Post ASEAN Community 2015 – Speech by Amb. Ngurah Swajaya
ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation: Post-ASEAN Community 2015
(The Development of ASEAN and the Future of
Peace Building and Reconciliation in Southeast Asia)
by H.E. Amb. Ngurah Swajaya
The establishment of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) or Institute was one of the concrete steps toward establishing the ASEAN Political-Security Community. Despite some differences as to the roles and functions of the Institute, finally the Term of Reference on the establishment of the Institute has clarified its basic roles and functions in the context of ASEAN Community building.
As a regional organization that has been transforming itself into a rules-based and peoples-centered organization, ASEAN continues to be affected by both internal and external dynamics that will not only bring opportunities, but also challenges. Issues pertaining to conflicts and disputes continuous to be one of significant challenges ASEAN will have to face at present and in the future. Unresolved territorial disputes remain one that requires collaborative efforts in accordance with principles, rules and norms agreed by ASEAN. In addition, potential disputes over shared resources or internal disputes in each of ASEAN member states also require peaceful resolutions by the respective states in accordance with ASEAN agreed norms, values and principles.
Over the past decades, ASEAN has witnessed or partially involved in peace and reconciliation processes in the region. From the Cambodian peace process, the Aceh Peace Process and the peace process of Bangsa Moro to many internal peaceful dispute settlements, we have to acknowledge that the region is endowed not only with rich experiences, but also human and institutional capacities that could be referred as either lessons learned or template for future peace and reconciliation processes in the region. Despite the fact that none of them were ever utilized in dispute settlement, we note with satisfaction that ASEAN has also been equipped with appropriate instruments and mechanisms for promoting peace and reconciliation.
The launching of the Institute in time for the establishment of the ASEAN Community has reaffirmed the ASEANs commitment to promote a culture of peace and cemented further the core principles of peaceful resolutions to every dispute. By utilizing, among others, the vast experiences and resources, the Institute will have a significant contribution to make in creating sustainable regional peace and reconciliation. Through symposiums that have been conducted in less than a year after its kick off, the Institute should start undertaking activities as outlined in its term of reference. Furthermore, the Institute should also start working to harvest the low lying fruits before the establishment of the ASEAN Community so as to enable it to consolidate further in the post 2015 ASEAN Community.
Over the year, I believe, the Institute has identified many ideas and recommendations to start its functions effectively. Many external partners and organization both in the region and beyond have extended their offer to support or to work in partnership to promote peace building and reconciliation in the region. All of these should be capitalized by the Institute to set the concrete short, medium and long-term targets as they may have been generally covered in the work plan developed by the Governing Council.
In addition, as ASEAN is currently in its final stage to the launching of the ASEAN Community, preparations have been made not only to strive the full implementation of the remaining action lines of the three Community Blueprints, but also, in ensuring a better institutional supports by the ASEAN Secretariat and better coordination and coherence of the works of all ASEAN Organs. Preparation has also been made to start charting the ASEAN Vision 2030 of post 2015 ASEAN Community. In this context, the Institute, in identifying its targets should also take into account all of these factors.
Looking at the existing work plan identified by the Governing Council, there are mainly two main works that can be done as short term targets, namely, preparing the organizational set up and the elaboration of procedures governing the work of the Institute, and identifying the low hanging fruits in the core business of the Institute. All of these, I believe can be done simultaneously, by utilizing the shepherd mechanisms agreed by the Governing Council. The implementation of the short term targets will provide a good basis to continue working on the medium and long-term targets, including to incorporate them in the ASEAN Vision 2030.
First, on organizational setup and the development of procedure governing the work of the Institute, I would suggest the immediate establishment of a small secretariat to prepare the recruitment process of the Executive Director, support the work of the Governing Council and Advisory Board and preparing the annual budget of the Institute. In this context, the Governing Council may consider requesting the ASEAN Secretariat support by seconding a temporary secretariat support staffs to recruit the staff for the Institute and to help the recruitment process of the Executive Director so as to enable the effective function of the Institute Headquarter at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. This staff could start working to develop the budget for 2015 and 2016 so as to enable the member states preparing their respective contribution starting from next year. Simultaneously, the recruited staff could extend its support on the development of the necessary procedures, including the development of the Host Country Agreement.
Second, on the core business of the Institute, I would suggest that symposiums and interactions it has been undertaken could help the elaboration on at least three main targets, namely the development of the pool of experts, codification of lessons learned and the capacity building or training.
On the development of pool of experts, each of the member states could identify their respective nationals whom have experience in peace and reconciliation processes both in their respective countries as well as in the region. This will enable the Institute to create roasters of experts that could be referred in the peace and reconciliation processes in the future. They could also be utilized as resource persons to support the work of the Institute.
On the codification of lessons learned, each member states could submit their lessons learned on peace and reconciliation in their respective countries. Indonesia could, for example come up with lessons learned on Aceh Peace and Reconciliation process and also some other lessons learned both at the national and regional levels.
On capacity building or training, the Institute could network with similar institutes or external partners to develop a specific training on peace and reconciliation issues participated by representatives from different relevant institutions from the respective ASEAN Member States. The training could be done regularly based on the needs and priorities that could be identified by the Governing Council and the Advisory Board.
For medium and long-term targets, the Institute may wish to anticipate the need to expand its works to implement all its functions as elaborated in the term of reference of the Institute. In this context, the need to expand further the supporting secretariat and the need to anticipate its future roles by providing its inputs to the process of the development of the ASEAN Vision 2030. Similarly, the Governing Council may also wish to provide input to the process of the Strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat and reviewing of the ASEAN Organs currently undertaken by the High Level Task Force which will conduct its meeting on April 25-28, 2014 and will focus its work on the Political-Security Pillar.
In this regard, the Institute may wish to take note that the preliminary discussion on the first meeting of the HLTF, better coordination and coherence among the existing ASEAN Organs was considered as crucial in order to ensure the effective works and functions of ASEAN in attaining its goals and objectives. The strengthening of the ASEAN Secretariat and the CPR as the Mechanisms that have an overarching oversight over the three pillars of the ASEAN Community was one of the preliminary findings. In this context, I wish to note the need to anticipate that more works will be extended to the CPR in the future. This includes the need to strengthen the Permanent Representatives offices with officials representing all the three pillars of the ASEAN Community. Therefore, the Institute may wish to consider the need to advise the respective capitals to take this trend into account by not burdening the works of the CPR with other works beyond its core mandates.
Finally, in the post 2015 ASEAN Community, the roles and functions of the Institute should be further strengthened and its capacity should also be enhanced further. Having considered that the Institute is under the purview of the APSC Council, there is also a need to ensure that the Institute should also raise the awareness of all relevant organs under the APSC Council so as to enable them to mutually supportive of their respective roles and functions as well as promote better coordination and coherence. Furthermore, in engaging with ASEAN’s external partners, there is also a need to ensure that the mobilization of supports could be better coordinated in close collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat and the CPR.