Preventive Diplomacy


US CSCAP and CSCAP Singapore


The ARF Work Plan on Preventive Diplomacy recognizes that confidence building remains an important aspect of building trust among ARF member countries, while also calling for concrete actions to begin implementing preventive diplomacy in the region. This shift in focus requires creative thinking regarding measures that will be seen by member states as promoting a broader application of preventive diplomacy without detracting from the steady progress that has been realized in the efforts to build confidence through the current ARF initiatives in the areas of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime, Maritime Security, Non-proliferation and Disarmament, and Peacekeeping Operations. At the most recent ARF Inter-sessional Group on Confidence Building and Preventive Diplomacy, which was held in Beijing in April 2013, the group agreed to examine ways to implement training and exploratory workshops on preventive diplomacy. As the ARF Work Plan on Preventive Diplomacy looks to CSCAP for inputs on these issues, this proposal is presented to the CSCAP Steering Committee for consideration to establish a Study Group on Preventive Diplomacy to undertake a focused effort to contribute directly to the ARF ISG on CBMs and PD as the ARF begins to more deeply examine and attempt to implement its PD Work Plan. In particular, the proposed study group will focus its deliberations in studying how the ARF can move ahead with specific preventive diplomacy initiatives. 

Specific agenda

(a) To articulate and promote consensus on a set of common principles related to the implementation of preventive diplomacy within the ASEAN Regional Forum.

(b) To study the requirements associated with building confidence in a security environment of trust versus an environment of distrust.

(c) To evaluate the prospects for implementing various operational and structural preventive diplomacy mechanisms within the ARF.

(d) To identify recommendations for transitioning from confidence building to preventive diplomacy through the implementation of specific preventive diplomacy mechanisms.

(e) To examine the feasibility of follow-on study group projects to elaborate an action plan on specific preventive diplomacy mechanisms. 


The Study Group will produce specific recommendations to the ARF ISG on Confidence Building and Preventive Diplomacy that will promote confidence and facilitate the transition to preventive diplomacy in accordance with the ARF Vision 2020. 

How does this proposed Study Group differ from previous studies undertaken by CSCAP in the past?

Previous CSCAP Study Groups have done substantial work on confidence building and preventive diplomacy (PD). The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) concept and principles for preventive diplomacy drew heavily from a document provided to the ARF by the CSCAP Working Group on Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs). Subsequently, the ARF commissioned a study on preventive diplomacy, which was completed by the Pacific forum CSIS (which manages USCSCAP) and the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (which manages CSCAP Singapore) in 2008. The study considered best practices and lessons learned by selected international and regional organizations and provided a series of recommendations for moving from confidence building to preventive diplomacy and formed the basis for the development of the 2011 ARF Work Plan on Preventive Diplomacy. The ARF Inter-sessional Support Group (ISG) continues to emphasize the need to further study PD and to develop more specific recommendations and policies for governments to adopt. The current study seeks to provide more specific guidance in the interest of facilitating implementation of the Work Plan.


This Study Group has held the following meetings.
One-off meeting: 7-8 December 2013, Yangon, Myanmar.
Download the Chairmens' report