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7 September 2011

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Asia Security Initiative Blog

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This second issue of the NTS-MacArthur Digest provides a broad summary and web links to 12 working papers of the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative Policy Series published under the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative beginning from March this year.

Papers in this issue cover topics such as REDD and REDD+ in Indonesia, ASEAN and security sector governance, gender and climate change, and energy security cooperation.

Working Paper No. 19

Forests, Food and Fuel: REDD+ and Indonesia’s Land-use Conundrum
By J. Jackson Ewing

This paper asserts that REDD+ (Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus Programme) will be more effective as a mechanism if it is further integrated into larger land-use strategies of countries such as Indonesia. The place for REDD+ is not to compete with, replace or undermine these land-use agendas so much as to complement them through preserving forests in spatially logical locations. The paper further argues that such an approach to REDD+ requires further movement on the international level toward forest protection and management programmes that transcend their value as carbon sinks.

Working Paper No. 18

Cooperating in the Energy Security Regime Complex
By Jochen Prantl

This paper investigates the influence of global power shifts on energy security cooperation and examines the existing structure for energy governance. It asserts that a regime complex is likely to be more effective that an integrated regime in governing energy cooperation. It concludes with recommendations on how to enhance cooperation in energy security.

Working Paper No. 17

(Not) Reconciling International Security (IS) with Non-traditional Security (NTS) Studies: Westphalia, the 'West' and the Long Shadow of 1944
By Shaun Breslin

This paper argues that the differences between NTS and IS studies may be too fundamental for them to ever find a comfortable common ground; and it suggests that the sub-disciplines of regional/area studies and international political economy (IPE) may offer greater utility in moving forward the NTS discourse.

Working Paper No. 16

Climate Insecurities in Indonesia: Implications and Challenges for Defence Transformation
By Evan A. Laksmana

This paper seeks to identify and assess key climate insecurities in Indonesia and further explore how they could potentially influence the process of defence reform that has been ongoing in Indonesia since Suharto's downfall in 1998. The paper further argues that given these security implications, the Indonesian National Defence Forces (TNI) has yet to seriously assess and incorporate climate change into its force development plans.

Working Paper No. 15

Securitising Food Futures in the Asia-Pacific: Human Securitising Regional Frameworks
By Lorraine Elliott

The global food crisis of 2007–2008 and the uneven but almost certainly largely negative impacts of climate change have drawn attention to the importance of food security as a regional challenge for the Asia-Pacific. To tackle this challenge, this paper advocates a human security approach which seeks to ensure that people are at the centre of regional food security frameworks – not just in terms of concerns over who the food insecure or food vulnerable are, but also in terms of ensuring that policies and programmes respond to local needs and community rights and that food security governance is participatory and transparent.

Working Paper No. 14

Establishing Good Security Sector Governance in Southeast Asia
By Herman Joseph S. Kraft

This paper takes a timely look at security sector governance (SSG) given ASEAN’s goals in establishing a security community. It stresses the need to institute SSG, understand its limitations and problems of implementation in order for the bloc to succeed in its goal of promoting peace and security in the region.

Working Paper No. 13

Climate Insecurities: Exploring the Strategic Implications for Asia-Pacific Armed Forces
By Evan A. Laksmana

This paper seeks to explore and assess the implications of climate insecurities for the armed forces of the Asia-Pacific region, and in particular, Southeast Asia. It identifies key issues and trends related to climate insecurities. It then details the implications for armed forces in the region with reference to the strategic, institutional and operational realms, and contends that climate change will become both a burden multiplier and a threat multiplier in the decades to come.

Working Paper No. 12

Women and Food Security: A Comparison of South Asia and Southeast Asia
By Arpita Mathur

Women are a social group vulnerable to food insecurity despite being primary actors in the food chain. This paper compares indicators used to assess vulnerabilities of women in South and Southeast Asia and argues that the overall situation in South Asia is worse than that in Southeast Asia. It calls for the primary securitising actors at the national, regional and international levels to play a role in rectifying the situation. It is important for regional groupings such as ASEAN and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to provide a sound systemic environment for individual countries to work towards achieving these objectives.

Working Paper No. 11

Risk and Resilience in Three Southeast Asian Cross-Border Areas: The Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle
By Fitrian Ardiansyah and Desak Putu Adhityani Putri

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. It evaluates regional agreements and actions in each of the three areas, with an emphasis on the mainstreaming of climate adaptation as well as mitigation in the development agenda.

Working Paper No. 10

The Gender and Climate Debate: More of the Same or New Pathways of Thinking and Doing?
By Bernadette P. Resurreccion

Feminist and development advocates have recently taken international agreement framers to task for the paucity of gender perspectives when defining climate change agendas, a gap which has led to the emergence of ‘gender and climate change’ discourses. This paper aims to contribute to this growing concern with gender and climate change adaptation by: (i) briefly reviewing international agreements and advocacy literature in order to understand the conceptual antecedents underlying gender and climate change discourses and their respective deficits; and (ii) engaging with past and current theorisations on gender, adaptation and resilience which are relevant to a better understanding of the linkages among gender, climate change adaptation and human security.

Working Paper No. 9:

The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia
By Juzhong Zhuang, Suphachol Suphachalasai and Jindra Nuella Samson

This paper argues for Southeast Asia to play an important part in climate change mitigation as it is one of the regions highly vulnerable to climate change. While adaptation is the region’s priority, Southeast Asia should also make greater effort at mitigation. It asserts that adaptation and mitigation actions will create economic and business opportunities, and will provide new sources of growth. The region should seize the opportunity now to start a transition towards a climate-resilient and low-carbon economy.

Working Paper No. 8:

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation): Mitigation, Adaptation and the Resilience of Local Livelihoods
By Enrique Ibarra Gené and Arif Aliadi

This paper discusses the policy and implementation context of the REDD demonstration activity in Ulu Masen in the province of Aceh, Indonesia. It is argued that the slow endorsement of the demonstration activity by the Indonesian government may be due to mistiming in relation to the regulations on REDD projects and to diverging interpretations of the law that grants special status to the province of Aceh on the management of forests.

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About the Centre:

The Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies was inaugurated by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan in May 2008. The Centre maintains research in the fields of Food Security, Climate Change, Energy Security, Health Security as well as Internal and Cross-Border Conflict. It produces policy-relevant analyses aimed at furthering awareness and building capacity to address NTS issues and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The Centre also provides a platform for scholars and policymakers within and outside Asia to discuss and analyse NTS issues in the region.

In 2009, the Centre was chosen by the MacArthur Foundation as a lead institution for the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative, to develop policy research capacity and recommend policies on the critical security challenges facing the Asia-Pacific.

The Centre is also a founding member and the Secretariat for the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia). More information on the Centre can be found at

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