learned on issues relevant to the work of the Institute and other like-minded institutions.
Noting how the IPD has been engaging with various stakeholders on capacity building activities in the region and beyond, including training programmes, the topic of this FGD is most appropriate to be in collaboration with IPD. The FGD was conducted under Chatham House rules. As Key Resource Persons who laid out the foundation for discussions, the FGD brought two of the IPD’s Patrons – H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda (Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia 2001-2009) and H.E. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Agus Widjojo (Chief of the National Resilience Institute of Indonesia) and Dr. I Ketut Putra Erawan (Executive Director of IPD). Around 20 participants – representing the Institute’s Governing Council, the ASEAN Women for Peace Registry (AWPR), the ASEAN Secretariat, think tank in Southeast Asia, as well as relevant stakeholders, actively contributed to the discussions. This was the ASEAN-IPR’s first full offline activity since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
The FGD discussed “the elephant in the room” and explored peace processes in Southeast Asia, namely the various lessons learned on engaging constituents for peace-building conducted under regional initiatives – which puts emphasis on dialogue, prior to the process of negotiation, mediation, adjudication – underlining the importance to listen and understand the dynamic process of each party, including the role of military in peace building. Such lessons tie in with one of the ASEAN-IPR’s priority areas for research, namely the “role of local communities, local wisdom & knowledge in peace building, peace process and conflict resolution”.
Based on previous experiences, it is noted that for many years ASEAN Member States have been helping each other to resolve issues – whether inter-state or intra-state – without overstepping boundaries of a state’s internal affairs. ASEAN Member States have been comfortable to let each other in and help each other’s issues due to common history, familiarity and empathy. In this regard, some viewed that a third-party facilitator on addressing issues should come from within the region (from ASEAN, for ASEAN). In this respect, the Executive Director of ASEAN-IPR, Mr. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, underlined that the ASEAN-IPR shall always stand ready to support such endeavour.
The FGD generated possible pathways for ASEAN and ASEAN-IPR in moving forward to engage constituents for peace, and playing its role to support peace processes in the region. Among others, ASEAN and ASEAN-IPR may take example from the Jakarta Informal Meeting – which facilitated the peace process in Cambodia and resulting in the Paris Peace Agreement; as well as other successful peace processes in the region, including Mindanao, Aceh, etc. Discussion in such dialogue or informal meeting may include issues of common concern such as addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on peace-building.
No less important is the involvement of stakeholders – women and youth – in peace process which have always been in ASEAN and ASEAN-IPR’s work agenda. However, it is equally important to iterate which aspect of peace-building would be most effective youth groups be involved in – for example, embedding and cultivating culture of peace among the youth in the region.
The ASEAN-IPR will convened a couple more activities before the closing of the year 2021, namely the seventh session of the ASEAN-IPR Discussion Series with the theme “The Role of Folklore (Local Wisdom) in Peacebuilding”, which shall be held in conjunction with the ASEAN Peace Poetry Night. The two activities will be held through virtual platforms – namely the Institute’s Instagram and YouTube Live. Be sure to follow and/or subscribe to our social media platforms to catch our latest activities.