RSIS Virtual Roundtable on “Climate Security in the Indo-Pacific: Strategic Implications for Defence and Foreign Affairs”
The recent IPCC Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis report released on 9 August 2021 has proven to be a “reality check”, highlighting the likely increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather and its potential impacts on the world as temperatures continue to rise. Largely a result of human behaviour, it is clear that climate change is increasing insecurity across our region from devastating storms, sea level rise, and extreme heat to knock-on effects such as the migration of fish stocks which compromise our food security. Governments are designing and incorporating climate-proofing measures into foreign and defence policies in the region to mitigate these effects – demonstrating the priority climate change now takes. This roundtable gathers experts from the defence and foreign policy communities to discuss Climate Security in the Indo-Pacific and its implications on regional affairs. This event will evaluate the role of climate change as a crisis multiplier, and the place of climate change in national and regional defence and foreign policy.
About the Speakers
Ms Rachel Fleishman is a Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific at the Center for Climate and Security where she focuses on the Asia-Pacific region, and Asia-Pacific Liaison at the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS). Rachel started her career in national security policy, working in nuclear arms control at SAIC, the Pentagon and NATO. Her interest in climate security was sparked during her tenure working for the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security), where Rachel helped to conceive and build the Pentagon’s international environmental security program. Rachel currently advises businesses and non-profit institutions on climate change and circular economy issues at Insight Sustainability. Prior roles included heading the sustainability and advocacy functions for German chemical company BASF in Asia Pacific, and directing Hong Kong’s only low-carbon leadership platform, the Climate Change Business Forum. She also held management positions at the Clinton Global Initiative Asia, the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, and Sprint Corporation. Rachel speaks regularly on sustainability topics, including climate change, circular economy, and measuring non-financial impact, among other topics. Rachel holds a BA from Tufts University, an MA from the University of Maryland, School of Public Affairs and an MBA from Kellogg, at Northwestern University.
Dr Pichamon Yeophantong is an Australian Research Council Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy. She also leads the Environmental Justice and Human Rights Project and convenes the Asia-Pacific Development and Security Research Group. Pichamon has conducted extensive field-based research on environmental security challenges in the Asia-Pacific and is currently a Chief Investigator on three multi-year projects that collectively seek to enhance the resilience of environmental defenders and women leaders in China and Southeast Asia. Pichamon has also consulted on regional development and humanitarian issues with the United Nations and Africa Progress Panel, among others, and sits on the board and advisory committee of Jubilee Australia and the Australian Water Partnership. Previously, she was a Global Leaders Fellow at the University of Oxford and Princeton University.
Colonel Ian R. Cumming (Ret) has a diverse private sector, government, Defence, and industry background. Ian is a civil engineer, Reserve Army Officer, small business owner, qualified builder, project manager, and passionate advocate for indigenous business and appropriate behaviours to deal with climate change. After 33 years of full time Army Engineer Officer service Ian was the inaugural climate and security adviser within the Australian Department of Defence. His Army career included command of engineer soldiers on operations to recover from disasters, and management of multiple operations from HQs in Australia. It also included Defence Infrastructure major capital works in excess of $3Bn. As the ‘Defence Climate and Security Adviser’ he initiated the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals into the Defence procurement process known as “SMART buyer program”. Ian is a member of the International Military Council on Climate and Security. He is also the founder and Director of IRC Pty Ltd. IRC Pty Ltd provides sales and distribution of GFRP re-bar for concrete, a more sustainable product than steel re-bar. It also provides consulting services in approaches to Government, climate and security, and disaster resilience. Ian has built a significant experience base across Defence and emergency management from time spent with Papua New Guinea’s Engineer Battalion, with the Registered Engineers for Disaster relief RedR in Liberia, as a Military Observer in East Timor and as the leader of ADF’s engineer response to the Boxing Day Tsunami in Banda Aceh.
Professor Ono Keishi is a professor for National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), Japan. He read economics at Kyoto University, and had got MSc of development economics at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Before joining the NIDS, he had worked at the Sumitomo Bank Ltd., as a credit administrator for eight years and a half. His expertise at the NIDS is military/defense economics, and he has published books and thesis on economics on war history, military privatization, terrorism, child soldiers, artificial intelligence, demographic dynamics and climate security. He has been a member of “Environment Security Round Table” co-organized by the National Institute for Environment Studies (NIES) and Ministry of Environment from 2016 to 2019 and now serves on “Climate Change and Security Study Workshop” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dr Alistair D. B. Cook is Coordinator of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Programme and Senior Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests focus on the Asia-Pacific, and Myanmar in particular, on humanitarian affairs, disaster governance, foreign policy and regional cooperation. He served as the President (2018 – 2021) and Secretary-Treasurer (2014 – 2018) of the Asia-Pacific Region of the International Studies Association. He teaches a masters level seminar title Governance and Security in Myanmar at RSIS and contributes to professional development courses at the Civil Defence Academy including the ASEAN Senior Executive Programme on Disaster Management since it began in 2015. From 2012 – 2013 he was a visiting research fellow at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore where his research focused on China-Myanmar relations and non-traditional security. From 2008 – 2010 he was an honorary fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He obtained his PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2009 and holds an MA in Political Science from Purdue University, USA, and an MA (Hons) in International Relations from St Andrews University, Scotland.
Dr Dhanasree Jayaram is an Assistant Professor, Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, and Co-coordinator, Centre for Climate Studies, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Karnataka, India. She is also a Research Fellow, Earth System Governance and Member, Climate Security Expert Network. She holds a PhD in Geopolitics and International Relations from MAHE. She pursued a visiting fellowship (Erasmus Mundus – short-term PhD) at Leiden University, the Netherlands during 2014-15; and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, under the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship during 2018-19. She is the author of “Breaking out of the Green House: Indian Leadership in Times of Environmental Change” (2012), and “Climate Diplomacy and Emerging Economies: India as a Case Study” (2021). She managed a project of adelphi (Berlin) on “Climate Diplomacy”, sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office during 2015-20.
Mely Caballero-Anthony is Professor of International Relations and President’s Chair for International Relations and Security Studies. She is also Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. Prof. Caballero-Anthony teaches courses on non-traditional security in Asia and security governance and has served as the Secretary-General of the Consortium on Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia since 2008. Her research interests include regionalism and multilateralism in Asia-Pacific, global governance, human security and non-traditional security, nuclear security and conflict prevention. She is also currently member of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network on Nuclear Non-Proliferation (APLN). From 2015 to 2017, Prof Anthony was Vice President at-large of the Governing Council of the International Studies Association (ISA) and is a member of the ISA’s Global South Task Force. In 2015, she was a visiting fellow at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. From 2013 to 2017, Prof Anthony was a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters (ABDM) and served as its Chairperson in 2016. From 2011 to 2012, she was Director of External Relations at the ASEAN Secretariat. She has published extensively on a broad range of political and security issues in Asia-Pacific in peer-reviewed journals and international academic press. Her latest books, both single-authored and co-edited, include: Negotiating Governance on Non-Traditional Security in Southeast Asia and Beyond, An Introduction to Non-Traditional Security Studies, Human Security and Climate Change, Asia on the Move.