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Blog: Our CEO James Mapstone on his visit to #3rdACCPCJ in Thailand

Alliance of Sport CEO and Co-Founder, James Mapstone, recounts his experience from the recent third Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Conference on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, hosted in Bangkok by the Thailand Institute of Justice.

The Alliance of Sport has been working alongside the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) for the last two years on a research project compiling best practice for using sport in the prevention of youth crime and criminal justice.

The research, due to be published soon, identifies practical ways in which sport is successfully integrated into youth crime prevention and criminal justice strategies in different social and judicial contexts across the world.

Another aspect to the research is analysing roles and types of multi-stakeholder partnership where stakeholders within sport and physical activity, criminal justice and other sectors fuse together to bring positive outcomes.

It was on this vital subject of partnerships and international coordination that I was asked by the TIJ to speak at the #3rdACCPCJ in Bangkok.

The ACCPCJ is a forum to exchange experiences and good practices on crime prevention and criminal justice. Since its establishment in 2016, it has recognised the importance of cross-pillar, cross-sectoral coordination in tackling crime prevention and criminal justice-related challenges.

The theme of the third ACCPCJ was: Responding to Crime and Justice challenges amidst ASEAN recovery from the Covid-19 Crisis. Additionally, three clusters of substantive issues were discussed; cybercrime, justice reform and international cooperation.

My role was to moderate a special session on public-private partnerships. The aim was to generate fresh perspectives and thought-provoking debates among the key speakers, thus inspiring discussions of the respective three clusters of substantive issues.

I was joined by (and it was a pleasure to learn from):

  • Mr. Ferry Akbar Pasaribu, Assistant Deputy/Minister Counselor, Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs of Indonesia
  • Ms. Praphai Kaweewongprasert, Risk Management Consultant, Xspring Capital Public Company Limited
  • Mr. Eason Phan Yoke Seng, Chief Operating Officer, Boustead Properties Berhad, Malaysia
  • Mr. Narucha Ruchuphan, Senior Executive Investment Advisor, Thailand Board of Investment

In the session, I was privileged to give an overview of the Alliance of Sport and our work, and share some of the findings from the TIJ research project outlining why collaboration – now more than ever – is essential to address post-Covid-19 challenges.

Here is a snippet from my opening speech:

“I would like to start with a quote from Mr Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Special Advisor to the TIJ and former Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN. The quote is from an article in the Bangkok Post on Friday which helped raise awareness of this conference, and how ASEAN had just celebrated its 55th anniversary on 8 August 2022.

“We have come a long way from our humble beginning to becoming a force to be reckoned with – the convening power like no other. But we should not be under any illusion that the road ahead is going to be easy. ASEAN is not without its challenges, especially in the current context of the international security and geopolitics and the Covid-19 recovery.”

And as usual, he is right. The pandemic has continued to adversely affect the security, economic and social fabric of ASEAN. The challenges facing the Criminal Justice System are unprecedented, they include forced changes to operational practices and policies, delayed progress on delivering action plans and carrying out recommendations, and slower progress made on forging cross-border collaboration in criminal matters.

When countries around the world were faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, they responded with a coordinated effort. Now that same effort is required to strengthen the Criminal Justice System and prevent future victims of crime.

Effective and collaborative leadership is now more critical than ever as we recover from the pandemic and become fit for the future. Governments and industry leaders must work closely together and, using lessons from the pandemic, they must develop the capabilities to achieve common goals, and adopt reforms that render the justice system more inclusive, cooperative, cost efficient and able to meet the needs of everyone it serves.”

It was a busy and brilliant three days full of learning and we were joined by people from around the world both in person and online. The 3rdACCPCJ was also supported by the TIJ Youth Forum. It held a special event to hear from people who have lived experience of the justice system. Together their voices are key to shaping the future of crime prevention and criminal justice.

The outcomes from the conference include helping to shape a new ASEAN Declaration on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

AoS looks forward to an ongoing relationship with the TIJ and developing new ones with other member states across ASEAN.