Risk resilience and human security in cross-border areas: the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle

Fitrian Ardiansyah, Adhityani Putri

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Introduction Climate change has been dubbed one of the biggest threats facing the world since it can increase the vulnerability of human systems and ecosystems, reduce socio-ecological resilience and threaten human security (see, for example, Adger 2010: 279-81; DFID 2006: 12; Scott 2008: 605-8; Trombetta 2008: 594-5). This chapter investigates the non-traditional security impacts of climate change in three cross-border areas in Southeast Asia – the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the Heart of Borneo (HoB) and the Coral Triangle (CT). The crossborder areas under discussion are home to more than 400 million people.1 They are rich in biodiversity and natural resources. They also have excellent economic potential in the form of goods and services derived from natural resources, such as food, fibre, energy, tourism and others. However, Southeast Asia and its important cross-border areas are being threatened by increasingly severe and potentially irreversible impacts of climate change which is likely to accelerate and worsen disruptions from which socio-ecological systems may not be able to recover. This directly challenges the resource base upon which communities and individuals depend, eroding or entirely diminishing the ability of systems to perform their functions of sustaining human populations, as well as populations of other species (Deutsch et al. 2008: 6668; Joint Science Academies 2008; O’Hare et al. 2005: 355-77; Parry et al. 2009b: 1102). According to a number of official reports and studies, these problems will also have security implications. In some cases, for example, they are perceived to have led to and may further contribute to tensions among countries as well as conflicts and social unrest among players and stakeholders on the ground (Buhaug et al. 2008: 5; Nordås and Gleditsch 2007: 628-9; Raleigh and Urdal 2007: 675). This chapter examines further the ways in which climate change can result in human insecurity and other possible security challenges including social unrest, tension and conflict. It explores regional agreements and actions in each of the three cross-border regions and evaluates them against ideal-type models, with an emphasis on the mainstreaming of climate adaptation as well as mitigation in the development agenda to address these non-traditional security challenges. We also assesses whether stronger climate adaptation strategies havebeen incorporated into the various pledges, programs and plans adopted to address these issues, and if they have led to a variety of appropriate actions which will contribute to healthier ecosystems and strengthening the resilience of peoples and communities to climate change. Our analysis points to the importance of identifying and engaging with other actors such as the business sector, local communities and the public (in addition to working with state and intergovernmental actors). This is crucial since a major challenge facing governments is to devise climate-smart development strategies that mainstream climate change adaptation and mitigation (ASEM 2008: 3-4; Klein 2008: 1-2; Mitchell and Tanner 2006: 10; UNDP 2007b: 12). This challenge cannot be met if the threats are not addressed in an integrated and coordinated way. This should be done, we argue, within a harmonized regional legal framework and supported by a wider range of key actors (ASEM 2008: 5-6; Mitchell and Tanner 2006: 32; UNDP 2007a: 18).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHuman Security and Climate Change in Southeast Asia: Managing Risk and Resilience
    Editors Lorraine Elliott and Mely Caballero-Anthony
    Place of PublicationAbingdon, UK and New York, USA
    PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
    ISBN (Print)9780415684897
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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