Jakarta-based think tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has highlighted the need for ASEAN to refrain from its old ways and be more progressive in its efforts to overcome regional challenges.
Speaking at a seminar to commemorate the group’s 45th anniversary on Thursday, CSIS cofounder Jusuf Wanandi said that as part of its work to develop policy recommendations for the government and as a contribution to strengthening peace and stability in the region, CSIS hoped to propose an amendment of the ASEAN Charter to help regional leaders move forward with a framework that was more relevant to today and tomorrow’s world.
“[To create] more flexibility, let’s increase people’s participation and raise people’s awareness on what ASEAN is all about. And this should not be led by the bureaucracy but by the leaders of ASEAN,” Jusuf, who is also vice chairman of the CSIS Foundation’s board of trustees, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Jusuf said CSIS wanted to push the idea with the ASEAN Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ASEAN-ISIS), a leading security studies institute. He said CSIS would call for the formation of a team to review the ASEAN Charter in 2017, corresponding with ASEAN’s 50th anniversary and the year when the Philippines is set to take the organization’s chairmanship.
Speaking during the event, Indonesian Ambassador to the UK and the Republic of Ireland Rizal Sukma said revising the ASEAN Charter, especially articles on the consensus-based decision-making process, would be a start for ASEAN to move forward in building a firm stance on various issues in the region.
The charter says all organizational decisions shall be made by consensus, meaning that a single member country can veto a decision deemed not in line with its own interests. This principle is considered to be the main hurdle that has hampered decision-making processes at the ASEAN level, as shown by its latest failure to reach a consensus on how to deal with China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea. (ebf)