The 1st “Mekong-Asia Pacific Peace Forum” was successfully convened on 28 August 2022. The Forum aims to promote multistakeholder dialogue and collaboration, people-centred approach, and shared prosperity for a sustainable peace in the Asia-Pacific. Moreover, it also promotes dialogue on the Asian approach towards peace, conflict prevention, and resolution.
The Forum was co-organised by the Asian Vision Institute and Think Tank 2022 Asia Pacific Secretariat. It brought together more than 40 participants from government agencies, foreign embassies in Phnom Penh, think tanks, academic institutions, and private corporations joining onsite, about 100 participants from Asia Pacific and other regions joining on Zoom; and about 100 participants on Facebook Live. The recording of the Facebook live has reached about 40, 000 people in the first 20 hours.
The event was opened with welcoming remarks by H.E. Dr. Sok Siphana, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AVI. He underscored the significance of the Mekong region as the centre of the Asia Pacific and called for the advancement of multilateral cooperation in the Mekong region.
The Forum discusses three topics: (1) School Gardening and Food Security; (2) Small States Diplomacy and Hedging Strategy; and (3) The ASEAN Way of Peacebuilding.
The panel on food security provides various perspectives on the impacts of wars and conflicts on food security, enhances food awareness through hands-on gardening experience; attitudes and education about food; and strengthens regional cooperation on food security.
The panel on small states’ diplomacy exchanged views on the pressures, challenges, and opportunities for small states like Cambodia in navigating geopolitical storms caused by the China-US rivalry. The hedging strategy was identified as the most relevant and practical strategy for small states to survive and thrive.
The panel on the ASEAN Way towards Peace stressed the relevance of the ASEAN Way in social norms and collective indemnity, which contribute to the building of the foundation of peace. Democracy, human rights, and governance are instrumental in promoting sustainable peace.
The Forum has generated important inputs for the development of the Mekong-Asia Pacific Initiative (MAPI) proposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen at the World Summit in Seoul in February 2022 and the realisation of the Asia Pacific Union initiated at the Asia Pacific Summit in Phnom Penh in 2019.