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.
When the 19 member countries and the EU gathered in Hamburg for the G20 Summit one important topic was not on the agenda: from China to Mexico, Turkey to Russia, Saudi Arabia to India – the respect for fundamental human rights can no longer be taken for granted.
China's increasing presence, from economic to military links, is leading to a potential emergence of Chinese spheres of influence in which Southeast Asia will be regarded as China‘s backyard. To many observers, China‘s regional leadership constitutes an irresistible outcome of China‘s remarkable economic performances and influence. Although the strategic options of smaller powers are limited, ASEAN’s strategies towards great powers show that smaller powers still have a diverse menu of strategic options to choose from, depending on which is most effective in meeting its short- and long-term needs.
Organic food production is still a niche market in ASEAN countries, yet one on the rise. Health and ecological concerns have brought sustainable farming methods including small-scale and organic farming back to the table. This article takes a look at new strategies of sustainable food production in ASEAN with perspectives from Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore.
Representatives of indigenous Karen communities in Myanmar this week filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand alleging human rights violations resulting from the activities of Thai companies operating an open-pit coal mine. The Ban Chaung mine has polluted the air and water, harmed the livelihoods of local people, and led to the illegal seizure of agricultural land, among other harmful impacts, according to the complaint.
We, civil society organizations working to achieve sustainable development in Vietnam, express our collective concern with the Energy Strategy articulated in the Discussion Draft released by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Plastic pollution is a defining problem of our time - and one entirely of our own making. But how do we solve it? This article proposes a possible solution: a comprehensive, binding, and forward-looking global plastics treaty.
Plastik sudah menyebabkan permasalahan lingkungan hidup, perekonomian, dan sosial dalam skala global. Meskipun diperlukan bahan baku untuk memproduksi plastik, hal ini sangat murah sehingga sering digunakan untuk produk yang akan dibuang – dan seringkali untuk produk yang hanya digunakan sekali. Oleh karena itu, sejumlah besar plastik kemudian menjadi polusi bagi lingkungan hidup.
The Paris Agreement has set an ambitious goal to prevent global warming from spiraling out of control. But it has also set the stage for what will form the subject of numerous heated debates in the coming years.
Indonesia has been an active member of G20 since the forum’s inception in 1999. After the ministerial forum was upgraded to be a leader forum in 2008, Indonesian Presidents never missed the summits. Despite their tight domestic affairs schedules both former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the current President Joko Widodo have been in regular attendance at all summit meetings.
The food that we eat plays a big role in the search for solutions to climate change. Agriculture is one of the major contributors of greenhouse gases. But the way we farm our land can also be a big part of the solution.
Emission trading systems aim to put a price on carbon, to save emissions where it is cheapest and benefit the global climate. But the approach has failed so far. In the EU, the price for carbon has dropped to a low, so producers can easily continue polluting. And they are actually making huge profits from the permits they receive.
Can governments and industry be put on trial in climate cases, to ensure the rights of the most vulnerable and future generations? The livelihoods of hundreds of millions could be threatened by unprecedented storms, droughts, floods, and sea-level rise.
From ancient Greece to Pompeii, from China to Turkey and beyond, street food has a long and colorful history. Today, around 2.5 billion people eat street food every day. Especially in Asia, street food has become an urban mainstay and is part of the local food scene in large cities and small towns alike.
Can and should the global climate be regulated by technological means, the so called geoengineering? In our first episode of our podcast "Tipping point" our host took off to hear from experts what these approaches mean for the planet’s environment and society.
The oil palm is one of the most efficient oil crops in the world, yielding several times the amount produced by other major oil-bearing crops. Its high productivity, competitive price, accessibility for poor households, and versatile uses have driven exponential growth over the past 30 years (USDA-FAS 2009) and secured its place as one of the most important resources in the food industry today.
The G20 Hamburg Summit in July 2017 will be about nothing less than how globalization should be governed in the future. The G20 countries will have to respond to the key question of our times: How should a globalized world economy be coordinated for the benefit of all humanity against the backdrop of economic uncertainty, higher levels of inequality, climate change, refugees and migration?
The scale of the infrastructure and PPP initiative championed by the G20’s national and multilateral banks could privatize gains and socialize losses on a massive scale. The G20 should take steps to ensure that this scenario does not unfold.
Since 2001, the worldwide production of cement has increased threefold. Indonesia is an important producer, and the Indonesian market is dominated by three producers: the state-owned Semen Indonesia with more than 45 percent market share (as of 2013), followed by Indocement, of which the German HeidelbergCement holds a 51 percent majority stake (31 percent market share) and Holcim Indonesia (14 percent market share).
Saat ini, produksi semen seluruh dunia meningkat tiga kali lipat dibanding tahun 2001. Indonesia adalah negara penghasil semen yang penting dan pasar Indonesia didominasi oleh 3 produsen: PT Semen Indonesia (BUMN) dengan lebih dari 45 persen dari total produksi (2013), diikuti Indocement (31 persen) dimana perusahaan Jerman HeidelbergCement adalah pemilik mayoritas dengan saham 51 persen dan Holcim Indonesia (14 persen).
The Group of 20 (G20) is a “club” of nations with significant influence. There is a significant democratic deficit in the G20 since its decisions and actions are not governed by international law and it is not accountable to representative bodies.
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.
A decade after former US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick urged China to become a “responsible stakeholder” (Zoellick 2005) in the international system, China started its so far biggest multilateral initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Early this year the bank opened for business and started to approve its first projects in Central, South and Southeast Asia
On 31 October 2016, the Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS Thailand) organized the Public Forum titled “What’s AIIB All About? China, Asia and A Contested Global Order” in cooperation with Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southeast Asia (hbs) and Chulalongkorn University. The event hosted speakers from a variety of backgrounds to comment on the report “Making Inroads: Chinese Infrastructure Investment in ASEAN and Beyond”, authored by Mark Grimsditch of Inclusive Development International (IDI) with the support of hbs.
Judith Bopp is looking at the Bangkok's organic food scenes which are currently experiencing new momentum with growing consciousness of food origins reflects both, food quality and farmers rights grounded on the raising public health concerns and urbanites' considerations of alternative lifestyles.
Green Economy is a source of both hope and controversy. For some, it points the way out of permanent environmental and economic crises and promises to reconcile – a long cherished Utopia – ecology and economics. It fosters the hope that we can hang on to our current high standard of material prosperity.
A Blog by Motoko Aizawa, Institute for Human Rights and Business, and Nancy Alexander, Heinrich Boell Foundation-North America on the new Report: “In Search of Policy Coherence: Aligning OECD Infrastructure Advice with Sustainable Development”
Southeast Asian cities will play a critical role in the unfolding of the ASEAN Economic Community, which is to be launched at the end of 2015. A discussion of the inter-linkages among economic growth, urbanisation, consumption, and the environment.
“One of the major challenges for Burma is the rushing economic wave as the country is seen as Asian last frontier for business. This creates another gold-rush manner where foreign businesses are rushing to come in to seize opportunities in particular on natural resources extraction,“ said Khin Ohmar, a Myanmar Human Rights Activist from Burma Partnership.
At least since the “energy-protests” of May 2012, Myanmar’s strategy of exporting energy to its neighboring countries came under heavy criticism by its own population. Yet while the contested Myitsone hydropower dam on the confluence of the Irrawaddy River was suspended by President Thein Sein due to public pressure, several other big hydropower dams are still being under construction on the Salween River in Myanmar’s eastern border areas with the support of Thai investors.
During the 3rd International Conference on International Relations and Development (ICIRD 2013) entitled “Beyond Borders: Building a Regional Commons in Southeast Asia”which took place on 21-23 August 2013 at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs) organized a workshop on Indigenous Peoples’ natural resource management and the creativity of Indigenous Knowledge and the Natural Commons.
By Marc Bühnemann, Timmi Tillmann, Anan Ganjanapan
To highlight the importance of Indigenous Knowledge with regards to Natural Resource Management and Empower Indigenous People and grassroots for sustainable development by making people aware of their natural resource rights, of both legal and customary frameworks hbs together with EcoDev/Alarm has developed a Training of Trainers (ToT) Program on Participatory Indigenous Natural Resource Management.
Myanmar’s progress since the 2010 general elections has been astounding, with political transition greatly encouraging citizens and international diplomatic and investment communities. The diplomatic climate for Myanmar has changed dramatically as a result and sanctions have been eased progressively. Not surprisingly, many international investors have cast their eyes on Myanmar’s abundant natural resources for commercial exploitation.
As part of the first publication of the series Perspectives Asia, Nwet Kay Khine reflects on the impacts of protest and local opposition against a copper mine which turned into a national movement with international impacts especially for Chinese investors. Using the Letbadaung mining project as an example, the instability of Chinese commercial interests in Myanmar is examined
In February 2013 Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA), Yangon-based NGO ALARM, and Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southeast Asia joined forces to offer a week-long Myanmar Climate Change Leadership Institute (MLICC) in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.
A group of Myanmar writers, poets and publishers visited Thailand in the beginning of July 2012 in order to share and learn from experiences from personalities of Thai media and literature. The one week trip, sponsored by HBF, was organized by Spirit in Education Movement with the intention to strengthen Myanmar literary society.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 2011 has raised doubts over the security and reliability of nuclear power once again and showed that even in a highly advanced country like Japan such accidents can happen.In a cooperation between the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin and the regional office in Bangkok, a Thai delegation of experts on renewable energy and energy market regulation traveled to Germany to learn more about the energy turnaround and the challenges that comes with it.
What do we need to be happy? Do consumerism and luxury really make our life precious or do the small and simple things, like having a good meal with family and friends, make life valuable? These questions are addressed in Nino Sarabutra’s new exhibition “To Live or to Live a Good Life”.
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013, launched on July 10th in Brussels, debunks the myth that the world is seeing a nuclear renaissance.Two years after Fukushima, global nuclear power generation continues to decline.
With development and bilateral aid institutions as well as corporations, businesses, and tourists flocking to the country, Myanmar is faced with a great opportunity to rapidly change its economy and the lives of its people. But will Myanmar be able to develop its economy and bring electricity to its people in a sustainable, equitable, and democratic manner? What development and electrification models are out there?
Large-scale wind farms and solar power plants are springing up everywhere one looks. That’s good for the climate, but small-scale farmers and the poor are becoming the pawns of hard-nosed business interests around the world.
Barbara Unmüßig, president of the Heinrich Böll Foundation argues that because of the limited nature of our planet and the ecological challenges facing us, the fundamentals of our economy have to be reconsidered. In that respect, she thinks, the existing blueprints for a green economy do not go far enough.
Heinrich Boll Stiftung Southeast Asia Regional Office supported seven Thais participating in the No Nukes Asia Forum 2011 during July 29-August 7 to gain insight exposure and be part of regional anti-nuclear movement. The seven Thais included three local villagers from three provinces of Ubon Ratchathanee, Trad and Chumporn, where nuclear power plants are proposed; one nuclear activist, and three media. This article is from a discussion with Mr. Santi Chokechaichamnankit, Nuclear Monitor, Thailand.
Climate policy active NGOs and movements are fragmented and characterized by heterogeneous interests. Cleavages exist in important issues and the choice of strategies. A discussion of complementary strategies and division of labor is an urgent need.
In 2010 the Government of Thailand adopted the Power Development Plan. It provides the construction of five nuclear power plants. But the nuclear disaster in Japan has opened up the discussion about the nuclear future of Thailand again.
Sustainable Energy Network Thailand (SENT), Nuclear Monitor, MeeNET, Greenpeace Southeast Thailand and Heinrich Boll Stiftung (hbs) together organized a forum on March 15, 2011, Bangkok, to exchange knowledge and update each other on the nuclear situation in Japan which would bring about the lessons and precautions that Thailand should take in its decision to go nuclear.