Southeast Asian Parliaments complete Parliamentary Diplomacy Programme with negotiation simulation

The Programme Fellows successfully negotiated, drafted and adopted a Declaration on women in peace building.

For the final week of the Programme on Parliamentary Diplomacy coordinated by the Parliamentary Centre for Asia, thirty Fellows participated in a negotiation exercise. The exercise was set up to simulate a meeting of the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting and required Fellows to develop a Declaration on women in peace-building and conflict resolution. It took place from 25 to 28 October 2021 and was facilitated by experts from PCAsia and the Foundation in an online format. The Fellows were from from the Parliaments of Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Secretariat.

Representing their respective States, the Fellows had to conduct research and develop a country position on women in peace-building. In particular, they assessed their own respective, laws, policies and national action plans, while also considering regional and international laws and perspectives. They identified priorities for their country and ‘red lines’ for their negotiating strategies, as well as pre-empting the positions of other States.

The Fellows then presented their country positions and undertook extensive negotiations, with consideration for the existing international legal framework and ASEAN statements. To initiate their draft Declaration, they identified key concerns, including the participation of women in leadership and gender-based discrimination and violence, particularly in peace-building missions. To advance their primary concerns, they developed the operative paragraphs of a draft text, setting out tangible measures to implement their objectives and address their concerns. In particular, they proposed policy measures, regional and inter-regional cooperation, training, financing and quotas.

On reaching an initial draft developed by the ‘Drafting Team’ with the support of ‘Rapporteurs’, the Fellows engaged in a lively discussion utilising different negotiation strategies to compromise on contentious issues. In accordance with ASEAN’s approach to consensus, they reached a final draft Declaration, which was adopted on the final day of the simulation exercise.

This is the final week of the 2021 Parliamentary Programme, which commenced in July of this year and included modules on parliamentary diplomacy, technology, memoranda drafting, international law and resolution drafting. The Parliamentary Diplomacy Programme has been running since 2019, by PCAsia and implemented with its partners, including the Foundation, and aims to strengthen the capacity of Southeast Asian Parliaments and support their parliamentary diplomacy work. The Programme is expected to continue next year.