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Human Securitization of Southeast Asia Regional Cooperation: a JICA-ASEAN ISIS Joint Symposium

November 11, 2010

Human security and regional cooperation among ASEAN and APEC member countries were the focal points of a recent symposium held at JICA-RI on November 1. This half-day symposium, meant to introduce to decision-makers and the donor community and the general public the interim findings of a joint research project, intended also to address the issues related to the APEC summit meeting in Yokohama in mid-November.

As integration deepens within the ASEAN region, many cross-border threats such as trafficking, piracy and infections disease arise from the increased mobility of people, information and goods within the region. At an ASEAN summit five years ago, Japan stated its commitment to combat such threats and to support the establishment of an ASEAN community. The purpose of this symposium was to discuss a framework for regional cooperation which incorporates human security to address these threats and to debate how to strengthen the capacity of national and regional governance to carry out this endeavor.

The symposium, the second scheduled under the project with the first held in Tokyo in March 2009, was comprised of two key note addresses on "Human Security and APEC" and a panel discussion on the theme "Opportunities for Mainstreaming Human Security in Southeast Asia."

In the opening speeches, the speakers stressed the importance of continued assistance to ASEAN member countries, particularly by non-ASEAN donors in the field of capacity-building, to strengthen resilience to threats since the ramifications of regional threats are not confined to ASEAN states alone, but affect the Asia Pacific region as a whole. How APEC can integrate elements from ASEAN's experience in advancing human security in its agenda was also a point well-received by the participants.

Honna at ASEAN sympo.JPG
             Jun Honna
The panel discussion session consisted of four speakers including JICA-RI Visiting Fellow Jun Honna, and two discussants. Honna, speaking from his specific topic within the research project, presented on the maritime security situation of Southeast Asia. After providing an overview of the scope and magnitude of maritime crimes including illegal fishing and logging, human trafficking, drug smuggling and armed robbery, he suggested regional responses to the threats such as building of capacity in civilian law enforcement and regional joint training programs. More importantly, Honna emphasized addressing the human security roots of the many problems such as poverty or lack of education which originate on land.

Other panelists raised the difficulties in conceptualizing and defining the idea of human security which complicate its adoption into an ASEAN or APEC framework. Another presenter elaborated on the relationship between human and traditional security, and suggested that ASEAN's current approach should focus on "rights" as much as "needs." The final presentation used health crises to demonstrate the gap between national and human security, but also exemplified cases of effective regional cooperation to combat major outbreaks like SARS and the N1H1 Influenza.

This symposium is part of the project "Mainstreaming Human Security in ASEAN Integration," a collaboration of JICA-RI and the ASEAN Institutes of Strategic and International Studies which seeks to incorporate a human security architecture into the process of ASEAN integration through examination of cross-border threats and provision of regional public goods from a human security perspective. The results of the first two years of the project will be disseminated to all ASEAN member states and be compiled into a book edition in the future.

RELATED RESEARCH AREA: Peace and Development



Carolina G. Hernandez, President, Institute of Strategic and Development Studies

DayNovember 01, 2010(Mon)
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Related File

Workshop program(PDF)

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