Jakarta. The government of Indonesia and the Asean Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, or AIPR, signed a host country agreement on Thursday (01/02) in Jakarta, marking the start of operations for the research-focused body aimed at strengthening the region’s political-security community.
"I’m confident that AIPR will provide crucial contribution and strengthen the political-security pillar of Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] through its insightful research and analysis," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said during her opening remarks at the document signing event.
She added that AIPR is expected to help Asean member states address challenges affecting regional peace and stability.
AIPR was launched by Asean leaders during the 21st Asean Summit in 2012 as a research institute on peace and conflict management and resolution.
In October 2017, the institute appointed its first executive director, Rezlan Ishar Jenie. AIPR's initial operational budget, which has been set for its first three years, was provided by Indonesia.
"The next phase of operationalization will be borne together by Asean member states, as we seek to strengthen the political-security pillar of Asean," Retno said.
The minister also touched on the importance of AIPR for the next 50 years of Asean, especially to address unresolved and new challenges, ranging from border disputes, violent extremism and transnational organized crimes.
AIPR is mandated to conduct research, capacity building, develop a pool of expertise and network and disseminate information among relevant stakeholders.
Speaking to reporters after the event, Rezlan said that AIPR is currently discussing a work plan and has yet to determine a more specific focus area.
"What’s important is that AIPR will help Asean compile best practices and valuable lessons from what has happened in the region," Rezlan said.
He added that AIPR will not only work with Asean member states, but also cooperate with nongovernmental organizations and institutions of higher education.
Furthermore, he mentioned that the Asean principle of non-interference will guide the work of the institute.
Prior to his appointment to AIPR, Rezlan was an Indonesian diplomat and has served in New York, France and Portugal.
"We will look on the region’s experiences … we will use it as part of lessons learned that can be some sort of tool for Asean countries, should they need it to resolve ongoing disputes or conflicts," Rezlan said.