We don’t need any “reconciliation of the economy and ecology”. Instead, we should be saying no to destructive and exploitative projects and policies - and yes to a repoliticisation of environmental debate.
Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have shocked political and economic elites throughout Asia. For the last decades, the Asian development largely depended on open world markets and the presence of a US security umbrella. A first harbinger of what is yet to come is the suspension, if not de facto cancellation, of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Without a majority in the US Congress the TPP, at least in its current form, is dead. And that is rather likely.
Pundits have been keen to predict that Southeast Asia will soon leave behind its authoritarian past and head toward a more democratic future. This optimism was boosted in 2010 by Myanmar’s decision to “transition” to democracy, allowing for elections and assigning a role to the opposition.
Civil society space is under attack worldwide. In her welcoming speech to the Global Perspectives Conference, Barbara Unmüßig urged 160 representatives of civil society organisations from around the globe to stand in solidarity with each other and to put the issue of shrinking and closing spaces back on the political agenda.