The research programme on climate security examines the governance of climate change initiatives in Southeast Asia and the impacts of climate change on food security, energy security and environmental security in the region. It includes research projects on national and regional policy responses and practices across ASEAN Member States with special emphasis on climate change adaptation, food security, marine environmental protection, and nuclear energy.
Core Research Areas
The programme is divided into four research themes: (1) climate change adaptation, (2) food security, (3) marine environmental protection, and (4) nuclear energy.
- Climate Change Adaptation
Climate change is a threat multiplier whose impacts are already seen in the increasing intensity and frequency of climate-related disasters. Considering serious concerns brought about by the changing climate, policies in addressing climate change no longer look only at mitigation but increasingly have a strong focus on adaptation. While there has been a lot of debate on mitigation and disaster risk reduction at the global level, particularly for regions that are vulnerable to climate change, adaptation has become a more important consideration. The Centre examines climate adaptation efforts by:
- Auditing climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction policies at national level across the region;
- Comparing the frameworks for climate change cooperation across regions;
- Examining regional cooperation mechanisms for climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts; and
- Analysing regional climate change cooperation on selected sectors including transportation, energy and cities.
In addition, the Centre also looks into other relevant aspects including the development of smart cities, urban resilience, and relevant environmental risks brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution.
- Food Security
Food production and food security have suffered from changing temperatures and less stable access to water, both globally and within the Asia-Pacific region. For smallholder agricultural communities, farming is becoming a less reliable source of food and income, driving some to hunger or even displacement. Cities, where two-thirds of the world population are expected to reside by 2050, are increasingly vulnerable as they source most of their food from rural areas or abroad. Weather disturbances create the risk that food shipments are disrupted, while volatility in global food prices could make food economically inaccessible.
Building on the Centre’s previous research on climate-related food production vulnerabilities, it now looks towards cities as potential solutions, by increasing urban food self-sufficiency. In this regard, the Centre examines key economic and policy issues related to scaling up indoor farms in cities, the rural-urban interface, and the balance between food supply (mainly from rural areas) and demand (mainly from urban areas) in the context of emerging disruptive technologies.
Given different climatic environments, food supply chains are becoming increasingly fragmented across multiple countries, making food borne diseases (FBDs) harder to track. This is aggravated when disease pathogens develop resistance to the antimicrobials intended to address them, a trend known as ‘antimicrobial resistance’ (AMR). In this regard, the Centre is assessing the relevance and viability of the revolutionary Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) technology, which maps the genome of food and related diseases in order to identify the geographical source of diseases across the supply chain and track trends of AMR. This is in collaboration with the NTU Food Technology Centre (NAFTEC), which specializes in these technologies.
- Marine Environmental Protection
Unsustainable human development has caused serious pollution in our seas and this has been aggravated by climate change. The consequences of marine environmental deterioration are particularly pronounced and threatening in Southeast Asia, where the seas affect a wide range of human security aspects. Moreover, the challenges are complicated by maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Against this background, the Marine Environmental Protection project attempts to fill in the gap in the research on the South China Sea disputes by engaging in policy debates from a non-traditional security (NTS) perspective. By examining the status of the marine environment and the effects of climate change in this strategic but contested sea lane, this project explores the norms of marine environmental protection and regional cooperation in the South China Sea. It examines the prospects of regional cooperation on marine environmental cooperation in the South China Sea and identifies key issues and challenges that may hinder regional cooperation.
In addition, the research explores the controversial facets of transboundary fishing, namely illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the South China Sea. This research examines the entanglement of small-scale fisheries in geopolitical struggles and their social and ecological ramifications. It investigates the implications of IUU fishing in a particular developing country’s Exclusive Economic Zone and impacts on the livelihoods of fishermen.
- Nuclear Energy
Nuclear energy has been widely promoted as a clean and carbon-free energy source that can make a significant contribution to achieving the climate change mitigation target of the Paris Agreement. Several ASEAN Member States aspire to include nuclear energy in their future and long-term power generation sources to boost their energy security and reduce their carbon emissions.
While there is no operable nuclear power plant in Southeast Asia, radioactive materials are already widely used for civilian applications in medical, industrial, agricultural, and scientific research fields. Without stringent oversight on the use and handling of radioactive materials, there are potential risks of these being accidentally leaked, stolen and used for malicious purposes, or released indiscriminately by non-state actors. Hence, it is crucial to comprehensively analyse how radiological security, a subset of nuclear security, can be further strengthened in the context of Southeast Asia’s security environment.
This research project focuses on prospects for and emerging challenges to civilian nuclear energy development in Southeast Asia as well as the effectiveness of the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM) in enhancing regional nuclear governance. It identifies and examines gaps in nuclear governance in the region and how ASEAN Member States, through the ASEANTOM, deepens cooperation on civilian nuclear energy, including nuclear safety, security, and nuclear emergency preparedness and response.
- Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros and Paul Teng, Singapore’s Nascent Urban Farming: Potential Future Regional Centre?, RSIS Commentary CO18195, 23 November 2018
- Paul Teng, Food Insecurity – Overcoming Fragmented Food Systems and Trade Wars, RSIS Commentary CO18154, 24 September 2018.
- Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros, Mely Caballero-Anthony and Joergen Schlundt, Food Safety in ASEAN: Pitfalls of Complacency, RSIS Commentary CO18146, 7 September 2018.
- Mely Caballero-Anthony and Julius Cesar Trajano, Missing Iridium: Enhancing Regional Nuclear Security, RSIS Commentary CO18142, 29 August 2018.
- Ong Keng Yong and Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros, World Agricultural Forum 2017 – Future of Agriculture and Implications for ASEAN, RSIS Commentary CO17146, 3 August 2017.
- Margareth Sembiring and Alistair D. Cook, Build Back Greener: Climate Change & Humanitarian Response, RSIS Commentary CO17149, 10 August 2017.
- Margareth Sembiring, Climate Change Adaptation: Case of South China Sea, RSIS Commentary CO17116, 12 June 2017.
- Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros, World Agricultural Forum 2017 – Jobs in Agri-Food Industry: Silver Lining for Youth, RSIS Commentary CO17142, 28 July 2017.
- Christopher H. Lim, Vincent Mack Zhi Wei, World Agricultural Forum 2017 – Food Security and The “Terrorist Within Us”, RSIS Commentary CO17137, 20 July 2017.
- Evan Rogerson, World Agricultural Forum 2017 – Multilateral Negotiations on Agricultural Trade: State of Play, RSIS Commentary CO17132, 10 July 2017.
- Kenneth M. Baker, World Agricultural Forum 2017 – The Triple Challenge for Agriculture: Trade, Food Security & New Technologies, RSIS Commentary CO17129,4 July 2017.
- Ong Keng Yong, World Agricultural Forum 2017 – Singapore and Food Security, RSIS Commentary CO17127, 30 June 2017.
- Stella Liu, World Agricultural Forum 2017 – Green Revolution 2.0: The Role of IT Connectivity, RSIS Commentary CO17126, 27 June 2017.
- Paul Teng, World Agricultural Forum 2017 – Knowledge Intensive Agriculture: The New Disruptor in World Food? RSIS Commentary CO17124, 23 June 2017.
- Paul Teng, Sustainability – Beware of Greenwashing, RSIS Commentary CO17072, 19 April 2017.
- Paul Teng and Christopher Vas, Future of Food – Securing the Feeding of Asia: Policy Recalibration Needed, RSIS Commentary CO17048, 21 March 2017.
- Paul Teng and Christopher Vas, Feeding Asia: How Should the Region Respond to Production Challenges? RSIS Commentary CO17047, 20 March 2017.
- Christopher Lim and Tamara Nair, Science, Technology and Human Security – 3D Printing: How It Could Disrupt Asia’s Manufacturing Economies, RSIS Commentary CO17021, 26 January 2017.
- Tamara Nair and Christopher Lim, Science, Technology and Human Security – Fighting Food Wastage: New Ideas from The Past, RSIS Commentary CO17016, 18 January 2017.
- Margareth Sembiring, Trump’s Impending U-turn on Climate Change: Worry for Southeast Asia?. RSIS Commentary CO16307, 20 December 2016.
- Margareth Sembiring, Combating Haze: Holding One’s Breath A Year On, RSIS Commentary CO16211, 19 August 2016.
- Margareth Sembiring, Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Mitigation or Vulnerability, RSIS Commentary CO16176, 13 July 2016.
- Lina Gong and Julius Cesar Trajano, Advancing Marine Environment and Protection in the South China Sea, RSIS Policy Report. Singapore: RSIS, 2018
- Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros, Mely Caballero-Anthony and Joergen Schlundt, Supporting the Genome Microbial Identifier and Whole Genome Sequencing in Addressing Food-Borne Diseases in ASEAN, RSIS Policy Report. Singapore: RSIS, 2018
- Julius Cesar Trajano, Nuclear Safety and Security Culture: Powering Nuclear Governance in East Asia, Singapore: RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre), 2018.
- Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros, Paul Teng and Stella Liu, Scaling Up Commercial Urban Agriculture to Meet Food Demand in Singapore (Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2018).
NTS Insights / Briefs
- Christopher Chen, Foo Yen Ne and Margareth Sembiring, ‘Simultaneous Disasters in Southeast Asia: Is Risk Outpacing Resilience?’, NTS Insight, No. IN18-07 (Singapore: RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, 2018).
- Margareth Sembiring. ‘The Case for a Dedicated Regional Mechanism for Climate Change: A Comparative Assessment’, NTS Insight, No. IN18-04 (Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2018).
- Margareth Sembiring. ‘Examining Cooperation for Climate Change Adaptation in Southeast Asia: The Case of Lower Mekong River Basin’, NTS Insight, No. IN18-03 (Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2018).
- Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros and Paul Teng, ‘Ensuring a Successful Singapore Urban Food Cluster’, NTS Insight, No. IN18-02 (Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2018).
- Julius Cesar Trajano, Lina Gong, Margareth Sembiring and Rini Astuti, ‘Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea: Challenges and Prospects Part 2’, NTS Insight, No. IN18- 01 (Singapore: RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, 2018).
- Julius Cesar Trajano, Lina Gong, Margareth Sembiring and Rini Astuti, ‘Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea: Challenges and Prospects Part I’, NTS Insight, No. IN17- 04 (Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2017).
- Jonatan A. Lassa and Margareth Sembiring, ‘Towards Policy Integration of Disaster Risk, Climate Adaptation, and Development in ASEAN: A Baseline Assessment’, NTS Insight, No. IN17-01 (Singapore: RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, 2017). Stella Liu and Paul Teng, Subsistence Urban Agriculture: Key Externalities and Way Forward, RSIS Policy Brief (Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2017).
- Stella Liu and Paul Teng, High-Tech Plant Factories: Challenges and Way Forward, RSIS Policy Brief (Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2017).
- “Why nuclear security matters in Southeast Asia?” NTS Bulletin, October 2018.
- “Balance between Development and the Seas”, NTS Bulletin, June 2018.
- “Eradicating Hunger –Treating Symptoms, Reducing Causes”, NTS Bulletin, May 2018.
- “Bridging the Development Gap Through Smart Cities in ASEAN”, NTS Bulletin, February 2018.
Books and Edited Chapters
- Mely Caballero-Anthony and Julius Cesar Trajano, “Enhancing nuclear energy cooperation in ASEAN: Regional norms and challenges.” Chapter 7 in Peter Van Ness, Mel Gurtov (eds.) Learning from Fukushima : Nuclear Power in East Asia. Canberra: Australia National University Press, 2017.
- Mely Caballero-Anthony and Nur Azha Putra (eds), Mapping State and Non-State Actors’ Responses to Nuclear Energy in Southeast Asia, Singapore: World Scientific, 2016.
- Paul Teng and Manda Foo, Food Matters: Food Security and The Future of Food, Singapore: Write Editions, 2018.
- Tamara Nair, 2018, ‘Climate Change and Food Insecurities: Destabilisers of ASEAN Centrality?’ in Alan Chong (Ed.) International Security in the Asia-Pacific: Transcending ASEAN towards Transitional Polycentrism, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 307-330.
Year In Review
- Tamara Nair, “Natural Disasters and Food Insecurity – Engaging Women For ‘Food Resilience’ ” in RSIS Non-Traditional Security Year in Review 2017, Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2017, p.26.
- Julius Cesar Trajano, “Promoting Nuclear Security Culture in ASEAN,” in RSIS Non-Traditional Security Year in Review 2017, Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2017. pp. 25.
- Rini Astuti, “Sustaining our Marine Environment”, in RSIS Non-Traditional Security Year in Review 2017, Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2017, p. 24.
- Margareth Sembiring, “Building Resilience through Disaster Risk Financing: The ASEAN Experience,” in RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies Year in Review 2017, Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2017, p. 23.
- Margareth Sembiring, “The Paris Climate Agreement: Optimism despite the U.S. Pullout?” in RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies Year in Review 2017, Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2017, pp. 20-22.
- Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros, “Securing the Food Production Base: Youth and Technological Adaptation”, in RSIS Non-Traditional Security Year in Review 2017, Singapore: RSIS NTS Centre, 2017, p.19.
- Teng, P., Lassa, J. and Caballero-Anthony, Mely. 2017. Climate change and fish availability. COSMOS, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2017) 1–14. DOI: 10.1142/S0219607716500026
- Teng, P. and Oliveros, J.A.P. 2017. The Enabling Environment for Inclusive Agribusiness in Southeast Asia. Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development 13(2):1-3
- Foo, M. and Teng, P. 2017 Food Security at the crossroads: Bridging the Rural Urban Divide. Food Security. DOI 10.1007/s12571-017-0664-4
- Paul S. Teng, Bernice Anne C. Darvin, and Suzette C. Simondac. 2018. FOOD RESERVES: A Comparative Study on Food Reserve Management and Policies in Southeast Asi Los Banos, Philippines: SEAMEO/SEARCA. 106 pp.
- Mely Caballero-Anthony and Julius Cesar Trajano. “Stopping dirty bombs in Southeast Asia,” East Asia Forum, 4 December 2018.
- Paul Teng, Commentary: Typhoon Mangkhut destroys rice, corn and fish – but what has this got to do with Singapore? Channel News Asia, 20 September 2018.
- Mely Caballero-Anthony and Julius Cesar Trajano, Enhancing cooperation in nuclear security, New Straits Times, 8 September 2018.
- Margareth Sembiring, Smart Cities: Digital Savviness to Resilient Living. The Jakarta Post, 13 July 2018.
- Paul Teng, Agtech, the new farming tool to boost food security, Today, 6 July 2017.
- Margareth Sembiring, Preparing for Climate Change Effect on SE Asia Epidemics. The Jakarta Post, 10 August 2017.
- Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros, Transforming agriculture to prevent haze, New Straits Times, 2 June 2017.
- Jose Ma. Luis Montesclaros, Finding oil palm alternative could be key to haze issue, Today, 31 May 2017.
- Jose Ma. Luis P. Montesclaros, Commentary: Is finding an alternative crop to oil palm the key to preventing haze? Channel News Asia, 22 May 2017.
- Paul Teng, Beware of ‘greenwashing’ amid sustainability push — Paul Teng, MalayMail, 10 May 2017.
- Christopher H. Lim and Tamara Nair, ‘How 3D printing could disrupt Asia’s manufacturing economies’, The Conversation, 10 January 2017.
Last updated on 05/12/2018