In the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), renewables contributed 8% to final energy consumption in 2014. Since then, the share renewable energy has only slightly increased whereas fossil fuel-powered generation is the main source for new power plants. Lars Blume and Nguyen Thi Hang illustrate why momentum in Southeast Asia is changing.
Governments and corporations are driving the demand for water, land and organic resources of all kinds as never before. Citizens are fighting for their rights and working to preserve their livelihoods. Our study "Tricky Business" shows how the mechanisms of expropriation work.
ASEAN turns 50. The results of its policies and the situation of the Southeast Asian community is at best mixed. Despite impressive economic growth rates, the struggle for social-ecological justice has not resulted in any major achievements so far. Facing a number of ecological crises, especially climate change and sea level rise, the member states are under pressure to act immediately.
By creating a carbon-free energy development network, a moderating unit designed as a regional focal point will be established in order to identify synergies on combining or aligning national activities. Sharing successful activities with member organisations will scale up successful actions and activities. The aim is to slow down coal development, reduce regional energy dependency and a financial log in into coal capacity for Southeast Asia.
For the countries of Southeast Asia, this year’s rather tumultuous G20 summit held unprecedented opportunities to present themselves as good multilateralists and shape the outcomes of the annual meeting, at least in theory. Apart from Indonesia, the only permanent member of the club, Vietnam, in its function as current Chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), attended the summit and Filipino President Duterte who currently chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) equally expected an invitation.
Although ASEAN has an advantage when it comes to abundant resources, it remains to be seen whether the region will be able to tap into its potential. The majority of renewable energy sources remain untouched in ASEAN. For example, looking at individual countries, only 2MW of 65GWh technical potential of solar power has been installed, while biomass and wind power are underused in Cambodia. Indonesia only utilizes 5% of its geothermal potential. With the exception of the Philippines, currently in the lead with 400MW of wind energy, wind power remains a door left open for other ASEAN countries.
Digital, online and social-media avenues undoubtedly offer an alternative or complementary channel for news, because of the inherent difficulty in censoring these spaces. Their wide reach and levels of engagement have saved lives during disasters or emergencies.
Journalists sued for espionage in Cambodia, and for using drones or supposedly violating the official secrets act in Myanmar. News outlets faced with financial penalties steep enough to cause them to go under, as it did in Cambodia. Media organizations in the Philippines repeatedly described as ‘fake news’ outlets by government officials chafing at critical reporting.
Internet users in Southeast Asia are confronted with a heavily regulated environment in which there are more restrictions being placed on freedom of expression. Despite technological advances, societies undergoing political transitions, such as Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand, have yet to enjoy the full democratic potentials of a free and independent media. Instead of top-down reforms for the media, these countries need policies that prioritize the public’s interests. Only with the meaning public’s meaningful participation of civil society can these reforms become sustainable while supporting democratization.
After the deluge of headlines during ASEAN’s 50th birthday in 2017 and before that, the start of the ASEAN Community in 2016, this year may signal a return to what many see as ASEAN’s return to its uneventful – or boring – ways.
Diversity is an essential feature of our region. While religious and ethnic animosity poses an obstacle to creating a “cohesive and caring society”, this is not to suggest that diversity is the cause of conflict and insecurity per se. As illustrated in various multiethnic states around the globe, many governments have succeeded in integrating diverse populations. Rather, it is discriminatory practices and the lack of respect for differences in Southeast Asia that have alienated minorities and created chasms within communities.
Over the last years, Asia has undergone an impressive digital transformation. Large parts of the continent have turned from the world’s factory into a creative industry.The different contributions across the continent highlight both the opportunities and risks of digitalization in Asia.
Indonesia will be able to play a leading role in the fight against climate change, and gets a global significance. To that end, a political leadership is needed which is able to promote consistency between the declared commitment shown in international forums and genuine implementation efforts.