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Study Group Meeting on 'Climate Change, Migration and Human Security in Southeast Asia'

Date: 26 May 2011 (Thursday)
Time: 9am – 3.30pm
Venue: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Conference Room 1, Block S4, Level B4, Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

The Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), organised a study-group meeting to address the topic of ‘Climate Change, Migration and Human Security in Southeast Asia’ on 26 May 2011 in Singapore. The project was funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Asia Security Initiative and represented perhaps the first efforts in Singapore to discuss the nexus of climate change and migration in an in-depth regional context. The purpose of this meeting was to examine the nature of possible climate-induced migration in the region; to consider the ways in which such migratory patterns could be framed as security issues; to critically assess what conceptions of security are most germane to the connections between climate change and migration; and to investigate how security consequences, particularly from human security perspectives, can be managed.

Presentations and discussions during the meeting revolved around several themes. The first session provided an overview of climate change, migration and human security in Southeast Asia. To this end, presenters identified and analysed current evidence on climate change and the displacement of people and communities in Southeast Asia. Professor Lorraine Elliott (Australian National University) outlined the debates relating to the intersections between climate change, migration and human security, while Professor Graeme Hugo (University of Adelaide) discussed existing knowledge on migration in Southeast Asia. Dr J. Jackson Ewing (RSIS Centre for NTS Studies) then presented analyses on the difficulties associated with drawing lines of causality between climate change and migration.

The second session assessed human insecurities caused by climate-induced migration. These included impacts on livelihoods and income, loss of social capital, impacts on traditional coping mechanisms, and implications for already marginalised groups. Case studies from Vietnam and Indonesia were presented by Ms Olivia Dun (University of Sydney) and Dr Triarko Nurlambang (University of Indonesia), respectively.

The third session discussed adaptation and responses to climate change and migration by various stakeholders. Presentations examined gendered perspectives (Dr Edsel Sajor and Dr Bernadette Resurreccion, Asian Institute of Technology), as well as the role that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) could play in addressing climate-induced migration (Ms Sofiah Jamil, RSIS Centre for NTS Studies).

The final session examined the role of institutions and governance with regards to climate change and migration, with specific discussion by Mr Robert Dobias of research underlying the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Technical Assistance Report entitled Policy Options to Support Climate-Induced Migration. The study group also included members of other research institutes and think tanks that have had extensive experience relating to climate change and/or migration. Points raised during the discussion highlighted the need to be sensitive to the nuanced differences in the contexts and factors relating to instances of climate-induced migration. These questions and comments were candid and served to further unpack the complexities in addressing climate-induced migration. The need for more preventive rather than reactive action by states and communities was emphasised; as was the fact that solutions to the concerns raised are in fact available but require the necessary commitment and resources to be successful. Perspectives from this study-group meeting were further disseminated during a public seminar held the following morning (27 May).

Click here for the study group meeting programme.
Click here for more information on the public seminar.

Below are links to the presentations delivered during the meeting:

 

Session 1: Overview of Climate Change and Migration in Southeast Asia

Climate Change, Migration and Human Security in Southeast Asia
Prof. Lorraine Elliott
Visiting Senior Fellow & Lead Researcher
Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters Programme
Centre for NTS Studies, RSIS, NTU
Singapore

Climate Change and Migration – Some Lessons from Existing Knowledge of Migration in Asia
Dr Graeme Hugo
Australian Research Council (ARC) Australian Professorial Fellow
Geographical and Environmental Studies
University of Adelaide  
Australia

Contextualising Climate as a Cause of Migration in Southeast Asia
Dr John Jackson Ewing
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Centre for NTS Studies, RSIS, NTU
Singapore

 

Session 2: Patterns and Impacts of Climate Change and Migration 

Agricultural Change, Increasing Salinisation and Migration in the Mekong Delta: Insights for Potential Future Climate Change Impacts?
Ms Olivia Dun
PhD Candidate
School of Geosciences
University of Sydney
Australia 

Public Policy Matters on Climate Change and Migration in Indonesia: The Case of Jakarta City
Dr Triarko Nurlambang
Director/Head
Research Center for Applied Geography
University of Indonesia

 

Session 3: Adaptation and Responses to Climate Change and Migration 

The Smokescreen Effect: Climate Change and Current Discourses on Gender and Migration*
Dr Edsel Sajor
Associate Professor
Coordinator, Urban Environmental Management,
School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD)
Asian Institute for Technology (AIT)
Thailand 

*Joint paper with Dr Bernadette Resurreccion, SERD, AIT 

The Role of NGOs in Responding to Climate Change and Migration
Ms Sofiah Jamil
Associate Research Fellow
Centre for NTS Studies, RSIS, NTU
Singapore

 

Session 4: Institutions and Governance

ADB’s Role in Addressing Climate Change and Migration
Mr Robert Dobias
Senior Advisor and Head
Climate Change Coordination Unit
Regional and Sustainable Development Department
Asian Development Bank
Philippines

 


Posted on: 26/5/2011 9:00:00 AM  |  Topic: Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters / Other NTS Issues


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