ASEAN to Advance Peace and Reconciliation Initiatives

ASEAN Symposium on Peace and ReconciliationBali – Speaking at a symposium on peace and reconciliation, Dr. AKP Mochtan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, underlined the central role of ASEAN in these mechanisms and processes and how it actively engages partners from within and beyond the region. “Building and preserving peace has been a core value and major contribution by ASEAN to Southeast Asia,” said DSG Mochtan at the launch of the Symposium on Peace and Reconciliation: Principles and Best Practice.

The symposium, co-organised by the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) and the Institute for Peace and Democracy, was held on 22 – 23 April  in Nusa Dua, Bali.

The event was attended by members of the Governing Council and Advisory Board of AIPR, diplomats, ASEAN Secretariat, representatives from the United Nations, think tanks, academe, and civil society organizations.

The ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General went on to say that the efforts by individual ASEAN Member States in resolving conflicts and disputes within their countries were notable. These include the recent signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the “Peace Dialogues” between the Government of Thailand and the representatives of the Muslim communities in the southern border provinces.

The Symposium was conducted in four sessions canvassing the following topics: (1) Developing Knowledge and Institutions for Peace Building and Reconciliation in Southeast Asia: Sharing Experiences, Stock-taking Initiatives and Agenda Setting (2) ASEAN Political Security Community Building and Peace Development and Reconciliation: Initiatives in Southeast Asia (3) International and Regional Platform and Experiences in Peace Building and Reconciliation: Dynamics, Challenges and Prospects, and (4) The Development of ASEAN and the Future of Peace Building and Reconciliation in Southeast Asia.

Earlier this month, AIPR had another symposium in Manila. Altogether, the symposia were meant to give the AIPR Governing Council and Advisory Board an overview of the peace and reconciliation initiatives being undertaken in the region and throughout the world, and to allow them to network with various think tanks and organizations for the advancement of peace and reconciliation in the region.

The AIPR was created based on the ASEAN Leaders’ Joint Statement on the Establishment of the AIPR on 8 May 2011. Under the Terms of Reference of the AIPR, the Institute was established to serve as the ASEAN institution for researching activities on peace, conflict management and conflict resolution. The establishment of the AIPR will hopefully help ASEAN identify more innovative and creative means to promote peace, reconciliation, and conflict prevention in the region.

The Governing Council oversees the overall functions and policy direction of the AIPR. It consists of senior representatives from all 10 ASEAN Member States, the Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat, and an Executive Director to be appointed by the members.