The 4th NTS-Asia Consortium Annual Meeting: “Bringing Back Multilateral Cooperation in NTS Governance.”

25-26 March 2019

The RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies convened the annual meeting of the NTS-Asia Consortium for the 4th time in Singapore on 25-26 March 2019. The conference brought together around 50 participants from member institutions and its non-member partners. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Bringing Back Multilateral Cooperation in NTS Governance.” The conference provided a platform for Consortium members to exchange their perspectives and analyses on the continuing relevance of multilateralism in addressing a wide range of NTS issues.

Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, opened the meeting by highlighting growing nationalist sentiment across the globe, which has resulted in many countries turning their gaze inward and placing less priority on international cooperation.  He argued that multilateral cooperation remains critical in NTS governance especially because of the transboundary and trans-sectoral implications that various NTS challenges bring.

In her keynote address, Ms. Adelina Kamal, Executive Director of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), shared the AHA Centre’s experience in responding to various disaster events across Southeast Asia. She stressed that multilateral cooperation is not only needed but inevitable in the field of humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR). As such, to convince countries to work together, it is important to demonstrate that multilateralism indeed gives real benefits to all parties involved. She added that multilateral efforts do not necessarily compete with bilateral dealings. Instead, they can complement each other and result in more effective solutions.

During the panel sessions, Consortium members deliberated on the opportunities and challenges in effectuating multilateral solutions in five key areas, namely migration, human trafficking and diasporas in the Indo-Pacific; economic inequality and inclusiveness; digitalisation and countering security threats; climate change, environment and sustainable development; and identity politics, pluralism and cohesive societies. They assessed these issues at the global, regional, and national levels, and identified the areas where regional measures have not been optimum and can be improved. These include recommendations to establish and strengthen regional regulations and mechanisms to address cross-border migration issues, cyber and terrorism threats, encourage data sharing, and adopt the circular economy concept, among others.

In her closing remarks, Professor Mely Caballero-Anthony, Head of the NTS Centre at RSIS and Secretary-General of the NTS-Asia Consortium, highlighted the continuing necessity to build institutions and norms, and share best practices from different regions to respond to the many challenges in this increasingly fragmented world. She thanked the members of the Consortium for their active participation and valuable contributions that made this year’s conference successful. You may view the full policy report here.

Click here to view more photos.

Presentation Slides
Click here to download Ms. Adelina Kamal Keynote presentation slides.
Click here to download Panel 1 presentation slides.
*Click here to download Panel 3 presentation slides.
Click here to download Panel 4 presentation slides.
Click here to download Panel 5 presentation slides.

*Dr Jean Bogais slides may be reproduced electronically or in print with due credit given to RSIS and Dr Jean Bogais, Associate Professor, The University of Sydney and Adjunct Senior Fellow with RSIS.