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Title: Strengthening regional resilience : coping with non-traditional security challenges
Authors: Caballero-Anthony, Mely
Keywords: Non-Traditional Security
Issue Date: 2018
Source: Caballero-Anthony, M. (2018). Strengthening regional resilience : coping with non-traditional security challenges. ASEANFocus, 23(4), 26-27.
Journal: ASEANFocus
Abstract: Much has changed in Southeast Asia’s security environment. Regional security is no longer only about managing intra-state relations, territorial disputes and competition for material power. Many threats confronting states and societies in the region are nontraditional security (NTS) in nature, which are defined as “threats to the survival and well-being of peoples and states that arise primarily out of non-military sources, such as climate change, resources scarcity, infectious diseases, natural disasters, irregular migration, food shortages, people smuggling, drug trafficking, and transnational crime.” Given their trans-border implications, addressing and managing these threats require comprehensive approaches, going beyond the political-security to also include socio-economic means. NTS has now become part of ASEAN’s security lexicon. Reference to NTS is found in statements of ASEAN leaders and ASEAN declarations. Under the ASEAN Political Security Blueprint (2009-2015), “ASEAN subscribes to the principle of comprehensive security, which goes beyond the requirements of traditional security but also takes into account non-traditional aspects vital to regional and national resilience, such as the economic, socio-cultural, and environmental dimensions of development.” The rise of NTS threats has made ASEAN’s security agenda much more extensive and complex, covering human security challenges faced by the different communities of a highly integrated ASEAN community. These threats range from the severe impact of economic inequality, lack of access to basic needs like food, healthcare and education, threats to societal identity and culture, and forced displacement as a result of conflicts, natural disasters and degraded environment. The multi-faceted and interlocking challenges presented by NTS threats are testing the capacity of ASEAN member states to effectively deal with them.How prepared is ASEAN to respond to an increasingly complex security environment? Are existing regional mechanisms adequate to manage NTS risks and challenges facing the region? The most serious ones include the growing impact of a changing climate that contributed to extreme weather events, leading to natural catastrophes like Cyclone Nargis and Typhoon Haiyan which displaced more than 6 million people. Handling displaced populations due to natural disasters has been a difficult terrain for ASEAN to deal with. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2014, many communities are forced to live below the poverty line after extreme weather events that cause severe flooding and displacement. Extreme weather also includes debilitating heat waves like El Nino that further aggravate water scarcity in many parts of the region. Moreover, climate-sensitive diseases and infections such as diarrhoeal diseases, malnutrition, malaria, and dengue are expected to worsen with climate variability. ASEAN has already seen this in the rising cases of dengue in parts of the region, and the recent outbreaks of vector borne diseases like Zika. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the direct damage costs to health from the impact of climate change are between US$2-4 billion annually by 2030. ASEAN’s food security also faces grave challenges. The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has predicted that food productivity in Asia will decrease by as much as 20% due to climate Singapore Ministry of Defence Singapore Armed Forces medics work closely with military personnel from ADMM-Plus members 27 — ISSUE 4/2018 change as the geographical boundaries of agro-ecosystems, as well as species composition and performance, will change. Moreover, the ADB has estimated that rice yields in Southeast Asia will fall to about 50% by 2100 since more frequent and intense weather extremes are badly disruptive to agriculture, fisheries, and the natural resource base of the region. Closely related to the impact of climate change is the chronic problem of transboundary haze pollution, exacerbated by forest fires in parts of Indonesia. ASEAN has already seen some of the worst impact of transboundary haze in 2013 and 2015. The health impact of the 2015 haze, for instance, led to more 100,000 people in Indonesia falling ill from respiratory problems. The economic impact was also quite significant. The World Bank estimated that the economic losses to Indonesia from the 2015 transboundary haze amounted to US$16 billion – more than double the sum spent on rebuilding Aceh after the 2004 tsunami.
ISSN: 2424–8045
Rights: © 2018 ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. All rights reserved. This paper was published in ASEANFocus and is made available with permission of ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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