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Think Tank (November to December 2019)
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Asia-Pacific and the Humanitarian World
05 Dec 2019

Against the backdrop of countries in the Asia-Pacific region increasing their contributions to address international humanitarian challenges, the RSIS’ Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme hosted the second of a two-part conference series on humanitarian work in the region on 5 and 6 December 2019. Titled “Asia-Pacific and the Humanitarian World”, the event was a continuation of the work done at the first conference, held in February 2019.

The two-day conference brought together scholars from acros ... more

Against the backdrop of countries in the Asia-Pacific region increasing their contributions to address international humanitarian challenges, the RSIS’ Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Programme hosted the second of a two-part conference series on humanitarian work in the region on 5 and 6 December 2019. Titled “Asia-Pacific and the Humanitarian World”, the event was a continuation of the work done at the first conference, held in February 2019.

The two-day conference brought together scholars from across Asia-Pacific to explore the various perspectives from the region on the dynamics, limits and possibilities of humanitarian action. Delivering the keynote address, Professor Sigit Riyanto, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Gajah Mada University, Indonesia, emphasised the importance of reinforcing universal values for humanitarian cooperative arrangements in Asia. Speakers and participants examined how countries such as China and Indonesia understand humanitarianism and humanitarian action and how such understanding has informed their respective foreign policies.

The discussions also covered cooperation in humanitarian missions in bilateral and multilateral settings, such as the US-Philippine security alliance, the bilateral partnerships between Australia and the South Pacific islands, and ASEAN as a humanitarian platform. As the humanitarian landscape has seen a proliferation of actors, participants also looked at the roles of the private sector and civil society in providing humanitarian assistance as well as the implications of these actors’ work.

Participants had the opportunity to engage in networking activities outside the conference setting. They also visited the Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre in Singapore to gain a broader understanding of military-to-military coordination in Southeast Asia as well as the broader Asia-Pacific region.

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