The COVID-19 pandemic has had important implications for non-traditional security (NTS). The global outbreak has demonstrated again that NTS issues can pose existential security threats to individuals, society and the state, evident in the high death toll and significant disruptions to socio-economic activities. As of the end of March 2021, the pandemic has caused over 2.8 million deaths globally and 4.4 per cent decrease in global economy. Vulnerable groups such as women, children, migrant workers and displaced populations have been affected disproportionately. In national and global responses to the disease, new trends have emerged, such as the increasing use of technology and the importance of an inclusive and whole-of-society approach. These trends apply to the governance of other NTS issues in varying degrees. However, the transformation in governance has given rise to new challenges, such as the need to address digital divide as many rural and low-income communities do not have reliable and affordable internet access.
Moreover, the pandemic has led to ripple effects on other NTS issues. The various containment measures in national COVID-19 responses have lowered emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants and thus benefited climate action and environmental protection. Meanwhile, the national and local lockdowns have exposed the vulnerabilities and risks in global supply chains, which can affect humanitarian action and food supplies. As the COVID-19 virus will likely become endemic in many countries for the next few years, the prioritisation of COVID-19 response over other issues can take up the budget and resources for dealing with other NTS issues.
Against this background, the RSIS NTS Centre will hold a series of webinars to discuss how countries can deal with different NTS challenges effectively amid the new dynamics induced by COVID-19 in security, economy, politics, and social life. This series aims to engage the discussions on Asian security in the post-COVID-19 world, with a focus on non-traditional security concerns.
This webinar will be the first of the series. The speakers will assess the current state of three selected NTS issues (climate security, food security and nuclear security) in the region, examine the implications of COVID-19 for national and regional efforts to govern the issue, and explore possible pathways for future action.
About the Speakers
Julius Cesar I. Trajano is Research Fellow at the NTS Centre, RSIS. He is also presently a member of the leadership team of the International Nuclear Security Education Network and the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific- Nuclear Energy Experts Group. Mr Trajano conducts policy research studies and has publications on non-traditional security issues, particularly on nuclear security and safety governance in the Asia-Pacific, peacebuilding, and human trafficking. Among his latest publications include “Bottom-up peacebuilding: role of grassroots and local actors in the Mindanao peace process “(Asian Journal of Peacebuilding, 2020) and “The Future of Nuclear Security in the Asia-Pacific: Expanding the Role of Southeast Asia” (International Journal of Nuclear Security, 2020)
Margareth Sembiring is a PhD candidate and an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research focuses on climate change governance and climate mitigation, especially in low carbon transition, in Southeast Asia. She is actively involved in the management of the NTS-Asia Consortium Secretariat where she is currently serving as the manager.
Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros is Associate Research Fellow with the Centre of Non-Traditional Security Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where he is concurrently Ph.D. Candidate (International Political Economy). He is currently Co-Investigator of the Project “Enhancing Food Supply Chain Resilience and Food Security in ASEAN with Utilization of Digital Technologies”, where he is conducting an assessment of digital technology adoption in ASEAN agriculture, to serve as a fact-base for developing a potential roadmap for improving digital technology adoption in ASEAN agriculture, together with ERIA and the ASEAN Secretariat. He has conducted policy analysis with dynamic models of food security and climate change, providing inputs to Singapore’s Inter-Ministry Committee on Food Security (IMCFS) in identifying and addressing food security risks. He is First Inventor of the UrbanAgInvest tool (© NTU) tool with Prof Paul Teng (Co-Inventor), for assisting governments to draw investments into their high-tech farming sectors. As consultant, he previously co-authored the World Bank’s ASEAN-Commissioned report, “Bridging the Development Gap: ASEAN Equitable Development Monitor Report 2014”. He obtained his Master’s in Public Policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), National University of Singapore as an ASEAN Scholar, and his BS Economics Degree from the University of the Philippines, and was one of the two ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ representing LKYSPP, NUS at the 44th Saint Gallen Wings of Excellence Awards in 2014 (Switzerland).