Ms. Mary Fides A. Quintos (left) discusses examples of cooperative management of other enclosed and semi-enclosed seas for their possible application in the South China Sea. Also in the picture are Mr. Matthew Palmer, Director at the US State Department (center) and Ms. Maria Teresa T. Almojuela, Senior Special Assistant at the Office of the Undersecretary for Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs.

Ms. Mary Fides A. Quintos, Senior Foreign Affairs Research Specialist with the Institute’s Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS), was among the presenters at the 8th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-sessional Meeting on Maritime Security (ISM-MS) held at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City, on 6-7 April 2016.

In her presentation, Ms. Quintos explored possible cooperative management of the South China Sea by drawing lessons from other regional models such as the Sea Surveillance Cooperation in the Baltic Sea (SUCBAS), the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, and the Arctic Council Task Force for Enhancing Scientific Cooperation.

Ms. Quintos explained how multilateral cooperation, particularly in functional areas, can be possible despite the existence of territorial or maritime disputes. She emphasized, however, that cooperation should not hinder states from seeking other approaches toward the final resolution of disputes, including through international courts, conciliations, negotiations, as provided by international law.

The ISM-MS is an annual meeting that focuses on current and emerging issues affecting maritime security, safety of navigation and marine environment protection in the region. It also gathers scholars and policy experts to discuss national and regional best practices and lessons.

The current inter-sessional period (2015-2017) is co-chaired by the Philippines, United States and Japan. The meeting in the Philippines was attended by 103 officials from 23 ARF member countries.

The delegates to the 8th ARF Inter-sessional Meeting on Maritime Security pose for a group photo.  (Photo credit: PISU-DFA
The delegates to the 8th ARF Inter-sessional Meeting on Maritime Security pose for a group photo. (Photo credit: PISU-DFA)