FSI Co-Hosts Experts’ Meeting on Confidence-Building in the Spratlys

The meeting gathered experts, analysts and government officials acting in their private capacities from China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
The meeting gathered experts, analysts, and government officials from China, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam.

 

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), a Swiss-based private diplomacy organization, co-organized the Fourth Experts’ Meeting on Maritime Confidence-Building in the Spratlys Area on 25-27 May 2016 at the Marriott Hotel, Cebu City. The meeting gathered scholars and government officials  acting in private capacities from China, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam to discuss practical measures in preventing incidents and reducing tensions in the Spratlys area.

The meeting explored the establishment of a common set of rules and operating procedures to minimize incidents and raise predictability among maritime law enforcement agencies (MLEAs), including coast guards. The potential utility as well as limitations of applying and replicating the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea adopted by navies for the MLEAs was thoroughly discussed.

The meeting also noted how incidents in the Spratlys have also involved fishermen and fishing vessels operating in the area. The experts discussed possible cooperative management of fishing activities, with emphasis on ensuring the safety and humanitarian treatment of fishermen.

The experts recommended that in the absence of a common set of standard operating procedures, common principles may be identified on how MLEAs are to behave in the Spratlys area. The experts also acknowledged the importance of sustained interactions among different stakeholders through the conduct of trainings and workshops.

 

Deputy Director-General Julio S. Amador of FSI welcomes the participants to the experts’ meeting
FSI Deputy Director-General Julio S. Amador welcomes the participants to the experts’ meeting.

 

Members of the FSI organizing committee and secretariat pose for a photo after the event.
Members of the FSI organizing committee and secretariat pose for a photo after the event.