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  • Author: Christopher Chen, Angelo Paolo L. Trias
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Water is a fundamental element of survival and growth on Earth. As a prerequisite for life and an important economic resource, it supports all aspects of everyday activity. Ensuring that water is available, accessible and safe for current and future generations is among humanity’s greatest challenge. One of the most important Non-Traditional Security (NTS) challenges facing Southeast Asia is water security. This NTS Insight explores water security issues in Southeast Asia and examines the ways it threatens states and societies. While water security challenges are not new in the region, the nature of issues are changing, making it important to assess how such threats are defined, negotiated, and managed. The NTS governance process begins with identifying and understanding NTS challenges, and ways they are securitised. By looking at case studies at the sub-national, national and regional level, this paper seeks to present some of the major water security issues in the region, how they affect states and societies, and why they merit urgent attention and resources. This Insight explains why addressing sub-national water security challenges require consultative and participatory approaches that facilitate open democratic dialogue and local collective action. It will also lay out how deliberate planning, careful implementation, and judicious monitoring of water management policies are needed at both the national and regional levels. Further, while it is not easy to reconcile developmental goals with environmental protection, the gravity of the situation requires more preventive diplomacy and subregional collaborative mechanisms which are geared towards averting water conflicts. Overall, it aims to help formal and informal NTS actors working through various channels to gain further understanding of emerging water security challenges in Southeast Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Natural Resources, Water
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Margareth Sembiring
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Low carbon transition is an important climate change mitigation measure. It entails a switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources. The presence of cost-competitive domestic coal in coal-producing countries like Indonesia is often cited as a major stumbling block to renewable energy development. This article aims to probe the cheap domestic coal argument. It does so by examining the changing share of renewable energy sources in electricity production over a certain timeframe. The study finds mixed observations across important coal-producing countries. It thus argues that there is a need to go beyond the low-cost domestic coal axiom and examine deeper underlying factors that support or hinder renewable energy development in coal-producing countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Coal
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Foo Yen Ne
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Almost two decades since the adoption of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, and specifically the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, the debates on addressing human trafficking have not veered far beyond questions of law enforcement efficacy. What makes law enforcement against human trafficking so challenging in the East Asia region? This NTS Insight examines the nature of international legal frameworks that address human trafficking and the way they influence regional and domestic anti-trafficking legislation in East Asia. It argues that human trafficking as a crime is often “hidden” from the one-size-fits-all anti-trafficking legal regime adopted in domestic or national settings. The report argues that drawing the crime of human trafficking out of the shadows is made difficult by (i) the ambiguous definition of human trafficking in international law; (ii) the disjuncture between human trafficking contexts in East Asia and what international anti-trafficking legal regimes seek to address.
  • Topic: Security, International Law, Women, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Julius Caesar Trajano
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the ratification of global and regional anti-trafficking frameworks and enactment of relevant national laws, human trafficking remains an endemic security problem in East Asia, threatening states and societies. Two-thirds or 25 million of global trafficking victims were identified to be in the region. This NTS Insight briefly reviews the current regional trends and patterns of human trafficking in East Asia. It demonstrates that robust legal frameworks, while absolutely important, are not sufficient to eradicate and prevent human trafficking. It primarily analyses three fundamental issues that impede effective law enforcement and the eradication of human trafficking in East Asia: (1) weak law enforcement capacity of states; (2) the persistent corruption-trafficking nexus; and (3) limited support services and protection assistance for victims. It highlights the importance of developing and adopting a victim-centered approach in order to make anti-trafficking efforts more holistic and effective.
  • Topic: Crime, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Corruption has become a perennial issue that has shackled political parties to a groundswell of unpopularity in Indonesia. In the run up towards the 2014 General Elections, it is envisaged that such an issue may jeopardise the electability of certain political parties. This report explores the influence of corruption cases on the elections by first highlighting the current status of competing political parties in the 2014 elections. The report then looks at the notable corruption cases that have an adverse effect on the political parties. The report concludes with four points. First, how utilising the "corruption-card" has become the new weapon of choice among political parties. Second, how the acute problem of corruption signifies that Indonesia's democratic consolidation process is far from over. Third, how shadowy affairs between political parties, their elites and the media can and should be constantly monitored. Lastly, the need to strengthen and continuous evaluation of the Corruption Eradication Committee (KPK) to prevent unnecessary interventions by political parties in the future.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Development, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Democratic Party (PD) – the incumbent party that won a majority sweep in the 2009 general elections, conferring Yudhoyono his second presidency – is now experiencing a dramatic reversal of fortunes. The party's electability rate has dipped significantly from its heyday peak of 21 per cent in 2009 to a meagre 7 per cent in 2013. A convention based on democratic proceedings ha s been hatched as part of a last - ditched effort by PD with the express purpose of generating the requisite publicity before legislative elections commence in order to restore confidence among its voters. While the convention has been proceeding apace, its impact on the electorate and on the image of the party as a whole has been disappointing. This report analyses the reasons why PD's novel attempt at a democratic convention failed to rejuvenate the party like its predecessor the Golkar party did a decade a go. Included in the analysis are scenario analyses of the various outcomes of the convention, given the plausible choices that party Chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono may take in consideration of the current dire status of PD.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Islam, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Li Jianwei
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Although disputes in the South China Sea are in general under control since 2009, developments show that China-Philippines and China-Vietnam are two key relationships that have experienced incidents leading to fluctuating levels of tension in the South China Sea region. This study reviews the evolution of these two relationships in relation to bilateral disputes in the South China Sea and the respective approaches to managing these disputes, with emphasis on the post-2009 period. By comparing the China-Philippines and China-Vietnam approaches, it intends to analyse the differences/similarities and their implication on the management of the South China Sea disputes, as well as their bilateral relations in a broader sense.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Vietnam, Philippines
  • Author: Wai-Mun Chia, Pradumna B. Rana
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that contrary to popular belief, in the bygone era, there was not one but two Silk Roads in Asia - the Northern and the less well-known South-western Silk Road (SSR). The SSR connected South/Central Asia with southern China and present day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After enjoying a rich history of around 1,600 years, the Silk Roads went into disrepair. Now, for various economic, security, and political reasons, land connectivity is once again making a comeback in Asia. These include the (i) "Go West" and the recent "New Silk Roads" policies of China; (ii) "Look East" policies of South Asia; (iii) opening of Myanmar, a node between South Asia and East Asia; and (iv) growing importance of supply-chain trade. The focus has, however, been mainly on reviving the Northern Silk Road with relatively few actions being initiated to revive the SSR. Mirroring the on-going efforts in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the Central Asian region, this paper proposes four economic corridors for Pan-Asian connectivity that is to connect South/Central Asia with southern China and ASEAN. The paper argues that the revival of land connectivity in Asia is making Maritime Asia of the past, more continental-based. One implication is that regional institutions focusing solely on Maritime Asia, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), may be losing some of their relevance vis-à-vis say the more continental-based China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The other is that the influence of the West in Asia's security may be declining relative to that of China, India, and Russia.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Nadica Pavlovska
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The internet penetration and the consequent creation of hyper-connected reality has exposed the Singaporean population to much more diversity of thoughts and influences. In this environment, efforts to maintain social cohesion and multicultural tolerance among the population is now even more challenging. In light of this, this paper attempts to explore the means available to maintain pro-social behaviour and build a culture of respect online. By assessing the current measures undertaken in Singapore, this paper argues that the majority of the strategies are “mind changing” such as education and awareness raising campaigns. However, by taking into account the specificity of the internet interaction, it is suggested that these strategies could be further enhanced by adopting a “context changing” approach in the online interaction by using specific behaviour influencers such as social norms, priming and messenger approach.
  • Topic: Education, Science and Technology, Multiculturalism, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Yuddy Chrisnandi, Adhi Priamarizki
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Following the implementation of Law No. 2/1999 on political parties by former president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habbibie, the multiparty system has been championed as the more prominent feature of the rapidly democratized Indonesian political landscape in the post-Suharto era. he implementation of such a law replaced the three-party system that had previously been dominated by the single hegemonic political vehicle of the New Order, Golkar or Golongan Karya [the Functional Groups], for almost 26 years. In the 1999 General Elections (GE), Indonesia witnessed an exuberance of new political parties. A total of forty-eight new political parties joined the 1999 election, the first free and fair democratic election since the 1955 GE. While the number of political parties may seem overwhelming, such a political turnout is not surprising given the degree of plurality of Indonesian society. In the 2004, 2009, and 2014 GE respectively, 24, 38, and 12 national political parties competed.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia