Think Tank (5/2020)
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ASEAN Mechanisms for Maritime Security Cooperation
11 Sep 2020

On 11 September 2020, the Maritime Security Programme, RSIS, and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Indonesia co-hosted a virtual workshop titled “ASEAN Mechanisms for Maritime Security Cooperation”. The workshop was the third iteration of an ongoing project looking at ASEAN maritime priorities and ASEAN-led mechanisms dealing with maritime security.

Recognising the divergence of maritime priorities and interests among individual ASEAN member states, the workshop focused on the increased need to harmonise national maritime security agenda with regional initiatives amidst challenges that included the COVID-19 pandemic and growing tension in the South China Sea. The workshop also discussed the need for countries to maintain a rules-based maritime order in the region. It highlighted the lack of a unified interpretation of international maritime laws, especially with regard to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as a major obstacle to achieving a rules-based maritime order.

In addition, the workshop provided insights into a wide range of non-traditional and transnational maritime security challenges faced by ASEAN countries, including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Participants shared national best practices in dealing with these challenges and discussed how national experiences and lessons learnt could be translated to better manage regional maritime security cooperation at the ASEAN level.

The workshop was attended by over 25 speakers and participants from various think tanks and academic institutions throughout ASEAN.

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