The Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) : it's record and its prospects

Author/s (editor/s):

Desmond Ball

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

The Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) is the premier second-track organisation in the Asia-Pacific region. It was set up in 1992-93 to provide ‘a more structured regional process of a non-governmental nature … to contribute to the efforts towards regional confidence building and enhancing regional security through dialogues, consultation and cooperation’ in the region. It was described at the time as ‘the most ambitious proposal to date for a regularised, focused and inclusive non-governmental process on Pacific security matters’, and as ‘one of the most important developments in regional security since the end of the Cold War’. It was an important, ambitious and exciting initiative, in a region which heretofore had been opposed to multilateralism.

This monograph provides a critical review of CSCAP’s achievements since 1992-93. It describes the activities of the CSCAP Working Groups, and the relationship between CSCAP and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). It addresses several issues which are of crucial importance to the future of CSCAP, including the future of its Working Groups, the role of the Steering Committee, the relations with officialdom in the member countries, and tensions within the basic charter and objectives of the organisation. It also discusses CSCAP’s research agenda, and identifies new subjects for study, including arms control, defence cooperation, the environment and security, and the concept of human security. Finally, it provides an assessment of CSCAP’s prospects.

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