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.
Last updated on 08/06/2021