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Preventive Diplomacy in the ARF: An Overview

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1 Preventive Diplomacy in the ARF: An Overview
ARF Workshop on ‘Confidence Building Measures and Preventive Diplomacy in Asia and Europe’ Berlin, March 2008

2 I. Introduction The founding participants of ARF agreed that as a high-level consultative forum, the ARF would enable the countries in the Asia Pacific region to foster the habit of constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common concern. The Forum also agreed that the way to move the ARF process is to be gradual through three phases namely the promotion of confidence building measures, development of preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution.

3 Objective of presentation:
To provide overview of the ARF in pursuing the stage of preventive diplomacy Outline: Look at past decisions and recommendations made in relevant ARF activities on preventive diplomacy and their follow-ups. Examine the current developments in the ARF relative to preventive diplomacy.

4 II. Discussion and Follow-ups
Milestones in ARF preventive diplomacy: a. ARF Concept Paper, 1995 Argued that ‘over time ARF must develop its own mechanism to carry out preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution’. Envisaged measures to be undertaken by the time ARF is prepared for the preventive diplomacy stage, among others: - Develop a set of guidelines for the peaceful settlement of disputes taking into account the principles in the UN Charter and the TAC. - Explore and devise ways and means to prevent conflict. - Explore the idea of appointing Special Representatives, to undertake fact-finding missions, at the request of parties involved to an issue and to offer their good offices, as necessary. - Explore the idea of establishing a Regional Risk Reduction Center which could serve as a database for exchange of information.

5 b. ARF Seminar on Preventive Diplomacy, Paris,
7-8 November 1996 Discussed among others: Agreed on the need for an annual security outlook. Noted a number of measures to service the ARF Chair in its possible implementation of preventive diplomacy, for example, the establishing of an ARF Unit. The following actions have been taken pursuant to the discussion: The publication of ASO was agreed by the 6th ARF in 1999 and the first volume was issued during the 7th ARF in Since then the ARF ASO has been published annually. The recommendation on the establishment of an ARF Unit was further discussed in later years.

6 c. ARF Concept and Principles of Preventive Diplomacy, endorsed in 2001
Stipulated the definition, possible measures, and key principles of preventive diplomacy Defined preventive diplomacy as consensual diplomatic and political action taken by sovereign states with the consent of all directly involved parties to help prevent disputes and conflict from arising between states that could potentially pose a threat to regional peace and stability, to help prevent such disputes and conflict from escalating into armed confrontation, and to help minimize the impact of such disputes and conflict in the region Preventive diplomacy measures could include efforts to build mutual trust and confidence between states, norms buildings, enhancing channels of communication to advance information-sharing, provide early warning and facilitate dialogue, and ARF Chair to play a role as determined by ARF participants. 8 key principles to guide the practice of ARF preventive diplomacy, namely: 1) relies on diplomatic and peaceful methods; 2) non-coercive; 3) should be timely; 4) requires trust and confidence; 5) operates on the basis of consultation and consensus; 6) voluntary; 7) applies to conflict between and among States; 8) to be conducted in accordance with universally recognized basic principles of international law and inter-state relations.

7 Paper on Stocktaking of the ARF Process and Recommendations, endorsed in 2002
Put forward nine recommendations including: To enhance the role of the ARF Chair and to assign the ASEAN Secretariat to assist the ARF Chairman in coordinating the work of the ARF. To develop and to utilize the Register of Experts/Eminent Persons. To strengthen CBMs. To widen the engagement and involvement of security and defense officials. To enhance linkages between ARF and ASEAN-ISIS, CSCAP and other organizations. The following actions have been taken based on these recommendations: The first ARF Defense Officials Meeting was held in Brunei on 30 July The meeting was held half day, preceded by the Defense Officials Lunch. In 2004, the Defense Officials’ Dialogue (DOD) recommended to ARF SOM to extend the Dialogue to a one-day meeting to allow more time for discussion. The first one-day meeting of DOD was held in Helsinki in 2007. Other recommendations were further discussed in later years.

8 e. ARF Workshop on Preventive Diplomacy, Tokyo, 16-17 March 2004
Discussed among others: Welcomed the establishment of the ARF Unit within the ASEAN Secretariat. Activation of EEPs as soon as possible and encourage EEP’s participation in appropriate ARF activities. Establishment of ISG-PD or of entrusting existing ISG CBMs to cover PD. Mechanisms and options regarding the Chair’s role and the chair system, including “Friends of the Chair”. The strengthening linkages with Track II organizations. Actions…

9 The following actions have been taken pursuant to the discussion:
ASEAN Ministerial Meeting adopted the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the ARF Unit on 26 June 2004 and the ARF Unit is fully operational since then. The Guidelines for the Operation of the ARF EEPs was adopted by the 11th ARF in The ARF EEPs has met twice in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The register of ARF EEPs has been developed and regularly updated by the ARF Unit. The 13th in 2006 adopted the concept paper on “Enhancing Ties between Track I and Track II in the ARF, and between the ARF and Other Regional and International Security Organizations”. Representatives from the ASEAN ISIS, CSCAP and OSCE attended the ISG on CBMS and PD in Helsinki and Bandar Seri Begawan in 2007. The recommendation on the establishment of the ISG-PD was further discussed in later years.

10 f. 12th ARF, Vientiane, 29 July 2005 In the 12th ARF agreed to establish the ISG on CBMs and PD to replace the then ISG on CBMs. Pursuant to this decision, the first ISG on CBMs and PD was convened in Honolulu in 2005 and has been regularly convened twice every year.

11 g. TOR for the Friends of the ARF Chair, 2007
The 14th ARF in 2007 adopted the TOR for the Friends of the ARF Chair. This mechanism will assist the ARF Chair in dealing with international situations which affect peace and security in the region, such as serving as good offices in times of emergency and crisis.

12 III. Current Developments
Suggestions to improve ARF working methods. Directory of contact points. Calls for ARF to implement the discussion into actions More active in developing common procedures for collective response to threats facing the region and stocktaking best practices in various areas of cooperation. Widen the engagement and involvement of security and defense officials.

13 IV. Conclusion ARF has been working to create the atmosphere of trust and confidence among the participants, while at the same time laying the groundwork for the implementation of preventive diplomacy. Current developments also suggest that ARF is strengthening itself to be better prepared in facing threats in the region. The issue at hand is how to mobilize the available resources and to put the agreed principles into practical actions, when needs arise.

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