• ASEAN’s Response to Climate Change

    The world nowadays is not only facing political and economic issues but also environmental issues, namely climate change. Human activities directly and indirectly have made the world warmer due to the greenhouse gases they produce. According to the World

  • ASEAN’s Unanswered Question on the RCEP

    A month has passed since negotiators from the ten ASEAN member-states and its six Dialogue Partners gathered in Kuala Lumpur for the third round of talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). With the aim of “achieving a modern, compr

  • ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity & Cooperation and the Nobel Peace Prize: Nomination for 2015?

    As the great and the good of the region gathered in Nay Pyi Daw last month for the 21st ASEAN Regional Forum, there was a rather predictable if not dull feeling to it all. They came (with bold promises). They talked (about the South China Sea as always).

ASEAN’s Response to Climate Change

.

The danger of climate change has been acknowledge by the world leaders as it brings harms on various aspects such as economic growth, health, poverty, human right, forestry, agriculture, and fisheries. Besides, it also affects the most vulnerable groups, for example women, children, and indigenous people.

Based on that situation, in 1992, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established to address the climate change issue by emphasizing “common but differentiated” principle. Moreover, the world leaders have committed to reduce the impact of the climate change by adopting Kyoto Protocol. Through the Kyoto Protocol, countries have to commit to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly developed countries since they produce high level emissions due to their industrial activities.

Climate change affects all regions in the world and ASEAN is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change impacts. In recent years, several ASEAN countries have suffered from natural disasters such as drought, sea level rise, and typhoon. Indonesia and Thailand were hit by tsunami in 2004, earthquake happened in Myanmar in 2012, and also Philippines and Vietnam suffered from Taiphoon Haiyan in 2013.

According to a study conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2009, there are three contributing factors to ASEAN’s vulnerability: growing population, long coastlines, and high concentration of people and economics activities in coastal areas.

ASEAN has already addressed the issue in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint. It is stipulated under section D which is “Ensuring Environmental Sustainability” along with key of actions to be taken to address the impacts of climate change. Moreover, in 2009 ASEAN established ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change (AWGCC) to implement the ASEAN Climate Change Initiative (ACCI) which is a consultative platform to enhance region’s capability in implementing mitigation and adaptation measures. ASEAN also has ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) Center that deals with disaster management. In fact, ASEAN has already made a lot of instruments, in terms of policies and institutions, to combat the climate change impact.

Unfortunately, ASEAN has not yet made bold and clear actions. Affirmation and establishment of related institutions, such as the AHA Center, are not enough to overcome the climate change impacts. Even at the 24th ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw in 2014, President U Thein Sein said that AHA Center had not yet made sufficient response so far.

In September, The Habibie Center held a public discussion on this issue. Through the dialogue, it was suggested that ASEAN should have common position on climate change issue although it might not be easy for ASEAN to do so since each member had different priorities. Indonesia focus heavily on mitigation measures and forest fire, the Phillipines on adaptation measures, and Singapore on sea level rise. However, it was highly suggested that ASEAN should have common position at least on general issue.

In addressing the climate change issue, ASEAN should work together with other stakeholders such as NGOs, companies, and community to overcome the climate change impacts. However, the most important thing is ASEAN member countries should ensure that they really implement their strategies and policies. Afterward, ASEAN should give more informations to the people about what ASEAN has done so far and what ASEAN is going to do in the future. Sometimes, lack of informations make people wonder about ASEAN’s effort in combating climate change impact.

In the end, ASEAN leaders should take concrete, coherent, and unified actions to reduce the impacts of climate change, otherwise, it could impede the implementation of ASEAN Community in 2015.

Written by : Fina Astriana, The Habibie Center

22 November 2014

ASEAN’s Response to Climate Change

The world nowadays is not only facing political and economic issues but also environmental issues, namely climate change. Human activities directly and indirectly have made the world warmer due to the greenhouse gases they produce. According to the World

22 November 2014

ASEAN’s Unanswered Question on the RCEP

A month has passed since negotiators from the ten ASEAN member-states and its six Dialogue Partners gathered in Kuala Lumpur for the third round of talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). With the aim of “achieving a modern, compr

22 November 2014

ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity & Cooperation and the Nobel Peace Prize: Nomination for 2015?

As the great and the good of the region gathered in Nay Pyi Daw last month for the 21st ASEAN Regional Forum, there was a rather predictable if not dull feeling to it all. They came (with bold promises). They talked (about the South China Sea as always).