HUMAN SECURITY: Crisis has its bright side, meeting told -Delegates hold forth on balance of power

The Asian financial crisis is galvanising co-operation between governments and NGOs, a sign which will enhance human security in future Asia, according to a two-day symposium which ended yesterday.

But Tadashi Yamamoto, president of the Japan Centre for International Exchange, who made the assessment, said only an effective partnership would produce lasting co-operation.

Yukio Takasu, director-general of the Multilateral Co-operation Department under the Japanese Foreign Ministry, said good governance, community participation and greater public awareness would help promote effective cross-sectoral partnership.

Democracy in Asia, especially in Indonesia and South Korea, would strengthen the role of non-governmental players, he said.

Anuchat Poungsomlee, Mahidol University’s dean of environment and resources studies faculty, said strengthening the civil society was one way to maintain a balance of power.

The academic said the next process required a mechanism to accommodate problems which were becoming more pluralistic.

Chalongphob Sussangkarn, president of the Thailand Development Research Institute, said planners would face more difficulties because of greater public participation and pressure to keep all interest groups satisfied.

Decision-makers were now facing a paradox of conflicts. ”In Thailand’s case, a dozen groups are staging rallies to bring public attention to their problems, so there needs to be a mechanism to deal with these grassroots issues,” Mr Chalongphob said.

Achara Ashayagachat