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  • Author: Christopher Chen, Angelo Paolo L. Trias
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Water is a fundamental element of survival and growth on Earth. As a prerequisite for life and an important economic resource, it supports all aspects of everyday activity. Ensuring that water is available, accessible and safe for current and future generations is among humanity’s greatest challenge. One of the most important Non-Traditional Security (NTS) challenges facing Southeast Asia is water security. This NTS Insight explores water security issues in Southeast Asia and examines the ways it threatens states and societies. While water security challenges are not new in the region, the nature of issues are changing, making it important to assess how such threats are defined, negotiated, and managed. The NTS governance process begins with identifying and understanding NTS challenges, and ways they are securitised. By looking at case studies at the sub-national, national and regional level, this paper seeks to present some of the major water security issues in the region, how they affect states and societies, and why they merit urgent attention and resources. This Insight explains why addressing sub-national water security challenges require consultative and participatory approaches that facilitate open democratic dialogue and local collective action. It will also lay out how deliberate planning, careful implementation, and judicious monitoring of water management policies are needed at both the national and regional levels. Further, while it is not easy to reconcile developmental goals with environmental protection, the gravity of the situation requires more preventive diplomacy and subregional collaborative mechanisms which are geared towards averting water conflicts. Overall, it aims to help formal and informal NTS actors working through various channels to gain further understanding of emerging water security challenges in Southeast Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Natural Resources, Water
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Margareth Sembiring
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: International garbage disputes are rare. Lately, however, the world witnesses waves of newsworthy trash saga. From the Philippines shipping containers of rubbish back to Canada, to Malaysia planning to return tons of garbage back to countries of origin, to China’s near-total ban of plastic waste import, it is hard not to wonder whether this is a real sign of rising environmentalism. Have countries begun to think that the environment is worthy of a similar priority as the economy? This Insight argues that behind the seemingly growing pro-environment attitudes, it still remains to be seen whether this trend is sustainable in the long run. Considering that the global waste trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, the balance may tip to favour the economic activities again once the dust has settled back. The paper first looks at a brief description of the global waste trade industry. It then discusses some of the contemporary development in the global waste industry particularly on the issues of waste smuggling and China’s plastic waste import ban. It describes related experiences in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Economy, Trade, Waste
  • Political Geography: China, Malaysia, Canada, Philippines, Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Julius Caesar Trajano
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Philippines and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development, demonstrating their willingness to explore joint development as a pathway to collaboration, notwithstanding their territorial disputes. Recent commentaries on joint development are mostly framed on legal challenges, South China Sea (SCS) rows, geopolitics, and state-centric security issues. However, there have been no extensive discussions on the potential contributions from non-state stakeholders that can make joint development agreements environmentally sound, sustainable, and less political. These stakeholders are the oil companies, fishermen and coastal communities. In this regard, this NTS Insight explores potential roles of these stakeholders in promoting joint initiatives to share and develop resources in the SCS. It argues that the engagement and participation of non-state stakeholders in resource sharing and joint management must be pursued to address key non-traditional security challenges in the SCS. It also examines mechanisms to integrate marine environmental protection and sustainable fishing management into joint development agreements.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, Philippines, Southeast Asia, South China Sea
  • Author: Margareth Sembiring, Foo Yen Ne, Christopher Chen
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Since Southeast Asian leaders signed the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) in 2005, the region has prioritised developing national and regional disaster management capabilities to respond to disasters. However, the recent back-to-back disasters that occurred between July and August 2018 tested the response capacities of national governments and the humanitarian community. Parts of Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and the Philippines battled floods of varying severity induced by seasonal monsoon rains, tropical storms and a dam collapse on a tributary of the Mekong River. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara was hit by multiple earthquakes and aftershocks between 29 July and 19 August. The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) reported that at the peak of these disasters, over 588,000 people were displaced and more than 5.2 million people in Southeast Asia were affected. Against the backdrop recent disasters generating simultaneous responses, this NTS Insight makes key observations on Southeast Asia’s ability to meet the immediate needs of disaster-affected communities while building greater disaster resilience for the future. It assesses the (i) institutionalisation of disaster management in ASEAN; (ii) localisation of disaster response; and (iii) opportunities for financial risk management for building disaster-resilient communities.
  • Topic: Security, Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Southeast Asia, Laos, Myanmar
  • Author: Foo Yen Ne
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Almost two decades since the adoption of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, and specifically the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, the debates on addressing human trafficking have not veered far beyond questions of law enforcement efficacy. What makes law enforcement against human trafficking so challenging in the East Asia region? This NTS Insight examines the nature of international legal frameworks that address human trafficking and the way they influence regional and domestic anti-trafficking legislation in East Asia. It argues that human trafficking as a crime is often “hidden” from the one-size-fits-all anti-trafficking legal regime adopted in domestic or national settings. The report argues that drawing the crime of human trafficking out of the shadows is made difficult by (i) the ambiguous definition of human trafficking in international law; (ii) the disjuncture between human trafficking contexts in East Asia and what international anti-trafficking legal regimes seek to address.
  • Topic: Security, International Law, Women, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Kei Koga
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper, focusing on the 1968-1976 institutional changes of ASEAN, a Third World Security-Oriented Institution (SOI), attempts to develop a theoretical model of institutional transformation by utilizing a punctuated equilibrium model. This theoretical model illustrates interactions between structure and agent to explain both why and how institutional transformation occurs: first, changes in the external security environment foster or hinder SOI's functions, and thus, they trigger internal political discussions among member states; and second, internal political discussions define the direction of SOI's institutional transformation. Focusing on changes in the regional balance of power in Southeast Asia from 1968 to 1971 and from 1972-1976, this paper examines the process of ASEAN's creation of the Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) in 1971, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) and the Bali Concord in 1976.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Political Theory, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Desmond Ball
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper recounts the East Asian experience with the construction of Defence-related architecture to date. It recalls some earlier history of the ARF, viz: the adoption of a Concept Paper, containing a large menu of possible confidence building measures and other proposals for security cooperation, including numerous Defence-related measures, in 1995. It also describes in some detail the recent history of the ASEAN-led forums for Defence dialogue and cooperation which contributes to the identification and elucidation of at least some of the principal elements of a 'Southeast Asian Defence Model' which frames the agenda for prospective cooperation. The paper discusses recent developments in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and European Union (EU), and argues that the purposes, structures, operational modalities and achievements of these organisations are not central to any consideration of East Asian security architecture. On the other hand, their recent experiences in important areas such as peace-keeping, missile defence and cyber security warrant serious reflection. The paper offers some proposals concerning half a dozen areas for substantive future consultation and cooperation by the constituent mechanisms of the Defence component of the East Asian security architecture. They involve a composition of the unremitting security challenges requiring regional resolution and the principal elements of a Southeast Asian Defence Model, as manifested in the record of achievements to date. Construction of the Defence part of the architecture sufficiently robust to effectively address the regional security challenges will require both reform of the Defence pieces into a more integrated, coherent and efficient structure and also disposal of some of the more! dysfunctional aspects of the Southeast Asian Defence Model.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Europe, Israel, East Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: José N. Franco
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Today's outward migration of millions of Filipinos has rendered international borders porous and blurred the already thin-line between legal and illegal overseas workers, making both documented and undocumented migrants from the Philippines a responsibility of their government. Every case affecting Filipinos abroad, therefore, is a potential non-traditional security issue because, while migration poses no direct threat to the territorial security of sovereign states, it could threaten the survival of government if left unattended. It could make or unmake politicians, remove officials from public office, or, at worst, strain diplomatic relations between labor-sending and -receiving countries. It's also an economic issue that spills over to other related cases, such as human rights, sexual and reproductive health topics, national politics, and foreign affairs. The concept of securitization and desecuritization—as advanced by the Euro-centric Copenhagen School and adopted, with some modifications, by the Asia-centric Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, in Singapore—is a powerful tool used by actors in identifying an existential threat to a referent object in migration cases, and in resolving the issue at hand.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Bruce Tolentino
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The forces of globalization, in tandem with realities of domestic natural resources, economics and politics, and the influence of international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), are re-shaping the food security policy and strategy of nations such as the Philippines. This paper describes the forces that have come to bear on the shaping of food security policy in the Philippines in recent years, and the Philippine Government's responses to the challenges.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Health
  • Political Geography: Philippines, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Evelyn Goh
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The small and medium-sized states in Southeast Asia have undergone significant geostrategic changes with the end of the Cold War and the rise of China. There has been a lively debate over the last decade about whether these countries would balance against or bandwagon with China, and how their relations with the other major powers in the region would change. Recent works that argue against the simple dichotomy of balancing versus bandwangoning are correct in asserting that Southeast Asian countries do not want to choose between the two major powers, the U.S. and China. But this paper goes further to present the results of an empirical study that fleshes out the conceptual thinking that underlies this avoidance strategy. It finds that instead of merely adopting tactical or time-buying policies, key Southeast Asian states have actively tried to influence the shaping of the new regional order. It argues that key Southeast Asian states in fact have (a) distinct coneptualisations of two main pathways to order in the region–omni-enmeshment of major powers and complex balance of influence; and (b) a concrete vision of the preferred power distribution outcome, which is a hierarchical regional order.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: John Bradford
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: At the beginning of 2005, Southeast Asian security cooperation is still regarded as inadequate to defend the region against maritime threats. However, structural, economic and normative factors are enabling greater cooperation in the post-9/11 “Age of Terror”. This article open with a brief outline of the history of Southeast Asian maritime security cooperation from 1990 to December 2004, and then discusses the various maritime threats faced by the region. It next described five factors that are enabling greater maritime security cooperation in the age of Terror. The potential application of those factors is assessed to anticipate the most likely forms of future regional cooperation. While cooperation will expand on many levels, the most fruitful cooperation will result from improved networks of bilateral relationships. Information in this working paper will be of interest to these seeking to understand the cooperation and security dynamics of this important and intensely maritime region. It should be of specific interest to those policymakers seeking to improve international cooperation to combat Southeast Asian transnational maritime threats such as terrorism, piracy and smuggling.</p
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Irman Lanti, Leonard Sebastian
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the ever-growing Post Suharto era radical Islamic discourse in Indonesia became more dominant and was in itself shaped by themes evident in the global sphere, where the rhetoric of a clash between Islamand the West became a major theme in international relations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia