ASEAN: Rhetoric v Reality

By Ryan Thomson

Ryan is a Strategic Policy Officer at the Department of Defence. He attended the NATO Young Leaders Summit and Manama Dialogue as a Global Voices delegate.

Abstract

There is a consistent theme in academic literature that suggests that as a region, Southeast Asia is characterised by increasing complexity and rising volatility (Ul-Hassan, 2014). This theme is often followed with challenges to the centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as being insufficient for the security architecture of the region in dealing with this increasingly complex environment. The escalating tensions between claimants and China over disputed territories in the South China Sea, the resurgence of great power rivalry from China, Japan and India and a lack of political will within ASEAN to lead on these issues has resulted in a view that not only is the centrality of ASEAN an illusion (Shekhar, 2015), but that it also has limited utility for the region (Singh & Wesley, 2009).  Indeed many commentators have suggested even if ASEAN is examined strictly as a trading bloc compared to the European Union (EU) or the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the economic benefits are far from being realised.

This paper will therefore explore the challenges to ASEAN and will contend that that there are three key themes which should inform policy planners in furthering Australia’s engagement within the region: (i) The rhetorical aspirations of ASEAN have not always aligned with practical outcomes and therefore further consideration is required on understanding the limitations of ASEAN, (ii) the net benefit of ASEAN in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region will come from stronger external support which in turn supports the existing rules based global order and (iii) that high expectations upon ASEAN to resolve significant strategic challenges of the region can undermine its effectiveness and value to the region. These key concerns should be incorporated in policy planning to further engagement in line with the Australian Government’s approach to Southeast Asia.

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From targets for renewables to renewable targets: significance of the 5-year governing cycles on the effectiveness of the Paris Agreement

By Madelin Strupitis-Haddrick

Madelin attended the 2016 UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP22) where she represented the University of Sydney Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. Madelin is studying a Bachelor of International and Global Studies.

Abstract

The Paris Agreement of 2015 was widely lauded as a turning point in global climate action, having generated momentum and commitment to a universal, binding agreement on climate action with the promise of continually enhanced action. This progressive commitment is founded in 5-year governing cycles, comprising a regular stocktake of progress and timeframe for increased targets. Whilst this has formalised the potential for regular deepening of contributions, its effectiveness will largely depend upon the UNFCCC’s ability to sustain momentum for climate action. This policy brief will analyse the potential for the Agreement’s 5-year cycles to prompt implementation and increasing global ambition through increased public, civil and business involvement.

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Damaged, but not yet lost: exploring gaps in loss and damage mitigation, and the necessity of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and its review at COP22

By Caitlin Petersen

Caitlin attended the 2016 UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP22) where she represented Central Queensland University. Caitlin is studying a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Laws.

Abstract

Climate change is having a clear and devastating impact on the environment with the global mean sea level predicted to increase by 3.4(±0.4)mm/year (Beckley et al. 2010; Beckley et al. 2015). Whilst we are all experiencing the effects of climate change, the degree of loss and damage experienced by populations is disproportionate. Global rising sea levels mean that vulnerable coastal communities are experiencing the intrusion of saltwater, and whilst many communities adopt adaptive strategies, these adaptations may not be sufficient in mitigating loss and damage (Warner & Van der Geest, 2013). Three main gaps in mitigation of loss and damage will be explored in this paper: insufficient adaptive strategies, adoption of no adaptive strategies, and adoption of erosive adaptive strategies. In light of the revision of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage at COP22 (UNFCCC, 2014. para 15), the following recommendations have been made to better mitigate loss and damage experienced by these vulnerable populations.

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The political economy of development and urbanisation: Australian and Brazilian housing policy in the global context

By Rufael Tsegay

Rufael attended the 2016 Habitat III Summit where he represented RMIT University. Rufael is studying a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) (Honours).

Abstract

This paper analyses recent urbanisation and development strategies from Australia and Brazil. Contrasting Australia’s changes in public housing from tenancy for manufacturing personnel to low income populations with favela development programs in São Paulo, Brazil. The analysis engages with and discerns the financial, political and social implications of policy decisions in these two case studies. This research aims to critically observe different examples of housing oriented urbanisation to better realise the complexities in housing strategies and implement more effective regeneration strategies for informal settlements in developing nations.

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The road to urban coherence and sustainability: using architectural innovation to evolve cities

By Sadman Shafiq

Sadman attended the 2016 Habitat III Summit where he represented Swinburne University. Sadman is studying a Bachelor of Computer Science.

Abstract

This paper addresses the issues with current architectural trends and visits Sydney with its standing as a top Australian city along with the recovering Lebanon Capital Beirut. While both share similarities as being the tourist hubs of their countries, they share a lack of architectural practices in widespread use for a sustainable future. While Sydney is well developed it has a downtown district that has minor urban and architectural significance and more importantly lacks in public cohesiveness within the city. Beirut has a zoning issue that generates both hardship within the community and removes the cultural and historical heritage of the city. The transportation dilemma exists in Beirut with the congestion and lack of public transport, wherein Sydney suffers from a spread of urban development with the creation of suburbs that spread away from zones of activities centered in the city. It also lacks a public transport system that supports the pace of growth both in the suburbs and congestion within the inner city. The relationship with the transport system and architectural design allows for urban growth and efficiency. And as such, is needed for sustainable cities of the present and future.

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