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Promoting integration within ASEAN

10 July 2013

Mr K Shanmugam delivering his address at the Plenary

(From left) Ambassador Chan chairing a discussion on “ASEAN Integration – The Way Forward with ASEAN”, with panellists Ambassador Ong, Ambassador Severino, Dr Yeo Lay Hwee, Director of European Union Centre in Singapore, and Prof Andrew Hurrell, Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at Oxford University

The NUS Centre for International Law (CIL) launched the findings of one of its flagship research projects “ASEAN Integration Through Law: The ASEAN Way in a Comparative Context” on 4 July 2013. This Plenary on “The General Architecture of ASEAN” focused on the political and economic aspirations of ASEAN and the domestic and regional institutions which play a part in the region’s community-building.

The project culminated in about 35 studies across the whole spectrum of ASEAN Legal Integration with a special focus on ASEAN Economic Community-building. Findings will be published by Cambridge University Press, and an ASEAN Integration Through Law curriculum and pedagogy will also be produced.

The event was attended by some 180 diplomats, policymakers, academics and professionals from the business community, including ambassadors and officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Law and Trade of ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretariat. The Guest-of-Honour Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam shared that harmonising legal standards and strengthening existing legal frameworks are important components of ASEAN integration.

Dialogues like CIL’s ASEAN Integration Through Law Project therefore provide a platform where existing laws and regulations of the 10 member states are reviewed and practical plans of action to develop ASEAN’s legal capacity can be identified.

Speakers at the event included Professor Joseph Weiler, Director of the ASEAN Integration Through Law Project and University Professor at the New York University; Mr Pushpanathan Sundram, Former Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN; Mr Pang Khang Chau, Director-General of the International Affairs Division, Attorney-General’s Chambers; Mr Mirza Nurhidayat, Minister Counselor of Political and Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia; Ambassador Barry Desker, Dean of S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS); Ambassador Chan Heng Chee, Singapore Representative to the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights; Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Former ASEAN Secretary-General, Singapore High Commissioner to Malaysia; and Ambassador Rodolfo C Severino, head of the ASEAN Studies Centre at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

This Inaugural Plenary kicked off a series of four sessions where CIL will be sharing the findings of the project. The other three plenaries are scheduled to be held in Singapore, Jakarta and Hanoi over July and August 2013.

By Centre for International Law