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Research Project Monitor

Project Title

Development and Security in South East Asia (DSSEA)

Project Directors

Prof. David B. Dewitt
Director, Centre for International and Security Studies and
Professor of Political Science, York University
Toronto, Canada
Carolina G. Hernandez, President
Institute for Strategic and Development Studies and
Professor of Political Science, University of the Philippines
Manila, Philippines
Funding Sources
Pilot Project (1995-1996):
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Management for Change Program, Ottawa; and the International Research and Development Centre (IRDC), Ottawa
Funding I
IDRC $30,000 for research expenses during pilot phase, 1995-96
CIDA $80,000 for two meetings during pilot phase, 1995-96
Funding II
CIDA $1.49 million over three years (1997-8, 1998-9, 1999-2000) to cover institutional support, research costs, stipend, meetings, echo seminars, and publications in three countries
DSSEA (1997-2000):
CIDA
Participants
The DSSEA Program aims to foster original research on the intersection between development and security, to create cooperative networks of expertise between Canadians and Southeast Asians and across disciplines, to engage both professional researchers and experts from the non-governmental and policy making communities within Southeast Asia, and to ensure a broad dissemination of findings. DSSEA has focussed on bringing together a mix of senior, more established scholars with younger colleagues. At least two-thirds of all DSSEA researchers would be junior, untenured faculty or advanced graduate students.

The core research program was organized around three multi-national Task Forces (see below) each responsible for a principal research theme. The sponsored core research activities have involved the following individuals.

Several other experts from Southeast Asia and Canada have attended project meetings.

Objectives
DSSEA has as its core the question of the relationship between government and civil society in their efforts to define and to pursue security, broadly defined. It sets up a tension between how government and its instruments understand and pursue security and how people and the communities which they comprise understand and pursue their security interests. It is based on the premise that the process of development is, essentially, a partnership between official agencies, the private sector, and people, and that the diffuse issue of security is intimately entwined with the challenges posed by the dynamics of (mis-) managing development. Governance, whether in terms of an explicit "social contract" or implicitly as the control, management, and allocation of public resources (including goods and services) and, in some cases, intruding into and distorting the relationship between the public and the private, is at the heart of the overarching challenges linking development with security in Southeast Asia. A subset of this focus is the underlying realization of the importance of human resource development, and hence the concept of social capital runs throughout all the specific projects being pursued within this research program.

At the outset, the DSSEA researchers set out to evaluate the state of the art, identify other researchers and networks, conceptualize the linkages sought by the project, and identify and propose specific sets of research projects, building on the work that had been undertaken in our earlier pilot project jointly supported by CIDA and IDRC. Three sets of questions were introduced to guide this process: (i) how do development and security interface in the issue area? (ii) what makes the issue area and its relation to security unique and what is its contribution to development? (iii) how do structures of governance operate to promote development and security around the issue.

The DSSEA project is concerned with the attainment of three goals: (1) identifying and understanding the linkages between security and development through conducting case studies across levels of state-society relations, as well as comparatively within the region; (2) developing enhanced theoretical and conceptual understanding of these complex linkages both to further our knowledge and to improve our abilities to develop practical instruments in support of improved human well-being; and (3) using the acquired knowledge and information for empowerment and change.

Topics for Commissioned Research
DSSEA is organized into three Task Forces or research teams: environment, development and security; globalization, development and security; and human resources, development and security. Each research project was determined through extensive consultations, initially during the pilot project phase and then once the individual researchers were identified and invited to join the program. The majority of invited researchers are young, promising scholars, identified and recommended through consultations between the three "country coordinators" (Dewitt, Hernandez, and Soesastro) and with senior colleagues across the three principal countries. The following titles are indicative of the commissioned research currently underway:

Meetings
Following a one-year pilot investigation (1995-6) in which meetings were convened in Toronto and Manila, the DSSEA program was launched in April 1997 with an opening conference in Indonesia for all the core researchers along with a number of expert advisors. This was followed by full research meetings in Cebu (December 1997) and Manila (December 1998).

A unique aspect of the DSSEA are "echo seminars" designed to bring together members of our research teams with experts from the national and local policy communities, local universities and other research institutions, and members of relevant non-governmental organizations. These informal seminars are designed for us to exchange and to share information concerning our research activities, to invited these participants to comment, to critique, and to engage our work as well as to join where feasible, and to consider how this work might contribute to policy development and to the actions of civil society. Initial "echo seminars" were convened in Jakarta and Manila in June 1997, each with approximately 75 non-DSSEA participants joining members of the DSSEA research teams. Since then, six more have occurred in regional cities in Indonesia and the Philippines, with at least two more planned for summer 1999. In the fall of 1999, two "echo seminars" will take place in Canada, one in Vancouver and the other in Toronto. These are intended to inform a larger Canadian audience and to facilitate opportunities for continuing this type of work.

Outreach
Echo Seminars, an essential part of the DSSEA program, bring together experts from the research community, the policy community across levels of government, and civil society. Our intent is not merely to share our work but also to stimulate opportunities for interested and capable individuals from these three communities to find ways to cooperate and collaborate on issues of common concern as these may relate to development and security, broadly defined. This type of outreach is meant not only to build on each otherÕs knowledge but also to assist in the creation of local networks of experts and other interested citizens within the two Southeast Asian countries currently involved so that follow-on work can continue beyond the initial three-year span of the DSSEA program.

The DSSEA program also is committed to extending our knowledge beyond a relatively small group of researchers and local actors. We therefore initiated The DSSEA Update, published by ISDS Manila as part of their DSSEA activities, and circulated throughout Southeast Asia, in Canada, and elsewhere. Our distribution is now over four thousand, based initially on mailing lists provided by the three participating centres -- YCISS in Toronto, ISDS in Manila, and CSIS in Jakarta. The DSSEA Update offers overviews of recent meetings, summaries of ongoing research, brief policy discussions, and information on DSSEA activities and personnel.

Publications
In addition to internal research drafts and to the publicly available DSSEA Update, the completed research papers will be published in the year 2000. Due to the large number of papers, we have not reached a final determination concerning the feasibility of one omnibus volume rather than a multi-volume set organized around the three principal themes.

Lessons learned
It would be inappropriate to offer a definitive "lessons learned" statement at the two-thirds point of this program. However, there are a set of issues which are core aspects of our program design which will need to be addressed and outcomes assessed as this phase of the program comes to an end. Here are some initial thoughts concerning a few of the more important concerns:

a. our decision to select a mix of research personnel, including a minority of senior, established scholars with a majority of younger scholars ranging from those completing graduate studies to those holding untenured faculty appointments --

To date the evidence is very promising. New ties have been forged between researchers from within the three principal countries and across national boundaries. A number of these are spawning new collaborative research projects. Many have indicated that their involvement in the DSSEA program has opened new areas for research, new opportunities, and certainly new knowledge. On the other hand, quality control in both shaping individual projects and in the principal deliverables is more uncertain. Moreover, for those who were brought in as a means to further completion of their graduate degree research it remains too soon to determine whether this involvement has hindered or facilitated their dissertation or thesis completion. There is no doubt that it has provided them with the institutional in-country support and the financial resources to undertake original field work, and in most cases the type of work which would have been beyond their capacity otherwise.
b. our decision to select expertise across relevant disciplines (economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, and geography) with a broad range of sub-specializations --
As one might have anticipated, this has had mixed results. The language used to articulate research projects, the methodologies employed, and the underlying assumptions are sufficiently varied that while everyone benefits from such exposure to other disciplines, the challenge of retaining project coherence is made more difficult.
c. our approach to funding was to offer contracts to each researcher which covered a set amount for research expenses and a set amount for stipend, with the upper limit of the stipend set but with the capacity of each individual to shift from the stipend account to the research account but not the obverse --
We continue to think that this has been a very creative approach to funding promising scholarship in a somewhat risky and uncertain environment. It recognized the need to provide each researcher with a basic research budget, and to provide a stipend for each sufficient to secure release time from other duties or to ensure that this commitment would be fulfilled. Simultaneously by recognizing that each individual has her/his own financial and institutional situation, it provide some the opportunity to move some or all of the stipend account into the research account and hence offered some unique flexibility in the support of research opportunities. The underlying assumption with this approach, and probably with most other approaches, to funding commissioned research, is that one must rely on the integrity of each individual scholar.
d. our requirement for original research to be undertaken in Southeast Asia --
Due to the unanticipated financial crisis which occurred throughout Eastern Asia, the social, political, and economic climate introduced some exceptionally difficult field research challenges, forcing some to alter their research projects significantly. It also introduced substantial pressures on our two in-region supporting institutions (ISDS Manila and CSIS Jakarta) in their efforts to assist individual researchers. At the same time, we recognized that these events offered unique research opportunities for some of our scholars but it also heightened the problem of personal security as well as the overall challenge of staying within our research program schedule.
e. in addition to regular DSSEA program meetings in the region for all researchers, a series of "Echo Seminars" which brought DSSEA personnel together with relevant experts from the policy communities across the three levels of government (local, national, regional) and non-governmental organizations in the two principal Southeast Asian countries under study --
Echo seminars have evolved into a significant component of the DSSEA program. They have allowed us to reach out to expertise based within the local scholarly community, as well as the NGO, private sector, and government policy communities. At relatively low cost, we have been able to broaden our base of involved experts in the hope that not only is our work likely to be more relevant but that it will form the foundation for ongoing collaborative efforts within and between relevant groups and across local as well as national boundaries. It is particularly important to the civil society, social capital, and empowerment components of the DSSEA program. Based on this initial experience, we would encourage this to become a more formally integrated core component of research programs. Where possible, echo seminars also should be employed in the early stages of research articulation and should become an integral methodology of social science scholarship concerned with questions similar to those that we have been exploring.
f. in support of our commitment to information dissemination, the regular publication of the DSSEA Update, distributing this to over 4000 individuals and institutions within Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, and North America --
Publishing the DSSEA Update has been an effective way of disseminating information about the program and establishing the credibility of both the program and the participants outside the academic world. However, it is not yet clear how helpful it has been in capturing the interest of the larger NGO and policy communities. That can be determined once effort has been made to define projects that will extend beyond the life of the initial DSSEA program.

Contact Information
The initial point of contact should be either of the DSSEA co-directors. They can be reached as follows:

Prof. David B. Dewitt, Director
Centre for International and Security Studies
375 York Lanes, York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada
Tel. (416) 736-5156
Fax. (416) 736-5752
Email: yciss@yorku.ca or directly to ddewitt@yorku.ca

Prof. Carolina G. Hernandez, President
Institute for Strategic and Development Studies
Room 311, Philippine Social Science Center Building
Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, Diliman
Philippines 1101
Tel. (632) 929-0889 or 922-9621 ext 322
Fax. (632) 929-0890 or 921-1436
Email: dssea@cnl.net or isdsphil@cnl.net or directly to cgh@cnl.net