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APAPAsia Pacific Agenda Project

Second Forum: Bali, Indonesia
January 11-12, 1997


| Session I | Session II | Session III |

Session I

Most participants agreed that it is important to involve NGOs in the policy-related nongovernmental research networking activities that are being carried out, but there should be some discussion and consensus on why they should be involved. It is important to remember that cooperation with NGOs is a way to get input from them, not to co-opt them. Cooperating with NGOs can be a challenge, partly because of a fear of proliferation of too many issues, and partly because it is difficult for NGOs to deal with interdisciplinary issues. They are often criticized as being one-issue oriented and always expecting people to agree with them. However, lately they have been looking for ways to open up communication with the mainstream, and a trend of convergence should be noted.

One participant suggested that gender and security would be good areas in which to begin cooperating. Gender issues have been important to NGOs lately, and it would be useful to get input from their representatives and other experts. ASEAN-ISIS has been successful in involving NGOs in human rights discussions. They have been able to find people who can participate fruitfully in track two efforts. NGOs can provide suggestions, and involving less confrontational NGOs helps extend community building to the general public. It is not necessary to agree entirely with NGOs, but those engaged in policy-related research do need to get ideas from them.

There was talk about the necessity of expanding the existing network geographically. In recent years, some Asian countries have had an increasing amount of contact with the South Pacific related to, for example, trade and dialogue. However, the South Pacific countries often find that Asians know very little about the South Pacific, and they are unhappy with the current situation. Australia and New Zealand are, perhaps, the exceptions and can act as intermediaries to Asia Pacific involvement in the South Pacific. A similar situation is happening in Europe. Networks are being extended to include Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but they still face a multitude of challenges.

Funding is an important issue in any discussion of nongovernmental research and networking activities. External funding has played a crucial role in the development and activities of institutions in the region, but there is a need to develop domestic sources of funding. Obtaining funding for the economic sphere is relatively easy, but getting it for the politico-security field is not as easy. Part of the reason for this is that Australia, Canada, and the United States play a pro-active role in security in the region. Private sources of funding are also difficult to find, but one participant argued that there is reason for optimism because social responsibility is becoming more popular now. Corporations are realizing the relevance of private research to their own agenda. Those involved in research must help the corporations understand their potential benefits. This means more attention paid by researchers to corporation's needs. There is also growing interest among civil society organizations to use public funds for private activities without losing their independence. However, they have to be able to use the funds within their own framework.

Session II

Discussion in session two centered around the meaning of globalization and the state of domestic adjustments in individual countries. The participants looked for consensus on these points and compared and contrasted experiences throughout the region. In doing so, they inevitably came up against the problem of how countries define globalization. In some, globalization is often taken to mean modernization or westernization. In countries such as Korea and Japan, globalization, or "internationalization," have been used to rally people behind a cause that is not necessarily well defined.

There was general consensus that globalization began at different times in each country and at different stages in national and economic development. Therefore, it is natural that the experience in each country is unique. This provides researchers and policymakers with the opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other. There was also consensus that there are both benefits and costs of globalization, and each country should be aware of and minimize the costs in order to avoid domestic backlash against the adjustments.

The participants gave suggestions for further research on the subject of globalization and domestic adjustments. One suggestion was that growing inequality—one widespread cost of globalization—should be addressed. Globalization should be looked at from the political standpoint—who are the winners, and who are the losers? Another suggestion for further study was an investigation of how to best keep globalization moving when it is no longer as popular as it has been, such as the current situation in Korea. A third suggestion was to look at whether globalization will definitely continue, and if so, what direction it will take and how that direction can be controlled.

The session left some questions to be answered regarding domestic adjustments. One set of questions deals with what criteria would be used to consider the adjustments successful and if it is possible to make a cross-regional judgment of what adjustments have worked the best. A second set of questions deals with the force behind the adjustments—how much of the change is driven from the private side and how much from the public; who is controlling the process; and how long can it be sustained politically in a world no longer dominated by economics.

Session III

Much of the discussion in session three was devoted to the meaning of the new security agenda and of security in general. One participant suggested that economic vulnerability is currently the most serious security threat. Another suggested that new security be defined as an issue that cannot be addressed by a routine response, threatens state viability, and has unknown effects. Another participant argued that new security has to do with individuals' and society's adaptability to and tolerance of change. Looked at from this point of view, "new security agenda" would be better termed "current security concerns." New security and traditional security could also be differentiated as between threats involving violence and those taking other forms. They could also be differentiated by response—military or nonmilitary. However, it is important to remember that violence does not always prompt a military response and a military response is not always prompted by violence.

Part of the problem of discussing security in a multinational setting is that the meaning of the word security differs from country to country. In Bahasa, it means peace. In Thai it means to secure, a word very different from stability. In Japanese it means safety, i.e., safety of rights and property. To the Japanese and some other Asians, the idea that security inherently involves violence is a U.S. bias.

The participants made suggestions for further research on the subject of the new security agenda. One suggestion was to examine the tensions between decision makers and grass-roots representatives regarding security and to look at how the general public is involved in and concerned with issues of security. Another participant proposed a comparative survey of the bureaucratic setting for dealing with new security issues in each country and of the international institutions that deal with them. A third suggestion was to address the cultural dimension of security. There is anxiety that integration will lead to a loss of cultural sovereignty, and it might be useful to examine how far governments and academics think sovereignty should be rethought or partially given up for the sake of integration. Finally, a look at the relationship between new and traditional security issues might prove interesting. This could also include a study of the relationship between the types of responses to different security issues.