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NTS Bulletin

NTS Bulletin October 2011 (Issue 1)

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Asia Security Initiative Blog

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An Asia Prepared for the Monsoon Season?

Several Asian countries have experienced flooding in recent weeks. While the monsoon rains – amplified by the La Nina effect – have been taking place as expected from the second to the third quarter of the year, the extent of the damage has in some instances been greater than projected.

In South Asia, floods in the Indian state of Orissa are said to be the state’s worst floods in the past three decades. In Pakistan, some reports have suggested that about 8.2 million people across the country have been affected by floods since early August. Providing relief to flood victims has remained an uphill task, with government coordinated responses being limited and an emergency appeal for international aid of as high as USD357 million being launched.

In contrast, in East Asia, greater preparedness has led to effective responses to the floods.  Continuous rainfall has inundated several provinces in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In a bid to save rice crops from flood damage, farmers have harvested their crops early, which may result in lower yields. Typhoons also struck the Philippines and Japan, which have largely been prepared for the rains given their experiences with previous and more intense typhoons.

While the total costs and damage from the floods have yet to be determined, it is certain that, based on the experiences of Asian countries, well-coordinated disaster preparedness mechanisms, coupled with flood-resistant social infrastructures, will ultimately minimise losses and ensure a relatively smoother recovery process.

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CLIMATE CHANGE, ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY AND NATURAL DISASTERS

News & Commentaries

Selected Publications

This report aims to present a snapshot of ADB’s support of environmentally sustainable growth in the region. It outlines emerging environment challenges including: increasing resource-intensive industries, pollution, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; increasing need for urban infrastructure and services; projected scarcities in food, water and non-renewable resources; vulnerability to climate change; and weak environmental governance.

In 2009, developed countries pledged USD30 billion of ‘fast-start climate finance’. Transparent reporting on climate finance is essential for governments to plan mitigation and adaptation activities and for civil society to hold contributors and recipients to account for how climate funds are spent. This briefing presents a new scorecard based on the extent to which developed countries meet a set of common-sense criteria in their climate finance reports to the UN. It reveals that the global community has a long way to go in making climate finance transparent and that it urgently needs an international registry of funds that provides comprehensive, detailed, consistent and transparent accounting and reporting measures at the project level.

This report is the product of a qualitative evidence-gathering process and enquiry into donor agencies’ experiences of integrating gender into their climate change policies and programmes. It provides insights into what has hindered and enabled such integration processes from a donor perspective. It also provides an update on the status of gender in global and national policy response to climate change, and offers a set of principles and ways forward for a range of donors.

This report, prepared for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17), describes the achievements of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) over its twenty-year history, provides the insights into GEF programming, as well as summarises Convention guidance to the GEF, the GEF response to the COP 16 and conclusions of the 34th session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation.

This report provides a snapshot of how disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) are undertaken and integrated, if at all, in the Asia-Pacific region. It does so by taking stock of past and ongoing regional initiatives and by looking into the role of certain organisations in the implementation process. It also discusses key developments in three areas – political, policy and institutional – which are instrumental in facilitating the integration of DRR and CCA agendas in the region. Concluding remarks and next steps to push the integration forward are presented in the last section.

Events & Announcements

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ENERGY AND HUMAN SECURITY

News & Commentaries

Selected Publications

This article discusses the discord between developed and developing countries with regard to their growing demands for energy and their respective responsibility for managing climate change. It points out some misleading tendencies in the energy and climate change discourse, and concludes that it is important to reach a balance between development and climate change management rather than over-emphasising reduction in energy consumption.

This report provides an overview of a wide range of issues related to rising energy and resource nationalism in the Asia-Pacific region, including nationalism revolving around specific resources such as maritime energy and rare earth minerals. It concludes by examining the implications of energy nationalism in Asia for the US. It argues that energy cooperation is in the interest of all countries and this requires strong leadership and inclusiveness.

Events & Announcements

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FOOD SECURITY

News & Commentaries

Selected Publications

The 2011 World Disasters Report focuses on the growing crisis of hunger and malnutrition. It highlights that the issues of global food security, hunger and malnutrition go to the core of virtually all the major components and functions of the international system – from international trade to climate change, from water scarcity to scientific innovation.

This working paper aims to identify climate-change-related threats and vulnerabilities associated with agriculture as a sector and agriculture as people’s livelihoods. The paper analyses the connections between the nature of human action as drivers of threats as well as opportunities for sustainable agriculture and better human development outcomes. Broadly, it examines the impact of climate change on rural livelihoods, agriculture and food security. It discusses the options for adaptation and mitigation, and the requirements for implementation at local, national and international levels.

This article reviews the research challenges of ensuring global food security in maize, particularly in the context of climate change. It summarises the importance of maize for food, nutrition and livelihood security; details the historical productivity of maize and consumption patterns and future trends; and shows how crop breeding to overcome biotic and abiotic stresses will play a key role in meeting future maize demand.

Events & Announcements

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HEALTH AND HUMAN SECURITY

News & Commentaries

Selected Publications

This article outlines disaster planning and preparedness (DPP) developments in the last decade on the health front. It observes three notable developments: the participation of medical and public health professionals in the disaster preparedness community, the US government’s increased investment in DPP and the growing involvement of community participants in the health aspect of DPP. It adds, however, that there remains much progress to be made in preparing for larger-scale catastrophes such as nuclear detonation. Also, new technologies in disaster response remain unharnessed and further commitments to stable investment in DPP need to be made.

This declaration is a draft resolution which outlines the UNGA’s concerns regarding the socioeconomic impacts of non-communicable diseases worldwide. It also makes a number of pledges, including advancing the implementation of multisectoral, cost-effective, population-wide interventions to reduce risk factors, and accelerating the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, and the WHO Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol.

Events & Announcements

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You are free to publish this material in its entirety or only in part in your newspapers, wire services, internet-based information networks and newsletters and you may use the information in your radio-TV discussions or as a basis for discussion in different fora, provided full credit is given to the author(s) and the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). Kindly inform the publisher (NTS_Centre@ntu.edu.sg) and provide details of when and where the publication was used.

About the Centre:

The Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies was inaugurated by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan in May 2008. The Centre maintains research in the fields of Food Security, Climate Change, Energy Security, Health Security as well as Internal and Cross-Border Conflict. It produces policy-relevant analyses aimed at furthering awareness and building capacity to address NTS issues and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The Centre also provides a platform for scholars and policymakers within and outside Asia to discuss and analyse NTS issues in the region.

In 2009, the Centre was chosen by the MacArthur Foundation as a lead institution for the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative, to develop policy research capacity and recommend policies on the critical security challenges facing the Asia-Pacific.

The Centre is also a founding member and the Secretariat for the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia). More information on the Centre can be found at www.rsis.edu.sg/nts.


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