In addressing the question of the role of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) in preventing crises, one must look beyond the confines of its mandate and examine the issue in practical, albeit indirect, terms. In so doing, one should not separate the role of AIPR in preventing crises from the unique position afforded by its traditional governance structure.
The ASEAN AIPR is the institution of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for research activities on peace, conflict management and conflict resolution. As outlined in its terms of reference (TOR), adopted by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers in 2012, AIPR is mandated to undertake a number of activities, including research, capacity-building, developing a pool of expertise, networking and information dissemination.
In terms of research, AIPR compiles ASEAN experiences and best practices on peace, conflict management and conflict resolution, as well as postconflict peacebuilding. These research activities are with a view to providing appropriate recommendations to ASEAN member states and bodies, at their request. AIPR is also mandated to undertake studies to promote gender mainstreaming in peacebuilding, peace processes and conflict resolution, as well as to study and analyse existing dispute settlement mechanisms in ASEAN with a view to enhancing regional ones for the peaceful settlement of disputes.
In regard to capacity-building, AIPR holds workshops on peace, conflict management and conflict resolution; on advancement of work in the area of interfaith dialogue; and on building knowledge among relevant government officials, scholars and think tanks.
With respect to developing a pool of experts, it is envisioned that this pool would be tapped by ASEAN member states to serve as resource staff for conflict management and resolution activities, including providing policy recommendations on the promotion of peace and reconciliation.
As for networking, AIPR is envisioned to serve as a knowledge hub, by establishing linkages with relevant institutions and organizations in ASEAN member states, as well as with similar organizations at the regional and international levels. Finally, with regard to information dissemination, AIPR is expected to raise awareness and understanding of the topics within its ambit.
Pending the establishment of a permanent secretariat, which is expected in 2017, AIPR, through its Governing Council and Advisory Board has, in the past five years...