Updated: Apr 12, 2021
From 17-21 August 2020, the very first Asia-Pacific SSG Forum took place. As COVID-19 obstructed a physical gathering, the meeting took place using Zoom. Representatives from 21 different countries came together to discuss the state of SSG/R, common and individual challenges, needs, and good practices.
This year's forum, called The Security Sector and COVID-19 in the Asia-Pacific Region: Strengthening Accountability and Effectiveness in Security Sectors' Health Crisis Response, centered on the challenges posed by COVID-19. The forum offered an opportunity to reflect on the topics discussed in the sub-regional forums, the national working group meetings, and other activities organised by the network. It also provided a platform to discuss a region-wide network effort to develop a study on the impact of COVID-19 on the security sector in the Asia-Pacific.
Widely held conclusions include the idea that a general paradigm shift has taken place in the region from perceiving security from a national security perspective, to a view that includes more non-traditional threats such as health crises, crisis preparedness, issues of accountability and oversight in emergency situations, border management, and issues of mis- and disinformation. Representatives from many countries expressed a desire to cooperate on improving SSG to enhance health crisis preparedness, oversight mechanisms,
preventing violent extremism, and furthering the gender and security agenda.
Sessions were held on topics that included required changes and improvements to the roles of security sector institutions and actors, trends and patterns of changing roles, showcasing developed projects ready for implementation, proposals and ideas for SSR/D projects (including in the context of COVID-19), and the forum ended on a discussion of the way forward for the network.