Governance and Sustainability in the Straits of Malacca


governance, cultural diversity, trans-boundary networks


Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand


The Straits of Malacca connects two primary networks of shipping routes. To the west lies the Indian Ocean, with routes extending from the western coast of the Malay Peninsula to the shores of Africa, and to the east the South China Sea, with a network of routes connecting East and Southeast Asia. One of the choke points of interaction in this regards was and is the Straits of Malacca. With closer regional economic integration cross-Straits communication and cross ocean communication is increasing. Cross-boundary social networks are ethnically diverse but closely integrated. While trade - among people of different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds - was generally the prime motive to move, it did not restrict itself to the exchange of goods, but extended to the exchange of ideas, knowledge and customs.
Thus the Straits bear great opportunities for the economic and social development of the littoral states of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Moreover, peace and stability in the region is a precondition for regional development, for uninterrupted energy supplies and international trade. The proposed research program aims at providing data and analyses relevant to sustainable social and economic development along the Straits of Malacca. We assert that the final outcome will depend on the form and quality of governance of the region. Our program suggests a new integrated research design that can eventually be applied to other maritime passages of strategic importance. From a practical point of view the research program proposes the utilization of social and economic diversity to strengthen the development potential of the region. The study of other maritime passages could be undertaken at a later date within an extended comparative framework.

Main Cooperation Partners

The Center for Policy Research and International Relations CenPRIS
University Sains Malaysia
Singapore Management University


Gerke, S. (2008). Introduction to a Dynamic Region: The Straits of Malacca. In: Gerke, S, HD Evers and Anna Hornidge (Eds) (2008). The Straits of Malacca. Knowledge and Diversity. Hamburg: LIT, p. 1-5

Gerke, S. (2008). The Strategic Importance of the Straits of Malacca. In: Gerke, S, HD Evers and Anna Hornidge (Eds) (2008). The Straits of Malacca. Knowledge and Diversity. Hamburg: LIT, p. 7-21 (with HD Evers)

Gerke, S. (2008). Cultural Diversity at the Straits of Malacca: A Study of Associations of Georgetown, Penang. In: HD Evers and Anna Hornidge (Eds) (2008). The Straits of Malacca. Knowledge and Diversity. Hamburg: LIT, p.153-203 (with Sarah Meinert)

Gerke, S. (2009). Strategic Group Analysis. ZEF Working Paper No 34, University of Bonn (with HD Evers)

Gerke, S. (2010). “Von Asien lernen: Singapur auf dem Weg zur Wissensgesellschaft”. In: E. Deutscher, H. Ihne (Hrsg.) “Simplizistische Lösungen verbieten sich”. Zur internationalen Zusammenarbeit im 21. Jahrhundert. Badan-Badan: Nomos Verlag, S. 213-230

Straits_of_Malacca_Program_Outline.pdf [WEBP | 23.89KB]


Solvay Gerke

Prof. Dr. Solvay Gerke


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