24 April 2023
Ms Sim Ann
Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Development
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the 14th edition of the Asia-Pacific Programme for Senior National Security Officers, or APPSNO in short. APPSNO is organised by the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), with the support of the National Security Coordination Secretariat in the Prime Minister’s Office. It brings together senior national security practitioners, policymakers, and academics from various countries for a rigorous exchange of ideas and networking. APPSNO has convened every year since 2007. But from 2020 – 2022, there was a hiatus in organising APPSNO, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. So, it is especially meaningful that we are once again able to convene this event, in person, and with as full a participation as ever.
The theme for this year’s APPSNO is “New World (Dis) Order: Reframing Resilience amidst Fragmentations and Interdependencies”.
Resilience can be broadly understood as “a society’s ability to resist and recover easily and quickly from shocks, through a combination of civilian, economic, commercial, and military elements”. While it is straightforward to say that resilience is a necessary building block for national security, it is less straightforward to determine which resiliency factors are relevant for a nation state in doing so, as states approach resilience-building in a multiplicity of ways.
Our post-pandemic world has revealed intra-and inter-national interdependencies vis-à-vis, for example, supply chains, communication networks, and the proliferation of views, beliefs, empathies, and animosities beyond borders. In the face of Big Power competition, social polarisation, technology threats, and non-traditional security crises like climate change and energy security, rethinking resilience is thus important as we move forward with future shocks in mind.
However, questions of what sort of resiliencies need to be addressed remain. In today’s context, what should the practical responses be for building and hardening resilience? How should we think about resilience today, especially in the context of our increasingly networked societies? Are past lessons learned about the nature and function of resilience still valid? Finally, with whom should we be working with to build resilience, for responsive policymaking?
The five panels we bring you this year encourage wide engagement with these pressing issues. They include economic resiliency amid Big Power competition, countering the dis-infodemic through strategic public discourse, sociopolitical polarisation and its effects on resilience, technology resilience and security, and resilience amid climate change and non-traditional insecurities.
The speakers gathered here are highly accomplished in their respective domains and have arrived from around the globe to share their expertise. I thank all the speakers for finding time out of their busy schedules to join us at the 14th APPSNO.
To the participants of APPSNO, we note that you have also travelled far to be here. Given the range and spread of issues that will be discussed, not all of us will be experts in every field. APPSNO, though, is an excellent opportunity for you to appreciate and consider other aspects of national security from the perspective of each participant and speaker.
Owing to the challenges we face as a global community, the sharing of ideas, experiences, and solutions is vital among national security practitioners. I have no doubt some of your most meaningful encounters and exchanges will take place during your informal exchanges or even during the external excursions planned for you.
In closing, thank you for making the commitment to come here to contribute to the discussion and exchange perspectives on various national security issues faced by our respective countries. I hope you all have a very productive week ahead.
It is my pleasure now to invite the Senior Minister of State, Ms Sim Ann, to address us. Minister, please.
Last updated on 16/05/2023