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NTS-Asia Newsletter

NTS-Asia Newsletter No.26

Click here for the PDF version.

The NTS-Asia Newsletter Team
Mely Caballero-Anthony, Cheryl Lim, Sofiah Jamil and Steven Poh.


Upcoming Events

IIRI-GGGI Sub-Regional Workshop on
‘the Security Implications of Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific’

Ilmin International Relations Institute (IIRI) and
Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)
8 April 2011
Seoul, South Korea

Flooding in Vietnam in 2008
Source: IFRC,

A Consortium of Non-Traditional Security in Asia (NTS-Asia) sub-regional workshop on ‘the Security Implications of Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific’ will be held in Seoul, Korea on 8 April 2011. Co-hosted by IIRI, Korea University, and GGGI, this workshop will be attended by scholars and experts from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the US and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Owing to the growing transnational challenges posed by climate change, this workshop aims to address climate security and explore national and regional policy responses. Topics that will be discussed include the security aspects of climate change, current responses to climate change in the region, and the increasing accountability of regional organisations to address climate change in the Asia-Pacific. The workshop is supported by the Ford Foundation through the NTS-Asia Consortium.

International Conference on Asian Food Security
‘Feeding Asia in the 21st Century: Building Urban-Rural Alliances’

RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies and
South East Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)
10–12 August 2011

The first International Conference on Asian Food Security (ICAFS) will be held in Singapore on 10–12 August 2011.  ICAFS is organised collaboratively by the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies and SEARCA which is based in the Philippines. 

The conference, themed ‘Feeding Asia in the 21st Century: Building Urban-Rural Alliances’, will bring together key public, private and civil society players in food security to analyse, discuss and chart directions for the four basic dimensions of food security, i.e., availability, physical access, economic access and utilisation. Topics to be discussed during the event include: the scope of food security in Asia, the promotion of sustainable agriculture to increase food availability, improving and ensuring access to food, the role of ASEAN in food security, etc.

Click here for more information on the conference programme and to register for ICAFS.

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APR2P Seminar Series, Semester 1, 2011

Details of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (APR2P) Seminar Series for Semester 1, 2001, are now available. This semester's events include public lectures by renowned Cambodian genocide expert, Prof. Alexander Hinton, Rutgers University; and Prof. Steve C. Ropp, University of Wyoming, as well as an interactive forum on working for international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that deal with human rights.

Click here for a full list of events.

For further information about the Centre's seminar series, please contact Dr Deborah Mayersen, Programme Leader for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities at


The Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) has joined a new international study and research network known as TRANSCEND – Transnational Challenges and Emerging Nations Dialogue, based in the American University, Washington. This is a major research cluster and network recognised by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) which focuses on emerging challenges facing the global community such as human insecurity and non-traditional threats, multilateralism and governance, the role of regional institutions and how they affect the management of transnational issues, etc.

WorldFish Center in Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change

Over the coming months, 13 eminent scientists and economists from around the world will work together to synthesise major studies and identify pathways to address food security in the context of climate change. Chaired by Sir John Beddington, UK Chief Science Advisor, the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change will seek to build international consensus on policy actions to help global agriculture adapt to climate change, achieve food security and reduce poverty and greenhouse gas emissions.

Primary policy target audiences will include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Group of 20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (G-20), and the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The Commission was set up by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The WorldFish Center is one of the partners in this CGIAR Research Programme.

The Commission commences its work in mid-February 2011 and will deliver its findings for use by decision-makers on climate change and agriculture policies by December 2011.

Click here for more information.

WorldFish Center Participates in Project on ‘From Ridge to Reef: An Ecosystem Based Approach to Biodiversity Conservation and Development in the Philippines’

Mt Malindang and its environs
The WorldFish Center is partnering SEARCA and the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) in a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) titled ‘From Ridge to Reef: An Ecosystem Based Approach to Biodiversity Conservation and Development in the Philippines’. The project aims to address key issues affecting biodiversity conservation around the Mt Malindang area in Mindanao, Philippines. Mt Malindang and its environs have been identified as an extremely high priority conservation area under the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The project will seek to address the problems of coastal communities by focusing on three thematic areas: 1) reversing degradation of coastal resources; 2) enhancing livelihoods of coastal people; and 3) capacity-building and information/database management.

Click here for more information on this project.

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Recent Events

Regional Conference on ‘Climate Change and Security’

Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS)
March 2011
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

BIPSS organised a three-day Regional Conference on ‘Climate Change and Security’ in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in March 2011. The conference was attended by regional stakeholders and included participants from India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The event was part of the project/research study on ‘The Security Impact of Climate Change in Bangladesh and its Regional Neighbourhood’. Supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the project is a study of climate induced human displacement and migration in South Asia. The conference discussed the causes and regional impacts of climate change in South Asia and attempted to identify the nexus between climate migration and conflict.

National Seminar on ‘Environment, Citizenship and the State’

Department of Political Science, Gauhati University
23–24 March 2011
Assam, India

The emerging threat of climate change, environmental degradation and distress caused by the rapid process of globalisation has affected global, regional and national societies. In understanding this threat to the environment and the consequent environmental threat to humanity, there is a need to move beyond science and focus on politics and society.

The Department of Political Science in Gauhati University organised, with the support of a special assistance programme sponsored by the University Grants Commission (UGC), a National Seminar on ‘Environment, Citizenship and the State’ to navigate through this complex relationship between the environment, citizenship and the state at the global and national levels so as to understand the issues and concerns faced by North-east India. The broad themes of the seminar were: the global, regional and national communities’ and societies’ responses to environmental crises; contestations over mega-dams; the state’s response towards protecting the environment and its citizens; and resource competition or conflict among different ethnic groups and classes.

Speakers included Prof. Mrinal Miri, former Vice-Chancellor, North Eastern Hill University; Prof. Dulal Goswami, Environmentalist and expert on the Brahmaputra River; Prof. Monirul Hussain, Head, Political Science Department, Gauhati University; and Prof. Sandhya Goswami, Coordinator of the UGC-sponsored special assistance programme in Gauhati University, among others.

Exhibition Opening on ‘Lessons from Rwanda’

Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (APR2P) and
the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI)
21 March 2011
Brisbane, Australia

Hosted in the premises of the APR2P, the ‘Lessons from Rwanda’ exhibit is a production of the Aegis Trust for genocide prevention, in partnership with the UNDPI. The exhibit forms part of ‘Lessons from Rwanda: The United Nations and the Prevention of Genocide’ outreach programme established by the UNDPI. It presents an account of the events that took place before, during and after the genocide. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the lessons to be learnt from those events, the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and other judicial mechanisms in ending impunity as well as the lasting impact of genocide on survivors.

Talk on ‘New Frontiers in Peace Education’

Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP) and
Department of Elementary Education, Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University
17 March 2011
New Delhi, India

Prof. Betty A. Reardon speaking on New Frontiers in Peace Education at the Lady Sri Ram College for Women in New Delhi.

WISCOMP, in collaboration with the Department of Elementary Education, Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, invited Prof. Betty A. Reardon to speak on ‘New Frontiers in Peace Education’ on 17 March 2011 at the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi. The recipient of the 2009 Sean McBride Peace Prize, Prof. Reardon is a pioneer in the field of peace education and the Founding Director Emeritus of the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE), Columbia University, US.

In her talk, Prof. Reardon shared her perspective on the new directions peace education is taking and foregrounded issues of gender equality within them. The talk was chaired by Prof. Asha Hans, Director of Sansristi, a Bhubaneswar-based think tank. The participating senior and mid-career educators and young scholars pursuing their degrees in elementary education engaged in an animated discussion after the talk on the challenges educators face in and outside the classroom.

Click here to visit the WISCOMP website.

Seminar on ‘China and Non-Traditional Security: Towards What End?’

RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
17 March 2011

In the Asian regional context, it is now difficult to argue against the proposition that non-traditional security (NTS) matters. The intensification of economic globalisation and its associated political, social and environmental risks, non-state inflicted terrorism, demographic shifts, complex natural disasters and climate change have in combination reinforced the need for an expanded security vision.

The more germane question then is whether the securitisation of such threats is likely to lead to more secure outcomes. In practice, does the pursuit of an NTS agenda lead to greater cooperation among states, or is it the case that transnational security threats can also reinforce border security and ultimately exacerbate rather than alleviate instability?

In China, the NTS concept is now widely debated among academics and government officials. Many of these debates have focused on the boundary between non-traditional and traditional security, the relevance of NTS threats to China’s domestic stability and the importance of identifying security priorities on the basis of limited resources. Far less attention has been given to China’s response to NTS problems in practice.

In this seminar organised by the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies, the speaker, Dr Katherine Morton sought to fill the gap through analysing China’s response to a specific NTS threat – the case of climate change and its impacts on water security in the Tibetan-Himalayan region. She sought to highlight that, in this case, sovereignty concerns, development imperatives and pre-existing border disputes severely constrain the potential for cooperative action. Furthermore, she argued that in the absence of institutional mechanisms for responding to the unfolding crisis, it is difficult to envisage a secure water future for the region.

The lesson that she drew from the disputes surrounding resources in the Tibetan-Himalayan region is that, under certain conditions, tackling non-military threats may not necessarily lead to cooperation but instead amplifies pre-existing tensions.

Click here for an audio-recording or notes of the seminar.

BIPSS Participates in Conference on ‘Pacific Environmental Security’

Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS)
12–21 March 2011
Honolulu, Hawaii

BIPSS President Major-General Muniruzzaman (Retd) was invited by the United States Pacific Command to speak at a Conference on ‘Pacific Environmental Security’. Major-General Muniruzzaman spoke on the topic of ‘Security Implications of Climate Change: Role of the Military’, in which he highlighted major issues of climate change and international security, covering human security dimensions as well as traditional security dimensions of climate change. The presentation also touched upon issues related to social fragmentation, resource competition, intra- and inter-state conflict, state collapse and possibility of regional conflicts as a consequence of climate change.

Click here for more information on BIPSS’ activities.

Follow-up Consultation on ‘Next Steps in Jammu and Kashmir’

Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP)
2 March 2011
New Delhi, India

Participants of the Consultative Conference with Prof. Nicholas Wheeler and the WISCOMP team.

In November 2010, WISCOMP organised a Consultative Conference on ‘Competing Realities: Identity, Culture and Dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir’. This conference provided an opportunity for civil society members to unscramble the rise of different identities in the state and the impact of increased mass mobilisations around religious and regional identities on prospects for dialogue among stakeholders. It was held in the wake of mass protests ­(the protests were held over a span of five-months) in the Kashmir valley. 

A follow-up consultation was organised on 2 March 2011 at the India International Centre, New Delhi, where the participants discussed the ‘Next Steps in Jammu and Kashmir’.  The outcome of the consultation was the launch of an action-oriented peacebuilding initiative that drew from the learnings of WISCOMP’s Athwaas and Samanbal experiences.

The participants deliberated on priority areas where initiatives should and can be undertaken and strategies that could be adopted to achieve desired objectives. As members of breakout groups, they brainstormed on three themes: initiatives involving collaboration with local youth and media; grassroots initiatives; and intercultural and interfaith dialogue. The aim was to chalk out a road map with achievable milestones to contribute to the process of bringing peace and stability to the state.

The group discussions were followed by a plenary, where members from each group made presentations and had an opportunity to provide feedback on suggested activities. Among the participants were Prof. Siddiq Wahid, Founding Vice Chancellor, Islamic University of Science and Technology, Kashmir; Prof. Rekha Choudhary, Professor, University of Jammu; Dr Zafar Choudhary, Editor-in-Chief, Epilogue (a current affairs magazine); Prof. Neerja Mattoo, a core member of Athwaas; Mr Ahmed Ali Fayyaz, Political Analyst and Television Anchor; Dr D. Suba Chandran, Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi; and Dr Jyotsna Singh, Director, Dara Shikoh Center for Arts, Srinagar.

Workshop on ‘Trustbuilding’

Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP)
28 February – 1 March 2011
New Delhi, India

Prof. Nicholas J. Wheeler as he delivers a lecture on ‘The Challenges to Trust-Building in Nuclear Worlds’.

WISCOMP organised a Workshop on ‘Trustbuilding’ from 28 February to 1 March 2011 in New Delhi. Prof. Nicholas J. Wheeler, Chair, the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, facilitated the workshop. On the first day of the workshop, Prof. Wheeler delivered a lecture on ‘The Challenges to Trust-Building in Nuclear Worlds’. The lecture examined how trust can develop between states in varying degrees of nuclear rivalry and enmity. Citing the case of nuclear rapprochment that occured between Argentina and Brazil in the second half of the 1980s, he explored the relevance of the Argentine-Brazilian case for building trust in the Indo-Pakistan nuclear context.

Participants at the Workshop on ‘Trustbuilding’.

On the second day, participants explored the theme of ‘Trust-building in Contemporary Conflicts’. The workshop programme included role-playing exercises. This included a simulation of a future round of bilateral negotiations between Indian and Pakistani decision-makers, and a simulation of a situation in which participants worked together to identify possible trust-building moves that either India or Pakistan could make to transform relations. The final session saw participants reflecting on what they had learnt from the workshop.


‘Global Conversation on Democracy and Democratisation’

Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
21–22 February 2011
Johannesburg, South Africa

The final round of the ‘Global Conversation on Democracy’ was held in Johannesburg, South Africa on 21–22 February 2011. Like the first two rounds held previously, this ‘conversation’ is an unstructured exchange of ideas among nearly 15 activists, public intellectuals and scholars. ‘Global Conversation on Democracy and Democratisation’ is a CSDS initiative which is supported by the Ford Foundation. It seeks to pluralise and deepen democratic imagination. Prof. Rajeev Bhargava and Prof. Yogendra Yadav are the coordinators of this initiative. During the first session, the discussions of the earlier two ‘conversations’ were reviewed. In the second session, there was an extensive discussion on the recent developments in Egypt in particular, and in West Asia and North America in general. The second day was devoted to discussions on the draft manifesto. It was agreed that the draft manifesto was to be revised in light of the feedback received. It was also agreed that the revised draft manifesto will be put up for public feedback before it is sent for dissemination.

Symposium on ‘Inter-state Water Conflicts in Southern Asia’

RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies and RSIS South Asia Programme
18 February 2011

Credit: Baldiri / Wikipedia

Conflicts over water have increasingly become and are likely to remain a major source of friction between India and its neighbours in Southern Asia – Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. Examples of existing sites of conflict are the Kishenganga and Baglihar dams between India and Pakistan, and China’s reported plans to construct dams and to divert a river originating in Tibet, thereby impacting northeast India and Bangladesh. A number of factors such as the imperatives of economic development, diminishing water resources and growing demands due to population increase are likely to exacerbate these problems. The transboundary rivers in the Indus and Ganges-Brahmaputra basins are most likely the source of these tensions. Thus, there is a need for the countries involved to further develop strategies and negotiate new ideas of cooperation.

Against this backdrop, the Symposium on ‘Inter-state Water Conflicts in Southern Asia’ organised by the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies and South Asia Programme, endeavoured to: (1) garner the views of experts on the existing disputes; (2) identify the possible areas of agreements and ways of building bridges with respect to existing disagreements between the concerned parties; and (3) elicit fresh ideas on ways to reduce frictions. Participants invited included experts from India, Bangladesh, China and Pakistan.

A report on the proceedings of the symposium will be available online soon.

Regional Steering Group Meeting for
 Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict

Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS)
15–16 February 2011
Colombo, Sri Lanka

RCSS, in its capacity as South Asia’s Regional Initiator for GPPAC (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict), hosted the Regional Steering Group (RSG) Meeting on 15–16 February in Colombo. The meeting was organised with the support of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the GPPAC Global Secretariat.

Addressing the gathering was Mr David Ashley, Regional Advisor for South Asia at the British High Commission in Colombo, who touched on the UK’s commitment and effort towards the prevention of armed conflict, difficulties in assessing the impact of conflict prevention and the UK's priorities in the region. He reiterated the importance of improving regional connectivity in South Asia, the role of civil society in conflict prevention and international support in the region. Mr Gus Miclat, Executive Director of International Initiatives for Dialogue (IID) in the Philippines and member of the GPPAC Board, also participated in the meeting as an observer. The IID holds the GPPAC Regional Secretariat for Southeast Asia. Mr Miclat’s participation was part of a GPPAC initiative to strengthen links between the 15 regional networks of GPPAC. Following the RSG, Mr Miclat, Mr Feroz Ahmmead from the South Asia network, and Ms Marte Hellema, the Regional Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific at the GPPAC Foundation, also participated in the General Forum of the Solidarity for Asian Peoples' Advocacies (SAPA) that was held on 17–21 February in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The working sessions of the RSG meeting were facilitated by Ms Marte Hellema. Over the course of the meeting, the steering group finalised its regional strategic plan for the next three years and worked on its regional annual plan for 2011–2012.

CSDS Conducts Research Methodology Workshops

Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
8–12 and 23–26 February 2011
Assam and Uttar Pradesh, India

The month of February saw CSDS-Lokniti conducting two research methodology workshops. The workshop on 8–12 February was held in Kanpur at Christ Church College, Kanpur University, and was coordinated by Dr A.K. Verma, while the second workshop on 23–26 February was held at the Political Science Department of Gauhati University and was coordinated by Dr Sandhya Goswami and Dr Shubhrajeet Konwer.

The workshop on 8–12 February was organised by CSDS-Lokniti staff that included Yogendra Yadav, Divya Vaid and Rahul Verma. Yogendra Yadav delivered two lectures, the first of which was a public lecture on the ‘Nation-State or State-Nation? Lessons from Experiences of Diversity and Democracy in India’. His second lecture provided an introduction to the importance of empirical data analysis. The rest of the workshop provided an introduction to statistics and the interpretation of basic descriptive and inferential statistical techniques, hypothesis testing and analysis of results. Participants of this workshop comprised faculty members and researchers from political science, sociology, business studies, education and sports studies.

The second workshop was held at Gauhati University and was conducted by Divya Vaid and Rahul Verma. The workshop stressed the importance of posing coherent research questions and the basic tools required for the analysis of quantitative data including both descriptive and inferential data analysis. As in previous workshops conducted by the CSDS-Lokniti team, stress was placed on the practical aspect of data analysis as well as the interpretation of final results. The workshop was attended by approximately 20 researchers and young faculty members from political science departments at Gauhati University and other colleges.

Click here to read the March edition of the CSDS-Lokniti newsletter.

Roundtable on ‘Shifting Tides: How Climate Change and Environmental Stresses Are Affecting the Security Landscape in Asia’

Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS)
7 February 2011
Dhaka, Bangladesh

BIPSS held a Roundtable on ‘Shifting Tides: How Climate Change and Environmental Stresses Are Affecting the Security Landscape in Asia’ on 7 February 2011, at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel. Dr J. Jackson Ewing, Post-Doctoral Fellow and Coordinator of the Environmental Security and Climate Change and Food Security Programmes, RSIS Centre for NTS Studies, Singapore, delivered the keynote presentation at the roundtable. The presentation addressed the relationships between natural and social systems in Asia with a focus on the ways in which environmental and climate trends can affect the security calculations of communities, states and regions. The roundtable was attended by a range of government, embassy, academic and NGO personnel in Dhaka.


Sub-regional Workshop on ‘Ending the Displacement Cycle:
Finding Durable Solutions through Return and Resettlement’

Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS)
28–29 January 2011
Colombo, Sri Lanka

RCSS with the support of the Ford Foundation, organised a Consortium of NTS-Asia sub-regional workshop titled ‘Ending the Displacement Cycle: Finding Durable Solutions through Return and Resettlement’ in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 28–29 January 2011. The objective of this workshop was to look at the policies implemented by South and Southeast Asian states pertaining to the return and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who were displaced due to internal conflicts, natural disasters and development projects. The RSIS Centre for NTS Studies is the Secretariat of NTS-Asia and the workshop was one of two NTS-Asia sub-regional workshops to be held this year (the other workshop is the IIRI-GGGI Sub-regional Workshop on ‘the Security Implications of Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific’ to be held this month in Seoul).

Prof. Amal Jayawardane, Executive Director of RCSS, delivered the welcome address during the opening session and elaborated on the importance of looking at internal displacement, especially in South and Southeast Asia, which are two regions rife with internal conflicts, natural disasters and development issues. Speaking on behalf of NTS-Asia, Dr Alistair D.B. Cook, Post-Doctoral Fellow and Co-Lead of the Internal and Cross-Border Conflict Programme at the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, explained the role and function of the Consortium and its work on NTS issues in Asia.

The sessions focused on several aspects of the IDP issue. The opening session gave an overview on the IDP issue and looked at the various international and regional responses to the problem of displacement. The Framework of Durable Solutions for IDPs which was adopted by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Working Group (2007 and 2009) was touched upon, and the dilemmas underlining these new initiatives and their implications on the region were also discussed. The next few sessions focused on IDPs in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Myanmar respectively.

The workshop was attended by members of civil society organisations (CSOs) and NGOs, as well as academics and government officials who have been working on issues pertaining to internal displacement. All papers that were presented were discussed extensively during the Q & A sessions and the paper writers are in the process of revising their papers for a book that will be published by RCSS shortly.

Panel Discussion on ‘The Post-Cancun Summit:
Challenges, Lessons and Future Plan for Bangladesh’

Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS)
18 January 2011
Dhaka, Bangladesh

A Panel Discussion on ‘The Post-Cancun Summit: Challenges, Lessons and Future Plan for Bangladesh’ was held on BIISS premises on 18 January 2011. The main objectives of the Panel Discussion were to identify the climate change challenges for Bangladesh and the lessons learnt from the Cancun Summit, as well as outline realistically achievable short-, medium- and long-term plans for enhancing Bangladesh’s negotiating skills at these summits on one hand and address as effectively as possible the impacts of climate change on the other.

Major-General Muhammad Imrul Quayes, ndc, psc, BISS Director-General, delivered the welcome address and Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Adviser to the Honorable Prime Minister, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, graced the occasion as chief guest. Discussants in the panel included Prof. Ainun Nishat, Vice-Chancellor, BRAC University, Dhaka; Mr Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, Chairman, The Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh and the Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists; and Dr Rezaul Karim, Director, Knowledge Frontiers for Development, Dhaka and former Head, Environment Programme, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Bangkok.

Click here for more information on the panel discussion.

Workshops Held for the Special Project on
‘Reconceptualising Human Security:
Its Uses and Limitations for Developing Australian Foreign Policy’

Institute for Human Security (IHS), La Trobe University
June 2010 and 18 February 2011
Victoria, Australia

The Academy of Social Sciences-ARC Learned Academies Special Project on ‘Reconceptualising Human Security: Its Uses and Limitations for Developing Australian Foreign Policy’, is being lead by Profs Dennis Altman, Joseph Camilleri and Robin Eckersley and administered through IHS at La Trobe University.

Over the course of the project, two workshops were held at La Trobe in February 2011 and June 2010. The first workshop focused on a theoretical framework for human security and its practical implications while the second workshop focused on the role of human security in Australian foreign policy.

Click here to access both reports of the workshops.


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Recent Publications

Public Forum and Workshop on Securing Food Futures in the Asia-Pacific: Evaluating Regional Frameworks for Food Security
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies and Department of International Relations, Australian National University (ANU)
Workshop Report, March 2011.

Food security has become one of this century’s key global challenges. In 2007 and 2008, increased food insecurity due to the dramatic rise in food prices led to a global crisis, causing political and economic instability and social unrest in many countries. In an effort to address this urgent issue, the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies and the ANU Department of International Relations convened a three-day Public Forum and Workshop on ‘Securing Food Futures in the Asia-Pacific’ in Canberra, Australia, on 6–9 October 2011. The event explored and evaluated the regional frameworks on food security such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and ASEAN, identified best practices and gaps in those arrangements and explored ways to strengthen regional cooperation on food security. This report summarises the event’s proceedings.


Dissemination Meeting and Policy Roundtable on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP)
RSIS Centre for NTS Studies and the Japan International Cooperation Agency Research Institute (JICA-RI)
Meeting Report, March 2011.

The RtoP Dissemination Meeting and Policy Roundtable held in collaboration with the JICA-RI in Tokyo, Japan, on 26 January 2011, was the first of two dissemination exercises to circulate the findings of the RtoP Study Group convened by the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies in 2009. The meeting aimed to introduce possible policy entry points for operationalising the RtoP in Asia, and more broadly, promote an understanding of the RtoP and assist in operationalising the norm in Asian policymaking. This report is a summary of the main themes that emerged from the discussions.


Women and Food Security: A Comparison of South Asia and Southeast Asia
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Arpita Mathur, MacArthur Asia Security Initiative Policy Working Paper No. 12, March 2011.

Women are a social group vulnerable to food insecurity despite being primary actors in the food chain. The problem of food insecurity among women is especially rampant in parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. This paper examines women’s vulnerability to food insecurity, and discovers that it has a definite effect on the health of women and children, as well as social and economic impacts in terms of fewer opportunities for education and greater instances of early marriages. A comparison of indicators used to assess vulnerabilities of women in the two regions shows that the overall situation in South Asia is worse than that in Southeast Asia. The paper further argues that the primary securitising actors at the national, regional and international levels have to play an individual and collective role in rectifying the situation.


Securing Food Futures in the Asia-Pacific: Human Securitising Regional Frameworks
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Lorraine Elliott, Policy Brief No. 8, March 2011.

The global food crisis of 2007–2008 drew attention to the importance of food security as a regional challenge for the Asia-Pacific. Regional strategies to achieve food security have recognised the need to provide immediate remedial support to alleviate hunger and restore livelihoods, to enhance capacity to anticipate food uncertainties and to strengthen resilience to the impacts of future food disasters. A human security approach seeks to ensure that people are at the centre of regional food security frameworks, not just through identifying who are food insecure or food vulnerable, but also through ensuring that policies and programmes are participatory and transparent, respond to local needs, and acknowledge community rights.


Pigs, People and a Pandemic: Communicating Risk in a City-state
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
K. U. Menon, NTS Working Paper No. 6, March 2011

The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, also known as the swine flu pandemic, was a test of risk communications methodology and processes. While New York adopted mitigation measures, Hong Kong and Singapore followed aggressive containment protocols. Recent studies however suggest that the benefits of such measures – achieved at great cost and allocation of resources – are minimal. This review looks primarily at the experience of Singapore, and compares it with two other equally densely populated cities – New York and Hong Kong – and how all three confronted the H1N1 challenge and the lessons to be drawn from their experience in risk communications.


Applying the Ethnic Rebellion Model and Risk Assessment Model to Conflict in Myanmar
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Lina Gong, Manpavan Kaur and Alistair D.B. Cook, NTS Insight, March 2011.

One of the salient policy recommendations for conflict and genocide prevention is the use of early warning models. This NTS Insight investigates and applies two well-known models used for conflict and genocide risk assessments to test the impact of Myanmar's Border Guard Force (BGF) policy on the ongoing internal ethnic conflict. The two models used are the Ethnic Rebellion Model (ERM) and the Risk Assessment Model (RAM) for Genocides or Politicides. The application of these models shows that the internal ethnic conflict is likely to continue and there exist trigger or accelerating factors for genocide to occur.


Pro-government Armed Groups: A Source of Peace or Multipliers of Conflict?
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Pau Khan Khup Hangzo and Manpavan Kaur, NTS Alert Issue 2, March 2011.

Non-state armed groups (NSAGs) are often associated with those that act in opposition to governments – such as insurgents, terrorists and rebels – and are the subject of significant analysis. Less frequently considered are NSAGs with links to governments and that operate in support of government strategies by waging counter-insurgency campaigns. A systematic analysis of the nature of these pro-government armed groups and their socio-political-economic impacts is necessary as it can assist our understanding of the dynamics of internal armed conflicts and facilitate the long-term resolution of such conflicts through better peacebuilding strategies.


An Agenda for Peace: Curbing the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Pau Khan Khup Hangzo and Manpavan Kaur, NTS Alert Issue 1, March 2011.

Although weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are considered to pose the gravest threat to international peace and security, in practice, small arms and light weapons (SALWs) kill more people than WMDs. However, SALWs have been largely ignored in arms control discussions. This issue of the NTS Alert argues that SALWs are the real ‘WMDs’ and regulating their proliferation will contribute towards the peaceful resolution of internal armed conflicts in Southeast Asia.


Risk and Resilience in Three Southeast Asian Cross-Border Areas: The Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Fitrian Ardiansyah and Desak Putu Adhityani Putri, MacArthur Asia Security Initiative Policy Working Paper No. 11, February 2011.

This paper investigates the security impacts of climate change in three Southeast Asian cross-border areas – the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle – through an examination of the ways in which climate change results in human insecurity and possibly social unrest, tension and conflict. The three cross-border areas are significant in that they host unique but threatened large-scale freshwater, terrestrial forest, coastal and marine ecosystems. In addition, they are home to more than 400 million people and provide important ecosystem goods and services to many countries in the region.


ASEAN Community Building: Towards a Comprehensive Framework for Civilian Protection in Southeast Asia
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Mely Caballero-Anthony and Holly Haywood, Policy Brief No. 7, February 2011.

Initiatives introduced under the various pillars of the envisaged ASEAN Community, notably the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), represent potential entry points for building a more effective framework for civilian protection in Southeast Asia. This policy brief attempts to delineate some ways by which the opportunities presented by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) initiatives, as well as the momentum surrounding the development of a regional capacity for ensuring peace and stability, could be advanced.


Climate Change and Security: Policy Recommendations from the 4th NTS-Asia Annual Convention 2010
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
J. Jackson Ewing, Policy Brief No. 6, February 2011.

The RSIS Centre for NTS Studies that serves as the NTS-Asia Secretariat held its 4th Annual Convention on 24–26 November 2010 in Singapore. The Convention included a high-level panel session on the potential security implications of climate change. This policy brief reviews key outcomes and presents actionable recommendations emerging from the presentations, discussions and reviews of this session.


Overcoming Energy Vulnerabilities in East Asia: Ways Forward
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Sofiah Jamil, Jochen Prantl and Mely Caballero-Anthony, Policy Brief No. 5, February 2011.

While analytical perspectives that emphasise potential geo-political risks and problems are useful in understanding the nature of East Asian security challenges, it is necessary to also explore the often neglected dynamics of cooperation against a strategic environment defined by competition. This policy brief argues that cooperation in the areas of energy efficiency and alternative energy sources is vital, and can be possible in the East Asian region, so long as the weaknesses of existing initiatives are recognised and addressed.


Development and Health in Southeast Asia from the Cold War to the Present
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Ong Suan Ee and Bill Durodié, NTS Alert Issue 2, February 2011.

This NTS Alert is the second of two that seeks to examine the relationship between development and health. In this issue, the links between international development – in particular, the provision of aid by developed nations – and health are explored by observing trends in Western aid to Southeast Asia from the Cold War era to the present, and the ramifications of changes in why and how such aid is given. This NTS Alert will argue that these patterns invariably reflect the pursuit (and waning) of particular Western interests in each period, rather than an active interest in the health of populations in developing regions, and that this has resulted in considerable health gains, but also particular problems, such as the specific health needs of populations not being addressed in a comprehensive manner.


Exploring the Relationship between Health and Economic Development: The Case of China
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Li Hongyan and Bill Durodié, NTS Alert Issue 1, February 2011.

Historical evidence suggests that economic development has been central to improving public health. This NTS Alert takes a closer look at the relationship between the two by reviewing the case of China, a nation which has witnessed great changes both in its economy and the health of its population in the decades since the Second World War. China’s experience shows that solid infrastructure, better nutrition and rising hygiene and sanitation standards are the foundation stones of improved health. Economic growth is also central as it allows for sustainable progress in the long term if funds are channelled towards building basic infrastructure as well as addressing health and social needs.


Visible Value? ENGOs and the UNFCCC Process
RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
Sofiah Jamil and Devin Maeztri, NTS Insight, January 2011.

Since the 1980s, NGOs have been increasingly visible on environmental issues. However, increased NGO participation does not necessarily enhance the effectiveness, or the democratic character, of international cooperation, as seen in the failure of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) in Copenhagen. This NTS Insight examines the effectiveness of environmental NGOs (ENGOs), by comparing their roles in the lead-up to two significant milestones in climate change negotiations – the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement and a post-Kyoto Protocol framework in 2012.


Crafting State-Nations: India and Other Multinational Democracies
Yogendra Yadav from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) (co-authors: Alfred Stepan and Juan J. Linz)
Book, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2011.

The book interrogates the suitability of the model of the nation-state for deeply diverse democratic societies. It proposes ‘state-nation’ as an alternative idea that captures some of the more successful attempts to accommodate deep diversities within a democratic frame. India is one of the major cases that this model draws upon.


Climate-Related Displacement and Human Security in South Asia
Institute for Human Security (IHS), La Trobe University
Susan Chaplin, Working Paper Series No. 3, 2011.

Climate-related displacement is one of the key challenges facing South Asia in the coming decades. Although there is considerable debate about the salience of the term ‘climate refugees’ and the extent to which climate change is a primary cause of forced displacement, there is no doubt that large numbers of people are already having to cope with the impact of environmental changes on their livelihoods and everyday life. This paper reviews the key issues facing South Asia in relation to climate-related displacement and identifies the gaps in social science research in relation to responses to these key issues. The aim is to contribute to building the capacity of social science research to contribute to timely and effective responses to displacement and climate-related events.


Religion and Development: Australian Faith-Based Organisations
Institute for Human Security (IHS), La Trobe University
Gerhard Hoffstaedter, Working Paper Series No. 2, 2011.

Faith plays a crucial role in development, yet ‘faith-based’ organisations (FBOs) continue to face ambivalence towards their religiosity and how it may impact upon the development work they do. This paper attempts to study this group of organisations to better understand them and their missions, the challenges they pose to development and the challenges they face in development.


The Emergence of the Uyghur Issue in the American and German Legislative Debates
Institute for Human Security (IHS), La Trobe University
Yu-Wen Chen and Delia A. Pop, Research Note, 2011.

Ethnic tension between the Han and the Uyghurs in China has attracted widespread international attention in recent years; the most well-known event dates back to the 2009 riot in the Uyghur-dominated region of Xinjiang. This research note examines legislative developments in the US and Germany to see if the Uyghur issue has emerged in American and German political debates.


Linking Small-scale Fisheries and Aquaculture to Household Nutritional Security: An Overview
WorldFish Center
Nozomi Karawazuka and Christopher Bene, Journal Article, Food Security, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 343–57.

Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture have been recognised as important opportunities to enhance household food security in developing countries. While interventions aiming at promoting these activities reveal many positive effects, their direct and indirect impacts on nutritional status have not yet been fully documented. The objective of this paper is to identify more specifically the potential pathways that exist between fish-related livelihoods (small-scale fisheries, fish farming) and household nutritional security.


Fish and Human Nutrition
WorldFish Center, Flyer, 2011.

More than two billion people are estimated to be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, also called micronutrients. In population groups living in riparian and coastal areas, fish is an integral part of the everyday carbohydrate-rich diet. This flyer identifies the potential impact of micronutrient deficiency and outlines the actions needed to increase the production and consumption of micronutrient-rich fish for the poor.


Value Chain Analysis for Sea Cucumber in the Philippines
WorldFish Center
E.O. Brown, M.L. Perez, L.R. Garces et al., Report, 2010.

This study examines the sea cucumber industry in the Philippines through the value chain lens. The intent was to identify effective pathways for the successful introduction of sandfish culture as a form of livelihood support for coastal communities. Value chain analysis is a high-resolution analytical tool that enables industry examination at a detailed level. Previous industry assessments have provided a general picture of the sea cucumber industry in the country. The present study builds on earlier work and supplies additional details for a better understanding of the industry’s status and problems, especially their implications for the sandfish project ‘Culture of Sandfish in the Asia-Pacific’ funded by the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

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Commentaries and other News Articles

Need for Paradigm Shift in Democratic Protests
A.K. Verma, CSDS-Lokniti Editorial, March 2011

Sounding Worse, When Things Are Really Getting Better
Bill Durodié, TODAY, 28 March 2011

H1N1 Fear a Result of Cry Wolf Mindset?
Bill Durodié, The Straits Times, 25 March 2011 (response to ‘Did Big Pharma Trigger Flu Pandemic?’, The Straits Times, 19 March 2011)

Welcome to the Brave New World of Risk-Obsessed Politics
Bill Durodié, TODAY, 25 March 2011

‘Mercenaries’ in Libya: Impact of Legal Impunity – Analysis
Manpavan Kaur, Eurasia Review, 22 March 2011

Disaster Hacks Should Stick to the Facts
Bill Durodié, TODAY, 18 March 2011

Reality Check for the Region
Sofiah Jamil and Mely Caballero-Anthony, The Straits Times, 17 March 2011

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: End for the Nuclear Industry?
Alvin Chew, RSIS Commentaries No. 42, 16 March 2011

Applying the Ethnic Rebellion Model and Risk Assessment Model to Conflict in Myanmar
Lina Gong, Manpavan Kaur and Alistair D.B. Cook, Burma Digest, 11 March 2011

Georgia Aims to Be on Investors’ Minds
Robin Chan (article cites Zbigniew Dumienski), The Straits Times, 10 March 2011

Libya and the UN: Whose Responsibility to Protect?
Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury and Yang Razali Kassim, RSIS Commentaries No. 34, 4 March 2011

Climate Migration: Why it Is a Human Security Issue
Lorraine Elliott, RSIS Commentaries No. 28, 25 February 2011

Threat of Climate-change Disasters Looms Large for Bangladesh
Malathi Nayak (article cites Major-General Muniruzzaman),, 6 February 2011

Food Price Spiral: Causes and Consequences
Paul Teng, RSIS Commentaries No. 11, 2 February 2011

Tunisia and Climate Change: What it Means for Southeast Asia
Yang Razali Kassim, RSIS Commentaries No. 7, 27 January 2011

China and Global Food Security: Conflicting Notions
Zhang Hongzhou, RSIS Commentaries No. 8, 28 January 2011

Conflict in Karnataka
Sandeep Shastri, New Indian Express, 25 January 2011

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About the Consortium of NTS-Asia

The Consortium of NTS-Asia is a network of research institutes and think tanks in the Asia-Pacific.

Its primary objectives are to advance the field of non-traditional security (NTS) studies in Asia, develop long-term and sustainable regional capacity for research and policy studies on a wide range of NTS issues, and develop further the process of networking among scholars and analysts working on NTS issues in the region.

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