Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is not a mere regional trading bloc. The bloc has emerged as a major player in the security architecture in South-East Asia. ASEAN’s aspiration is to build a peaceful and stable community. ASEAN also strives to be cohesive, responsive and relevant in addressing challenges to regional peace and security, as well as assuming a central role in shaping the evolving regional architecture.
As majority of ASEAN Member States are also NAM Member States, the Movement supports ASEAN’s central role and leadership in the evolving rules-based regional architecture by promoting the norms and principles as enshrined in international law. NAM has reiterated support for ASEAN as the primary driving force for the maintenance of peace, security, stability and prosperity in Southeast Asia through various ASEAN led mechanisms. In this context, NAM has welcomed the establishment of ASEAN Institute of Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) as an action line under the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint (APSC) Blueprint (2010-2015). The AIPR aims to strengthen research activities on peace, conflict management and conflict resolution. The Institute is an ASEAN Entity specialized in research activities on peace, conflict management and reconciliation, holding capacity building activities for stakeholders and becoming a network center among research institutions in the region.
At the 18th ASEAN Summit on 8 May 2011, the ASEAN Leaders adopted a Joint Statement on the Establishment of an ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. The Terms of Reference (TOR) of the AIPR was adopted by the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in July 2012 and launched on 18 November 2012 by the ASEAN Leaders on the sides of the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
AIPR is an ASEAN institution dedicated for research activities and supporting the ASEAN bodies on the issues of peace, reconciliation, conflict management and conflict resolution. The Institutes structure consists of the Governing Council, as the highest decision-making body of the Institute; the Advisory Board, which advises research priorities of the Institute; and, the Executive Director, which represents the Institute in all administrative and operational matters, as well as head of the Institutes Secretariat. The Terms of Reference (TOR) of AIPR call for a respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all ASEAN Member States, shared commitment and collective responsibility in enhancing regional peace, security and prosperity, and non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States.
AIPR has been actively engaged in conducting activities related to a broad range of peace related topics such as humanitarian action, peace and Reconciliation Processes, strengthening women’s participation in peace process and conflict resolution, and the plight of women and children in conflict situations. In 2017, AIPR along with the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippines’ Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), convened a Symposium on ‘Strengthening Convergences for Humanitarian Action: An ASEAN-IPR Symposium on International Humanitarian Law’. Attended by 170 participants, the event highlighted four key aspects to improve people’s protection and restore their lives to one of dignity, the health, prosperity and hope, and their natural link with the vision of the ASEAN community (1) Humanity as a common value, (2) Principled humanitarian action as a distinct humanitarian response and valuable approach, (3) Partnerships as essential, and (4) Prevention of human-induced disasters as the preferred choice. In December 2018, AIPR organized a workshop on “Perspectives on Conflict Management and Conflict Resolution in the Region”. More than 50 participants from ASEAN Member States attended the workshop and shared expertise on global as well as regional trends and experiences in conflict management and resolution, including from a perspective of human security and gender. Discussions and exchanges further focused on ceasefire and cessation of hostilities monitoring and verification, as well as peace-building.
Security Experts contend that AIPR has the potential to play a significant role in promoting knowledge sharing and policy recommendations to help foster peace and reconciliation and the prevention of crises in ASEAN.