News & Events
The Indo-Pacific Governance Research Centre
The IPGRC agenda encompasses issues of social and political governance – which are often transnational in scope and origin – pertaining to key problems and issues confronting states, civil society, and citizens in the Indo-Pacific region. These include questions of institutional reform and development, inequalities, human rights, financial and economic governance, environmental and human security. In adopting this approach we hope to generate a better understanding of more effective strategies for improving governance, which hopefully in the long run will enhance public policy making in key areas such as climate change, poverty reduction, gender equality, social policy and human security.
Conferences and Workshops
From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific: Rising Powers, Emerging Regions and Transformations in Governance
Friday 21st of September 2012
This workshop will bring together leading scholars to discuss and present papers on the implications of the shift in power from the Transatlantic to the Transpacific. As global economic power shifts from West to East, the Indo-Pacific region – the vast geo-strategic and geo-economic realm spanning the western Pacific Ocean to the western Indian Ocean along the eastern coast of Africa – is rapidly eclipsing the once-dominant Asia-Pacific as the centre of trade, investment, rivalry, competition and cooperation. The Indo-Pacific contains close to half the world’s population and draws Australia together with the rising powers of China and India, the dynamic sub-regions of Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia and the resource rich and sometimes volatile Middle East and Africa. Moreover the region provides several of the world’s most important choke-points for global commerce including the Strait of Malacca, through which almost a quarter of world trade passes.
This interdisciplinary workshop seeks to shift academic and policy debate from dominant Asia-Pacific notions of regionalism towards an exploration of the normative and social foundations of a broader Indo-Pacific region. To the extent that dominant global and regional institutions and norms were developed in the shadow of the Cold War, emerging institutions and norms reflect a new constellation of economic and political power influenced by the rise of China and India. At the same time, the rise of China and India should be seen within the context of the emergence of the Indo-Pacific region, as inter-regional trade, security and political concerns increasingly shape their global and regional policy preferences.
The workshop aims to initiate a new and innovative critical research agenda on the implications of the emergence of the Indo-Pacific region and the rise of the Indo-Pacific powers for three areas, in particular: regionalism, critical international political economy and critical geo-politics and geo-economics.
This workshop is presented by the IPGRC in partnership with the Australia-India Institute, University of Melbourne and with the support of the Australian Research Council, the School of Social Sciences, the School of Economics, the Confucius Institute and the Asian Studies Association
Enquiries: Dr Priya Chacko
Law and the Politics of Realising Human Rights in Developing Countries
Wednesday 31st October 2012
In recent years, rights based approaches have become increasingly central to international and national efforts to address a range of civil-political and socio-economic problems in developing countries including poverty, abuse of migrant workers, and gender-based violence. A key element of these approaches has been support for justiciable legal frameworks for human rights such as international treaties, constitutional Bills of Rights, or state laws. Indeed, Irene Khan (2009: 203), the former head of Amnesty International, has argued explicitly that such frameworks are a crucial element in the process of realizing rights: the law, she argues, 'can be a tremendous force for protecting the rights of those living in poverty to challenge and gain power' because it acts 'as a shield against the kinds of harm that cause or perpetuate poverty, and as a weapon for people to increase their freedom.'
But do justiciable legal frameworks for human rights actually promote the realisation of rights? The purpose of this workshop is to explore this issue, focusing on four sets of questions.
1. Do rights-based approaches, particularly as they have been expressed through justiciable legal frameworks, actually constitute an alternative to the neoliberal, predatory and nationalist-populist agendas that prevail in most developing countries? Or have they been harnessed to these agendas in ways that undermine their transformatory potential?
2. When are citizens--particularly from poor, marginalized, and vulnerable communities--able to successfully defend, enforce, and/or expand their rights through engagement with the legal system? Is such engagement a lost cause (as Scheingold suggested in relation to the American civil rights movement)? Or are there particular conditions under which there is a chance of success?
3. Do justiciable legal frameworks for rights facilitate the emergence of social movements and/or enhance their effectiveness in promoting social justice?
4. What are the implications of our analysis in relation to the above questions for policy and strategies aimed at promoting rights realization?
Enquiries: Associate Prof. Andrew Rosser